Located just outside the walled section of the city of Derry, near the River Foyle, the Guildhall is an impressive red sandstone building that houses the city council.
History and Architecture
A neo-Gothic style building originally constructed in 1890, it was embellished with Victorian ornamentation. Its most notable feature is a series of exceptional stained glass windows. The windows portray the history of Derry, and were created by a Belfast firm called Campbell's.
Reconstruction of the Windows
The Guildhall, and the area around it, was the scene of many bombings during the Northern Ireland Troubles. One IRA bomb in 1972 destroyed the glass artwork. Amazingly original plans still on file and accessible allowed Campbell's to create exact replicas of the shattered windows.
The Guildhall Today
- Derry City Council Meetings are still held in the Guildhall.
- The square immediately in front of the building has become known as Guildhall square, and is occasionally used for important events in the city -- such as the visit of U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1995.
- The Guildhall was also used as the location for the Saville inquiry -- an official public investigation, 30 years on, into the events of Bloody Sunday, a key episode of the Troubles.
- Behind the building, along the river, sits Derry Quay, a popular point of departure for many of those who emigrated to America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Guildhall, Derry City. Image: Jeff and Neda Fields