An email I received this morning:
‘Dear Ms Bettina Linke,
I am a student in Derry and I am doing research on Grianán Ailigh for a dissertation. I was just wondering what your association with Grianán is, and how you came to be interested in its history and restoration?
And my reply:
Thank you for your email.
Although your question concerning my association with Grianan seems to be straight forward and simple enough , the answer, I am afraid is not, since I don’t know it myself.
Some twelve, thirteen years ago I visited for the first time Derry and on my first day someone asked me if I planned to see Grianan of Aileach. At the time I worked in Munich in a travel agency for England, Wales and Ireland and as a frequent visitor to Kerry was well acquainted with brochures and literature on Ireland, only I never heard of Inishowen or Grianan. Despite that, neither of them failed to make a deep impression. A year later I moved permanently. Considering that I am interested in history for as long as I can remember, it makes sense to me that I am taken by the richness of this area, which is sadly barely explored and tremendously underestimated.
In November 2000 the Lough Swilly facing side of Grianan collapsed and although I regarded this incident as strange, since a national monument with visitor walking on its wall could just collapse over night without anyone noticing, I thought no more off it. The wall was going to be repaired and that will be the end of it. But it wasn’t. The same section collapsed in 2003 and 2005. In 2007 it was taken down and rebuilt for the fourth time. In 2006 the gate section was replaced. Needless to say that I am deeply appalled by such treatment of a national treasure. In 2003 I wrote my first letter to the editor to the Derry Journal, which was published. Between the collapses I try to find out more of its history.
And that is basically it.