Derry Things to Do

  • Che Guevara mural
    Che Guevara mural
    by GeoV
  • 'Bloody Sunday' mural
    'Bloody Sunday' mural
    by GeoV
  • Derry, along the River Foyle
    Derry, along the River Foyle
    by Goner

Derry Things to Do

  • War Memorial – On the Diamond

    The square at the centre of the walled City of Derry, the point at which the four main streets from the four original city Gates converge, is called the Diamond and is the former location of various civic buildings and a market. In fact, three former town halls were located here. In 1904 a fire in Austin’s Department store on the Diamond (the...

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  • Blue Coat School Visitor Centre

    To the rear of First Derry Presbyterian Church is a refurbished Blue Coat School, now home to the The Blue Coat School Visitor Centre. This centre is a small museum on the history of Church, the history of Presbyterians in the city (and beyond) and the role Presbyterians played in the 1689 Siege of Derry.In the 1640s organised Presbyterianism...

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  • Raytheon and Derry

    Affixed to the City Walls in Guildhall Square I came across the plaques in the attached photograph.The circular plaque, clearly associated with the centre one, brings together two symbols of Derry – the famous 17th century City Walls which are among the best preserved and most complete city walls in Europe and the oak leaf, a much older symbol of...

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  • First Derry Presbyterian Church

    Presbyterians have resided in the City since around 1642 having arrived during the Plantation of Ulster which began in the early 1600s. By the time of the Siege there was a significant number of Presbyterians in Derry but still they didn’t have a place of worship within the City Walls. During the Siege, like many others in the region, the...

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  • St Augustine’s – A Church of Many Names

    An absolute must see. A real highlight of my visit.St. Augustine’s, known as the “Wee Church on the Walls” is built on the site of St Columba’s first monastery in Ireland which was founded in 546AD on “God’s Little Acre” , this site on the oak clad Hill of Derry given to him by his cousin, Aed, King of Cenel Conaill. The original church, St Columba...

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  • Heritage Tower – Former Derry Gaol

    This is the last remaining tower of a former gaol, the remainder of which was demolished in 1973. While the original gaol was built in 1791 the towers were an 1824 addition with this one being a hanging tower. This was the City’s third prison and replaced ones at the junction of Bishop Street and the Diamond (1620) and one at Ferryquay Gate...

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  • The Courthouse

    Despite numerous bombings through the "Troubles" this Greek Revival style building is as beautiful and sturdy looking as the day it was built, some 200 years ago in 1813 - though to be fair there have been a number of refurbishments in the intervening years. Why can’t buildings like this be built to-day? I wonder how many buildings built in 2013...

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  • The Peace Bridge across the Foyle

    The Peace Bridge, a 235m long cycle and foot self anchored suspension bridge across the River Foyle is a recent addition to the city’s landscape. London architects, Wilkinson Erye’s design concept was clear in the symbolic as well as the physical nature of the bridge – it stated that the bridge …“..will physically and symbolically unite both sides...

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  • There is a Green Hill in the Creggan

    Cecil Frances Alexander (nee Humphreys) was born in Dublin in 1818 and moved to the Derry/Strabane area in 1836. It was here that she began writing both poetry and hymns in the very simplistic style for which she became world famous. In 1850 she married Church of Ireland clergyman, William Alexander, who in 1867 was appointed Bishop of Derry. He...

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  • Cathedral Church of St Columb’s

    This Cathedral is a must see on your visit to Derry as it is inexorably linked with so much the history of this City. Forgive me for the number of links I have inserted in this review to other reviews which provide additional detail or context for this “summary” review.St Columb’s Cathedral, in Planter's Gothic style, was built between 1628 and...

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  • Amazing Grace – Newton and the Derry...

    Something to contemplate while you visit St Columb’s Cathedral.There are few, if any, better know hymns (and yes, it started out as and is a hymn) in the world then Amazing Grace. Ireland is famous for the quality of its poets and writers and many readers will be familiar with Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce and...

