Derry Walls, Derry City   1618

Not only is Derry the last walled city to be built in Europe, it is also the first planned city to be built in Ireland, the only complete walled city in Ireland and the walls are the largest monument in state care in Northern Ireland -Phew! The Walls were built between 1613 – 1618 by The Honourable Irish Society mainly for protection for the early ‘planted’ Protestant settlers from England and Scotland. The city was granted a royal charter by King James I in 1613 and the “London” prefix was added, changing the legal name of the city to Londonderry even though ‘Derry’ is the more commonly used. The Walls are approximately a one mile in circumference and have 7 gates. The 4 originals are Ferryquay Gate, Bishop’s Gate, Butcher Gate and Shipquay Gate. The grid pattern with the central diamond used in Derry’s design was much copied in the colonies of British North America. In 1688 when the Catholic King James ll was deposed, most of Ireland stayed loyal to him but the new city of Londonderry was one of the few places which took the side of the new King, William of Orange. A Catholic army attempted to enter the City on December 1688, but 13 Apprentice Boys shut the gates against them and the famous Siege of Derry began. The siege lasted 105 days until a wooden boom which had been erected across the River Foyle was broken by King William’s ships. This enabled food and supplies into the City but by this time thousands of people had already died of starvation! Derry has been nicknamed “The Maiden City” as its fortifications were never breached.