Bloody Sunday museum reopens after £2.5m rebuild

A museum established by relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday has reopened after a £2.5m rebuild.

In just over 10 years the Museum of Free Derry has become one of Derry’s biggest tourist attractions.

The centre tells the story of Bloody Sunday on the very spot in the Bogside where the shootings happened on 30 January 1972.

Bloody Sunday was one of the seismic events of Northern Ireland’s Troubles.

Thirteen people were killed when paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march.

Multimedia displays help visitors experience the sights and sounds of that fateful day.

Those guiding you around are themselves relatives of the victims.

John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was shot dead by paratroopers, tells UTV: “It brings people into that day, I was there on Bloody Sunday and when I walk through here it brings me back to the day itself.”

Footage of Father Edward Daly waving a blood-soaked handkerchief became the iconic image of Bloody Sunday.

Fr Daly's handkerchief is kept on display at the museum. Credit: UTV

It’s now safely housed in the new surroundings, along with many other artefacts from the day.

The visitor experience is a trip from the darkest days of the killings, to the publication of the Savile report.

“This is what this place is all about, to get the experience of what the families had to travel through,” Mr Kelly explains.

From its beginnings a decade ago when it was just a small display, the Museum of Free Derry has grown into a major attraction and has been rebuilt at a cost of nearly £2.5 million.

Adrian Kerr, museum manager said: “We have had in the previous museum, over 160,000 visitors, we were one of the top tourist attractions in the city so with the new building being so visually stunning and prominent building wed be very confident that we can grow that even more.”

The families were among the first to see the museum before it opened.

“They and the residents of the area came and they all said the same thing, that it was fantastic,” Mr Kelly commented.

The museum will tell the story of Bloody Sunday for generations to come on Built on the spot where Northern Ireland history happened, the museum will tell the story of Bloody Sunday for generations to come.