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  • Sally Forth from the Sally Port

    This is an easy one to miss and I must admit I just happened on it by chance or was it the Sherlock Holmes in me!While looking down into the Fountain Estate from the City Walls at Church Bastion (east side) I noticed that there was a path which looked like it was leading in under the Walls. Was there indeed a tunnel there? I had never heard of...

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  • Siege Heroes Mound

    In the grounds of St Columb’s Cathedral you cannot fail to notice a circular mound with an obelisk monument on top of it. Folklore and many misguided guides will tell you that this is the burial ground of the 13 original apprentice boys or indeed the 6000 – 10000 bodies of those who died in the 1689 Siege of Derry.In reality no-one is buried in the...

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  • Grand Parade- Enjoy the Walk

    This western section of the Derry City's Wall between Double Bastion and Butcher Gate is the widest section of the Wall and is known as Grand Parade. What a great stretch of the Wall it is for those seeking to promenade. It was quite amazing to recall as I stroll along here that these walls are 400 years old and to think about the history under my...

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  • The Guildhall

    This very beautiful neo-gothic red sandstone building, renovations of which precluded my entry in 2013, is the City Hall and seat of the Derry City Council. It is very much worth a look. While I, for reasons explained on my main Derry page, refer to the city as Derry the official name of the city is Londonderry. In 1984 the city Council changed the...

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  • Roaring Meg and other cannons

    As you stroll along the City Walls you cant fail to notice an abundance of old cannons. The majority of these cannons and many more no longer in existence were presented to the Plantation Settlers of the City in the early 1600s by various London livery companies – including Fishmongers, Grocers, Salters, Merchant Taylors and Vintners – under the...

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  • Walker Memorial Courtyard

    I was very much of two minds as to whether or not to do a review of this courtyard which forms part of the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall. My attached picture will suggest why a review is perhaps unwarranted. Not only has the Good Reverend George Walk disappeared from his plinth on the City Walls but he also seems to have disappeared from the Walker...

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  • The Walker Memorial Plinth – Royal...

    For the uninformed this is indeed a very peculiar sight – a well preserved (in fact totally refurbished in 2013) fenced in statue-less plinth.Until blown up by republican terrorists on 27 August 1973 this plinth on Derry's Walls sported a 25 metre column topped by a 5m statue of The Reverend George Walker who had one arm outstretched towards the...

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  • The Apprentice Boys – Memorial Hall and...

    In Northern Ireland there currently exist three Protestant Orders having their roots in the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1690 when the Protestant King William III defeated the deposed Catholic James II and secured his and the Protestant ascendancy to the British Throne. While things moved on in Britain, Irish Protestants immediately started...

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  • Bishop’s Gate - No Surrender to James II

    Please see my Walk Old Derry’s Walls tip for additional detail on the Siege of Derry.This gate is the best known of the four original gates on the City Walls and is at the highest point thereon. It was Bishop’s Gate that James II approached on 18 April 1689 expecting the citizens to surrender. James, requested the inhabitants to surrender four...

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  • Browning Memorial - Relief of Derry...

    Please see my Walk Old Derry’s Walls tip for additional detail on the Siege of Derry.When the Siege of Derry began on 18 April 1689 James II had a boom built across the River Foyle to stop food and other necessities being brought into the City. 105 days after the Siege began, on 28 July this boom across the Foyle was breached by a flotilla lead by...

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  • Ferryquay Gate - Shutting of the Gates...

    Please see my Walk Old Derry’s Walls tip for additional detail on the Siege of Derry.Ferryquay is one of the four original City gates and overlooked the ferryquay on the River Foyle. It originally had a drawbridge over a dry moat and a Tower. The gate significantly widened in 1795 and rebuilt in its present form in 1866. The keystones on this gate...

