The Derry Girls mural is painted in a lifelike manner: vibrant, bold and challenging – and it just so happens that the woman who set the magic in motion is standing right in front of it, having her picture taken.
But this is Derry, where everyone knows everyone and anything can happen.
Writer Lisa McGee, a vibrant Derry girl who wears herself in a striking red tartan coat, causes a flurry of excitement among locals when they spot her, but she can’t linger – she’s got a premiere on the attend the red carpet, followed by a Derry girls private party at the guildhall.
As excitement mounts for the launch of the third and final season of the globally hit show, to be unveiled on Tuesday, little else is talked about on the streets of this remarkably friendly walled city.
The people here have welcomed Derry girls with open arms as the embodiment of his true courage and resilience despite the pain he has endured.
People of all ages speak not only about the show, but speak intimately and forensically about individual scenes within it, lamenting Toto, aka Slipper the Dog, who died last year, as well as the demise of Dennis’s Wee Shop in the Bogside, which has since been destroyed.
McGee had no idea how successful her show would become, she said Irish Independent She thinks it won’t dawn on her until the final series airs.
“I was just hoping enough people would see it for us to try again,” she said. “It still hasn’t really hit me. When it’s all over in the final, I’ll be like, ‘Oh god, that was crazy’.
“It was never the plan [to be a massive success]and I think if it had been the plan, it wouldn’t have happened.”
Before McGee reached the mural, two elderly women were there taking selfies.
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“My favorite bit is the way they say we keep our toasters in the cupboard,” said one, referring to the Catholic-versus-Protestant plaque, which she identifies as being from the Protestant tradition.
Her friend added in a hushed voice, “But we didn’t know any nuns.”
Ahead of them stood two elderly northern men, looking embarrassed as they also posed in front of the mural.
“My daughter will kill me if I don’t,” said one.
Two Channel 4 executives had already stepped forward to take the obligatory selfie.
What Derry girls means for Derry people is almost indescribable.
They appreciate how normal and heartfelt the families’ lives are being portrayed in the face of the most troubling circumstances around them, said leader Garbhan Kerr, who runs a bespoke tailoring shop Derry girls Tour in the summer months.
“Lisa tells you what’s happening in your house, but you don’t tell anyone,” he says.
He believes a simple reason for the show’s global success is Netflix’s ability to turn on subtitles.
“Tourists tell me they need the subtitles because the jargon here and the slagging is very unique,” Mr Kerr said.
He once led his group up Pump Street, where the fictional bakery is set in the series.
He was brandishing one of the famous cream croissants bought elsewhere and complaining that they don’t fill the cream to the bottom when an old lady walked by and said, “You’re going to the wrong bakery.”
“The group absolutely loved that,” said Mr. Kerr.
In the Guildhall, women from Creggan Enterprises’ Unheard Voices program had gathered to meet the Mayor.
They were keen to discuss their research project on two local women leaders and advocates for social change, Bridget Bond and Marlene Jefferson, with the hope that a plaque will be erected in their honor.
All identified as real Derry girls and are huge fans of the show.
“It came just when the city needed something more,” said Ruby McNaughton. “It put us on the map.”
“I love it,” added Sharon Austin. “All the slagging – that’s us. Our little town is overlooked because tourists used to only care about the walls and the problems. That’s something more positive. This is about the people of Derry and who we really are.”
The women spoke of hosting a serious webinar with Yale academics, all of whom wanted to discuss the show.
“And this is Yale,” said project coordinator Carol Cunningham, shaking her head in disbelief.
The city’s mayor, Graham Warke of the DUP, revealed that American tourists have visited Derry over the last three weeks thanks to the show ‘bus after bus’.
“It’s priceless what it’s done for us,” he said. “It helped our economy when the economy was down. It opened everything.
“What a show this is – it’s absolutely brilliant. It brings out the best in everyone in this city.”
He was eager to come Derry girls Premiere to see what the perky characters have in store.
With the show ending after this third and final series, there’s some urgency to building a lasting legacy after it’s all over.
“That’s something we’re investigating,” said Karen Henderson of Visit Derry, the city’s tourism promotion body.
Tourism Ireland and UK officials came in to discuss the marketing potential Derry girls Products include Walled City Brewery branded beers – the Sister Michael is a coconut stout, while “The Wee English Fella” is immortalized in a strawberry pale ale. “Sexy Priest” has been discontinued.
The Everglades Hotel does a derry girlThemed afternoon tea, while merchandise such as mugs and badges are popular souvenirs.
However, they want something lasting for the city by using the show in the same way that Belfast did game of Thronessaid Mrs. Henderson.
“You’re either a game of Thrones fan or a Derry girls Fan – I don’t think you can be both,” she added.
A group of transition year students from Abbey Vocational School in the town of Donegal came on a history tour and toured the museum and walls.
But inevitably Derry girls also got a peek inside, and teacher Lauren Kelly let them take a selfie at the pink You’re a Derry Girl arches erected outside the Guildhall for the private party.
Student Ciara Cannon, 16, shared an insight into how the show helped her generation understand what went on during the riots and appreciate how ordinary people survived.
“I’ve always found it very important how it has helped our generation relate to people’s lives and it helps us understand what it was like to be in Derry at our age with all of this happening around them “, she said. “I think it helps us to know what it was like.”
Back at the mural, retired landlord Hugh McDaid of Badger’s Bar shared how he has never regretted giving his approval three years ago for it to be painted on the gable end of his property, replacing the garden scene from a Renoir painting that had previously been shown there was.
“All ages come in and all ages watch it,” said the show’s staunch fan.
His niece, who lives in Australia, introduced the people there to the joy and razor-sharp wit of Derry girlshe said.
There are plans to expand the pub to include a covered beer garden, but the mural remains. “Unless we do an extension in the future,” added Mr McDaid.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/our-wee-city-used-to-be-all-about-the-troubles-derry-girls-changed-it-41536020.html “Our little town used to be about the problems, Derry Girls changed it”