Joe Mahon’s show to explore two ‘Ulster giants’ in Derry

Civil engineer Philip Donald and Joe Mahon admire the lines of the Foyle Bridge.jpg
Civil engineer Philip Donald and Joe Mahon admire the lines of the Foyle Bridge.jpg

Local presenter and film maker Joe Mahon will make a welcome return to the North West in next week’s episode of Ulster Giants, his new series celebrating some of Northern Ireland’s greatest civil engineering achievements.

During the programme Joe explores two engineering giants – one ancient and one much more modern.

He begins at the Foyle Bridge, where he meets with retired civil engineer, Philip Donald, who was involved in the design and construction of the bridge.

Philip explains how the bridge’s renowned aesthetically-pleasing shape was a complete accident and recalls how the bridge was ingeniously constructed as six huge steel box girders at Harland and Wolff in Belfast and then transported by water to the site on the River Foyle.

Joe then takes a stroll around Derry’s most famous landmark. The Derry Walls may have predated the Institution of Civil Engineering by some 200 years, but remain a major feat of engineering all the same.

In the programme Mark Lusby, from The Friends of the Derry Walls, explains how the walls were originally constructed mainly of dirt and how important that was to their defensive purpose.

He also shows Joe an artist’s recreation of what the original walled city would have looked like, based on a survey that was completed in 1619.

The two men also discuss how the structure of the walls changed over time, as their use gradually altered from a defensive purpose to a commercial one.

Staying on the walls, Joe then meets up with archaeologist Colm Donnelly. Colm chats about how the Derry Walls were essentially part of a 17th century innovation in military architecture and unlike previous medieval walls, were designed with lengthy sieges in mind – built to withstand cannon fire and to keep people out.

You can see this episode on Monday August 13 at 8pm on UTV, and if you miss it, after that on www.itv.com/utvprogrammes