THE Derry Girls mural is painted true to life: vibrant, cheeky and empowering – and, coincidentally, the woman who did the magic is standing right in front of her having her picture taken.
But this is Derry, where everyone knows everyone and anything can happen.
Writer Lisa McGee, a vibrant Derry girl, herself quirky in a conspicuous red tartan coat, sparks a hubbub of excitement among locals when they spot her, but she can’t linger – she has a red carpet premiere to attend, followed by a private Derry Girls party at the Guildhall.
As excitement mounts for the launch of the third and final season of the global hit show, which kicks off on Tuesday, little else is talked about on the streets of this remarkably friendly walled city.
People here welcomed Derry Girls with open arms as encapsulating his true courage and resilience despite the pains he endured.
McGee had no idea how successful her show was, telling the Herald that she thinks it won’t be until the series finale airs that she’ll realize.
“I was just hoping enough people would watch it that we could try again,” she said.
“It still hasn’t really struck me. When it’s all over in the finale, I’ll be like, ‘Oh my God, that was crazy.’ That was never the plan (to be a huge hit), and I think if that had been the plan, it wouldn’t have happened.”
Before McGee arrived at the mural, two older women were taking selfies there.
“My favorite part is how they say we keep our toasters in the cupboard,” one said, referring to the Catholic vs. Protestant blackboard. Her friend added in a low voice: “But we didn’t know any nuns.
In front of them were two older northern men, looking sheepish as they too posed in front of the mural.
“My daughter will kill me if I don’t,” said one.
What Derry Girls means to the people of Derry is almost beyond words.
They appreciate how normal and warm the lives of families are in the most troubling circumstances that have unfolded around them, says guide Garbhan Kerr, who runs a bespoke Derry Girls tour during the summer months .
“Lisa tells you what’s going on in your house, but you don’t tell anyone,” he said.
He thinks a simple reason behind the show’s global success is Netflix’s ability to turn on subtitles.
“Tourists tell me they need the captions because the lingo here and the dross are very unique,” Mr Kerr said.
He once led his group to Pump Street, where the show’s fictional bakery takes place.
Brandishing one of the famous cream horn pastries bought elsewhere, he was complaining that the cream wasn’t filled to the bottom when an old lady passing by said, “You’re in the wrong bakery.”
“The band loved it,” Mr. Kerr said.
At the Guildhall, women from Creggan Enterprises’ Unheard Voices program – which aims to mobilize marginalized women to build lasting peace and prosperity – had gathered to meet the mayor. All identified as genuine Derry Girls and are big fans of the show.
“It came just when the city needed something more,” Ruby McNaughton said. “It put us on the map.”
“Love it,” added Sharon Austin. “All slag – it’s us.
“Our little town is overlooked because for tourists it was all about the walls and the unrest. It’s something more positive. It’s about the people of Derry and who we really are.”
The town’s mayor, Graham Warke, of the DUP, said “bus after bus” of American tourists have visited Derry in the past three weeks.
“What this has done for us is priceless,” he said. “It has helped our economy when economies are down. It has opened everything up.
“What a show this is – it’s absolutely brilliant. It brings out the best in everyone in this city.”
With the show ending after this third series, there is an urgent need to know how to build a lasting legacy.
“It’s something we’re looking at,” said Karen Henderson of Visit Derry, the city’s tourism promotion organisation.
Officials from Tourism Ireland and Britain came to discuss the marketing potential, with Derry Girls products such as branded beers from the Walled City Brewery – ‘Sister Michael’ is a coconut stout, while ‘ the Wee English Fella” is immortalized in a strawberry lager. “Sexy Priest” has been discontinued.
Returning to the mural, retired publicist Hugh McDaid, of Badger’s Bar, said he never regretted giving his approval for it to be painted on the gable of his property some time ago. three years.
“All ages come to it and all ages watch it,” the show’s avid fan said.
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