New city peace garden and gallery launched

The £2.1m Garden of Reflection - Londonderry’s newest landmark and a major new shared-space and urban regeneration project for the city’s Bishop Street area - has been officially launched.

The scheme has transformed a derelict courtyard linking Bishop Street to Pump Street and includes specially commissioned public art works, a storytelling booth, an amphitheatre for events and an art gallery.

Pictured (L-R) are are John Meehan, Inner City Trust, Eamon Deane, Holywell Trust, Helen Quigley, Inner City Trust, the Mayor of Derry & Strabane District Council, Cllr. Elisha McCallion, Mark Durkan MP,  Brenda Hegarty, SEUPB, and Jack O'Connor.

Pictured (L-R) are are John Meehan, Inner City Trust, Eamon Deane, Holywell Trust, Helen Quigley, Inner City Trust, the Mayor of Derry & Strabane District Council, Cllr. Elisha McCallion, Mark Durkan MP, Brenda Hegarty, SEUPB, and Jack O'Connor.

The opening is the culmination of a two-year project that has also included new light installations for the City Walls’ seven gates and over 100 events, including an international conference, to promote peace and reconciliation.

Helen Quigley, CEO of Inner City Trust, said: “The Garden of Reflection’s vision is to become an inspiring, shared space where everyone will feel welcome to reflect, meet, engage and relax.

“The Peace Bridge has been a phenomenal success and we want the Garden to be a new bridge, an ‘urban bridge’ that helps reintegrate our communities in the city centre and evolves into a natural meeting point for all our citizens.”

Eamonn Deane, Chairperson of Holywell Trust, added: “The Garden of Reflection is a unique project, creating a new shared space for local people, but also a new landmark for the city that will attract tourists and encourage more life back into this part of town.

“One of the central features of the design is the blue paving which winds its way through the Garden. This represents a river and a ‘journey’ through the garden which is symbolic of life’s journey.

“The journey of life is reflected by three stages of the river: the youthful stage within the main garden is a meeting, mingling and viewing area; a middle-age stage in front of new craft shops and workshops, and an ‘old’ stage at Pump Street.”

Designed by John Eggleston, landscaper and lead designer with Northern Ireland-based MWA Partnership the Garden was constructed by P & K McKaigue from Maghera. Its specially commissioned art installations by local and international artists include a water feature, sculptures and a ‘Journey of Reflection’.

The Garden can be accessed through the archway at Pump Street and through the Georgian doorway of Number 16, Bishop Street, bringing visitors into the gallery space (including wheelchair access through the existing shop front of Number 16).

Access from London Street will be via a gated entrance, leading visitors through a passageway onto the centre of the Garden. More information on the Garden is available at www.gardenofreflection.org