Saturday, August 28, 2010
It's not everyday that you can say you took part in a little bit of history but setting off from Bangor on the 9:57 train this morning heading to my father's home city I did just that.
Meeting up with members of Belfast Pride at Great Victoria Street Station (a task I had to do in my own gregarious way as we weren't meeting Mícheál Carchrie Campbell until Yorkgate) it was off to Northern Ireland's second city for their inaugural Pride Parade. Starting from Duke Street railway station it followed the route of the 1968 Civil Rights March.
As a result it followed a lot of my families history, there are various members living on or near Duke Street in the 1901 or 1911 census. We crossed the Craigavon Bridge, around the 'Hands Across the Divide Statue' which was the closest point to the Fountain area where my father grew up and where my Grandmother lived most of her live. Also up past Carlisle Road Presbyterian Church where my grandparents were married. Eventually arriving having entered the city walls and exited them again at Guildhall Square.
Those of us who had travelled up by train had been a bit worried as the train pulled past the assembly point as there didn't seem to be a great turnout, but that soon changed, as this picture goes some way to show .
As seems to be the way with these things there was a little shower or two, but that didn't spoil the atmosphere as ever. Plus of course all those who marched were making that little bit of history.
One really great thing about how this first Foyle Pride was received was the way the car drivers on the Craigavon Bridge and the bus passengers, plus those along the pavement as we paraded through the City streets past the shops, bars and cafes were really supportive of the parade. Of course there were the dour church folk at the roundabout as we started, whose protested doesn't appear to have been registered on the Parade Commission's website (oops!). But the majority of the people of Derry were not listening to them but accepted the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transexual/gender and Questioning) community to their hearts.
I'm proud to be a son of Derry descent for (at least) four generations on today's reaction.
See more pictures on my Flickr account.