position and comparative seclusion from its surroundings no doubt
played a part in the decision to found a monastery there in the
sixth century. Its foundation is popularly credited to St. Columba
or Colmcille after which it took its second name, Doire Colmcille.
Recent research has cast doubts on the authenticity of this claim
and suggests an alternative founder. Nevertheless it was an important
part of the Columban federation of monasteries and it was from
Derry that Columba would depart on his mission to take the Christian
message to Scotland and the North of England. Catholic and Protestant
traditions both cherish their Columban heritage.
Colmcille it remained from the tenth to the early seventeenth
centuries but plans, for the extension of Tudor control over the
whole of the island of Ireland, were to change the function of