About Derry

Derry is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name Daire (modern Irish: Doire) meaning “oak grove”. In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and gained the “London” prefix to reflect the funding of its construction by the London guilds. While the city is more usually known colloquially as Derry, Londonderry is also commonly used and remains the legal name.

The old walled city lies on the west bank of the River Foyle, which is spanned by two road bridges and one footbridge. The city now covers both banks (Cityside on the west and Waterside on the east). The population of the city was 83,652 at the 2001 Census, while the Derry Urban Area had a population of 90,736. The district administered by Derry City and Strabane District Council contains both Londonderry Port and City of Derry Airport.

Derry is close to the border with County Donegal, with which it has had a close link for many centuries. The person traditionally seen as the founder of the original Derry is Saint Colmcille, a holy man from Tír Chonaill, the old name for almost all of modern County Donegal, of which the west bank of the Foyle was a part before 1610.

In 2013, Derry was the inaugural UK City of Culture, having been awarded the title in 2010.

Dominating the Northwestern landscape of Ireland, astride the fast-flowing waters of the River Foyle, is a 6th century city that today resonates to the sounds of the 21st century. The historic walled city of Derry, also known as Londonderry, is the sparkle in the friendly eye of one of our most historic regions. It is a centre of culture and creativity, and is now as famous for its confident modern outlook as it is for its timelessness. Meander through the bustling streets of the only completely walled city in the British Isles and listen to the echoes of 1450 years of history. Stroll along its 17th century walls, and marvel at the ever-changing skyline of a city which is constant only in in the warmth of its welcome.

Grand Parade on the City Walls with views towards the historic Bogside.

Few places in these islands can offer such a compelling and unique experience for the visitor as the Walled City of Derry – its setting on the steep hills overlooking the wide sweep of the River Foyle, its distinctive architecture and its famous walls all provide enormous appeal. Add to this a potent history – evidence of which runs from the earliest times right up to the recent past – and all of this adds up to a story that is interesting, relevant and substantial.

Cannon on the City’s Walls facing the Foyle.

The Walls vary in width between 12 and 35 feet.are the most complete in Ireland and one of the finest examples in Europe of Walled Cities. The city claims Europe’s largest collection of cannon whose origins are known precisely. Many of them thundered in anger over the two seventeenth century sieges. In 2005 the surviving 24 cannon were restored, and under expert supervision and often by hand, craftsmen, cleared the barrels of centuries of rubbish, stripped off layers of paint and corrosion and bathed, sponged and waxed the cannon back to their former glory. The cannon are displayed throughout the City Walls with the impressive Roaring Meg located on the double bastion.

Taking place between Thursday October 28th and Sunday October 31st, the event is set to be a feast for the senses with a special Carnival of Lights acting as the showpiece. Locals and visitors alike will be able to explore haunted houses, cruise with pirates on the Foyle, listen to chilling ghost stories and enjoy puppet theatre and family film shows. In addition, there will be special screenings of the Twilight Saga, bobbing for apples and pumpkin carvings, face painting, outdoor markets, ghostbuster tours, fancy dress costumes and much, much more. Derry is not the only city to be getting in on the Halloween act this year, as Lisburn will also be marking the occasion with an evening of spooky fun and games on Saturday October 30th.

Fireworks high above the Foyle as part of the City’s Hallowe’en festivities.
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