Dopey Dick sparks a celebration of the river Foyle

Dopey Dick sparks a celebration of the river Foyle

The Our Future Foyle project ran a series of spellbinding events during the Halloween festival in Derry/Londonderry recently to promote the River Foyle as a site for recreation and healthy activities.

Our Future Foyle is a partnership between the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and the Public Health Agency (PHA). The project aims to revitalise the river area with the local residents to create an uplifting and positive place for people to socialise and spend time in.

The focal point of the Halloween festivities was the whale that swam up the River Foyle in 1977. He had become lost when searching for food and became known locally as ‘Dopey Dick’.

A life-size replica of ‘Dopey Dick’ covered with patchwork quilts made a return to the river over Halloween. His return to the river was followed by a fireworks display.

Brendan Bonner, Head of Health Improvement (Western) at the PHA, said: “During the city’s festival celebrations hundreds of people from the city and beyond came to visit the life-sized version of the whale and were able to give their views on how the river could be better utilised for recreation and wellbeing activities.”

In order to get local people involved with the consultation process, a number of fun events were held including musical performances, story-telling, arts and crafts workshops and a film screening inside the whale’s belly.

“The engagement process in Our Future Foyle initiative is still ongoing and we are encouraging anyone who would like to input their ideas or suggestions to do so via the project web page,” said Brendan.

“We would like to thank all those who participated in the programme of events.”

To find out more about Our Future Foyle, please visit

Anyone who would like to input their ideas or suggestions can do so via the webpage which contains contact information for the Research Associates.