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This city has known four names. Its original name was Daire Calgaigh, meaning ‘oak grove of Calgach’. In the 10th century it was renamed Doire Colmcille, or ‘the oak grove of St. Colmcille’, in remembrance of St. Colmcille who had established a monastic settlement on the site 400 years earlier. In 1609 when the English government decided to plant Derry with loyal subjects, Derry entered into an agreement with the city of London to provide the necessary planters. At that time the name was changed to Londonderry. In 1984 the city council decided to change this to Derry. The version chosen for use can be a political minefield around the city.
Derry has had a troubled history: it was here in 1688, that the 13 apprentice boys slammed the gates of Derry shut before the Catholic forces of James II. Some months later the great Siege of Derry began. The siege led to the death of a quarter of the city’s 30,000 inhabitants.
During 1968 the civil rights movement was gathering momentum and Derry was a hotbed of activity. Today, a city that is making the most of the peace, Derry is well worth a visit and the city council is undertaking several admirable heritage projects.
The Walls of Derry are considered the best preserved city fortifications in Europe. Standing almost 27 ft tall in places and with a width of 30 ft, they have never been breached in all of Derry’s troubled history.
The Amelia Earhart Centre is an unusual exhibition commemorating the unexpected landing of the pioneering woman pilot who was completing her historic solo transatlantic flight in 1932. There is a museum guide to show you the exact spot where the plane landed.
The Tower Museum is a good place to get a detailed and unbiased description of Derry’s history. It contains many historical artefacts and has won numerous travel and tourism awards.
St. Columb’s Cathedral, to the people of Derry, is a reminder of the Siege of Derry. Built in a Gothic style, it was used as a battery during the siege.
The Bloody Sunday Memorial pillar, on Rossville Street, was built to commemorate the civilians that were shot dead during a Civil Rights march on January 30, 1972.
Built in 1890, the Guildhall is a central venue for art, drama and music as well as housing Derry City Council’s Chamber.
Situated on the Foyle Road, the Foyle Valley Railway Centre is a reminder of the area’s once thriving railway network. There are numerous old engines on display and if desired, one can go on a short but scenic ride through Riverside Park in an old diesel railcar, it has been closed for some , however we have been informed of it reopening, please check dates and times.