Skip the NI Direct Bar
Skip navigation

Minister joins launch of book on the Cannon of Londonderry's Walls

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Environment Minister Arlene Foster joined the Lord Mayor of London and the Mayor of the City Council in Londonderry today to launch a book on the cannon of the City walls.

The cannon are owned by the city council and date back to Plantation times and in some instances even predate the Walls.  They have recently been fully restored and mounted on historically accurate gun carriages.

As part of the process a number of cannon previously moved elsewhere over the centuries have been located and returned to their original positions. Detailed research has been carried out as part of the scheme which has been carefully described in the new book, ‘Great Guns Like Thunder’– the culmination of over four years of research by Dr. Brian Scott and his co-authors.

Commenting on the book’s launch, the Minister said:

“I am delighted that my Department has been able to help with the realisation of this important publication. It strongly complements its efforts to increase the potential of the city walls through their restoration and through initiatives such as the Conservation Plan and Signature Project and with partners such as Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the City Council. The work carried out is to the credit of the City Council and their consultants and has restored an unrivalled collection of cannon of which everyone in the city can be justly proud.”

Alderman Drew Thompson, Mayor Derry City Council, commented on the significance of the publication:

“’Great Guns like Thunder’ has been published to document the restoration work and to act as a guide for the future care of the cannon. This authoritative publication celebrates the fascinating history of the cannon and as every page reveals, each of the great cannon has its own story to disclose.”

The Mayor of the City of London, Alderman David Lewis was delighted to attend the launch and said:

“The city’s unique collection of cannon is a key tourist attraction and I welcome this prestigious publication as part of the re-valuation of Londonderry’s heritage, and also a tangible symbol of the 400 year link between my city of London and Londonderry’s own Historic Walled City. It is my sincere hope today’s launch will not only seal our friendship today, but will encourage Londoners and others from around the world to visit this great city.”

The book is a joint publication between the Environment and Heritage Service, Derry City Council, the Honourable the Irish Society and the Great Livery Companies of London.

Following the book’s launch, the Minister attended the opening of the restored Old City Fire Station.  A recently listed derelict building, the Station has now been converted to workspace for the creative industries and represents an excellent example of conservation led regeneration.  The Minister also joined The Honourable The Irish Society in presenting a cheque for £50,000 to St Columb’s Cathedral, for its restoration project.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) has invested over £½ million to restore Derry’s walls to a high standard over the last ten years and highlights the new challenges of increased tourism and development.
  2. The Signature Destination Project championed by the City Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Ilex aims to use the walls as the key draw for tourists to the city.  EHS has been fully involved in developing this initiative.
  3. ‘Great Guns Like Thunder’ is highly complementary to the continuing efforts to increase the tourism potential of the monument and sets out their importance in a very clear and accessible way.
  4. Copies of the book are available from the City Council Offices on Strand Road, Londonderry, and bookshops.
  5. For media queries relating to Derry City Council, please contact Marketing and Communications Department, Derry City Council, 028 71376504 or Claire Lundy on 07834 929135
  6. For all other enquiries contact DOE Press Office on 028 9054 0003. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
  7. There will be photo opportunities on Saturday 10 May at;

10.00am at St Columb’s Cathedral

10.45am at the Verbal Arts Centre in Bishop Street (adjacent to Bishop Gate)

12.25am at the Old City Fire Station