Special events to mark 400th anniversary of Londoderry’s city walls

Caption: The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor John Boyle pictured with Aeidin McCarter, Head of Culture, DCSDC and Ronan McHugh, Historic Environment Division, Department for Communities, and members of the Footsteps Theatre Company (enacting the Trial of Rory O'Cahan, 1615) at the launch of the programme for March 2019's 400th Anniversary of the Completion of the City's Walls. (Photo: Jim McCafferty Photography)
Caption: The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor John Boyle pictured with Aeidin McCarter, Head of Culture, DCSDC and Ronan McHugh, Historic Environment Division, Department for Communities, and members of the Footsteps Theatre Company (enacting the Trial of Rory O'Cahan, 1615) at the launch of the programme for March 2019's 400th Anniversary of the Completion of the City's Walls. (Photo: Jim McCafferty Photography)

A special programme of events will celebrate 400 years since the building of the famous walls of Londonderry, which withstood the longest siege in British military history in 1688-89.

The walls were constructed over the course of five years by a team of stone masons, from 1613 to 1619, around a decade after the city was razed during the 1608 rebellion by the Gaelic lord of Inishowen, Cahir O’Doherty.

The city was almost entirely destroyed by that rebellion, and the now-celebrated city walls were built, with funding from the Honourable Irish Society, to be robust enough to withstand further attack.

They proved strong enough to survive the famous Great Siege of 1688-89, and remain in place today.

Derry City and Strabane District council has announced a special programme of events to celebrate the 400-year anniversary since the construction work was officially completed, although the full details are still to be finalised.

The historic city walls are recognised as a huge tourism asset for the North West, mayor John Boyle said.

“Much work is being done to develop the tourism potential of the North West, and the city’s iconic walls play a huge part in campaign.

“We need to adopt a collaborative approach to unlocking the potential of Derry as a heritage-rich ‘Walled City’ and a unique and exciting tourism destination.”

He continued: “The walls are also a living monument to be enjoyed by the local community and I hope to see local groups and organisations joining the celebrations over this anniversary period by engaging with the programme.

“I am delighted to launch this programme of events today on behalf of council and supported by the Department for Communities and the Honourable the Irish Society, which will begin a campaign of celebration and the development of new experiences centring around the walls.”

Iain Greenway, director of the historic environment division at Stormont’s Department for Communities, said: “This programme of events to mark the 400th anniversary will help ensure that the monument’s potential to celebrate history and draw visitors to the city can be enhanced.”