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  • Walk Old Derry’s Walls

    TIP SECTION UNDER CONSTRUCTIONFor 2013 Derry celebrates as the UK's first City of Culture. 2013 also marks the 400th anniversary of the commissioning of it's City Walls. With a few exceptions, most tips on VT envisage that you visit something or engage in some activity once – or at least once per visit. I am going to break with this supposition and...

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  • The People’s Gallery – Part 2 of 3

    If you have come upon this tip directly I suggest you have a look at Part 1 before continuing.Part 1 provides an introduction to, and background for, the murals in addition to some detail on the first two of twelve murals in the People’s Gallary on Rossville Street in the Bogside.This part provides some detail on murals 3 – 7 (based on date...

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  • The People’s Gallery - Part 1 of 3

    Background to the MuralsMany of the most significant events in Northern Ireland’s Troubles were played out in Derry and indeed right here in the Bogside. Throughout the Troubles the creation of sectarian murals by both the Catholic (nationalist) and Protestant (unionist) sides, particularly though not exclusively in Belfast and Derry, was seen as a...

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  • The Museum of Free Derry

    Don’t be misled by the mural to the right of the entrance of the museum which clearly relates to the Palestinian struggle. While the people of the Bogside and most particularly civil rights activists have associated themselves with left wing, socialist struggles across the world including those in Palestine and Cuba (see picture 4 – noting that the...

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  • The People’s Gallery – Part 3 of 3

    If you have come upon this tip directly I suggest you have a look at Part 1 before continuing.Part 1 provides an introduction to and background for the murals in addition to some detail on the first two of twelve murals in the People’s Gallary on Rossville Street in the Bogside.This part provides some detail on murals 8-12 (based on date created)...

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  • Bloody Sunday Memorial

    On what quickly became known as Bloody Sunday ( 30 January 1972) – no doubt echoing Dublin's Bloody Sunday of November 1920, 13 protesters at a civil rights march were shot dead by troops from the British Army’s Parachute Regiment (1 Para). On 16 June 1972 a further protester died from wounds sustained on Bloody Sunday. This memorial on Rossville...

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  • Hunger Strike Memorial

    Growing up in Northern Ireland at the time, I have very vivid memories of the 1981 hunger strike which lasted 217 days and resulted in the death of 10 republican prisoners. The 1981 hunger strike was the culmination of a five-year protest by republican prisoners in the infamous H-Blocks of HM Prison Maze (formerly Long Kesh) outside Belfast to be...

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  • Republican Paramilitary Memorials

    At various points in the city if you keep your eyes peeled you will come across plaques, erected by the Derry Republican Graves Association, to Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteers killed in the Northern Ireland “Troubles” - the term used to describe the 30 years of conflict between 1969 and 2000 which tore the protestant and catholic or unionist...

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  • Free Derry Wall

    On 5 January 1969, some two hundred and eighty years after a lowly apprentice boy had shouted the immortal words, “No Surrender”, from Derry’s City Walls and slammed the city gates shut in the face of James II’s army a local republican activist, John “Cacker” Casey, painted the equally immortal words “You are now entering Free Derry” on the gable...

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  • An Angel in The Fountain

    Fountain Estate (or The Fountain) is the last remaining Protestant community on Londonderry’s (as the approximately 500 Loyalist residents most assuredly call it) cityside. The Apprentice Angel while appearing like a rather mundane bronze sculpture of a nobody is in fact a most symbolic piece of sculpture in a city full of symbolism. The Apprentice...

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  • Riverwatch Aquarium

    This small, and as its name might suggest, mainly freshwater aquarium is located on the outskirts of the city though just a few minutes drive from the Craigavon Bridge heading towards Strabane. It features eight tanks devoted to the aquatic life of the eight different habitats in the local area, mainly the River Foyle, nearby Carlingford Lough and...

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  • A dugout canoe in Derry !

