in partnership with
Lumen Christi College, Bishop St. Without, Derry~Londonderry, BT48 6UJ
Derry's Round Tower is a survivor of the town's medieval past. It is shown on Sir Henry Docwra's map of 1600 along with ruined monastic buildings and a military fort constructed by Docwra at the height of the Nine Years War (1594 -1603), when Derry was used as a base for the English army. It is also depicted on Thomas Raven's 1625 map of the town. These two maps show the earliest and latest contemporary evidence of the existence of a Round Tower at Derry. The first church constructed at Derry is attritbuted to Saint Colm Cille in AD 546, however by the 12th century Derry had gained status when it became the effective capital of the Cenel n Eogain and the ruling McLaughlin lineage. A map of Derry in 1685 depicts a windmill on the site where the Round Tower had been previously noted. Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and Lord Bishop of Derry (The Earl Bishop) changed it into an Ice House and a Dovecote within the grounds of his summer House known as "The Casina". A tradition existed that the building was the stump of the old monastic round tower and this was reinforced by the research undertaken by the Derry Round Tower Heritage Group. During conservation work samples of the mortar from deep within the walls of the structure were taken and passed to Queen's University 14 Chrono Laboratory for analysis, the results of which indicated that the structure could be dated to medieval times. The newly re-identified Round Tower is the only medieval structure still surviving as the last remnant of Derry's medieval past, providing as it does a tangible connection to another facet of the city's rich past.
Sat: 10:00-16:00Sun: Closed
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