Derry Walls Day: The Year of the Sword

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The Friends of the Derry Walls have announced the theme and date for the 2016 Derry Walls Day: August 20 and ‘The Year of the Sword’.

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 Derry Walls Day 2016.

NI Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan MLA along with local Environment and Regeneration Chair, Cllr Brian Tierney who opened Derry Walls Day 2015 with perfomers led by King James Photocredit Stephen Latimer Photography

NI Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan MLA along with local Environment and Regeneration Chair, Cllr Brian Tierney who opened Derry Walls Day 2015 with perfomers led by King James Photocredit Stephen Latimer Photography

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.

Chairman, Niall McCaughan, said: “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 Walls 400 1613-1618 Quadricentennial will be in 2018. The aim of this year’s Derry Walls Day is to increase public awareness of the heritage of the Derry Walls and of the Walled City’s cultural attractions.

Project coordinator, Mark Lusby, said: “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 400 years ago. The Friends would welcome any offers of business or individual sponsorship for Derry Walls Day 2016, particularly for the charity Treasure Hunt.”

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