Derry Mini Guide
Tell me about The City…
Derry or Londonderry as it is also known is Northern Ireland’s second largest city. It is one of Europe’s best examples of a walled city and one of the last to be built. The city is built on the banks of the River Foyle which is spanned by two bridges. There are seven gateways into the city and the walls provide a unique walkway. The city has a nickname, the Maiden City, as during the sieges of the 17th century, the walls were never breached.
How do I get There?
From the UK you can fly into City of Derry Airport, just 7km from the city. Within Ireland, there is one rail route from Belfast
to Derry, which takes two hours or you can take a coach, journey time: 1hour 40 minutes. Within the city, you can use the 13 bus routes available from Foyle Street Bus station.
What can I see There?
You can take a step back in time and discover the city’s past, by taking a walking tour. If you want to learn more about Derry’s history, visit the Tower Museum, this also holds the Armada Shipwreck Exhibition, with a shipwreck retrieved off the Donegal coast in 1588. St Columb’s Cathedral was built in 1633 and survived the Sieges of Derry, it is one of the cities most historic buildings. You could also see the neo-gothic Guildhall, which is famous for its stained glass windows. To understand the city a little more, take a look at the Bogside People's Gallery of Murals, these depict political expression during ‘The Troubles’.
What’s the Shopping Like?
In Derry, there is something for everyone’s taste and pocket. Foyleside Shopping Centre is the largest shopping centre in Northern Ireland with 45 shops. For something a little different visit the Craft Village, it is a reconstruction of an 18th century street and a 19th century square and has craft shops, a restaurant and coffee shop. There are designer boutiques dotted around the city, including those of local designers. For gifts or souvenirs, look for local handmade Celtic jewellery, Derry crystal, local linen and knitwear and stonecraft.
What About Eating out?
The restaurants in Derry pride themselves in creating dishes using the freshest local ingredients in season. The area produces succulent lamb, pork and game. The black and white pudding is also excellent, although it's not to everyone's taste of course! The shore provides an array of fish and seafood - the lobster, oysters, scallops and prawns are some of the best in the world. The Irish soda bread is another must try. Whether you are looking for a fine dining experience, traditional cuisine or international flavours, you will find them all in Derry.
Go to Waterloo Street and visit a traditional Irish pub for a Guinness and the ‘craic’.
Are There any Festivals or Special Events?
The Foyle Film Festival takes place in the city in November and in March the Big Tickle Comedy Festival is held. The Maiden City Festival in August, is a week of events and performances, the Siege of Derry is commemorated at this time by a pageant by the Apprentice Boys of Derry. The Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival is considered the biggest street party in Ireland with more than 30,000 participants. Derry will be named UK City of Culture in 2013.
- There'll be no better time to visit Derry than in 2013 when it assumes the mantle of UK City of Culture. Already crammed full of cultural events, the calendar will be further added to with theatrical performances at the Millennium Forum as well as music festivals celebrating the musical heritage of Ulster.