Treasure hunt at Pump Street

THE two men tunnelling under Pump Street have now opened up a network of five chambers, the Sentinel can reveal.

Thursday, 4th February 2010, 8:05 am

The pair are also so confident that they will find treasure that they have begun screening the network using a metal detector, marking any 'hits' they get for later exploration.

Brian McCarthy and Brian McMichael captured the public's imagination prior to Christmas when it was revealed that they had discovered an access point to the tunnels under the City by following the directions in an ancient poem relating to a Paymaster General's home at the junction of Pump Street with London Street.

Turning the tunnels and the house at Pump Street into a living museum for residents and visitors to the City is the only way to do the subterranean network justice, according to Mr McCarthy, who said the tunnels had the capacity to generate wealth for the City through the tourism industry.

Going for gold

THE city centre's subterranean network of tunnels and chambers should be converted into a living museum for the people of Londonderry, it was claimed this week.

Tunnel excavator Brian McCarthy, who became a local legend when he discovered an access point to the City's ancient underground network at the start of December, said his dream was to see the tunnels being appreciated and marketed as the City's premier tourist attraction.

Far from having ceased his excavations after his initial discovery, Mr McCarthy this week revealed that he had been working underground with a metal detector, marking sites of high resonance, and he said he firmly believed there was the possibility of finding gold artefacts, coins and other metal items of interest. However, he stressed that if he did find anything of significance he would declare them as treasure finds rather than feel he was stealing from the original owners.

A man with a deep-seated appreciation of Celtic folklore and myths, Mr McCarthy said his continued investigation of the tunnel system, which appears to run down Pump Street in the direction of Ferryquay Street, and in the other direction toward St Columb's Cathedral, had now expanded into a network of five chambers with connecting tunnels, which he believes are laid out in the shape of a female figure.

Secrets

Once he has finished discovering the secrets of the system, he said he would like to go on and find the system's 'male' counterpart, which he believes may lie close by.

"At the moment we are investigating two chambers in the middle of Pump Street, which stretch out like two arms, and are about 100 yards down, facing each other, and we have now discovered there are two chambers at the bottom of Pump Street, shaped like a 'V'.

"We are dealing with something that is ongoing, and I believe this will be ongoing for many years to come. We have taken a metal detector down and we are marking any hits as we find them, but we have not excavated because we don't want to get into trouble. If there is gold it is not our property, but if I find anything I will hand it to the police, but if we have any other finds we will keep them and hand them to a museum at the end of it," he said.

However, among his immediate plans is one to stage an exhibition of his photographs, of which he now has hundreds.

Mr McCarthy said anyone who wants to know more about the tunnels and his work should contact him at Flat 1a Pump Street, sending an SAE to the property.