Walking the Walls

20 Feb

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Over the weekend, while in Northern Ireland, I was able to walk the walls that surround the city of Derry. After doing a bit more research, I was able to find some more information on the walls of Derry. The walls were built between 1614 and 1619. Derry was one of the 40 cities in Ireland that had walls built around it by the end of the seventeenth century; however, it is the only one in Ireland that are still complete.

Our tour guide was very well-informed on what the walls have endured over the years. What really interested me was when he took us to an area that held a mass grave of people who had died during the siege of 1689. When William of Orange took the throne of King James II, James attempted to secure Ireland through conquering vital cities, so that he could take back his throne through Ireland. One of the cities he attempted to conquer was the city of Derry. At the time, the city of Derry was not sure what to do. While they were deciding, the young apprentice boys of the city took the keys to the walls and locked them. The city then held out against the army of King James II for 105 days until relief was finally given to them.

The mass grave stood out for me, because even though the walls are still there and you can see them; the grave is a sound reminder of what those people went through to defend their city against something that they did not believe in. Those people, whether they died of starvation or wounds from the siege, suffered for a cause that they firmly stood by till the end. I think that, that kind of determination and will-power is admirable. I do not know whether I could ever do what those apprentice boys did, nor do I know if I could die for the cause of “No surrender!” as those people did. I think the fact that I walked the walls that those people in that grave walked is astounding.

This walk along the walls, as well as the story of the siege reminds me of the trip that I took in the Republic of Ireland to Malahide Castle. There, the Talbot’s ate dinner before they went off to fight for King James II against King William of Orange in the Battle of the Boyne, and none came back. In Ireland there are so many different sides to some of the same stories and it’s incredible to me that I get to see the remnants of them. 

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http://www.libraryireland.com/JoyceHistory/Derry.php

http://www.derryswalls.com/hist-siege-1689.html

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