'Battle of the Bogside'

'Battle of the Bogside' Poster

Filming of the APPRENTICE BOYS OF DERRY parade, Derry, August 2003

Crew L-R: Vinny Cunningham (Director), Billy Gallagher (Sound Recordist), John Peto (Asst Producer/ Writer)

RUC in Bogside, 12 August 1969




‘Battle of the Bogside’, a feature documentary produced by Derry-based Perfect Cousin Productions, receives its first ever festival screening as part of the Galway Film Fleadh this year.  The film will be shown at The Town Hall Theatre, Galway on Saturday 10th July at 5.30pm.    

  On 12 August 1969, the disaffected Catholic and Nationalist population in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland took to the streets to confront the Royal Ulster Constabulary, in the wake of a protestant Apprentice Boys parade in the City.  The riots, which came to be known as the ‘Battle of the Bogside’, continued for almost 3 days and saw over 1,000 people injured.

  The ‘Battle’ ended when, in an unprecedented step, British troops were deployed into Derry.  This decision, by the British Government at Westminster, was to shape the future of Northern Ireland for over thirty years.

  Through the use of previously unseen archive footage, ‘Battle of the Bogside’ takes us behind the barricades, into Stormont and Westminster, to reveal the inside stories surrounding the Battle and the political response to it. Interviews with key figures from within the Bogside, the RUC and the Northern Irish and British Governments recreate the drama as events unfold.  Many of the contributors are speaking for the first time about those 3 days in August 1969.

  The film also features exclusive broadcast clips of ‘RADIO FREE DERRY’, a pirate radio station established by the Bogsiders in 1969.

  Producer/ Director, Vinny Cunningham, said:

  “I’m really looking forward to the Galway screening, it’s a wonderful festival.  This production has been a long haul, from the original conception to seeing the final film.  ‘Battle of the Bogside’ is a film that I have wanted to make for about eight years or so.  Back then a man from the Creggan in Derry gave me audio recordings that he’d made of ‘Radio Free Derry’, the radio station set up in Derry’s Bogside in 1969.  I had the idea of a film built up around these recordings and set about raising the finance to produce such a film.  In 2002, I got the Irish Film Board and the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission onboard as well as Northland Broadcast and Raw Nerve Productions in Derry.   All I needed now was a broadcaster and it was in late 2002 that BBC4, the digital channel, commissioned the film.

  “John Peto (Assistant Producer/ Writer) from Derry’s Nerve Centre and I started work on it in early 2003 and having interviewed over 29 people from ‘both sides of the barricades’, we began editing in October 2003.  15 weeks later, Kevin Murray (editor) and I had what we believed was an accurate account of those incredible 3 days in August 1969, which came to be known as the ‘Battle of the Bogside’.

  Contributors include: Lord James Callaghan, Martin McGuinness, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, Bernadette McAliskey, Nell McCafferty, Eamonn McCann and many others.  


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