Mayor launches special events programme for ‘Walls 400’

Highland dancers gather to celebrate the launch of the programme.
Highland dancers gather to celebrate the launch of the programme.

The Mayor Michaela Boyle has launched a special events programme for Derry’s Walls turning 400 years old.

The iconic Walls were completed in 1619 and have witnessed centuries of dramatic and tragic events.

Group pictured on the City's Walls for the launch of 'The Walled City' Animation Programme, including Fiona Lafferty, Project Officer, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Iain Greenway, Director of the Historic Environment Department, Edward Montgomery, The Honourable The Irish Society and Michael Johnson In Your Space. Also included are dancers from the Sollus Highland Dancing group.

Group pictured on the City's Walls for the launch of 'The Walled City' Animation Programme, including Fiona Lafferty, Project Officer, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Iain Greenway, Director of the Historic Environment Department, Edward Montgomery, The Honourable The Irish Society and Michael Johnson In Your Space. Also included are dancers from the Sollus Highland Dancing group.

The special programme of activities marking this major historic milestone is led by Derry City and Strabane District Council and its partners The Honourable The Irish Society – the original builders and owners of the Walls – and the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division.

An eclectic range of activities will feature including musical ensembles, dance, historical and contemporary exhibitions, symposiums, films, living archaeology demonstrations and workshops, visual arts exhibitions and much more.

Mayor Boyle said, “This wonderful series of activities will do so much to shine a spotlight on what is an iconic landmark – celebrating its significance as one of the oldest and best preserved fortifications in Europe’.

“They will also provide a great opportunity for both visitors and locals alike to experience the ‘Walled City’ at its very best. Whilst we already welcome over 416,000 visitors a year, we hope that by offering these added experiences that we will draw even more people to the Walls to enjoy this fantastic living monument and in doing so develop our key cultural asset as a world-class visitor attraction,” she added.

In fact, the Council’s ‘Peace Tourism’ project, funded under PEACE IV by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), is fully delivering the animation of the walls as part of its project delivery. It will introduce a series of animation activities and stories from lively characters who have helped shaped the city’s history – bringing to life the historic monument alongside key shared spaces and heritage attractions.

Tourism Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Jennifer O’Donnell added: “The Walls are undoubtedly our most iconic historic landmark and are a key element of our new tourism strategy for the City and District. As a unique and fascinating visitor attraction and an integral part of our heritage it’s so important that we take this opportunity to showcase them on what is such a significant anniversary and tell their story to the world.

“This vibrant and appealing programme of events and activities – which has also involved the input and talents of Derry’s local community – will showcase all that’s great about the city as a key historic and cultural destination.

“I would therefore also like to take this opportunity to encourage people to come along to the celebratory events which will capture some of the key moments in the fabric of our city’s rich and varied history,” she added.

For full details and information on the new Walled City 400 events programme visit www.walledcity400.com