Double edged swords of Gaelic and Planter origin centre stage

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The Friends of the Derry Walls have announced the theme and date for the 2016 Derry Walls Day. The Friends are a voluntary group established to make sure that the Walls are fully exploited as a resource for education, cultural enrichment and job creation.

They have chosen Saturday August 20 as the date for the 2016 event to mark another year in the five-year quadricentennial of the building the Derry Walls from 1613 to 1618.

In the summer of 1616 a State Sword was brought to the new Plantation City of Londonderry and the Friends have taken Swords, Sword-making and Sword-play as the theme for the 2016 Derry Walls Day.

Niall McCaughan, Chairperson of the Friends of the Derry Walls explained: “The O’Doherty Sword and the State Sword are two of the City’s most important artefacts, the former reputed to have been owned by one of our last local Gaelic chieftains and the latter probably being the earliest surviving artefact bearing the name of the new Plantation City. A heritage treasure hunt across the Walled City has become a feature of Derry Walls Day and this year it will be ‘The Swordsmith’s Treasure Hunt’. We are hoping to secure a children’s charity to be the principal beneficiary of the donations from the Treasure Hunt; this will be in recognition that, also in 1616, ten orphans from the Christ’s Hospital in London were indentured in our City to assist with the building of the Walls.”

The grand finale of the Walls400 1613-1618 Quadricentennial will be in 2018 and the Friends are keen that this year’s Derry Walls Day will continue to increase public awareness of the heritage of the Derry Walls and of the Walled City’s cultural attractions. Support from sponsors is vitally important as Project Coordinator for the Derry Walls, Mark Lusby, explained: “Financial support each year from our local Council and from the Heritage Council of Ireland has been key to helping the Friends to provide an authentic representation of life here four hundred years ago and in designing an event which is informative and fun at the same time. The Friends have made a request to Derry Strabane Council to provide us with the same level of support as in previous years and have submitted an application to the Heritage Council through its Irish Walled Towns Fund. While we wait for decisions from both our local Council and from the Heritage Council, the Friends would welcome any offers of business or individual sponsorship for Derry Walls Day 2016, particularly for the charity Treasure Hunt. With less than four months left to fully organise and market the event, the Friends will consider all offers of support.”

Any offers of sponsorship or help should be made to Mark Lusby by email on mark@thederrywalls.com