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Walled City Signature Project

The Walled City of Derry is one of the most complete within the British Isles and the only complete Walled City in Ireland. Given its unique status, it was designated by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) in 2004 as one of the five Signature Tourism Projects for Northern Ireland alongside Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway, St. Patrick in Downpatrick and Armagh and the Mourne Mountains.  The purpose of Signature Project designation is to achieve international standout for the Northern Ireland tourism product through creating a world-class visitor experience at unique tourist destinations.

To date over £47million of public and private investment has been committed to the Walled City Signature Project. Phase 1 which is complete included a number of elements including conservation, visitor signage and orientation and the regeneration of tourism attractions such as the Tower Museum. Phase 2 is ongoing and has included a Business and Cultural Animation Programme and Environmental Improvements (public realm) as well as the current Built Heritage Programme and Walled City Lighting Strategy.

The Built Heritage Programme includes six projects that were identified for financial support as six of the most important historical buildings located within the Walled City and its environs.  As well as funding from NITB and contributions from the properties themselves, the buildings have received monies from a range of other funders, for example, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council of NI and Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). The buildings are at varying stages with the restoration of three now complete. See below for the current status of each.

Building:  The Playhouse    
Current Status:  Restoration project completed and building officially re-opened in November 2009.


Building:  First Derry Presbyterian Church   
Current Status:  Restoration completed and building officially re-opened in May 2011.     


Building:  St Columb’s Cathedral   
Current Status:  Restoration completed and building officially re-opened in June 2011.     


Building:  The Guildhall   
Current Status:  External restoration currently underway. Building due to close in late 2011 for internal restoration and works to make the building the key arrival and orientation hub for visitors to the City.     


Building:  Aras Colmcille    
All funding has now been secured for the restoration. Work will start in March 2012 for completion early 2013.    


Building:  Apprentice Boys of Derry Memorial Hall    
Current Status:  Awaiting decisions on funding applications for proposed restoration and extension.     
Website: the_mem/museum

The Lighting Strategy is a world class lighting scheme which will illuminate the City Walls, Craigavon Bridge and the six sites of the Built Heritage Programme.  As well as highlighting the unique aspects and architecture of the historic Walled City area, the lighting scheme will also assist the evening economy through making the City safer and more vibrant at night.  NITB has awarded £1.4 million to Derry City Council to implement the Lighting Strategy which is currently at design stage with work due to start on installation in early 2012.


Further information:

NITB Walled City Signature Project:

NITB Walled City Blog:

Derry City Walls Gazetteer (October 2011) - Detailed information on the history and appearance of the Walls

Derry City Walls Conservation Plan:

Derry City Walls Management Plan:

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