DERRY JOURNAL 250: Timeline -Extraordinary history of Derry & the NW 7000 BC to 2022 AD

7000 BC - Evidence of human settlement at Mount Sandel.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 29th May 2022, 1:04 am

1100 – 800 BC - Estimated creation of late bronze age hillfort at Grianán of Aileach.

140 AD - Ptolemy’s ‘Geographia’ includes map of the world on which the Foyle and a site marked ‘Regia’, reputed to be Grianán are marked.

521 - St. Columba (Colmcille) born at Gartan.

Clockwise from top left: Grianan of Aileach, Waterloo Street during the the All-Ireland Fleadh in 2013, The Undertones, Dana returns after winning the Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland, Derry Girls stars Saoirse Monica Jackson and Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, and Eddie McAteer MP addressing a crowd in Little Diamond in 1961.

6th C - Monastic settlement founded at Derry by Colmcille.

1160s - The Teampall Mór - Derry’s first cathedral - constructed at the site of the modern day Long Tower.

1311 - Edward II grants lands at Derry to Richard de Burgo.

1500 - Fort built at Derry by the O’Dohertys.

1566 - First English garrison established by Edward Randolph during Shane O’Neill rebellion. Teampall Mór used as a gunpowder magazine and blows up in 1568. Randolph shot, his men suffer disease.

1588 - Spanish Armada destroyed. La Trinidad Valencera wrecked off Kinnagoe bay. Bishop Redmond O’Gallagher harbours Francisco de Cuéllar, a Spanish sea captain, who made his way to the Derry area after running aground off Sligo.

1600 - Second English garrison established by Henry Docwra who tears down the monastery, cathedral and ecclesiastical buildings.

1601 - Bishop Redmond O’Gallagher cut down by the English near Claudy.

1608 - Derry burned by Cahir O’Doherty.

1610 - Building of a new city.

1613 - City of Londonderry established by charter of James Stuart (I).

1613-18 - City Walls built

1617 - Free grammar school established in Society Street (later becomes Foyle College).

1633 - St. Columb’s Cathedral built.

1649 - First siege of Derry (by Presbyterian Royalists).

1670 - Birth of John Toland at Ardagh, Ballyliffin. His ‘Christianity not Mysterious’ (1696) a seminal work of deism. He was also a key figure in the development of pantheism.

1677 - George Farquhar born in Shipquay Street. His most famous plays were ‘The Constant Couple’ (1699), ‘The Recruiting Officer’ (1706) and ‘The Beaux’ Stratagem’ (1707).

1688 - Thirteen apprentices shut the gates of Derry in the face of James Stuart’s (II) troops precipitating the second iconic Siege of Derry.

1689 - City is relieved after 105 days after the ‘Mountjoy’ breaks a boom across the Foyle.

1699 - Charles Macklin born near Culdaff. One of the most famous stage actors of the 18th century in Covent Garden. Reputed to have revolutionised how Shylock, from Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ was played.

1711 - Friar Séamus ‘James’ O’Hegarty murdered by the English near Buncrana.

1724 - Philosopher George Berkeley becomes Dean of Derry. His ‘Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge’ (1710), is a foundational text of ‘subjective idealist’ philosophy.

1772 - The first edition of the ‘Journal’ is published.

1776 - John Dunlap, from Strabane, prints the first copies of the American Declaration of Independence. Several signatories emigrated from here. Matthew Thornton, was born on a farm a mile from the city.

1783 - Construction of a new Catholic chapel at the Long Tower begins in 1783. Work completed in 1788.

1789 - Bastille stormed.

1791 - Thomas Paine’s ‘The Rights of Man’ - a defence of the French revolution - published. ‘Journal’ editor George Douglas printed it before it was published in Belfast or Dublin; Bostonian bridge builder Lemuel Cox completes the first bridge across the River Foyle.

1798 - The United Irish rebellion. Wolfe Tone held in Derry after being landed at Buncrana following the Battle of Tory.

1800 - MPs vote in favour of the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland.

1800-1850 - Growth of housing in Waterside, Strand Road, Bogside and Wapping Lane.

1811 - Political rally in Derry in support of Daniel O’Connell.

1814 - Apprentice Boys founded.

1817 - Courthouse built.

1822 - July 12 parade attacked by Catholic demonstrators.

1829 - ‘Journal’ in favour of Catholic emancipation.

1830-50 - Growth of middle-class housing in Clarendon Street and Queen Street.

1830 - Austin’s department store established.

1831 - William Scott begins shirt-making industry.

1832 - Cholera epidemic leads to 188 deaths in the city.

1840 - Derry workhouse set up (becomes a hospital in 1947).

1841 - Elected Corporation established; Ebrington barracks open.

1845 - First railway line to Derry opens.

