Siege story comes to life

Actors at St Joseph's working with students on the Siege Project.
Actors at St Joseph's working with students on the Siege Project.

Four schools across the city have taken part in a Heritage Lottery funded living history project to commemorate what happened both inside and outside the walls during the siege of Derry.

Lisneal, Oakgrove, St Cecilia’s and St Joseph’s College all hosted staff from The Apprentice Boys of Derry’s Siege Museum who ran interactive, living history events with their students.

As part of this, local actors Sorcha Shanahan and Patricia Doherty performed a short play written by Eilis Haden set inside the walls at the end of this 105 day siege which saw 10,000 Williamites and 7,000 Jacobites lose their lives through starvation, disease or battle.

Project Co-Ordinator Eilis Haden explains that the main focus of this project is to draw people’s attention to the fact that the siege was played out both inside and outside the walls.

“There were battles at Pennyburn, Creggan, Windmill Hill (where Lumen Christi stands now) and Galliagh and Jacobite cannons were placed across the river from the walls (where Ebrington Barracks is now) which fired into the city, setting rooftops on fire and terrifying its inhabitants.

“Many people who today live in Rosemount are unaware that there was a Jacobite camp there and possibly also at Prehen. The history of the siege is a shared history between all communities and it is important that our young people learn and understand all sides of this.”

The final element in these school visits is an art competition in which pupils design images which will be scanned and transferred onto the hoarding due to cover the scaffolds set around the new siege museum.

Winners of the competition will be in to win a Kindle as well as having their images displayed throughout the build. These will be announced in September at the launch of a new short film being produced by Ocean Creative Media for The Apprentice Boys of Derry.

Work will begin on the new siege museum (located next to the Apprentice Boy’s main building) this year and will be completed in 2015.