    Having lived in the Papua New Guinea and having travelled a fair bit in the Pacific and South East Asia I am very familiar with dugout canoes, outrigger canoes and other small water borne vessels.What I hadn’t expected to see was a dugout canoe in Derry so when I saw something that looked like a canoe from a little distance in the car park of the...

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  • Austins – The World’s Oldest Department...

    While this tip is about a department store I have included it in things to do as I have rarely had cause to shop here – my interest is in its history.Very few of my readers will have heard of Austins Department Store. The majority of readers will, however, have heard of Harrods in London which opened in 1845, Macys in New York which opened in 1855...

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  • Past, Present and Future from a local

    City Walking Tour I had not visited Derry for a number of years and this time I was with someone who had not been there before. Perchance I made an idiot of myself by not knowing my way around, I decided to call into the Tourist Office (at 44 Foyle Street, along the River Foyle) and procure a tourist map of the city. Prior to getting into the...

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  • Hands Across the Divide

    In choosing a feature picture for my Derry page I choose a picture of this sculpture (the first one attached here) as it is a memorial to nothing, a commemoration of nothing but rather a work that sides with nobody and asks one to look forward to the future with hope and high expectation. Let me tell you a little more about this sculpture here.As...

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  • Visit the Tower Museum

    After checking in at the Amore B&B, I ventured out into the city centre on foot with a city map. Eventually, I reached the Tower Museum which has great exhibits about Derry's history and the Spanish Armada. While I would have liked to have toured this entire museum in depth, I only had limited time -- and many things that I wanted to see. While...

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  • See St. Columb's Cathedral

    Just inside the historic Walls, there is a magnificent Gothic style cathedral that was consecrated in 1633 and dedicated to St. Columba, the Ulster monk who established a Christian settlement in the Derry area before being exiled from Ireland. St. Columb later introduced Christianity to Scotland and northern England. Today, St. Columb's Cathedral...

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  • Get all the information you need

    Visit the website before you go to Derry, and fill out the brochure request form. They'll send you a handy visitor guide and a coupon booklet. While you are in Derry, visit the office on the Foyle Street to pick up tour, accommodation, and other information on local area and other parts of Ireland. Small gift shop inside, and they provide Bureau de...

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  • Clonking along the Foyle - choo choo

    The Museum of the Foyle Valley Railway is easily found on the city side of the main bridge.The Museum itself is free, and rides on the railcar a couple of miles down the valleyand back are only a few quid each.The main railway from Belfast used to travel over the main bridge - a rather unusual double deckar one - but now terminates some distance...

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  • Visit The Museum of Free Derry

    The Museum of Free Derry advertises that it is an archive focusing on the civil rights era of the 1960s and the Free Derry/early Troubles era of the 1970s. It is a small museum, and it is a little difficult to find because it is set back a bit off Rossville Street in the Bogside section.The majority of the museum is dedicated to the watershed event...

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  • Visit the Guildhall

    The Guildhall is a neo-Gothic style building that serves as the civic and cultural centre for the people of the Derry. Throughout the year, there are many concerts, exhibitions and meetings held here.The Guildhall was originally built in 1887 by The Honourable The Irish Society -- an English organization that promoted the colonization of the County...

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  • Take a walking tour with Derry City...

    Derry City Tours advertises that tours are available all year round, 7 days a week at 10 am, 12 Noon, and 2 pm. I arrived at their starting location at 10 am. Despite the fact that I was the only person (it was the offseason) and it had started to rain, tour guide John McNulty gave me the full Historical Tour of Derry City.The tour was both...

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  • Visit the Bloody Sunday Memorial

    On Rossville Street in the Bogside, there is a granite obelisk memorial to the fourteen civil rights protesters who were killed by a British Army Paratroop Regiment in the Bloody Sunday massacre on Sunday 30 January 1972. The names of all fourteen victims are inscribed on the memorial. If anyone wants to learn more about the Bloody Sunday massacre,...

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Derry Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Derry things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Derry sightseeing.
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