Medieval settlements and patron saints explored in captivating history lecture

Posted on: 7th February 2012

A theatre packed with extra seating, an extensive waiting list, and the warmest of receptions to a captivating lecture.The success of the inaugural lecture dedicated to local surveyor and historian Annesley Malley was felt by everyone at The Playhouse on February 7, 2012.The sell out 2012 Hill of Derry History Lecture "Derry before Londonderry, the history the Hill of Derry, 600-1600" was delivered by eminent and renowned historian Dr Brian Lacey, Director of the Discovery Programme in Dublin. The extremely stimulating lecture explored several themes, including the history of Derry before the plantation and how retrospection on its medieval settlement influenced the modern city. Dr Lacey also discussed and explored what he described as the "myth and folklore" surrounding the patron saint of the city, St Columba, and the commonly held belief that Derry was discovered and founded by the saint.The lecture was introduced by local historian, writer and broadcaster, Ken McCormack. Both Ken and Brian were close friends of Annesley Malley.The Playhouse and Holywell Trust instituted the lecture in memory of Annesley, who sadly passed away in October 2011.Annesley's research on the historical background of The Playhouse's Artillery Street premises formed both an important part of the building's restoration and the foundation for regular talks and tours of the premises. Annesley was also instrumental in working on the various new art commissions for the Playhouse buildings, all of which have a heritage theme."Tuesday night was a very special one for The Playhouse in so many ways" Playhouse general manager Niall McCaughan said."When we first set in motion the idea, with Annesley himself, that we should hold an annual history lecture, we knew that we would be taping into a great interest that exists among the people of this city in local history. But then again we had no idea that our first one would have the theatre packed to the rafters with extra seats, and, at one stage, a waiting list of 80 people!"For those who were disappointed to miss the event, plans are already afoot for next year's lecture- after all there exists such a rich cultural tapestry of stories, events and influential figures in this city, a one off lecture would never be enough to cover it all!"I would like to thank everyone involved in bringing this event to life- Dr Lacey, Ken McCormack, all the organizers, especially Mark Lusby and Justyn McNicholl, and everyone at Holywell."The event was free, made possible by the Heritage Lottery-funded Walled City DiverseCity Project. This project seeks to unpack the legacy of the City Walls (on place, history and identity), contributing to the "purposeful inquiry" theme of the Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture year.

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