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What Creggan means to me: Derry playwright Brian Foster dedicates a new poem to the place he calls home

What Creggan means to me: Derry playwright dedicates a new poem to the place he calls home

Young people on the streets of Creggan in the 1950s.

Derry playwright Brian Foster grew up in the city's Creggan estate. He has written this new poem in honour of the place he still calls home.

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CREGGAN


We want rehousing came the call,

That echoed loud through tenement halls,

We’ll take no more discrimination,

We’re equals in our Irish nation


In Springtown Camp and down The Bog,

The women toiled in daily slog,

While men were forced to sign the brue,

No jobs, no homes, no hope for you


Then on a hill not far away,

Began to dawn a bright new day,

No more would Derry folk go beggin’,

As bricks and mortar became Creggan


And now the slums and tenement halls,

Were swapped for houses standing tall,

As people flocked there filled with pride,

No more their hopes and dreams denied


T’was now the hard work really started,

As Creggan folk from misery parted,

And toiled to build a community strong,

And prove the faceless men were wrong


That day we moved to Creggan Heights,

Began my boyhood of delight,

New pals to make, fresh air to breathe,

A freedom I could scarce conceive


Behind our house lay fields of green,

Where we ran wild and lived our dream,

On summer Sunday’s out on foot,

O’er hills and streams to Grianan Fort


And winters when fell heavy snow,

We’d play outside with hearts aglow,

And snowmen make with eyes of coal,

And snowballs throw to raise our soul


No taxis then for boys like us,

A walk down town or take the bus,

Out to the Black Hut we would dander,

On childhood days so full of wonder


But, alas, all dreams must end,

As time turns young lads into men,

So farewell Creggan I did say,

And off to foreign lands did stray


I’m back home now, no more to roam,

Not far from my old Creggan home,

Where a Derry boy became a man,

Up there in God’s own special land


I look back now with pride and joy,

At friendships made there as a boy,

And though we’re scattered far and near,

All raise your glass ... TO CREGGAN DEAR.

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