Lacey to explore Derry from Ice Age to 1980s

Historian Brian Lacey with Pauline Ross, of The Playhouse.
Historian Brian Lacey with Pauline Ross, of The Playhouse.

Author Brian Lacey will explore Derry’s history from the Ice Age to the 1980s at a special lecture in the city’s Playhouse next week.

All proceeds from the special evening will go towards providing benches in memory of local historian Annesley Malley.

The lecture, ‘Siege City: the story of Derry and Londonderry’, will take place at the Artillery Street venue on Thursday, October 8, at 8pm.

Dr Lacey has been researching the archaeology and early medieval history of Derry and Donegal for 40 years.

A former university lecturer and museum director in Derry, he led the archaeological survey of Donegal (1979-83). His particular specialism is the lore of St Colmcille. He has written 12 books and many research papers.

“‘Siege City’ was the name of the first book I wrote about Derry,” he said. “Although the book dealt with all periods from the Ice Age to the 1980s, the publishers chose that title with its reference to the dramatic events of 1689. I, however, insisted on the subtitle - ‘the story of Derry and Londonderry’.

“The Siege is an obvious jumping off point for any reflection on the city’s past although, with fairly continuous documentation since the mid-sixth century, Derry has many other historical strings to its bow. I was centrally involved in organising the programme of events designed to mark the 300th anniversary of the Siege in 1989. I was obviously aware of the anniversary’s importance for the Protestant community but it seemed to me important also that the whole city should embrace such a significant event and its contemporary memorialisation.

“The social make-up of the city during the Siege and on each of its three subsequent centenaries was very different and, in this talk, I want to reflect on those differences and on how I came to have a role in examining and celebrating the city’s past.”

Pauline Ross, Playhouse Artistic Director, said: “I met Brian in the early 1980s while I was a mature student in Magee; he was my Irish history lecturer. When I started work at the Orchard Gallery, Brian was head of Derry City Council’s Heritage and Museum Service and, although he is from Dublin, he is a son of this city. I have never met someone not from here with such a passion for the people and the place.

“He is an important academic whose work on the founding saint of this city, Colmcille, is substantial and impressive. We’re honoured to host his lecture in memory of Annesley Malley.”

Tickets for the event are priced £10 and are available from The Playhouse on (028) 71268027 or online at