1845-1847 - The Great Hunger. Mass starvation and disease tas a result of the potato blight. Massive migration from Inishowen to Derry. By 1851 the city’s population is predominantly Catholic.

1850s - The Christian Brothers, Sisters of Mercy and St. Vincent de Paul arrive in the city.

1855 - The music of ‘Londonderry Air’ (‘Danny Boy’ or ‘The O’Cathains’ Lament) is first published.

1859 - Tillie and Henderson set up (the largest in the world).

1860s - Growth of Rosemount.

1863 - Carlisle Bridge constructed across the Foyle.

1865 - Magee College established.

1873 - Last passenger voyage by a Derry owned ship to New York.

1872 - St. Augustine’s Church dedicated.

1873 - St. Eugene’s Cathedral dedicated.

1877/78 - Charles Stewart Parnell visits Derry.

1877 - Ladies Collegiate School established (later incorporated into Foyle and Londonderry College).

1879 - St. Columb’s College established on Bishop Street.

1880s - ‘Journal’ becomes a fully Nationalist newspaper.

1881 - City of Derry Rugby Club formed.

1883 - Violent confrontations between Nationalists and Unionists in Bishop Street.

1886 - Thornhill College opened by Sisters of Mercy.

1890 - Guildhall opens.

1901 - Brook Park opens.

1902 - Derry Celtic formed.

1913 - Nationalist victory in by-election; Ulster Volunteer Force established in Derry.

1914 - Irish Volunteers established in Derry; outbreak of WWI. Thousands enlist in the British forces - the 10th Inniskillings (‘The Derrys’) are formed from Derry UVF. Nationalist and unionist volunteers die at the Somme, Gallipoli, Salonika and elsewhere.

1916 - The Easter Rising. Nine Derry republicans interned at Frongoch camp in Wales; The Battle of the Somme. The 10th Inniskillings reach the fifth German trench and suffer 346 casualties out of 764 men.

1918 - War ends. Sinn Féin’s Eoin MacNeill is elected for Derry in the 1918 General Election and takes his seat in the First Dáil.

1919 - Dan McGandy became the first IRA Volunteer to be killed in Derry when he disappears during a raid of Mills grenades from Craig’s Engineering Works on the quay.

1920 - Alderman Hugh O’Doherty becomes the first Nationalist mayor of Derry; a week-long confrontation between the IRA and UVF in Bishop Street sees pitched battles and 40 fatalities.

1920-21 - Partition.

1921 - Watt’s lockout. Distillery closes its doors although it continues to trade ‘The Tyrconnell Whiskey’ to 1937.

1922 - First Feis Doire Colmcille held.

1924 - Derry shipyard closes.

1927 - War Memorial unveiled.

1928 - Derry City formed.

1932 - Amelia Earhart lands at Ballyarnett.

1933 - General Italo Balbo lands in Derry en route to the Centennial Exhibition in the USA; Craigavon Bridge opens.

1936 - Practice of ‘gerrymandering’ institutionalised.

1936-39 - Nine Derry volunteers serve in the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War.

1939 - Outbreak of WWII

1941 - RAF airbase commissioned at Eglinton; German bomber drops mines on city, killing 13 people in Messines Park; Work begins on a US Naval Operations base (operates until 1944). A US Naval Communications base remains in the city until 1977.

1943 - 21 prisoners escape from the city jail via a tunnel.

1945 - German U-Boats surrender in Lough Foyle.

1947 - Beginning of public housing in Creggan; John Doherty founds the Catholic Social Service Centre; Josef Locke, renowned tenor releases ‘Hear My Song;’ Education Act extends free education to the over 11s.

1951 - Eamon de Valera visits.

1953 - Eddie McAteer elected Nationalist MP for Foyle (until 1969); City jail closes.1959 - St. Mary’s Secondary School opens.

1960 - DuPont plant opens; Altnagelvin opens; Derry Credit Union established.

1962 - Matthew report recommends new city at Craigavon.

1963 - Benson report recommends the closure of the Northern Counties Committee (NCC) and Great Northern Railway (GNR) lines to Derry.

1964-65 - Derry City FC win the Irish Football League.

1965 - Lockwood report recommends that a second university be located in Coleraine rather than Derry; Wilson report recommends a concentration of industrial development around Belfast; Derry Housing Association founded by Fr. Anthony Mulvey.

1966 - Rossville flats built; UVF issues statement declaring ‘war against the Irish Republican Army’.

1967 - St. Cecilia’s Secondary School opens.

1968 - Civil Rights Association (NICRA) march attacked by the RUC on Duke Street.

