the many historic monuments in Derry, the massive city Walls on
the west bank of the River Foyle are the most striking and memorable.
Built between 1614 and 1619, the original Walls are almost perfectly
preserved today, making Derry one of the finest examples of a
walled city in Europe. Using earth, lime and local stone (some
from ruined medieval monastery buildings) Peter Benson from London
skillfully constructed the thick defensive ramparts and angular
artillery bastions following closely the design of Sir Edward
Doddington of Dungiven.
cost of the building was met by the Irish Society comprising London
businessmen who were responsible for the Plantation of Derry.
It was their duty, under a Royal Charter of King James I, to build
and maintain the Derry Walls to help control the local Irish rebels.
In return they were given large parcels of land in the region
for themselves. Despite sieges in 1641, 1649 and the Great Siege
of 1689, Derry's Walls were never breached - proof indeed of their
careful planning and excellent construction, and reason for the
title 'The Maiden City'.