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The Derry Walls

The Derry Walls

The Walls, the only complete structure of its type and the last built in Europe, were a focal point for a large part of the city’s historical conflicts and provided the Planters a means of defense during the years of the Siege that saw the city’s population starved while they tried to keep the forces of King James at bay. The original four gates have been expanded by the addition of others, although the original promenade remains, allwoing for a unique perspective on the town’s original Renaissance-style layout.

Built between 1614 and 1619, Derry’s historic walls were initially designed by Sir Edward Doddington of Dungiven following numerous attacks on the English settlers by Irish chieftains enraged by the plantation in Northern Ireland.

Recognised as the only complete fortifications in Europe, Derry’s Walls also lay claim to the title of the only walls to have never been breached, which is why the city is also known by the moniker The Maiden City. This historical anamoly is celebrated each August by the local Apprentice Boys, whose ancestors locked the gates against the invading Jacobite armies during the Siege of the 17th Century.

While the city has been built up throughout the centuries, a majority of the iconic buildings from the time have been maintained such as St. Augustines Church (built in 1872 on what is rumoured to be the site of the original St. Columba’s monastery) and the Apprentice Boys’ Hall.

The Walls provide visitors with spectacular views of the surrounding areas, as well as a number of areas of historical value that also thrive within the walls, many restored to their natural beauty through the efforts of the Heritage Trust.

One such project saw the 24 Siege-era cannons restored (largely by hand) and replaced around the 1 mile/ 1.5km stretch. Take particular note of the reinforced Double Bastion, where the now-famous Roaring Meg takes pride of place overlooking the Bogside. Roaring Meg is the most well-known of the city’s historical defenses, and the city has named various celebrations and clubs after the icon.

Future plans for the Walls include the Walled City Signature Projct that aims to see the iconic landmark become a world-class tourist experience, already under way, and the recent installation of fixed lighting that illuminates the Walls as never before

Derry Walls

Derry Walls

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