The project to digitally reconstruct the Great Parchment Book became a key part of the 2013 commemorations in Derry/Londonderry of the 400th anniversary of the building of the city walls with the aim that this key document to the history of the Plantation would feature as the central point of an exhibition in Derry’s Guildhall.
The rest is history. The website which hosts the Great Parchment Book went live on 30 May 2013 and the exhibition Plantation: Process, People, Perspectives opened in June 2013 in Derry Guildhall. Both are still going strong.
But we have another commemoration this year and that is the 400th anniversary of the completion of the city walls in March 1619. To celebrate the anniversary a full and vibrant programme of events, entitled Walled City 400 Years, will run until March 2020. The programme is being led by our partners on the Great Parchment Book project, The Honourable The Irish Society and Derry City & Strabane District Council, as well as the builders and owners of the Walls and The Department for Communities’ Historic Environment Division. The celebration aims to provide a great opportunity or both visitors and locals alike to experience the Walled City at its very best and includes historical exhibitions, symposiums, and living archaeology demonstrations and workshops.
The Tower Museum in Derry has curated an exhibition using a treasure trove of objects and archive materials from its collections to tell the story of the Walls, the city and its people. Some of the objects on display have never been seen before, including pottery, ceramics, leather and currency unearthed in archaeological digs in 1970s & 1980s. These objects not only tell us about life and events within, without and around the walls from the last 400 years, but also help us to understand how people would have lived day to day. It is a fascinating story of social history that spans war, rebellion, peace and culture. The exhibition runs until 26 January 2020.
In tandem with this, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), located in the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, is displaying a selection of material from the archaeological archive (from 2 August 2019).
You can find out more about the events here
The Derry city walls are the largest ancient monument in state care in Northern Ireland and have the longest, complete circuit of ramparts of any of the remaining 30 walled towns in Ireland. The Friends of the Derry Walls is a voluntary organisation whose mission is to give a voice to the Walls, raising ambitions for their care and presentation, driving public engagement with the Walls and ensuring that the walls are fully exploited as a resource for educational, cultural and economic development. The Friends have been running a series of activities over the six-year period 2013-2019 of the quadricentennial. If you want to learn more about the walls, they have a website to help you explore this heritage site of national and international significance here