Northern Ireland news

Derry walls to roar with cannon fire in history pilot scheme

The historic canon sitting on the Derry Walls are among the city's key tourist attractions. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

Derry's famous walls are to roar with cannon fire once again later this year in a pilot scheme highlighting the monument’s rich historical heritage.

Similar to the firing of a canon at Edinburgh Castle at 1pm every day, the pilot scheme is being run to celebrate National Heritage Week from August 18 to 26 and to mark next year’s 400th anniversary of the completion of the ancient walls.

The walls were built by the Honourable The Irish Society to protect settlers sent to Ireland as part of the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century. They remain one of the north west’s key tourism attractions.

Mark Lusby of the Friends of Derry Walls said the daily firing of a canon by a man dressed in 17th century costume would be a great way of bringing the history of the walls to life.

“We’re doing this after we received a grant from the Heritage Council of Ireland. Obviously, the cannon that are on the walls cannot be fired but we’ll be using a modern replica. Along with the bastions (defensive projections) and the gates on the walls, the cannon are what tourists are most interested in seeing and our hope is that this will demonstrate and interpret history in a visual way,” he said.

Mr Lusby said that if successful, Friends of Derry Walls hoped that the scheme could be adopted on a longer-term basis with a cannon being fired at a set time each day throughout the summer tourism period.

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Northern Ireland news