Landmark city centre buildings to light up in celebration of women’s role in local history

Stitched Panorama
Stitched Panorama

Two landmark Derry buildings will be uniquely lit this weekend as part of a worldwide celebration of womanhood.

From January 5 to January 8, the Tower Museum will be illuminated with projections of pioneering local women while the Guildhall clock will be lit in pink and orange as part of the Illuminate Herstory Light Festival.

The event, which was first held in Ireland last year, aims to light up the world with images of women and visions of equality and is being backed by similar events in the UK and all four Irish provinces as well as internationally in Europe, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Palestine and Oman.

The local women included in the projections on the Tower Museum are lifelong housing and civil rights campaigner Bridget Bond, ground breaking archaeologist Mabel Colhoun and the city’s first Lady Mayor Marlene Jefferson.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s launch at the Tower Museum, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, welcomed the local contribution to the international festival.

“I am delighted that as a Council area we are able to play our part in this global light festival and mark the significant contribution made by three local women,” he said.

“It is particularly fitting that the festival takes place over the weekend of Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Little Christmas which was traditionally a time in Ireland when women were relieved of household duties for the day and would hold parties and celebrate the day with friends, sisters, mothers and aunts.

“After starting in Ireland last year, the Illuminate Herstory Light Festival event has gone international this year with projections and events planned for around the world and I am sure it is a celebration that will go from strength to strength in the years ahead.”

Acting Museum and Visitor Service Manager at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Margaret Edwards, noted that the projections were an opportunity to highlight the role of women in local history to a new audience.

“As the Christmas lights go out this weekend, this is a fitting visual way to acknowledge and highlight the key role that women and girls have played in shaping our local history,” she said.

“From Amelia Earhart’s first ever solo transatlantic flight by a female landing in Ballyarnett to the pioneering archaeological survey of Inishowen by Mabel Colhoun, currently exhibited at the museum, women have been to the forefront of our local history.

“The projection of images of three pioneering local women onto one of our most prominent buildings is a fitting celebration of their contribution to local life and can help bring their story to a new audience.”

Further information on the Illuminate Herstory 2018 initiative is available at

The public are encouraged to share their images of the illuminations on the Tower Museum and Guildhall clock on social media using the hashtag #IlluminateHerstory.