Walled City Museums

As part of Derry Walls Day 2016, Lorcan Doherty Photography, took some stills of the living history performers in the Walled City Museums. These hint at the rich diversity of stories ’embedded’ in the Derry Walls. Thanks to the performers from Past Pleasures, Claíomh, Footsteps, Blue Eagle and the Playhouse for helping our civic and community museums on Derry Walls Day 2016.

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£400 of local shopping vouchers to be won! Swordsmith’s Treasure Hunt

£400 of local shopping vouchers to be won! Correctly completed Swordsmith’s Treasure Hunt forms will be entered into a draw for prizes of :

  • 1st Prize £100 of local shopping vouchers.
  • 4 runner-up prizes of £50 of shopping vouchers
  • 3 special prizes of £30 shopping vouchers for  best ‘Walls400 – selfie’ taken with a historical performer and posted by 5pm on Monday 19/09/16 to Twitter including @thederrywalls in the message.
Registration and participation in Treasure Hunt is free is free!
The Swordsmith’s Treasure Hunt takes place from 4pm-7pm this Friday September 16th in and around the Walled City. Registration for individuals, teams and family groups from 3.30pm by Magazine Gate.


Leading US-based Historian to deliver Friday evening’s 2016 Walls400 History Lecture

Leading US-based Historian to deliver Friday evening’s 2016 Walls400 History Lecture at which 400 year old ‘LondonDerre’ and ‘O’Doherty’ Civic Swords of State will be rededicated.

The 2016 Walls400 History Lecture will take place in the historic surroundings of St Columb’s Cathedral and will be delivered by Dr Breandán Mac Suibhne, of Centenary University, New Jersey. The lecture will also see history being remade when the civic swords of state, presented 400 years ago this year, are rededicated and presented back to the new district council in a ceremony with living history performers from London and Galway.


Dr Mac Suibhne is an historian of society and culture in modern Ireland, with a particular interest in the history of north-west Ulster and is well placed to speak to us on the connected history of ‘The Maiden City and the City of Brotherly Love: Derry and Philadelphia’. Looking forward to his talk, Dr MacSuibhne explained why a deeper discussion of the relationship between Derry and Philadelphia in the late 1700s will provide interesting insights ” It is a great honour to participate in this event marking both the 400th anniversary of the presentation of the ‘LondonDerre’ Sword and Dean Morton’s appointment to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. Late eighteenth-century Derry merchants had very close connections with their counterparts in Philadelphia, a city that was central to the American Revolution; and in the nineteenth century, north-west Ulster was a labour pool for the coal mines and canals of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia remains the enduring US reference point point for Derry, Donegal and Tyrone.”

PHOTO 2 DERRY WALLS DAY 2016 LondonDerre Sword Detail

400 years ago this year in 1616, two commissioners from the City of London, Merchant Taylor Matthias Springham and Alderman Richard Proby, arrived in Derry to inspect progress on the building of the Derry Walls. In contrast with previously slow progress since the Walls were started in 1613, during their visit to Derry in 1616 Springham and Proby found the walls half-built with two drawbridges and one gate in place. As a result the commissioners presented a ceremonial sword of state to the Mayor in Derry, engraved with the name “Londonderre” on its golden pommel. That 1616 sword has remained in the city ever since, and during tomorrow evening’s lecture, it and its O’Doherty counterpart will be rededicated back into the care of the new District Council.

The Walls400 History Lecture takes place in St Columb’s Cathedral at 8pm on Friday 16th September. There will be an ‘Afterparty’ with refreshments and living history in the Verbal Arts Centre until 10pm. Tickets are £8 (£5) as a donation to the Walled City Archaeology Fund. Details at http://www.thederrywalls.com/events


Getting ready for Friday’s Walled City Treasure Hunt


The best of living history performers from across Britain and Ireland are making final preparations to  bring the Walled City’s civic and community museums alive this Friday evening. As part of Culture Night, the Friends of the Derry Walls have arranged the  Swordsmith’s Treasure Hunt  from 4pm until 7pm and the richly costumed characters placed in the museums will  guide ‘treasure hunters’ to find the clues and help the 1616 Swordsmith finish his new sword.


Locally both the Playhouse and Blue Eagle Productions are bringing local talent to the fore.  The Playhouse is providing a mid-19th nun for the St Columba Heritage Centre at the Long Tower interpreting the story of the ‘Wee Nuns School’. Blue Eagle Productions are providing the 1689 Colonel Adam Murray for the Siege Museum on Society Street.

Footsteps from County Down will be providing a 18th century Minister for First Derry on Upper Magazine Street and a Victorian-era Gravedigger for St Augustine’s Church on Palace Street.dsc_8605

Direct from the Historic Royal Palaces in London, Past Pleasures will give an authentic voice to the 17th century builders of the Derry Walls with Peter Benson in the Guildhall and Mathias Springham in the Tower Museum.

Derry Walls Day 2014 Derry Mayor & London Alderman

Past Pleasures will also be providing two 17th century Swordsmith’s demonstrating their craft at the Society Street car park. In St Columb’s Cathedral will be the 18th century Dean’s Daughter.


Giving voice to the 17th century O’Doherty and O’Cahan clans will be Claíomh of Galway who will be providing demonstrations of sword-fighting in Guildhall Square.


The Swordsmith’s Treasure Hunt takes place from 4pm-7pm this Friday September 16th in and around the Walled City. Registration for individuals, teams and family groups from 3.30pm by Magazine Gate. You can pre-register here and have your Treasure Hunt bag ready for you on arrival.

As well as the Treasure Hunt, the living history performers will also be taking part in the Walls400 History Lecture 8pm-9pm in St Columb’s Cathedral and a Living History Afterparty 9pm-10pm in the Verbal Arts Centre.