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Hemmed in and Hacking it - Life in two enclaves in Northern Ireland

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Text: Ruth Moore and Marie Smyth ... Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna

hemmed in
and hacking it

life in two enclaves
in Northern Ireland

words and images
from The Fountain
and Gobnascale


from interviews by Ruth Moore and Marie Smyth
transcript editing by Ruth Moore
final editing by Marie Smyth

Templegrove Action
Research Limited

First published 1996
by Templegrove Action Research Limited
13 Pump Street, Derry Londonderry, BT48 6JG

© Templegrove Action Research Limited
Typeset by Pauline Collins, Ruth Moore and Marie Smyth
Photographs by Ruth Moore and Allen Kennedy
Transcript editing by Ruth Moore
Final editing by Marie Smyth

Printed by Print 'n Press, Derry Londonderry

All Rights Reserved

ISBN 0 946451 33 8

The children don't have the same
kind of freedom as I had.
They couldn't go into other areas
play football, and mix.
They are hemmed in
especially at night...
There's times I can't send
my older boy down the town.
People know he lives here.
He's come under attack.

woman interviewee
The Fountain

The shooting in Annie's bar
I was up in the Telstar
the night it happened...
But I wasn't actually in it.
I just knew a couple of people to see.
People were very afraid.
Some people up stakes and moved out.
They couldn't hack it.

male interviewee
Gobnascale /Top of the Hill




words and images
from The Fountain
and Gobnascale

edited transcripts
from interviews
Ruth Moore and Marie Smyth

transcript first editing
Ruth Moore

Allen Kennedy and Ruth Moore

final editor
and project director
Marie Smyth


Derry Londonderry


We would like to thank all of those who consented to be interviewed, read and edited transcripts, made suggestions for pictures, gave us cups of tea, and contributed their time, ideas and life experiences. We were privileged to be admitted into their communities and homes, and to be taken into their confidences. This is an attempt to put their words, not ours, forward in a way which represents their experiences. We hope we have done them justice.

We would also like to thank all those who put us in touch with people to talk to, especially William Temple and Donnie Sweeney. Pauline Collins transcribed the tapes with her usual skill and efficiency, whilst managing the office and contributing to the debates and discussions going on in it. William Temple, Robin Percival, Diana King, Tony Doherty, Eamonn Deane, Hilary Sidwell, are to be thanked for their input as the Board of Directors, especially the "old faithfuls," William, Hilary and Diana. We thank Brendan Murtagh, Barney Devine, Donnie Sweeney, Maureen Hetherington, Drew Hamilton, for their input as the Advisory Group, and especially to Denis McCoy, whose support and encouragement has been invaluable. We thank George Row for computer assistance over the period of the project. We are grateful to the Physical Social and Environmental Programme of the European Union, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, The Ireland Fund, The Londonderry Initiative of the Department of the Environment, and the Central Community Relations Unit for core funding for the main project. We are also grateful to the Cultural Traditions Group of Community Relations Council for funding this publication.

Finally, we wish to thank the people involved in Top of the Hill 2010, The Fountain Area Partnership, the Wapping Lane Community Association and all those from The Fountain and Gobnascale/ Top of the Hill whose names have not been mentioned, some because they asked us not to. They have taught us some of what they know about sectarianism, segregation and life in enclave communities, and we hope our time together has been of mutual benefit.

Marie Smyth
Project Director
April 1996



From 1993, a group of people began meeting to discuss various aspects of political life in Derry or Londonderry city. We worked together to develop a project which addressed the issues related to segregation, the movement of population within and out of the city, and the quality of life in enclave areas. In September, 1994, Templegrove Action Research Limited, a community based research company with directors drawn from both sides of the community, began a two year action-research project on aspects of segregation and sectarian division in the city. Funding had been obtained, and I had received a two year leave of absence from the University of Ulster to work full-time on the project. Just as the project began, the IRA, and shortly afterwards the Combined Loyalist Military Command, announced cease-fires. By early 1995, the two other members of the team, Ruth Moore, and Pauline Collins, had been recruited. In our research on segregation and enclave communities in the city we have come to refer to as Derry Londonderry. Our work has been based in two enclave communities: a Catholic community in the previously predominantly Protestant Waterside area of the city, - Gobnascale or Top of the Hill; and a Protestant enclave, The Fountain, in the predominantly Catholic Cityside area. One of our commitments was to make the work and our findings as accessible as possible to as wide a range of people as possible, from policy makers on the one hand, to people in the areas we were working in on the other.

Our work has fallen into several categories. Our work plans have been substantially altered by the cease-fires. We were anxious, as a research organisation working on issues of sectarian division to make a positive contribution to the new atmosphere of openness and hope in the city. Templegrove went about the usual business of conducting in-depth interviews and a field survey in Gobnascale and The Fountain, and in addition staged a series of more public events. We organised a series of public discussions in the city centre on aspects of sectarian division and organised and held a public hearing on the experience of minorities living in the city. Both these events are documented in separate publications: Public discussion on aspects of sectarian division in Derry Londonderry; and A Public Hearing: Minority Experiences in Derry Londonderry. A full list of publications is reproduced in Appendix 2.

This work contained in this publication arises out of the interviews we conducted in the two areas. It is notoriously difficult to analyse and present qualitative data in a way which retains the impact on the interviewer, and respects the richness and complexity of the interview material. Yet the real experts on the issues we were interested in were undoubtedly those with the most experience of living with these issues. All too often their stories have been misinterpreted and misrepresented to serve some academic or media agenda. When I discovered the work of Richardson (1992), and the possibility of presenting interview transcripts as "poems", retaining their original complexity, but condensed in language, it seemed to offer possibilities to achieve this. (see commentary on page ) Some of those we worked with were unhappy about the idea of "poems", and their interviews are presented in a condensed prose format. Some of the images alongside the text have been suggested by the interviewees, and some are drawn from our archives of photographs of the two areas. We hope that the words of the people we met which are reproduced here will breach some of the effects of living in enclave areas - the lack of opportunity to talk - really talk-to people outside your area, and say what you think and feel.

Marie Smyth
April 1996


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