Following the easing of NI restrictions, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, attended the reopening of the Tower Museum, Guildhall and Alley Theatre this week.
From Monday, indoor visitor attractions were permitted to reopen, and Mayor Tierney visited each of the Council facilities to hear more about the COVID-19 safety measures in place, and about the exhibitions and attractions available for visitors.
The Tower Museum
The Tower Museum have launched two exhibitions – ‘Shirts, Singers & Sewing’ which centres around the city’s famous shirt factories, and the Colmcille 1500 exhibition which is part of the celebrations of the 1500th anniversary of the birth of Colmcille. The Colmcille 1500 exhibition is in partnership with Donegal County Council and is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
Content also continues to be available online on the Tower Museum website, including the ‘Dividing Ireland – The origins, impact and legacy of partition’ exhibition which had been in the museum from July 2020 until February 2021.
A virtual tour of the exhibition is available, exploring how events at home and around Europe from 1912 to 1922 oversaw monumental changes to the political and social structures of the island of Ireland. The exhibition explores some of those events through objects and documents in the Museum’s collection.
The Dividing Ireland exhibition is part of the Understanding the Decade of Commemorations project, supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The project is match-funded by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
The Alley Theatre
At the Alley Theatre, an exhibition on Brian O’Nolan, known as Flann O’Brien, has opened which brings together some of the museum collections relating to the Strabane man. It gives a glimpse of the importance of his life as a novelist, playwright and satirist and highlights how he came to be considered as one of the major literary figures in twentieth century Irish literature.
There is also another exhibition on show titled ‘Loving Life’ which is a beautiful collection of both watercolour paintings and hand embroidered pieces created by Strabane native Pauline Norry.
Other services available within the Alley Theatre include the Strabane Visitor Information Centre, Box Office and Studio 1 Craft Collective.
Visitors to the Guildhall can view the Plantation of Ulster exhibition as well as other historic features of the famous ‘Heart of the City’.
Mayor Brian Tierney said he was delighted to see the buildings reopen to the public and encouraged everyone to pay a visit.
“I’m really delighted that we are now in a place where we are able to reopen the Tower Museum, the Guildhall and the Alley Theatre which all play a big role in our local history and culture scene.
“All three have fantastic exhibitions, displays and artefacts and I would encourage everyone, be it with your family or with a group of friends, to pay a visit. We are so fortunate to have these facilities on our own doorsteps and I think there’s a lot of locals, myself included, who could definitely learn a few things from visiting that we never knew before.
“I want to thank our Council officers who, even during the lockdown period, continued to run a fantastic programme of talks and exhibitions virtually, and there is still a wide range of content online for the public to enjoy.
“The team have also been working extremely hard to refresh the exhibitions within our facilities and to ensure all the measures are in place to safely welcome visitors back so why not pop in.”
Plan Your Visit
The Tower Museum is open from 9am to 5.30pm every day (last entry 4pm). The museum is self-guided but guided tours can be booked in advance.
The Guildhall is open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm (last entry 7pm) and 9am to 6pm (last entry 5pm) on Saturdays and Sundays. Guided tours can also be booked in advance.
The Alley Theatre is open from 10am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
To view the Tower Museum’s Dividing Ireland exhibition, visit here.
Advice and Support Available as Part of Alcohol Awareness Week
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, has said being aware of recommended limits and the effects of alcohol, and education around the potential dangers of alcohol, is extremely important.
The message comes as part of Alcohol Awareness Week, which takes place from Monday 14th to Sunday 20th June. It is supported by the Public Health Agency and the five Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams and centres around encouraging people to take a closer look at their drinking habits by counting their units to see if they’re staying within the recommended weekly limits.
Mayor Warke said that taking some time to evaluate personal alcohol consumption is recommended.
“Many people like to enjoy alcohol in moderation, but sometimes it can be very easy to find yourself consuming more than is recommended without even realising.
“This can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health, so it’s hugely important that everyone consuming alcohol is aware of the legal age, the recommended limits and is checking in on how that measures up with their own habits.
“The stresses and challenges of the past 16 months, and how much we have all been staying at home, may have led to some people drinking more alcohol than they typically would have before, so Alcohol Awareness Week this year is a particularly good opportunity to pick up a few helpful tips on how you can make small changes that will have a big difference in ensuring you can enjoy alcohol safely and in moderation.”
Further Regeneration of St Columb’s Park En Route
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced investment of almost £230,000 for a regeneration project designed to replace a pedestrian entrance and to improve car parking facilities into St Columb’s Park.
An investment of £183,535 from the Department for Communities, £25,000 from the Executive Office and £21,160 from Derry City and Strabane District Council will enable the improvements to commence.
This funding package will see the creation of a new pedestrian entrance opposite the Peace Tree, giving better and safer access/egress to St Columb’s Park from Ebrington Estate and wider links to the Waterside and City Centre. The car park will be resurfaced, reconfigured and realigned allowing for disabled parking and will include ramps, a new pedestrian pathway linking the car park to the new entrance and new crossing points. Soft landscaping will further enhance the area with the planting of hedging and trees.
Minister Hargey said: “I am delighted to announce this funding which will progress and complement the continued regeneration of St Columb’s Park. This project will enhance this stunning public amenity providing a safer, welcoming space for wellbeing, where we can walk, cycle and enjoy the extensive green space benefiting both the local community and visitors to the area.
“My Department continues to support our town and city centres recover from the impacts of Covid-19 and with increased usage over the past year it is more important than ever to invest in our cities green spaces.”
Welcoming the news, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney said: “I very much welcome the announcement of this funding which will enable us to finish works at the gateway to our beautiful St Columb’s Park, complementing the landscaping already completed on the Avenue. It will make accessing the park easier and more visually attractive for local people and visitors alike.
“Council continues to prioritise and invest in green space provision across the City and District and to identify opportunities to develop and enhance our green infrastructure to benefit the health, wellbeing and convenience of everyone. I want to thank our partners in the Department and The Executive Office, and commend everyone involved in the fantastic work on this project to date.”
This project has been jointly developed by The Executive Office and Derry City and Strabane District Council. The project will be managed by the Council who have already successfully completed a number of public realm projects in this beautiful park.