Free Derry Corner

Learn about this icon of the modern conflict

Free Derry corner lies between Rossville Street and St Columb’s Wells in the Bogside district of the city.

Following the violence at Burntollett Bridge in January 1969 and the subsequent action of the police in the Bogside, vigilante squads were set up there.

A well known local character, John ’Caker’ Casey, painted the famous slogan on the gable wall of a terraced house; You are now entering Fee Derry, in imitation of a similar slogan in West Berlin. The giant slogan became a focal point for the outdoor meetings and rallies which became a regular part of Bogside life in the coming years.

Although the actual terrace of houses has long since gone, the gable wall and its slogan have been preserved. It is still the venue for many public meetings. Over the years the slogan has often been damaged by tins of paint thrown at it by frustrated members of the security forces. It has been repainted in various forms on many occasions and other evocative symbols have often been attached to it.

In recent years it has also become practice to paint additional images and slogans on the reverse of the wall signifying and celebrating local community events. The wall and its defiant slogan have become one of the most enduring images of the Troubles and of the Bogside area of Derry.

Topics