LivingTravelThe history of the city walls of Derry

The history of the city walls of Derry

The Walls of Derry City, or the Walls of Londonderry (the name, like everything in ‘Stroke City’, largely depends on which side of the divide you look at), are one of the most iconic urban sites, if not the most emblematic. In Ireland. The walls tell the story that Northern Ireland is a living monument to ‘Trouble’ and perhaps only competes with the Dublin General Post Office for historically important Irish structures. Having been closed to the public for decades, mainly due to their usefulness as an ideal point of view for snipers and the strange stone throwing, the peace process has allowed them to become Derry’s most visited attraction.

Description and overview

Surrounding the old city center of Derry, the city walls are an original and astonishingly comprehensive 17th century urban fortification with stunning views. You will almost always despise something, as the walls are not only tall in themselves, but they also straddle a hill. Add to that the opportunity to literally take a walk through Irish history, as this is one of Ireland’s most iconic urban sites and has a strong connection to Northern Irish history. That said, the hike can be a bit depressing on humid and foggy days, when everything is gray and there isn’t much of a view.

The city walls of Derry were completed in 1618 and planned primarily as a defense of the prosperous city against Irish raiders from Donegal. They measure up to 26 feet high and up to 30 feet wide, enclosing the ancient market town. The Walls earned their immortal place in Irish history through the defiance of the Protestant apprentices from Derry, whose slamming doors in front of the approaching Catholic army made the Walls of Derry an iconic emblem of loyalty and unionism.

Siege of Derry

Derry City Walls are a must when visiting the ‘Virgin City’ (so named because its defenses were never breached). Derry isn’t that blessed when it comes to beauty spots, but the city’s history and connected buildings make it worth a visit. If you discount the city walls, Derry is one of the few cities in the British Isles that is lucky enough to retain its entire city walls, firmly protecting the city, the bourgeois, the empire from Protestantism.

The Walls of Derry gained instant fame within the Protestant church as the city’s garrison was about to surrender to the forces of King James in 1688. During this episode of the Williamie War, the approaching army seemed like a sure winner. and the soldiers were tasked with defending the city. decided to accelerate the inevitable, obtaining some concessions. Or so the plan went until the more local Protestant variety of Protestantism galvanized a motley group of apprentice children who, with a resounding cry of “Don’t give up!” Took over the doors and slammed them shut.

The boys blocked the gates against the enemy and thus began the Siege of Derry. The Siege of Derry is one of the defining moments in Ulster and Irish history.

What to expect

Today you can walk along the walls and witness the sights of a community still divided, despite the years of the Peace Process. You can look out over the Protestant areas that claim to be “still under siege” and you can see a still somewhat fortified police station almost next to the cathedral. An unassuming church has photographs of the destruction after an IRA bomb sent a pillar crashing through its roof. From a battery on which the guns were still standing recently, you can look down on “Free Derry,” the Catholic Bogside.

This was the scene of many riots, including the massacre that was on »Bloody Sunday«, when British paratroopers opened fire on a Civil Rights March.

With all of this recent history in view, it’s no wonder few visitors seem interested in the fortifications. However, the distinctive outline of a walled city is still traceable, so take your time to do so. The Walls of Derry are definitely recommended for a walk through Irish history. They are usually open during the day and quite safe to walk around, just don’t climb. You may want to join a guided hike, which can be arranged through the tourist information center for more background information.

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