Derry’s historic Courthouse opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, December 2, for the first ever Trial of Lundy Winter School.
Described as one of the finest courthouses in Ireland, the 200 year old building provided the setting for a lively and challenging panel discussion on the subject of “Lundy: Hero or Traitor” with panellists Carlo Gebler , Dr Andrew Robinson, Pauline Mitchell and Eamon Mc Cann. Few historical figures are capable of raising hackles as Robert Lundy. As Military Governor of Derry in the lead up to the Siege of 1688/9, Lundy was accused of betraying the protestant people by offering the city up for surrender to the Catholic King James. Each year his effigy is burned during the Apprentice Boys of Derry ‘Shutting the Gates’ commemoration which took place yesterday. The Winter School is part of the overall Trial of Lundy project which aims to give Lundy the Trial he pleaded for, but was denied, over 300 years ago.
Tasked with gathering the evidence for the trial of Lundy, Dr Andrew Robinson, of the University of Ulster at Magee, painstakingly investigated the many and varied accounts of what actually happened in Derry in the months leading up to the Siege. That investigation is complete and the evidence will now be scrutinised by an independent expert.
Dr Padraig Lenihan, regarded as Ireland’s foremost Military Historian, reviewed and evaluated the evidence and his findings will determine whether the research is definitive, complete and worthy of being accepted as the Book of Evidence for the proposed trial of Lundy.
Following Dr Lenihan’s review there was a History Ireland “Hedge School”; a lively panel discussion that provoked and stimulated debate and encourages audience participation. Convened by History Ireland editor Tommy Graham, the panellists are Carlo Gebler, author and broadcaster and writer of “The Siege of Derry: A History”, Pauline Mitchell of the University of Ulster, Dr Andrew Robinson of the University of Ulster who researched the evidence and Eamonn Mc Cann, journalist, author and broadcaster.
The Trial of Lundy is an innovative way of telling a complex and intriguing story that can be both informative and entertaining and offer a way to resolve Lundy’s story with new audiences for the benefit of mutual understanding. The Winter School is a Trial of Lundy production co-financed by the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland/Derry City Council Legacy Fund.