Old Derry’s Walls being partly held together by overgrowth

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The increasingly unruly verdure besieging some sections of old Derry’s Walls may be helping to hold the historic monument together, it’s been determined by archaeological experts.

The revelation was made by Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Regeneration Manager, Tony Monaghan, at the Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee June meeting.

UUP Alderman for the Derg District Electoral Area (DEA), Derek Hussey, voiced what has become a common complaint about the extent of vegetation on the City Walls which were completed 400 years ago in March.

Ald. Hussey raised the matter after councillors were briefed on a new targeted decorative enhancement scheme for the facades of certain heritage properties within the Historic City Conservation Area of the city.

He observed that the Walls were the largest monument in State care in the North but remarked that “if anyone looked out from this building at the vegetation growing on the Walls. Is that OK or it something that degenerates?”

Mr. Monaghan explained that since 2007 the Walls have been managed by an interagency board of partners.

This includes the Department of Justice, the Department of Infrastucture, the Department for Communities, Tourism NI and The Honourable The Irish Society.

He said “great care” needed to be taken to protect the structural integrity of the Walls and the view of the experts was that removing some of the larger plants growing out of the structure could do more harm than good.

“Given the archaeological sensitivities around the monument the position taken by the archaeological experts is that to remove that is something which could undermine the Walls,” said the Council regeneration chief.

Mr. Monaghan said the Walls were, however, sprayed from time to time in order to treat superficial weed growth.

Ald. Hussey said: “If I had a bush sticking out of the the wall in my house I’d be looking to get rid of it.”