A book celebrating 1500 years of Derry’s most historic site has been launched by Colmcille Press. Casting A Long Shadow: A People’s History of the Long Tower is the first comprehensive history of the area to be produced in more than a century.
Written by Ivor Doherty, Martin McGeehan and Joe Martin, and edited by Erin Hutcheon and Philly Barwise, the new book features more than 30 contributors including Dr Brian Lacy, Séamas O’Reilly, Patricia Nic Torcail and Professor Declan McGonagle.
The researchers follow the site from Columban times, through the Middle Ages and the era of Penal Law, through the revival in the 1800s and 1900s, right up until the recent 1500th anniversary celebrations. The book revisits revolutionary priests, hostile city authorities, a graveyard landslide, and a pro-establishment bishop known as ‘Orange Charlie’. The authors unearth the story of how the Long Tower came to have one of the finest collections of church art outside Italy. Using archives, annals and ancient records, the authors attempt to pinpoint the location of the 6th century monastic settlement, the route of the medieval Columban pilgrimage, and the exact site of the 12th century Túr Fada (Long Tower), said to be the tallest building in Ireland at the time.
The book contains scores of photographs, illustrations and old records, which will captivate the casual reader and serious historian alike. Priced £20, Casting A Long Shadow is now available from local bookshops in Derry, and Colmcille Press.