Maritime museum gets go-ahead at last

An artist's impression of how the maritime museum may look on completion.
An artist's impression of how the maritime museum may look on completion.

Londonderry’s maritime museum at Ebrington Square has, at long last, been given the green light by planners.

The proposal is to alter and extend a number of former military buildings to provide a museum and archive centre.

It is expected to open in the spring of 2020.

The new facility will celebrate Londonderry and Lough Foyle’s historic maritime importance over the centuries, including its role as a vital naval base during and after the Second World War.

The museum will include exhibition galleries, archival reading rooms, dedicated learning spaces as well as a café, shop and other visitor facilities.

Derry & Strabane Council see it as an important flagship scheme for the riverfront site .

It will, says the council, provide a much needed catalyst for the physical and economic regeneration of Ebrington, the city and region.

Lough Foyle has played a vital role in Irish and European history, from prehistoric times when the first inhabitants set up home on its banks, through to its pivotal role during the Siege of Derry and the war between the Williamites and Jacobites, the mass emigration of impoverished local people and on to the world wars and the Battle of the Atlantic.

Local politicians are convinced the museum will showcase Londonderry’s unrivalled nautical heritage and attract hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city.

Welcoming the move, the SDLP’s Mark H Durkan said that, with careful planning and adequate investment, the Ebrington site will be awash with activity.

Sinn Fein’s Mickey Cooper believed the museum could be a “game changer” for the local tourism economy.