Derry (Londonderry)

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Derry is a beautiful city filed with Irish charm; it is full of historic buildings and wonderful attractions that delight its visitors from around the world. Situated on the banks of the Foyle River the city is a mixture of the ancient and the contemporary. The city was previously known by the name of Londonderry, and during the troubles the name of Londonderry was constantly being cited on news programmes as being at the heart of IRA activities, leaving the city with a less than friendly image. Since the troubles ended, the city has taken on a peaceful air and to reflect the change in atmosphere the name was changed to Derry. Derry is now looking to the future and is hoping to gain the same levels of tourist traffic as many of the other towns and cities in Northern Ireland, which it rightly deserves as it has a lot to offer its visitors.

Photo by Nicolas Raymond
Photo by Nicolas Raymond

City Attractions

After Belfast, Derry is Northern Ireland’s second largest city and it offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities and visitor attractions for all the family. The ancient city walls still stand strong and give the city an incredible amount of character. Countries around the world have all had their share of Irish immigrants and in recent years there has been an increase in the amount of people coming to the city from a myriad of countries all wanting to trace their Irish heritage.  In response to these requests the city has opened a genealogy centre to aid visitors in tracing their Irish heritage.

Visitors can also learn about the history and culture of the city in the Fifth Province experience. Visitors to the city will note that the recent troubled past has left scars, and the Hands Across the Divide memorial in the city is a reminder of the tragic events that occurred in the city during the Bloody Sunday riots in 1972. On the outskirts of the city you will find the Amelia Earhart Centre, she was the first woman to fly singled handed across the Atlantic Ocean, and the centre is situated on the spot where she landed at the end of that record breaking flight. In the centre you will find a wealth of information about Amelia and details of her gruelling flight, inspiring to say the least.

City History

Derry is a city that has much history behind it, and as you move around the city you will find that there is always something ready to grab your attention. The Guildhall is located right in the heart of the city, looking almost like a cathedral with its Gothic architecture; it was in the Guildhall Square that US President Bill Clinton addressed the waiting crowds on his visit to the city in 1995. The city has two cathedrals St Eugene’s and St Columb’s as well as many historic churches that are worthy of a visit as they have stood for centuries as the city has changed around them. A visit to the Bogside area will take you to the Bloody Sunday Memorial and the emotive Free Derry Corner.

Museums and Culture

Many museums and other cultural attractions have been added to the city in the past couple of decades, and the Museum of Free Derry which also goes by the alternative name of the National Civil Rights Archive drawn numerous visitors through its doors every year. There is also the Tower Museum and the harbour Museum to visit, as well as the Foyle Railway Centre, each of which contains wonderful information and artefacts relating to their specific themes.

There are lots of opportunities for enjoying art in the city too, one of the most unusual is the Open Air People’s Gallery; this is a collection of twelve vast murals that have been painted on the sides of buildings. Information relating to these incredible artistic statements can be found in the Bogside Artists Studio which can be found close by. For those who prefer their art a little more traditional there are the several galleries that you can visit. For the very best in contemporary Irish art a visit to the McGilloway Gallery is in order.

Other Attractions

Northern Ireland boats some incredible countryside, and a visit to Derry will see you perfectly situated to explore some of the surrounding areas for some incredible day trip opportunities. The World Heritage Site of the Giant’s Causeway, a vast series of gigantic volcanic stepping stones really is a must see natural phenomenon. There are plenty of interesting town and villages only a short drive away and a day trip to the capital city of Belfast is easily achievable from your location in Derry. Whatever you hope your trip to Ireland will bring you, you can be sure that the incredible hospitality of the Irish people will make you feel very welcome.

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