New plans to “unpack the history” of Derry’s historic City Walls are being spearheaded by the Holywell Trust.
The group says more investment is needed to boost the potential of the Walls, the largest monument in state care in Northern Ireland, in time for 2013 - Derry’ City of Culture year.
The Trust discussed its plans with DoE Minister Alex Attwood during his visit to the city on Friday afternoon.
The group, in particular, pressed the Minister on his Department’s plans to mark the 400th anniversary.
They also told Mr. Attwood of the “need for further investment in the conservation, learning and participation potential of the City Walls” in the countdown to next year.
The Holywell Trust says the City Walls do not benefit from the same level of investment, particularly in exploiting their learning and participation potential, as other DoE attractions such as Carrickfergus Castle and Roe Valley Country Park.
Among the Trust’s ideas are:
* co-investment with the Holywell Trust in the learning and participation potential of the City Walls.
* co-organising a conference on the City Walls for 2013 e.g. the 2013 European Walled Towns Conference.
* archaeological assessments on the Hill of Derry in 2012/13.
* conservation and restoration plan for all four main Gates for 2013 (including improving pedestrian safety).
* feasibility plan/interpretative plan for an exhibition on the City Walls to be hosted in the Cathedral School.
* working with Northern Ireland Environment Agency and City Centre Initiative to look how best to exploit the potential of the Walls to sustain their management and learning and participation value.
* investment in developing a greater sense of community ownership and pride in the City Walls as a key part of Ireland’s national heritage.
Derry’s Walls were built during the period 1613-1619 by The Honourable The Irish Society as defences for early 17th century settlers from England and Scotland.
The Walls, which are approximately 1 mile (1.5 km) in circumference and which vary in height and width between 12 and 35 feet (4 to 12 metres), are completely intact and form a walkway around the inner city.