Welcome to Co. Derry, a captivating region nestled in the heart of Northern Ireland. Derry is located in the middle of Northern Ireland and has the beauiful River Foyle running through the city and mountains also close by. Derry (or Londonderry as some call it) is an enchanting area steeped in history, adorned with stunning landscapes, and a tapestry of cultural wonders. Co. Derry offers every visitor a compelling blend of experiences from its ancient past to its modern-day attractions.
Unveiling the History
Co. Derry boasts a history that dates back thousands of years. It was initially inhabited by ancient Celts, evidenced by the numerous ancient sites scattered across the landscape. These sites, including stone circles and burial mounds, speak volumes about the region’s rich and mystical past.
The Walled City of Derry/Londonderry
One of Co. Derry’s most iconic features is the historic Walled City of Derry, also known as Londonderry. The construction of these formidable walls began in the early 17th century, and they remain remarkably intact today. Walking atop these ramparts offers a glimpse into the city’s tumultuous past, filled with tales of sieges, conflicts, and resilience.
Conflict and Reconciliation
In more recent times, Co. Derry played a significant role in the Troubles, a period of conflict that shaped Northern Ireland. The Bogside area in Derry witnessed some of the most pivotal moments during this period, including the tragic events of Bloody Sunday in 1972. The Museum of Free Derry is a poignant reminder of this troubled past, dedicated to preserving the memory of those affected by the conflict.
Top Sights to Explore
The Giant’s Causeway
Venture slightly beyond the borders of Co. Derry to witness the awe-inspiring wonder of the Giant’s Causeway. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a spectacle comprising interlocking basalt columns that give rise to mythical tales of giants. Marvel at the natural hexagonal formations, explore the rugged coastline and soak in the mystical ambience surrounding this natural phenomenon.
Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne
Perched dramatically on the cliff’s edge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Mussenden Temple exudes grandeur and elegance. Inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Italy, this neoclassical structure offers breathtaking coastline views. Adjacent to the temple lies Downhill Demesne, a sprawling estate encompassing landscaped gardens, a striking mausoleum, and the ruins of Downhill House, providing visitors with a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of bygone eras.
Roe Valley Country Park
Embrace the tranquillity of nature at Roe Valley Country Park, a serene sanctuary boasting woodlands, meadows, and the serene River Roe. Meandering walking trails, such as the Roe Valley Trail, leads visitors through enchanting landscapes, past cascading waterfalls like O’Cahan’s Rock and alongside the tranquil riverbanks. This park is a sanctuary for wildlife enthusiasts, offering glimpses of various bird species and diverse flora.
Guildhall and St. Columb’s Cathedral
The Guildhall, a symbol of Derry’s rich heritage and stunning architecture, is adorned with striking stained glass windows and ornate interiors. Its historical significance is evident in the exhibits that chronicle the city’s past, making it a cultural hub worth exploring. Nearby, St. Columb’s Cathedral stands as a testament to the city’s resilience, dating back to the 17th century. Its impressive architecture and historical artifacts add to the allure of Derry’s religious and cultural landscape.
Limavady and the Sperrin Mountains
Nestled amidst the captivating landscape of the Sperrin Mountains, Limavady offers a charming escape. This quaint town, with its cobbled streets and historic buildings, serves as a gateway to the rugged beauty of the Sperrins. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the panoramic vistas, scenic drives, and many outdoor activities.
The Walls of Derry/Londonderry
The iconic Walls of Derry/Londonderry encapsulate centuries of history within their fortified structure. Take a leisurely stroll along these well-preserved ramparts, offering panoramic views of the cityscape and the River Foyle. The walls provide a glimpse into Derry’s turbulent past while showcasing its vibrant presence with bustling shops, cafes, and street art adorning the city streets.
Where to stay in Derry:
Our 5* Pick – Shipquay Hotel
Our 4* Pick – Everglades Hotel
Our 3* Pick – Walled City Apartments
Our Budget Pick – Premier Inn
Food & Drink:
To Eat: Shipquay Restaurant
To Drink: Link 47 Bar & Restaurant
Co. Derry’s top sights blend history, natural splendour, and cultural richness, inviting visitors to embark on a captivating journey through time and landscapes. Whether exploring ancient ruins or basking in the breathtaking vistas, each site promises an unforgettable experience.
Derry is not merely a collection of landmarks and historical sites; it’s a tapestry woven with the warmth and hospitality of its people. The locals, known for their friendliness and welcoming nature, add charm to the region’s allure.
So, immerse yourself in the captivating blend of history, culture, and natural splendour that Co. Derry graciously offers. Experience the magic of this enchanting region and create memories that will last a lifetime.