Free Derry Wall: Troubles landmark that became tourism attraction gets Braille makeover
A landmark from Northern Ireland's Troubles that's become a tourism attraction is getting a makeover in Braille - part of a campaign to generate support for people living with disabilities.
Free Derry Wall is one of many political murals in Londonderry's Bogside area, but it outdates all of its artistic neighbours. Its slogan - "You Are Now Entering Free Derry" - was first painted in the late 1960s as the Troubles erupted. More than half a century later the wall is now a major attraction for visitors who want to learn more about the conflict, and its image is emblazoned on T-shirts and posters. It can even be found in miniature form in local gift shops.
But the wall's all-too-visual message has been given an extra dimension after local man Richard Moore - who was blinded more than 50 years ago by a British Army rubber bullet - unveiled a Braille plaque on the famous mural. Richard says: "It's now a wall for all. There are many people out there with disabilities who maybe don't have the same equal opportunities to services, to education, and to employment, and I realise that there are many, many people in our city and throughout Northern Ireland who are maybe not just as lucky as I was and who struggle every day with their disability." He says displaying a message in Braille is one of many ways to give a voice to the marginalised.
Richard heads up the charity Children in Crossfire, helping young people in less-developed nations to access a better future. He has overcome blindness to become a successful businessman, and has forged a friendship with the former soldier whose rubber bullet blinded him in 1972. His life story has won the admiration of the Dalai Lama, and Richard has brought the Tibetan leader to Derry several times. Their relationship has even been captured on a mural in the city. But Richard says some walls must be broken down - the walls that prevent equal opportunity for those with disabilities.
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