When you have been around for 400 years, it is not surprising that you can become a little taken for granted. The Walls of Derry are so visible as a feature of the city of Derry, it is easy to assume that there is nothing new to discover about them. In this quadricentennial year, Holywell Trust believes it is time to shake up our preconceptions about our national monument and have brought together an unparalleled line-up of experts for a weekend of talks and practical workshops. The Walls 400! History Conference takes place on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of April in the Verbal Arts Centre by Bishop's Gate.
This August will be the 400th anniversary of the start of the process of building Derry's historic City Walls. In August 1613, two Londoners arrived in Derry with instructions to sort out the contracts for the building the City Walls. Along with ten experienced local officers, they "viewed and trode out the ground at the Derry for the fortification there." That simple act of marking out the ground on the Island of Derry, four centuries ago, has left an enduring imprint on the cultural identities of the people of Ireland and Britain. The Walls 400! History Conference aims to examine the present-day legacy of those events in 1613.
What was the legal basis for the confiscation and plantation of Derry? What was the reaction of the native Irish to the imposition of this instrument of war on the landscape? What do we know of the English and Scots people who settled in the new London-Derrie? How much of the 1613 designs remain in the present-day Derry's Walls? How have the Walls been used in 400 years of conflict and municipal life? What are stories lie behind the evolution of the separate communities of the Fountain and Bogside, living in the shadow of the Walls? Who actually owns Derry's Walls and how are the Walls perceived today? These are some of the questions which will be teased out during this unique weekend conference.
Speakers include Dr Brian Lacey, who will examine Derry before the arrival of the Londoners; Prof James Stevens Curl, who will look at the background to the financing and building of the Walls; Dr Annaleigh Margey who will use 17th C maps and surveys to examine the place of the Walls in the contemporary landscape and perception; and Eamon McCann who will look at how the communities view the Walls today. Practical workshops will reveal overlooked features of the City Walls and the bits that have gone missing down through the centuries. There will be also be demonstrations of the weapons, around which the Walls were designed.
This is the essential conference to attend in 2013, dedicated to unpacking the history of Derry's Walls- exploding myths, tackling hard history and providing evidence-based facts. Over two days delegates will get the opportunity to quiz archaeologists and historians and to take part in practical workshops examining the fabric and use of Derry's Walls. Remember, if you miss out on the Walls 400! Conference, the next one will not be until 2413!
Tickets: £10/£5 (All proceeds will go towards preserving and making available the Annesley Malley Book Collection)
The conference programme and full list of contributors can be downloaded at www.walls400.com
PHOTO- Mark Lusby
The year-long programme of activities is being developed by the Holywell Trust's City Walls Heritage Project, working in partnership with Derry City Council, DOE Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and the Walled City Cluster of community-based, cultural tourism attractions. The City Walls Heritage Project is grant-aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Culture Company« back to What's On