Mark Lusby, Coordinator with the Friends of the Derry Walls, says 2015 is an important year in the ongoing quatercentenary celebrations of the historic monument.
He said: “1615 was a pivotal year in the story of the building of the Derry Walls.
“In September 1614, the King’s Overseer of Fortifications in Ireland, Sir Josias Bodley had visited Derry and reported that, although £300 had been spent in casting up earth and preparing stone, no part of the masonry of the Walls had been raised.
“In response to this and other deficiencies in the Ulster Plantation identified by Bodley, King James I wrote a stern letter to Chichester, deploring the slow progress in building being made by the Londoners and by other undertakers.
“The other key event in 1615 was the uncovering of the Great Northern Plot, when leading members of the O’Kane, MacDonnell, O’Neill and O’Donnell clans were accused of conspiring to attack Coleraine and Derry in an attempt to undo the Plantation. “Seventeen people were tried in the Assizes in Derry and six were condemned to death on 31st July 1615. These included Rory O’Kane (whose father Sir Donnell O’Kane was being held at the time in the Tower of London), and Laughlin O’Laverty, a Priest.
“These unfortunates were hanged, drawn and quartered, their heads afterwards being set on the city gates.
“In November 1615, as a result of the King’s letter and of the plot, the City of London raised additional monies for their undertakings in Ulster, especially for the completion of the Derry Walls”.
During 2015, Friends of the Derry Walls hope to unpack the stories of the people connected with these events. They also hope to research more fully the actual sources for the stones used to build the Walls and to carry out work to rediscover the lost dry moat around the Derry Walls. Further information can be found on www.walls400.com