The Little Urban Park that Could…. 2

“… be sooo good!”

Regular readers of Talk Northern Ireland will be well aware that the weary editor is accustomed to taking the air with a stroll around the old estate. In the past this activity has been known to stir the creative juices, get the typing finger working again and generally led to a vague feeling of well-being. Regular readers will also know that, my ancestors having fallen on somewhat hard times when the English invaded Ireland a wee while back, my estate is somewhat…ah.. how shall I put it now… curtailed? So when I tire of trekking to the bottom of my small garden I venture out to partake of the Derry City Council Park delights.

At this point you are rushing for the archives of Talk Northern Ireland to read about my previous experiences but less haste there, good reader, for I shall save you time! In September I wrote on the rivetting subject of The Little Urban Park that Could…. and what a response I got to that piece! Having pointed out its existence to all the local politicians, well you have to do what you have to do.. right, I found that no one was interested save for the Honourable Mark Durkan MP who took time to write to me and advise that he had fired a verbal rocket off in the direction of Derry City Council and the Housing Executive who apparently jointly hold responsibility for this wee park. Sadly, Mark’s pushing has got as far as mine and the paths are still flooded… only, given that it is December, they are even more flooded than before! Put it this way. Templemore Sports Complex could advertise an outdoor extension and they would not be pulled up for bad advertising!

So I planned an excursion, a new challenge to test my puny body to its frighteningly low limits, a new circuit designed to bring me to the absolute peak of physical fitness ready to face any medical emergencies that the on-coming winter months might bring – Yes… you’re right! I went in search of another city park that could!

Now, all the recent HoHa about the Fort George site, where Derry’s planners intend to stick a miniature version of Dallas beside the beautiful river, reminded me that the city boasts a riverside park which runs right down by the River Foyle and allows splendid views of the imposing structure that is the Foyle Bridge. Even across cyberspace I can hear you agreeing with me that this sounds a marvelous place for a park and somewhere well worth a visit!

Finding an hour when the sky wasn’t leaking was not easy but eventually even the Irish weather lifts the curfew and allows citizens to take some air. With a spring in my step and in bright, if weak, December sunshine I approached the park. Having negotiated the somewhat dangerous entrance – they are building close to the park and the builders seem to have a desire to make life difficult for pedestrians – I wandered the first 200 metres of the park pathway and was pleasantly surprised by the conditions underfoot. Damp but not bad… the odd puddle but passable. Bird calls drifting from trees as various species checked out which mates had survived 5 days of incessant rainfall lent the day a pleasant quality. A nice day to be alive for both bird and man…..



How can anyone pass this way! Welly boots aside this path is impassable! Sadly, any attempt to leave the path would result in the instant use of the mobile phone to call the emergency services to rescue an idiot from the quagmire that is the surrounding area. So circumnavigation is not an option unless the indomitable Foyle Search And Rescue happen to be on hand but I figure they have better folk than me to save!

Any reader who is thinking I immediately made a beeline for the nearest pub to rethink this exercise regime is not aware of the stern stuff used in the construction of Talk Northern Ireland staff! We didn’t get where we are to-day by letting small obstacles get in the way of a good story! In the true spirit of innovation and exploration steps were retraced and an alternative path was found. It lead to……


Whemmmm .. now the trek to the river was getting a wee bit difficult. A thirty metre swim in near freezing conditions was not something I’d trained for on my “Blogging for Fun” course at the University of Life.

In the distance I could see the other side of the river, I could hear seagulls calling but, against the backdrop of the high spanning Foyle Bridge, it looked like there was no way to reach the riverbank without getting wet… very wet! I…ah.. took the plunge and was rewarded with a lovely, peaceful scene with the River at low tide, the mud flats populated with sea birds and the sight of the bridge and its flying cargo reflected on the still water.

Something else…. to behold on a December day…



Why does the council make this sooooooo difficult to enjoy! What ought to be a pleasurable walk is turned into a water wading expedition worthy of any NI outdoor adventure center. What should be an easy walk designed to encourage people to get out in the open air is spoiled by poor maintenance. I mean… guys.. there is a giant river to drain all this water into! It cannot be rocket science to get paths cleared and ready for use by the public, can it?

So.. come on Derry City council Maintenance Department! Time to show your mettle, skill and dedication. Can you solve this problem and get the park usable for the winter?

Go on… we’re all rooting fer ye!


5 Responses to The Little Urban Park that Could…. 2

  1. Anthony Russell says:

    Dear Editor,

    Yet another bleat from a member of a clan that cannot accept it lost at home and therefore lost its home, and who now turns his flimsy fire on those who give up their free time to sit on the city council.
    What does it matter that there are a few puddles – this is a wet country. What do you expect? There are parts of the world where water is a very expensive commodity not found lying around.
    Buy a pair of wellies and enjoy a splash.


    A new city and proud of all our water

  2. talkni says:

    Ah. .. a Newry Town …. sorry Newry City man joins the fray! Now remind me, again (yawn), what Jonathan Swift said of Newry before it was elevated to city status…. oh yes..

    ‘High Church, Low Steeple; Dirty Streets, Proud People’

    … wasn’t that it? Now you see if your streets were as flooded as the Derry wans then they would be a lot cleaner!

    While we’re on the subject of Newry and parks.. has there been any improvement in the traffic conditions down that way. Once upon a couple of years back that lovely town center was hidden underneath a carpet of automobiles! Which, coincidently, would explain why you’re so used to the wet given that the exhaust fumes condensing on the cold shoulders of the towns’ bar owners over generations and falling, with unerring precision onto the downtrodden local masses, would lead to a noticeable tolerance of moist conditions!

    Still… when do Newry’s City fathers expect to build their first park?

  3. tonyrusse11 says:

    How sad – not content in attacking his own city, which retains its virginal charms, he now turns, in ignorance, on a very old town and a new city. Newry prospers, as does Derry, with a spirit of optimism , welcome and generosity so lacking in the previous comment. Do come down and visit us; even the unreformed Scrooge would delight in our landscapes, both mountainous ad maritime. Our canal is a treasure – our streets a joy to walk and shop in.
    Of course do bring your umbrella and wellies – we do delights not miracles.
    Unlike our esteemed editor Newry has moved on since we were privileged to have Jonathan Swift amongst us.

    Proud Person

  4. talkni says:

    Ah… drear…. (sorry) dear ol’ Newry Town.. sorry.. City… I once spent a month there one day ….
    Tell me.. does Newry have an urban park of any description? Is there enough room within the city limits?

    Now.. I have never criticized Derry City… why would I have to! In Northern Ireland it is the most beautiful place… in the world it can hold its own with applauded sights… in the universe, when we eventually explore the joint, there will BE NO better abode! Ah…pity those unfortunate enough not to have been born within its city boundaries! They can but aspire to touch the hallowed soil……….

  5. tonyrusse11 says:

    I heartily agree that Derry has it charms – indeed, according to its history, unclaimed charms.

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