Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ramble Around Ireland #10:
Derry Londonderry

This ancient city is the fourth largest in all of Ireland and is known as both Derry and Londonderry. Derry is the older and common name from the Irish, Daire meaning oak grove. The name changed to Londonderry in the 17th century, when in 1608, the British Crown seized land in an attmept to "anglicize Ulster and create a loyal and acquiescent population....The various lands were handed over to various guilds of British traders to develop and manage." (from Being on the border line of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Derry has long been enmeshed in conflict between Catholic Nationalists and Protestant Unionists known as "The Troubles." It is a complex and storied history that I am not qualified to explain but you can read more about it here. That said, today Derry is a peaceful, beautiful, & robust town with so much to offer.

My favorite thing about Derry is that it's a walled city. There is a complete wall encircling the city center. You can walk the walls at any time and climb up and down frequent stairs to access the city. There is a lot of history visible from the walls and great views as well. Though we weren't able to take a Historical Wall Walking Tour, it came greatly recommended by out hotel.

Derry is in the northwest corner of Ireland and has incredible sights and landscapes just outside of town. We combined the Grianan of Aileach and Beaghmore Stone Circles into  a day trip from Derry.

Leaving my mark in our hotel room, looking out on the city walls and morning sunrise.

View of a city gate

View of the west of Derry outside the walls.

St. Columb's Cathedral at night. What an incredible beacon.

Evening view of streets from atop the walls

Shipquay Gate

The Peace Bridge (pedestrian) over the River Foyle symbolizing peace between the 

Canons on display on top of the City Walls; The Guildhall in the back ground.
On top of the wide City Walls

The Craft Village - a collection of little shops situated in a pedestrian zone made up of little alleyways, nooks, and crannies. 

A Gate through the City Wall with the Guildhall in distance.
We stayed in the Bishops Gate Room at No. 8 The Townhouse. I would highly recommend this lovely guest house. The city walls are literally right outside the windows but it is a nice quiet corner of town but still close to everything. The breakfasts were wonderful and the proprietors friendly and full of travel tips. The room was especially lovely.
Another Travel Tip - Take photos of your room right when you walk in, before you sit all your things down, crumple the bedding, etc. And take photos of your room. These are the details that my memory lets go of first. It's nice to have them chronicled.

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