1969 - People’s Democracy march attacked at Burntollet; John Hume elected to old Stormont independent MP for Foyle; Francis McCloskey, Dungiven, (July 14) and Samuel Devenney, Derry (July 17), become the first victims of the ‘Troubles’. Both succumbed to injuries sustained when they were badly beaten by the RUC; Battle of the Bogside (August 12-14) - ‘Free Derry’ established; British troops arrive in Derry (August 15).

1970 - First IRA deaths in Derry during the ‘Troubles’; Dana wins Eurovision Song Contest with ‘All Kinds of Everything’.

1970s - Extensive public housing in Galliagh.

1971 - First British army deaths in Derry during the ‘Troubles’

1972 - Bloody Sunday (January 30) - 14 innocent civilians shot and killed by British paratroopers during an anti-internment march; Claudy Bombing - nine innocent civilians killed and dozens injured when bomb detonates in the centre of Claudy; A young man and a boy are killed during ‘Operation Motorman’ - British army operation aims to end ‘no-go’ areas; First RUC deaths in Derry during the ‘Troubles’.

1975 - The Undertones formed (‘Teenage Kicks’ released in 1978).

1976 - Foyle and Londonderry College formed.

1978 - Council purchases Eglinton Airport.

1979 - John Hume becomes SDLP leader.

1980 - Field Day Theatre Company formed by Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, Seamus Deane, Tom Paulin and Stephen Rea. The premiere of Friel’s play ‘Translations’ is staged in the Guildhall; Derry boxer Charlie Nash fights for the world lightweight title.

1984 - Foyle Bridge opens; Londonderry County Borough Council becomes Derry City Council.

1981 - Derry INLA men Patsy O’Hara and Mickey Devine and eight other republican prisoners, including two from Co. Derry, die on hunger strike in Long Kesh.

1985 - Derry City joins League of Ireland.

1989 - Derry City wins treble.

1991 - Oakgrove opens.

1992 - Tower Museum opens; Brian Friel’s play ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ wins three Tony Awards.

1993- Hume / Adams Agreement; Downing Street Declaration; Derry Oakfleafers become All-Ireland Senior Football Champions; Bogside Artists begin working on murals project, the People’s Gallery.

1994- IRA ceasefire announced.

1995 - US President and first Lady Bill & Hillary Clinton visit Derry for the first time.

1996- Peace talks begin.

1998 - Good Friday Agreement signed followed by Referenda north and south backing it; Omagh bombing atrocity - 29 innocent civilians (including a woman pregnant with twins) are killed and hundreds injured in the single most deadly incident of the Troubles. John Hume and David Trimble win Nobel Peace Prize.

1999- Direct Rule ends; power handed to NI Executive.

2000- Bloody Sunday Inquiry begins

2001 - Local people who witnessed September 11th attacks in the US share their stories; War on Terror sparks protests locally.

2003- Ebrington site & Fort George acquired by NI government after being handed back by MoD for public use.

2007 - Gerry Adams & Ian Paisley meet face to face and agree power-sharing Executive; UDA declares ceasefire. British military campaign in north officially ends.

2009- INLA announces its armed struggle is over.

2010 - Saville Inquiry into events of Bloody Sunday officially confirms innocence of those killed; Derry announced winner of first UK City of Culture competition; Martin McGuinness meets President Obama.

2011- Peace Bridge opens; Raymond McClean, former SDLP Mayor of Derry and civil rights activist dies.

2012 - Martin McGuinness & President Michael D. Higgins meet the Queen of England for the first time; Derry sees surge in tourism as global profile rises.

2013 - Derry celebrates year as first ever UK City of Culture; Dalai Lama arrives at invite of Richard Moore, founder of Children in Crossfire; Seamus Heaney dies.

2015 - Same-sex marriage legalised following Marriage Equality Referendum in the south; Brian Friel passes away; Major fire at Queens Quay brought under control.

2016 - Bishop Edward Daly dies; Paddy ‘Bogside’ Doherty passes away; Brexit vote results in shock withdrawal of UK form Europe- despite majority in NI and Scotland voting Remain; Austins Department store closes after 186 years trading.

2017 - Martin McGuinness passes away; Glen Barr passes away

2018- Lisa McGee’s Derry Girls debuts on Channel 4.

2019- Journalist Lyra McKee shot and killed during night of rioting in Creggan; car bomb at Derry courthouse.

2020- John Hume passes away; New Decade, New Approach talks sees restoration Executive and new blueprint published; Covid-19 pandemic sees life upended as lockdowns announced and travel restrictions on both sides of border announced.

2021- Dr Tom McGinley, founder of the Foyle Hospice dies; Pat Hume dies; Author Seamus Deane dies; Covid pandemic sees further lockdowns; Loyalists riot in Waterside.

2022- Restrictions eased significantly before almost all measures withdrawn; DUP withdraw from Executive; Sinn Féin make history by becoming largest party in north in Assembly elections with Michelle O’Neill becoming first First Minister designate.