ONE of the City’s most historic monuments, the Royal Bastion and Plinth, is to reopen to the public following restoration works to remove graffiti and carry out essential repairs to this part of the historic city walls.
In preparation for the opening, teachers and students from Lisneal College and St Cecilia’s College were this week given a special preview of the new interpretative panels located on top of the Plinth, which offers unique views of the Walled City.
The viewing point offers a unique place for schools to gain an understanding of how the city’s landscape has changed from monastic times right down to the present-day.
The repurposing of the Plinth as an educational resource was made possible by a programme of work costing approximately £155k which was financed by the Department for Communities and project managed by Derry City and Strabane District Council.
The project involved the restoration of the plinth, creation of a new access point, internal staircase, ornate railings and interpretative panels and was delivered as part of a project partnership involving Derry City and Strabane District Council, Department for Communities, Siege Heroes Museum and the Friends of Derry Walls.
Conservation works to the historic fabric of the bastion walls was carried out by the Conservation Works Team of DfC.
The City Walls are one of 190 State Care Monuments maintained by DfC using traditional skills, to secure their future.
The new interpretative panels connect the present-day cityscape to the historic story of the Siege of Derry.
The monument will now be reopened in time for the extensive summer programme planned around the 400-year anniversary of the City Walls.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Michaela Boyle, said the project has involved the conservation-led restoration of the plinth located on the City’s iconic City Walls enabling access for those to enjoy unique views of the City.
“I want to congratulate all the project partners involved in the delivery of the works, which will enhance the public realm space in the area and assist in improving access to some of Ireland’s most iconic ramparts.”
Access to the Plinth will now be offered as a feature of guided tours operated by the Siege Heroes Museum and the Royal Bastion will for the first time in decades be open on a daily basis for visitors and locals.
As in previous years, the Friends of the Derry Walls will also host a free open day on the Plinth during National Heritage Week at the end of August.
A key focus of the interpretative panels on top of the monument is the 1689 Siege showing the locations of Jacobite forces besieging the city, from Creggan to what is now William Street.
The panels also illustrate how the ridge occupied now by Lumen Christi College was part of the Williamite defences.
Announcing the opening of The Plinth, Director of North West Development Office, Physical Development Unit, Pauline Campbell said:-
“I am delighted to announce the completion of this project. It is a great example of partnership working to deliver on the restoration of the plinth.
“The funding provided from the Department has created high quality public realm which will add to the regeneration of the City Walls allowing fantastic views across the city.”