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30 Sept 2022

'Unsung hero' - Exhibition honouring Bishop Edward Daly opens

Bishop Daly was a  man of 'truth and integrity' - Vincent Coyle

 Vincent Coyle with Bishop Edward Daly.

Vincent Coyle with Bishop Edward Daly.

People, especially young people, from all over the city are being encouraged to visit a new exhibition honouring the late Bishop Edward Daly.

Bishop Daly served as Bishop of Derry from 1974 to 1993 and is best remembered for ministering to the dead and wounded of Bloody Sunday (January 30, 1972).

‘Bishop Daly: A man for all seasons’ is taking place between Monday, August 8 and Sunday, August 14, in St Eugene’s Cathedral Hall on Infirmary Road in Derry.

Speaking to Derry Now on behalf of the Garden of Reflection, in the Bogside, Vincent Coyle described Bishop Daly as an “unsung hero”. 

Vincent said: “The Garden of Reflection was assembled shortly after the passing of our dearly beloved Bishop Daly, who the  people of the Bogside remember as a priest. Growing up, I remember him as a bishop. They also remember him as the man who was there on Bloody Sunday. 

“However, Bishop Daly was much bigger than that. He was in our homes. He knew everyone personally and in the last 21 years of his life, he was the administrator of the Eucharist and faith to those who were passing down at the Foyle Hospice.

“He was indeed a man of all seasons and we are asking that everybody attends, as many as can, especially the youth, to learn about the men of peace that were in Derry because Bishop Daly was an unsung hero, silently working in the background.

“He would visit people in prison. He would visit prisoners not just in Ireland but also in England. He took a very active role in that. He also kept in very close touch with the families of those he visited in prison. That was not something he made a big bandstand out of, he just did it because it was his pastoral duty,” said Vincent.

Vincent said when Fr Daly became the Bishop of Derry and St Eugene’s Cathedral, there was great pride amongst all the people of the Bogside, Brandywell and Creggan.

“There was great pride in the entire area,” said Vincent, “because we knew him as the civil rights priest, a man of non violence, a  man of truth, a man of integrity, a man you could trust when things got bad. 

“It is important for us that we mark this festival of his life, so people really get to know the man because people only knew him as Bishop Daly or Father Daly.

“The story of Bishop Daly which is going to be told in the festival, over the week, will begin when he was a little boy and where he came from, Belleek in County Fermanagh. 

“I remember when we were getting the garden organised, first and foremost we wanted permission from his family and from Bishop McKeown.

“His family were very touched that we would establish such a garden for him. When they came for the unveiling of the stone, his sister very tearfully said,’You know, we were wondering why he did not want to be buried at home? But he just wanted to be with the people of the Bogside.’”

Vincent highlighted the fact Bishop Daly’s memorial stone was in the heart of the Bogside.

He said: “It was very important and where the garden is situated overlooks what we knew as the ‘rubble barricade’, where five bodies lay dead [on Bloody Sunday] and where Mr Alex Nash saw his son shot.

“He ran to give his assistance, from the ramp, and was shot down before he could get to help his son. That area, I think, is a part of bringing healing for everyone.

“Bishop Daly was a man of great healing and in the last years he lived that healing for some 21 years in the Hospice.”
The ‘Bishop Daly. A man for all seasons has been compiled to celebrate the life, influence, work and legacy of Bishop Edward Daly. 

The title of the exhibition, A Man For All Seasons, was chosen to pay tribute to the wide and varied contribution he made to peace and reconciliation in Ireland, to Derry and its Diocese, to the search for justice and to healing the differences that divide the North. He lived out the words of Christ in his work. 

The project has been supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council. 

For more information on ‘Bishop Daly: A man for all seasons’ please contact: www.steugenescathedral.com

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