New project will look at plantation and penal laws

A new cross-community project will examine the impact of the penal laws and the plantation on Catholics and Presbyterians in Derry. The project is being funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and will involve the congregation of First Derry Presbyterian Church and senior citizens from the Bogside area.

When completed, the work will form part of a new website looking at the period.

It will be delivered through the Gasyard Development Trust and aims to increase the knowledge of the plantation and penal laws.

Heritage officer with the Gasyard Development Trust, Mickey Cooper, said it will allow people to engage with the elements of the past which are often misunderstood.

“I’m really excited about the project which will increase contact and understanding between the Catholic and Presybyterian populations and also create a purpose designed website to chronicle the impact of the plantation and penal laws on both denominations,” he said.

Mr Cooper said those taking part will have access to archive material detailing what life was like in the 17th century.

“We would like to thank The Ministerial Advisory Group – Ulster-Scots Academy for funding this worthwhile project that will include both academic material and a digital archive of documents relevant to both communities. It will also demonstrate the shared experience of both Catholics and Presbyterians in terms of the persecution and exclusion they experienced during the 17th and 18th centuries. It will also include details on other academic sources relevant to the subject and in general will act as a one stop shop for those seeking to increase their understanding of the period.

“The website will be completed in April and will be made available through the ‘Teaching Divided Histories’ project which is run by the Nerve Centre to allow students to study those historical events which set the context for the modern conflict,” he said.