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Derry Girls to get their own permanent exhibition in Derry City

The new exhibition is a joint initiative between Tourism Northern Ireland, Visit Derry and Derry City and Strabane District Council

(L-R): James Maguire (Dylan Llewellyn), Michelle Mallon (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), Erin Quinn (Saoirse Jackson), Orla McCool (Louisa Harland) and Clare Devlin (NIcola Coughlan)

Ciaran O'NeillSunday World

Plans are underway to create a permanent Derry Girls exhibition in the city made famous by the hit TV show.

The Sunday World can reveal the exhibition is scheduled to open in Derry’s Tower Museum next summer.

It will stay there for a year before being taken to other venues throughout the UK and Ireland.

The new exhibition is a joint initiative between Tourism Northern Ireland, Visit Derry and Derry City and Strabane District Council.

It is being described by those involved as a “flagship” tourism project for Northern Ireland.

The hope is the exhibition will attract thousands of fans from all over the world who have fallen in love with the comedy series.

First screened on Channel 4 in 2018, Derry Girls is now a massive global success after it became available on Netflix.

The show, which follows the adventures of five teenage friends, Erin, Orla, Clare, Michelle and “the wee English fella” James during the 1990s, was the most successful comedy series for Channel 4 since Father Ted.

More than two million people watched each episode.

The series, which was inspired by writer Lisa McGee’s own experiences growing up in Derry, has also given the city’s tourism industry a huge boost.

Local tour guides say more and more visitors are telling them they decided to travel to Derry as a result of the comedy show.

Among the most popular places for visitors is a Derry Girls mural on the wall of a city centre pub where fans can take a picture of themselves with the stars of the show.

There are also dedicated Derry Girls tours which visit areas of the city where the series was filmed.

From next summer, the proposed new exhibition will be at the heart of the visitor experience for Derry Girls fans.

As well as focusing on the popularity of the show, the exhibition will also look at the legacy of Derry Girls.

Many commentators have praised the show for its portrayal of life, especially for young people, in Northern Ireland during the latter stages of the Troubles.

In one famous scene, two groups of Protestant and Catholic teenagers brought together for a cross-community event are asked about their differences and similarities.

A blackboard to highlight similarities between Protestants and Catholics remains empty, while another blackboard used to show differences is packed with suggestions such as “Protestants hate Abba” and “Catholics have more freckles”.

Derry Girls’ last ever episode was a stand-alone special set around the time of the Good Friday Agreement vote, which happened to coincide with Orla’s 18th birthday.

Towards the end of the show, viewers said an emotional goodbye to the cast as they were seen voting in favour of the peace agreement.

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Among the many well-known fans of the show are Oscar-winning film director Martin Scorsese who recently revealed he has been watching Derry Girls.

An episode of The Simpsons which aired in March 2022 featured an ice cream parlour called Dairy Girls Ice Cream. Simpsons writer Matt Selman confirmed in a Tweet that it was a reference to Derry Girls, adding it was “the least we could do”.

Lisa McGee last month received the Freedom of Derry accolade in recognition of her success, making her the first woman to be given the award.

At the event, she spoke about her pride in creating Derry Girls.

“I’m immensely proud to be from Derry. As a writer working in television, an industry that’s notoriously tough to break into and to survive in, being from Derry has always felt like my superpower,” she said.

“It’s just steeped in story and full of storytellers. I always thought it was an unfair advantage.

“It’s just been my greatest privilege to be able to write Derry Girls, to be able to showcase our amazing sense of humour and warmth and humanity.

“And I’m going to continue writing about the place I come from, the place I love.”


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