Closing the Gates Ceremony

Closing the Gates Ceremony

December 18
The celebration that takes place on this day in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, commemorates the siege of 1688, when James II, at the head of a 20,000-man army, stormed the Protestant city's walls. Londonderry's governor, Colonel Lundy, wanted to surrender and was eventually let down over the walls and permitted to join the king's forces. The governor's scheme to deliver the city to the British was foiled by 13 boy apprentices who managed to shut the Ferryquay Gate just as the British were about to enter the city. The siege lasted for 105 days, during which thousands of Londonderry citizens died of starvation or disease. A ship named the Mountjoy finally broke the blockade that had been set up on the River Foyle and brought food to the city's starving inhabitants.
The celebrations held annually on December 18 are set up by the Association of the Apprentice Boys of Derry. The festivities include an historical pageant, the climax of which is the burning of Colonel Lundy's effigy.
SOURCES:
YrFest-1972, p. 88