Plans are taking shape for “Derry Walls Day” as Derry City and Strabane District Council and the Friends of the Derry Walls host an engaging programme of historical discovery to take place this Sunday in Guildhall Square and in museums on and around the City Walls.
Derry Walls Day is funded by the Council, with support from the Heritage Council of Ireland, as part of National Heritage Week, when most of Ireland’s 21 walled towns will be putting on events to celebrate the heritage value of their surviving fortifications.
Mary Blake, Tourism Development Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said: “Make a date with history on August 30 and be part of a fantastic interactive history day for all the family which is free and shares new insights into the history of the construction of the City Walls.”
The programme includes scheduled interpretative performances at both Guildhall Square and in the Guildhall itself. Each performance provides a historical insight into the discovery of the Great Northern Plot of 1615 which accelerated the building of the City Walls.
Interactively focused audiences could find themselves centre stage at the trial of Plotters or engaging with the architects of the Plantation in the Guildhall.
Anne McCartney, Secretary of the Friends of Derry Walls, explained: “Each year, during the quadricentiennial of the building of the Derry Walls 2013-2018, the Council and Friends choose an annual theme for Derry Walls Day and discover the history of the construction of the walls.
“Our aim is to share untold stories of this historical era that have shaped the landscape of the city we live in today.”
Historical interactive performances commence at 1pm in Guildhall Square and continue at 30 minute intervals with the last performance starting at 3.30pm in the Guildhall. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency will also provide a stone masonry display while the Tower Museum will host a unique collection of costumes from the era.
Participating museums in Derry Walls Day have provided free entry and will host special performers to support the interconnecting activity of the Plotters’ Treasure Hunt.
The Plotters’ Treasure Hunt is free and families can avail of a secret pass for junior plotters to help with locating the many clues at seven participating museums around and close to the City Walls.
There are gold coins to collect for correct answers and help is on hand from the historical characters along the way.
The Treasure Hunt is open from 12.30pm-5.30pm with prizes for correctly completed entries with a chance to win £100 of local shopping vouchers with four runner-up prizes of £50. There is also a special prize of £30 for the best “walls400-selfie” posted by 5pm incorporating @thederrywalls with one of the historical characters you meet along the way or, if you fancy, dressing-up in the period costumes available at First Derry, St Columba’ Heritage Centre or the Guildhall.
All participating museums have provided free entry on the day and all activity within the Derry Walls Day programme is free. Registration for the Treasure Hunt and information on all performances are available in Guildhall Square from 12.30pm on Sunday.
For further information, visit www.thederrywalls.com/walls400