Derry’s heritage celebrated and honoured at awards in Guildhall

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Heritage advocate Mary McLaughlin and the Foyle Civic Trust were among the local honourees as the Ulster Architectural Heritage’s 2018 Northern Ireland Heritage Awards were presented at a glittering ceremony in the Guildhall this week.

The event was funded by Council and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and seeks to celebrate the efforts of people who go to extraordinary lengths to protect, save and share their local heritage.

The Foyle Civic Trust’s role in the Walled City Partnership’s Townscape Heritage Initiative received the Best Rescue of an Historic Building or Place while Mary McLaughlin from the Foyle Civic Trust received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award winner for each category will now move forward to represent Northern Ireland for the chance to be crowned overall Heritage Angel at a high profile ceremony in late November in London.

Mayor John Boyle, congratulated all the winners and event organisers. “On behalf of Derry City and Strabane District Council, I would like to congratulate the winning and highly commended projects from last night’s event which was the first time the awards came to our Council area. The awards are an ideal way to recognise and acknowledge the selfless contribution of the many groups and individuals who promote and celebrate our local heritage, work that often goes unseen behind the scenes,” he said.

The awards also featured performances of especially composed songs about some of the city’s most historic buildings by renowned local musicians Eilidh Patterson and Eoin O’Callaghan and critically acclaimed County Down singer songwriter Brigid O’Neill.

The Heritage in Song project aimed to combine music and heritage to raise awareness of some of Derry’s most historic sites.

Eilidh Patterson performed a song about the Derry Walls, Eoin O’Callaghan focused his piece on Derry’s shirt factory history and Brigid O’Neill performed a song about Austin’s Department Store, and its story.

Nicola McVeigh, Chief Executive, Ulster Architectural Heritage added: “We were thrilled to be able to link culture and heritage by the inclusion of the Heritage in Song project which has helped promote our message to a new audience. The Heritage Angel Awards is a three year project and I hope last night’s success encourages even more entries in 2019 as well as awakening a renewed interest in our local heritage sector.” For more information, www.heritageangelawards-ni.org.uk