"History is past politics, and politics present history." John Robert Seeley

"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see." Winston Churchill

"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing." Aristotle


The Apprentice Boys of Derry

Handout: Apprentice BoysDerryMemoSheet


The Apprentice Boys of Derry celebrate their cultural & political inheritance every December and August. These celebrations are held to commemorate the lifting of the Siege of Derry in 1689. The siege occurred when the Catholic King James II of England & Ireland attacked the Protestant stronghold of Derry.  The Apprentice Boys celebrate two specific parts of that event:

The Apprentice Boys were founded in 1814. Their annual commemorations celebrate the ‘No Surrender’ mentality of the beseiged Protestants of 1689, many of whom were starved during the siege. These celebrations re-enforce the ‘siege’ mentality, which, when interwoven with the complex political history of Northern Ireland, produce a hard-line Protestant Loyalist attitude that, traditionally, refused to compromise with the Catholic population of Derry.




Closing of the Gates

Breaking the Boom

The ‘Closing of the Gates‘ by 13 Apprentice Boys, 1689

The Lifting of the Siege by the Mountjoy, 1689







Apprentice Boys Clubs:

Loyalist Flag

Apprentice March

Apprentice Boys









    • Membership is restricted to Protestants who are loyal to the throne of England










Routes & Celebrations:

Traditionally, the Apprentice Boys would march on the walls of Derry as part of their celebrations. This became, especially from the 1960’s onwards, a flash-point of tension between Catholics & Protestant marchers.



























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