Federations meet in Derry City – Weekend of 11th Oct – 13th Oct 2013: By Larry Breen
The Autumn field trip took the Federation north to the ancient city of Derry for a weekend during which both Federations joined together for a memorable tour of the city in this its year as the U.K. City of Culture.
Forty eight FLHS members from fifteen different societies and representing eight counties travelled north on the Friday morning stopping at the Ulster American Folk Park for a visit. On a beautiful sunny afternoon the group were welcomed by three great friends from the FULS namely John Bradley, Walter McFarlane and Johnny Dooher. After lunch in the restaurant and courtesy of John Bradley and Walter McFarlane the visitors were given a personal conducted tour of the Folk Park. All were captivated by the story of the Mellon family, their subsequent emigration to the United States and the depiction in the park of life as it was then in both the old and new worlds. Many thanks to John, Walter and Johnny for the personal touch and for making it such an interesting visit.
Saturday saw the coming together of both Federations when the FLHS was joined by twenty six members of the FULS representing societies from around Ulster. The day commenced with a walking tour of the City walls by award winning guide Martin Mc Crossan. Martin, again in his own unique way, presented a fascinating, thought provoking and interesting history of the City from the walk around the walls.
Our next stop was St. Columb’s Cathedral where we were cordially received by the Dean of the Cathedral, William Morton. After an excellent video on the history of the Cathedral and the story of some of the Cathedral’s unique silverware Dean Morton gave a virtuoso performance on the beautifully restored Church organ including a rendition of the “Derry Air”. Martin McCrossan then led the group on a tour of the Bogside which included the Bloody Sunday Memorial, Free Derry Corner, the H-Block Memorial and the Wall Murals. It was then back to the Apprentice Boys’ Centre on the walls where we were given a most interesting and informative tour of the building by excellent guides.
The happy band then made their way homewards with a stop at the Silver Birch Hotel in Omagh for an excellent lunch and then onwards to Dublin and Naas after a weekend to remember.