Weekend Wanderer

W.W.Wanderings Day 6: MUSEUM DAY

This morning, we ventured out to the Free Derry Museum to get some history on this city we now called home (at least for a while).

Excited to be at the museum!

Excited to be at the museum!

Now we're just being nerds...

Now we’re just being nerds…

It was amazing to hear the history of the city, sad though it was. So much tragedy, so many murders and wars, so much pride. Not even in America do we experience the kind of pride (to an extent) that you feel from every person here.

I love the way the guide spun the stories – he was a typical Irishman: warm, funny, & enthralling. He knew so much it was a part of him. (On a sidenote, when I tried explaining how the guide impressed me to a team member later, I was scoffed for using the word “enthralling.” It must be terrible to live without a vocabulary that can paint pictures – don’t expect me to join you anytime soon!)

The truly amazing thing about people here is how they bring history to life, and make it as rich and vivid as if it was their own (because it is). They live with the nation’s history written on their hearts in a way that unifies them like nothing else.

One of the most memorable stories we heard was the history of…

“The Bloody Hand of Ulster:”

Long ago, there were two men (O’Neal & O’Dougherty) fighting over who was to rule Ireland, which spawned a series of competitions for the throne. It was a dead heat by the end of the day, and the crown was to be determined by a rowing competition.

Whomever was the first to place his hand on shore would win the throne. O’Dougherty had a clear lead on O’Neal, so much so that people were sure of his victory.

O’Neal had a choice to make, and I’m sure no one saw it coming (except you, since I’ve foreshadowed heavily).

With determination that tended towards insanity, O’Neal CUT OFF his own hand, and threw it on shore, thereby claiming the crown as his hand did technically touch shore first.

This is why his flag has a red hand on it (the “Red Hand of Ulster”):

Try processing that story right before lunch..

We spent the rest of the morning wandering around after our tour was over, staying out of the rain.

Although the view of the street was lovely!

Although the view of the street was lovely!


We eventually braved the elements. You can tell who the Irish are based on how oblivious they are to the rain.

And then, JUST as we were leaving, I decided to leave a lasting impression. Since I am a very gullible trusting person, I believed my friend when he told me to follow the green signs to the bathroom. It made sense, although it was a little dramatic (like why is he running? Do you really have to go that bad?) Take a look:


Take note, future Irish travellers: This is NOT the sign for the bathroom.

You guessed it. This was the sign for the EMERGENCY EXIT. As in, alarms will sound. As in, I set them off because I’m a dumb American with a small bladder.

Well, at least they will remember me!


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