Roaring Meg is the most famous of the city's cannon. She weighs a mighty 1794 kilograms. The Fishmongers' Company of London presented her to the city in 1642. She saw action in the 1689 siege, probably from this bastion. It could take up to six men to fire a large cannon. Two packed the gunpowder into the barrel and inserted the cannon ball. A third lit the fuse while the fourth aimed the cannon at the target. The force of the explosion could cause the gun carriage to roll back up to six metres. The last two men pushed it back into position, ready to load again.
'Artificial and exquisite machines'
The city was unprepared for the Irish Rebellion of 1641. We in the city are in extreme want of arms for at the beginning of these troubles the best went into the country...and there is not 100 swords in the city among all our men. The people, their numbers swelled by thousands of refugees, were nearly starving. A letter was sent to the City of London Companies who dispatched food, arms and 15 cannon. Some were made by the King's gun founder, one of the most skilled in Europe. Among the cannon on the walls today are the artificial and exquisite machines gifted in 1642 by the Fishmongers, Grocers, Merchant Taylors, Mercers, Salters and Vintners.
The Bishop's Casino
In the 18th century the windmill was put to more peaceful use as a pigeon house. Bishop Hervey laid out the slopes as a pleasure ground in the 1770s with a bowling green, gardens, lawns and a grove of Spanish chestnut trees. At the top of the hill he built a small Classical casino or summerhouse. From 1879 the casino became the chapel of St Colmkille's Seminary which later became St Columb's College school. Now called Lumen Christi College, it is one of the few schools in the world which can claim two Nobel Laureates as pupils - the poet Seamus Heaney and the politician John Hume.