Derry to put pressure on Dublin re world heritage status?

Former Derry Mayor, Colm Eastwood is proposing the city bypasses London for Dublin in efforts to apply for world heritage status for the city from Unesco. The UKs list of nominations may be closed for the next nine years.

The Derry application was formulated around the basis that the city had a unique story from ‘Plantation to Peace’.

Mr Eastwood has pointed to Robben Island off Cape Town, the prison in which Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, as a similar venue of political importance which has achieved UNESCO’s World Heritage Status.

Mr Eastwood described any potential impediment to the application due to technicalities surrounding national boundaries as “illogical” due to the historical context of the application. Every effort should be made to find a method around any such potential difficulties” he said. “It is crucial that this city embeds its attraction as a cultural centre of historical Significance.

  • lamhdearg

    unesco, have enough on their plate, with palestinian, without bending its own rules further.

  • John Ó Néill

    There isn’t enough historic fabric in Derry to merit World Heritage status. Even applying for the walls on their own probably wouldn’t make a strong enough case as there are a lot of examples of walled cities, so there isn’t much that is unique about it.

    Still, makes for a nice headline. Is the SDLP conference on, or something…

  • Cynic2

    So is it only the protestant built heritage he’s applying for?

    And where is this peace he’s talking about. Has he forgotten that they bombed the city of culture office a couple f weeks ago?

    And above all, to try and link Derry to Nelson Madela is just so earth-shattering up its own backside that it brings ridicule not plaudits

  • Mick Fealty


    I’d put this in the category of clever rather smart. I don’t think fabric will necessarily be the only metric used by UNESCO who’ve been straying somewhat recently from their scientific mission, in particular into politics. That’s the reason for the Robbin Is reference.

  • John Ó Néill

    I can’t see a case being made to fulfill a cultural criteria, Mick. For a start, there’s no extant international research culture that is a metric of relevance/value etc. It sounds good but it isn’t a runner, really.

    On the plus side, Dublin can nominate but it has other sites it wants designated.

  • Mick Fealty

    I don’t disagree John. Those are the reasons I say clever not necessarily smart. But what can any NI pol point to as a tangible target/achievement?

  • John Ó Néill

    Maybe calling for a working group to consider what site, if any, meets the criteria so that there is a realistic chance of designation. Navan Fort might be a better bet and Dublin could be persuaded to nominate. Either way these things work better if they aren’t just occasional political hobby horses.

  • galloglaigh


    Derry shaped the course of Irish and European history in the 16th and 17th centuries. That heritage, which belongs to the city, also belongs to the World. It should be a World heritage site for that reason.

  • Cynic2

    Great. Will the Irish both support this and pay the bills that will result from it? And how will UNESCO manage this if the Sovereign Government of the Area doesn’t put it forward?

    I have no doubt though that with the right drive it might get through UNESCO but perhaps Colm Eastwood is too honest a man for what’s needed. Success with UNESCO really needs a lot of back slapping and strategic palm greasing. Perhaps the SDLP could get in some consultancy from some of their former friends in FF who have experience in these matters? I understand that a few of them are unemployed these days and may be happy to assist in return for the usual arrangements.

    And where is our own dear Culture Minister? Wrong footed by the SDLP perhaps? She’s now in Catch 22 of course. Because the SDLP asked Dublin to intervene this has been transformed into a cross community issue that needs DUP support to get through the Assembly – which it wont get.

    So Mick, on reflection I do agree that its a clever move. From the SDLPs standpoint it stiff’s SF and annoys the Unionists all at the same time while creating a situation where any progress is impossible so the cheque never gets cashed

    However, it really is just another form of coat trailing politics that increases the divisions and does nothing to move us towards a shared future. A real move forward would have been to put together a joint case with say the Apprentice Boys and DUP – but that’s not the path they have chosen.

    Makes you despair dunnit

  • Mick Fealty

    Very sharply observed Cynic. The real problem with move, beyond John’s noting of its impracticality is that it’s non strategic.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The SDLP motion would have acknowledged the Apprentice Boys place in the history of Derry.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I have my own suggestion for a cross border World Heritiage site, the Three Estate Villages, Caledon Tyrone, Tynan Armagh & Glaslough Monaghan. as a cluster they exemplify the plantation period and its later developments.