MAYOR of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Michaela Boyle, has launched a special programme of events to mark the 400th anniversary of the completion of Derry’s iconic Walls in 1619.
One of the most recognised landmarks in Ireland, the Walls have witnessed centuries of dramatic and tragic events since the first stones of the fortifications were laid.
The special programme of activities marking this major historic milestone is led by Derry City and Strabane District Council and its partners The Honourable, The Irish Society – the original builders and owners of the Walls – and the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division.
The special programme of events will feature an eclectic range of activities including musical ensembles, dance, historical and contemporary exhibitions, symposiums, films, living archaeology demonstrations and workshops, visual arts exhibitions and much more.
Mayor Boyle said she was looking forward to celebrating such a significant milestone for the city.
“I’m delighted to launch this exciting programme of events marking the 400th anniversary of the completion of the City Walls,” she said.
“This wonderful series of activities will do so much to shine a spotlight on what is an iconic landmark – celebrating its significance as one of the oldest and best preserved fortifications in Europe.
“The special programme of events and activities will also provide a great opportunity for both visitors and locals alike to experience the ‘Walled City’ at its very best.
“Whilst we already welcome over 416,000 visitors a year, we hope that by offering these added experiences that we will draw even more people to the Walls to enjoy this fantastic living monument and in doing so develop our key cultural asset as a world-class visitor attraction.”
Council’s ‘Peace Tourism’ project, funded under PEACE IV by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), is fully delivering the animation of the walls as part of its project delivery.
It will introduce a series of animation activities and stories from lively characters who have helped shaped the city’s history – bringing to life the historic monument alongside key shared spaces and heritage attractions.
Tourism Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Jennifer O’Donnell added: “The Walls are undoubtedly our most iconic historic landmark and are a key element of our new tourism strategy for the City and District.
“As a unique and fascinating visitor attraction and an integral part of our heritage it’s so important that we take this opportunity to showcase them on what is such a significant anniversary and tell their story to the world.
“Indeed, this vibrant and appealing programme of events and activities – which has also involved the input and talents of our local community – will showcase all that’s great about our city as a key historic and cultural destination.
“I would therefore also like to take this opportunity to encourage people to come along to the celebratory events which will capture some of the key moments in the fabric of our city’s rich and varied history.”
For full details and information on the new Walled City 400 events programme visit www.walledcity400.com