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Ebrington Square - The City's secret walls

Hidden : 08/01/2015
1.5 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size: micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

Londonderry is famous for and rightfully proud of its 17th century city walls, but on the east bank of the River Foyle on city’s waterside is a second set of historic walls, these are an example of a Victorian Star Fort, and until recently were a well-kept secret hidden behind modern military infrastructure since removed to reveal the original Victorian structure.  Here you will find a magnetic microcache. 

“In memory of those from all Nations who lost their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic. And in lasting tribute to the part played by the citizens of this city in the longest battle of the Second World War 1939-1945” Inscription of the International Sailor monument

Welcome to Ebrington Square a regenerated piece of public space, and where the Peace Bridge connects to the Waterside. This is a former military barracks and the site is steeped in military history. Originally this was part of Strong’s Orchard, and its first military use came in the Great Siege of Derry in 1689. Here the besieging Jacobite forces of the deposed King James II/VII placed an artillery battery to bombard the city. The main artillery type were mortars which fired high trajectory shells over the river and walls at people and buildings in the city. These were deadly and effective at brining fear and terror to the populace.

The current barracks was built between 1839 - 1841 and was named Ebrington barracks after Lord Ebrington who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the time. Derry has always been a garrison city and the purpose of the barracks was to house the garrison. Originally Irish regiments such as the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot and 109th Regiment of Foot were garrisoned here, but by the brink of the First World War English regiments such as the Cheshire Regiment along with elements of the Irish Guards and Inniskilling Dragoon Guards formed the garrison.  Two famous writers served at Ebrington during World War I - the poet Francis Ledwidge (1887 - 1916) and the 18th Baron Dunsany, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett (1878 - 1957).

Colour Party 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment, Ebrington 1913

During the Second World War it was home to the local Home Guard who were formed of locals to defend against an Axis invasion, and in 1941 the United States Army’s 10th Station Hospital. During the War Londonderry's strategic position as the most western port in the United Kingdom saw the city play the role of a major convoy escort base for the battle of Atlantic and home to many Allied Warships, principally Canadian, American and British. As such Ebrington Barracks changed hands from army to navy and was commissioned as a “stone frigate” and named HMS Ferret. Ferret was a depot for resupplying ships with fuel and ammunition as well as being an anti-submarine warfare training school.

US Soldiers on the parade square

After the war it was renamed HMS Sea Eagle and remained a joint anti-submarine school for the Cold War until it was handed back to the Army in 1970, and renamed Ebrington Barracks. It housed the 8th Infantry Brigade until 2004, when the regular soldiers were rebased elsewhere and the barracks was closed by the Ministry of Defence. Today the City garrison is a small unit of local Army Reservists who are based elsewhere in the waterside.

International Sailor Monument

In 2011 the barracks was redeveloped into Ebrington Square, and now houses the Walled City Brewry, a studio and some local government offices, as well as being an excellent place for large events including the Turner Prize and concerts. The large parade square has in recent years seen the Walled City Tattoo and the BBC Radio One Big Weekend.

Pipers at the Walled City Tattoo

The cache is located near the former canteen in the north western corner, near the international sailor memorial. 

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