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Derry’s Delights: Hidden Gems and Attractions of a Historic City

Derry Girls Mural, Badgers Bar, DerryK. Mitch Hodge on unsplash

The lowdown and things to do in Derry, the nicest city in the north. A quick guide to things to see and places to eat and drink.

Derry is a city located in the north of Ireland, situated on the banks of the River Foyle. With a population of around 85,000 people, it is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-largest on the island of Ireland. The city has a fascinating history dating back to the 6th century when it was founded by monks.

Derry played an essential role in the Industrial Revolution, especially in the linen trade, but it is perhaps most known for the events that occurred during the Troubles. The period of conflict between the late 1960s and the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 was a challenging time for the city. Derry was the site of the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972, which saw the deaths of 14 innocent civilians during a peaceful civil rights march. However, the city has since moved on and has become a symbol of peace and reconciliation.

Today, Derry is a vibrant city with a thriving arts and culture scene. It is home to many festivals throughout the year, showcasing the city’s rich heritage and diversity. The Foyle Film Festival, the City of Derry Jazz Festival, and the Derry Halloween Festival are among the most popular events.

Derry is known for its historic walls, which are among the best-preserved city walls in Europe. Visitors can take a leisurely walk along the walls and enjoy stunning views of the city. The walls date back to the 17th century and are a testament to the city’s turbulent past.

One of the best places to learn about Derry’s history is the Museum of Free Derry. The museum chronicles the city’s history during the Troubles, honoring the civil rights activists who fought for justice. Another must-visit attraction is the Bogside neighborhood, where many of the key events of the Troubles took place.

The Guildhall is a stunning neo-Gothic building in the heart of the city that serves as the seat of local government. Visitors can explore the building and learn about its fascinating history. St. Columb’s Cathedral is another beautiful example of Gothic architecture and the oldest building in the city.

The Peace Bridge is a pedestrian and cycle bridge that spans the River Foyle and connects the two sides of the city. Visitors can take a leisurely walk or cycle across the bridge and enjoy stunning views of the city.

The Craft Village is a charming area of shops and cafes that showcases the work of local artisans. Visitors can explore the area and purchase unique, locally made items. The Tower Museum tells the story of Derry’s maritime and industrial history and is a fascinating place to visit.

The Millennium Forum is one of Northern Ireland’s premier performing arts venues and hosts a variety of shows and concerts throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy a traditional Irish meal at one of the city’s many pubs and restaurants, which offer a range of local and international cuisine.

In conclusion, Derry is a city with a complex and fascinating history that has emerged from a difficult past to become a symbol of peace and reconciliation. Visitors can explore the city’s historic walls, museums, and neighborhoods, attend festivals and shows, and enjoy the local cuisine. Whether you are interested in history, culture, or just want to experience the vibrant energy of this unique city, Derry has something to offer everyone.

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