Derry City has an historical legacy which is at the forefront of its tourism and also its image. These two elements crystallise around the Siege of Derry in 1689 and also the Civil Right’s movement of the 1960’s and the violence which came after. Memorials are not so good at keeping a low profile at a time of high emotions. But some memorials are more embraced than others.
Most of the time I feel war memorials have little to do with the horror of war and have more to do with the expected viewership and even planning laws. The International Sailor in Derry is a great example of compromise for a modern era. A away from the centre of a divided city – unlike the first war memorial when built in the Diamond in Derry 1927 – but includes a double section plinth which has the obvious temptation of being steps for one who wishes to take a photo of oneself along with the handsomely chiselled sculpture. Are war memorials more of a middle class thing, and dying-in-war more for the working class? Keep Reading
Like many other resorts, Ballycastle succeeds to remind people about war. Whether you are in Carrickfergus or in Cannes, you must call attention to the World Wars. This is a golden rule. No tourist may be permitted to mentally wander away from the girls in bikinis or sandcastles, when there are trenches and tanks to be considered.
I took a carefree August-time stroll down the La Croisette promenade of Cannes. These are two kilometres of pure laid-back stupor. A dense assortment of casinos, beach-side restaurants, yachts, every kind of chair, with a sumptuous array of plants and flowers. Cannes feels impermanent, as if it were built in 1920, and my first surprise is that of it’s heritage. It is much older than I had imagined. But if there is a self-consciousness in this city, it is one that mirrors the validation of tourists. This was a city built for visitors, and has evolved to meet their needs.