Around 1,500 men, women and children, babes-in-arms and pensioners lined up on the City Walls on Sunday to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the walls with a Mexican wave.
Roughly 1,200 people had pre-registered for Wave on the Walls and prior to the event collected their specially designed red t-shirtst-shirts in Guildhall Square before making their way onto the walls for the ‘big wave’.
Those who took part but could not get their hands on an official t-shirt were not disappointed, as they could leave their contact details and organisers ordered one for them to be collected at a later date.
After a special celebration service at St Columb’s Cathedral, which started at 11am, the Dean of Derry, Very Rev Dr William Morton led the congregation of the interdenominational service onto the City Walls where he met the Mayor, Martin Reilly, Eamon Deane, Director Holywell Trust, and funders of Derry Walls Day/City Walls Heritage Project, and a rehearsal of the big wave took place, starting at the Church Bastion adjacent to the Cathedral.
Also dotted around were ‘living history characters’ who entertained the vast crowds that turned out for the fun.
At 12.30pm, a Mexican Wave started from Church Bastion started by the Mayor, Martin Reilly and ‘Alderman George Smithes’ and ‘Captain Manus O’Caháin’ and other characters in period costume.
As part of the day-long celebrations until 5.30pm a 1613 Charter ‘market’ took place in Guildhall Square, with roving living history performers, provided by Past Pleasures of London, Claiomh of Dublin and Antrim and Period Arms of Co Antrim, representing Gaelic, London and Scots cultures which would have met on Derry’s Ship Key 400 years ago.
There were demonstrations of weapons, costumes, ceramics, printing (Derry Print Workshop) and livestock, a long horned bull and three Jacob sheep, provided by Forthill Farm, Co Armagh.
An hi-energy, musical ‘We Built this City’ will be presented by the Playhouse at intervals during the afternoon in Guildhall Square on a special stage, designed to look like Derry’s Walls.
To celebrate Derry Walls Day, the Tower Museum also invited people to take part in a fun fabric workshop, helping create a fantastic textile artwork celebrating the rich history of the city walls.