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25/10/2021

You decide - what is Derry's favourite building?

Public asked to vote on the local building they love the most

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St Columb's Cathedral

St Columb's Cathedral, which is located within the walled city, is dedicated to Saint Columba, the Irish monk who established a Christian settlement in the area. Built after the Reformation in Ireland, St Columb's was the first Anglican cathedral to have been built in the British Isles after the Reformation and was the first non-Roman Catholic cathedral to be built in Western Europe. Due to the violence of the  Nine Years' War, the church was destroyed. It was first damaged by an accidental explosion on April 24, 1568, the church having been appropriated for the storage of gunpowder. The present church was built by William Parratt, from London, and was consecrated in 1633.

The Guildhall

The Guildhall is the seat of local government and is where elected members of  Derry City and Strabane District Council  meet. The current building was preceded by an earlier town hall which was built in the 17th century and destroyed in the  Siege of Derry  in 1689. The current building, which was designed by John Guy Ferguson and financed by The Honourable The Irish Society, was completed in 1890. After a disastrous fire in 1908, in which only the tower and rear block survived, and more funding from the Honourable The Irish Society, the Guildhall was rebuilt to the design of Mathew Alexander Robinson in 1912. The building was badly damaged by two bombs in 1972, but was restored at a cost of £1.7 million and reopened in 1977.

St Columb's Hall

St Columb's Hall, which opened in 1888, has played a major role in the lives of over three generations of the people from the city. Recognised as an architecturally and socially important building, it was the venue of choice for some of the world's most iconic performers and notaries over the last 130 years, including Eleanor Marx, daughter of Karl Marx who spoke at the Hall in 1889 to recruit the local workers to join their local union, and Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst who campaigned for women's right to vote in a keynote speech at St Columb's Hall in 1910. Eamon De Valera rallied supporters during the War of Independence at the Hall in 1924 -four years after the British Army used the building for several weeks as a barracks.

Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall

The Apprentice Boys of Derry Memorial Hall, located on Society Street next to the city's historic walls, opened in 1877 and is dedicated to the memory of the 13 Apprentice Boys who closed the city gates in 1688 and is recognised as an architecturally important building within the walled city. In 1937, the hall was extended along Society Street. The extension is dedicated to the memory of those who died in the  Great War  of 1914-1918. It now houses the headquarters of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, with its office and debating chamber. All new members are initiated in the hall. Other organisations such as the Orange Order and  Royal Black Preceptory have separate accommodation in the hall. It also houses a social club and a museum.

St Columba's Church, Long Tower

St Columba's Church (Long Tower) is built on the site of Roman Catholic worship which goes back as far as the 12th century. The current church began life in 1783 in a much smaller scale than seen today. Father John Lynch, a  parish priest  in Derry, started action to raise funds for building the Long Tower Church and he received finance not just from Roman Catholics but also Protestant people in Derry at the time. The church was opened in 1788. The church was extended in 1810 with the introduction of gallery seating. In 1908, a full refurbishment included the addition the reposition of the High Altar and the introduction of a new sacristy. The church's refurbishment was completed in 1909.

What is your favourite building in Derry?

That's the question we have been asking the readers of the Derry News in recent weeks.

They have responded in huge numbers and now it will be up to the readers of the Derry News and the Derry Now website to decide the city's favourite building.

Above are the top five nominations which now face a public vote.

You can vote for your favourite building on our website poll above or by emailing editor@derrynews.net.

Voting will end at midnight on Sunday, February 28.

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