Blogs from Londonderry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Europe


Derry is one of the best example of a walled city in Europe, and the only remaining city in Ireland with virtually complete walls surrounding the inner core. The walls were erected early in the 17th century as defenses against encroaching English and Scottish settlers. Like most places in Northern Ireland, they saw their share of trouble during "The Troubles". The walls were a good 12 feet wide and originally had only four entrances, all of which met at one central square. When the walls were first built, the river came up to the edge of one wall. Land has since been 'reclaimed' and the Guildhall, a waterfront, roads and parks are on the land that was once water. We looked out onto 'bogside' which was the Catholic part of town during the Troubles; the IRA ... read more
Derry Wall Gate

Today was a very full day: Carrickfergus Castle;Bushmills Distillery, Portrush, Giant's Causeway. Carrickfergus Castle: in the town of Carrickfergus: over 800 years old, sitting on the point so surrounded by water on three sides. In the 1100s, there was no ability to attack from water so thick walls and a thicker door with portcullises was the answer. Sounds good but the castle surrendered the three times it was actually attacked! Bushmills Distillery: only the water from the spring in town is used to make this whiskey. Nice tour and tasting (and gift shop) at the end. Bucketed down rain while we were in the packing area which had a metal roof but then let up as we were ready to move to the next building. Lunch in Portrush, a seaside resort which was packed despite the ... read more
King Billy
BelfasttoDerry0430 004
Slit windows for arrows

MON, 01 AUG 2022 – “Day 2: Fionn MacCool Giants Causeway and the walled city of Derry - The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is not for the faint hearted. Swaying 30 meters above the churning Atlantic, we’ll walk the creaking wooden slats to tiny Carrick Island. Then it’s off to the Giant’s Causeway, a natural world heritage site, formed by a volcanic eruption, 60 million years ago. Learn about the legend that was the burly giant, Fionn MacCool. It’s on to Derry, the last walled city to be built in Europe and home to some very famous walls such as the Bogside Murals and Free Derry Corner. Explore the city by night as the lights shimmer on the River Foyle, before heading for a cocktail in Granny Annie’s or some toe-tapping jazz, in Bennigans. Estimated driving time: ... read more
Carnlough Village, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK
Carnlough Village, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK
Carnlough Village, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK

Dear All And so here is my third and final blog entry on my amazing mid-winter trip to Northern Ireland in February. As mentioned, although the trip was only four days in length, I feel I packed so much into it, that I am so glad to be able to write three separate blog entries about it. Upon booking my trip, it was quite easy for me to make the decision of spending one day in Belfast and one on the Causeway Coast. It was not so easy to decide what to do on my third day. My initial thoughts lay with visiting the nearby town of Antrim, which sits close to Lough Neagh, the largest lake both in the United Kingdom and also in Ireland. I could take a quick train trip down to the ... read more
Wall Mural
City Walls
Me, Peace Bridge

30 septembre 2016 : Nous arrivons à Londonderry pour voir son mur, sa tour-musée et le Bogside (quartier catholique lieu d'une vériteble bataille en 1969. Nous partons ensuite pour Enniskillen et son château avec musée. Nous quittons ensuite l'Irlande du Nord pour rentrer dans un premier temps à Wiklow.... read more

Geo: 54.9981, -7.30934Today we left Kilcolgan for the drive to Derry. Karen had an early appointment so she told us last night what to do about the keys and the doors when we were ready to leave. Philip got the car packed (I think with Grizzly's help), and we were on our way.The driving today was over mostly nice two-lane roads. At one point, the gps told us to take off the highway for more rural roads. We did that not realizing what was happening at first, but corrected ourselves within a couple of miles. She continued telling us to turn around or take other rural roads, but we ignored that and stayed on the highway. After restarting the gps a couple of times, she finally caught up and was helpful getting through Derry. She didn't ... read more
Apartment in Derry
Apartment in Derry
Apartment in Derry

Had a bit of a sleep in this morning and headed down to breakfast at 9am having packed up the car ready to go. Finding somewhere for dinner last night at 9pm was hard, well finding breakfast at 9am was just as hard! Finally found a lovely little coffee shop on the other side of the Diamond. Then walked around the corner to Donegal castle for 10am. “Built by the O'Donnell chieftain in the 15th century, beside the River Eske, the Castle has extensive 17th century additions by Sir Basil Brooke. The Castle is furnished throughout and includes Persian rugs and French tapestries. Information panels chronicle the history of the Castle owners from the O'Donnell chieftains to the Brooke family.” An amazing restoration with a full banquet hall. It took 4 months for the roof to ... read more
Donegal accommodation
Breakfast in Donegal
Donegal Castle

Geo: 54.9981, -7.30934Driving in Northern Ireland has introduced a peculiar Irish sense of humour. In addition to very narrow winding roads, we noted that the authorities have completely done away with speed limit signs both in towns and on the open roads- in their place are a copious number of signs warning of the presence of speed cameras (don't tell me what the limit is but take a photo if I exceed it?). Even the parking requires local knowledge and copying others doesn't work as I think there's some sort of secret handshake involved. I might be getting tickets long after leaving the country.Our last stop in Northern Ireland had to be Londonderry, second only to Belfast when it came to the violence of 'the troubles'. Even the name of the city (second largest in Northern ... read more
Irish Countryside
Irish Street Scene

Some highlights of the past week: Monday morning, the Principia Consortium (the program that I am a part of while studying at the University of Glasgow) organized a field trip to the Old Govan Church. It was a very cool building and grounds; we got a personalized tour for our group and got to explore everything. The site has a very interesting history; it has been a church for an incredible amount of time. The current building is the fifth church to be built in this location. Tuesday evening, Sabrina, Henriette, Ashlee and I went to the Royal Theatre to see the opera Cinderella by Rossini. While we were all a bit underwhelmed by the costumes, the general performance was very great and the experience was quite a lot of fun. There were some interesting variations ... read more
The Walls Around Londonderry
The Cathedral
Views from the Walls

Sat 26 April 2014, Derry, Northern Ireland to Portballintrae, Northern Ireland. As we spent the night in Derry we decided to do a little sightseeing. After breakfast we took the ‘Red Bus’ tour around Derry. Derry is a border town between Northern Ireland and Ireland, thus a hot spot for trouble during the height of conflict between the Catholic’s and protestant's. There are still plenty of reminders of the conflict, however according to the locals, it has all been put behind them, only time will tell. Derry is a beautiful town, surrounded by a castle wall, which is still intact, but all the history appears to focus on the recent conflict and not the real history of the town. After a short walk through ‘Free Derry’ we got back into the car and headed for Portballintrea ... read more
Annette McGavigan
Panorama of Free Derry
Old City walls of Derry

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