Places to Visit in Derry

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Monuments at Derry are stark reminders and have a lot to convey about the conflicts of the bygone days between the British and Irish, Catholics and the Protestants.This is one of the most gripping reminders of the political tumult that took place against the imprisonment sans trial of the protestors. About 14 protestors were shot dead by the British Army officers. This occurred in 1972.

This structure stands in Guildhall Square. It was torched and burned down,while onlythe prominent clock tower was saved; soon the structure was rebuilt. Guildhall attracted criticism from the IRA for discriminating Catholics.

Free Derry Corner is another memorial that stands as a reminder of the not so good days that Bogside District had to face. This place bore witness to the violence between Protestants and Catholics, though neighbours, resulting in discontent of Irish with the British. Bogside was roped off by almost 30, 000 locals declaring it ‘Free Derry’. Of course, today peace prevails and Free Derry can be called trendy and booming in housing developments.

As the name suggests this memorial was constructed as a tribute to the hunger strike undertaken by the prisoners of the Irish republicans who were held under questionable circumstances. This resulted in Bobby Strands’ death out of starvation, thus becoming a martyr. This memorial stands in close proximity to Free Derry Corner.

If you are here at 21:00 hrs you will hear the church bells toll and this has continued as a reminder of the bygone discriminatory laws forbidding permission to Irish Catholics to attend Mass. To have a look at the Organ Gallery, the Rosewindow, the Blessed Sacrament, St. Patrick Window and Bishop Kelly Memorial Window is what draws tourists to this church.

Your kids can never get bored in Derry. There is enough to keep them engrossed throughout their stay in Derry. Derry offers never ending options for fun activitiesthat little ones are usually fond of. Take them to the Foyle Valley Railway Museum. It tells of the rich history of the railway in and around Derry. Get to see lobsters, eels, starfish, rays and more at the Riverwatch Aquarium. Beside the marine life, you will discover wildlife in the habitats surrounding the aquarium. Your kids can enjoy free activity packs here. There are theme parks, petting farms, horse riding, castles, steam railways, ceramic cafes, wildlife parks and zoos, aquariums, pottery making, ice skating rinks, karting tracks, snow-domes, climbing walls, dry and indoor ski slopes, ten pin bowling alleys,  swimming pools, water parks, indoor play centres and soft play for toddlers too. With so many options don’t you feel Derry makes a perfect family vacation destination?

The numerous parks at Derry have never stopped fascinating tourists who visit this place with their families. The parks here offer angling options besides water sports activities, at Creggan Country Park. For riverside views and walks along in the woods it’s Roe Valley Country Park. Drum Manor Forest Park offers hiking opportunities.These are supposedly going to encourage you to take your camera and binoculars along. For a close-up look at Ilamas, wallabies, alpacas, doves, black swans and mice go to Annaginny Farm Park. For wildflower and butterfly garden and also for historical exhibits you should make it to Castle Archdale Country Park. If you have little kids visit the People’s Park that offers a Teddy Toddler Walk, a well-equipped play area. A number of events are held here every summer. You can have a look at the varied species of insects and their nests at Peatlands Park. Castle Leslie Equestrian Centre offers equestrian adventures for kids. You will find a Junior Adventure Trail featured at Loughgall Country Park and also a family run C and Js Animal Park that houses 100 animals, both big and small.

Besides historical monuments, Derry also has enough of natural attractions to keep the nature loving tourist absorbed. There are parks, farms and beaches too. Junction Jacks Mini Golf is an 18 holes pirate theme gold course. This includes bridges and waterfalls. For shallow swimming and boat trips, Ballycastle Beach is where you should be. Go on a boat trip at Portrush Whiterocks Beach and see the remarkably structured caves or you can also visit the Dunluce Castle. Downhill Beach has been awarded the Blue Flag. Take a wildlife nature walk with cascading waterfalls in the backdrop and visit the well-known Mussenden Temple here. Visit the Barrontop Farm, a family focussed place with varied domestic animals that kids would love to have a look at. You cannot miss out on visiting St. Columb’s Park (Heritage Trail), Riverwatch Visitor Centre & Aquarium, Ness and Ervey Woods Nature Reserves. At this nature reserve you can take a walk under the canopy of oak, beech and ash woodland and see the Burntollet River flow by. The grounds are carpeted with bluebells and wood sorrel in spring, and bilberry and hazel in summers. All through the year this place offers a beautiful woodland walk. 

Derry has its share of celebrations in March when this city comes alive to celebrate the feast of its Patron Saint Patrick. The Foyle Halloween Carnival too draws a lot of tourists to Derry every year and they call it ‘spook-tacular’. It is considered to be Europe’s best street celebration. The other events to satiate those who are culture starved are Maiden City Festival, Derry Jazz Festival, Big Tickle Comedy Festival and One World Multi-Cultural Festival. Derry has been a home to varied world renowned actors, visual artists and writers. This city boasts of a number of annual sporting events including Waterside Half Marathon, Foyle Cup, Iron Kids and Liam Ball Triathlon. Derry is known for its historic sporting tradition that includes Rugby, Football, Camogie, Hurling, Cricket and Gaelic Clubs. 

Derry can boast of landmarks that have become renowned sites of interest. The Derry Craft Village with its numerous murals, the Tower Museum, the striking Greek Revival Courthouse on the Bishop Street, the red brick Victorian Guildhall, Ballyoan Cemetery, Free Derry Corner, Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall, St. Eugene’s Cathedral and St. Columb’s Cathedral. The Creggan Country Park, the Millennium Forum and the Craigavon and Foyle bridges are the other noteworthy landmark attractions in Derry. The City’s Walls have always been a huge tourist attraction.

Derry has enough of activities to keep you busy. You have a choice to cater to your taste. If ancient monuments fancy you, you have a number of memorials, churches and castles too. For those who love historical collection should visit the many museums displaying the items that have been recovered by the archaeologists. There are some museums in Derry that hold audiovisuals to lead you into Derry’s history. You can take part in the nightlife that turns quite interesting with music, dance and dinner. If you do not like going to the bars or clubs you can go Salsa Dancing classes held in Foyle on Tuesday nights. For those in interested in Archery, it’s held on Wednesday night at Magee College Sports Hall. You will have fun with the friendly environment. Karting at Campsie Karting centre is Derry’s latest and most exciting indoor racing circuit. Derry has many activity options to keep you occupied throughout your stay. 

Find yourself greeted with a full range of yummy culinary delights at Derry. There are traditional bars as well as array of clubs and pubs. La Sosta Ristorante serves food in a relaxed and cordial atmosphere and is located in the heart of the city. Rest your aching feet after shopping for a bite at Molly’s, located in the Craft Village. The food here is fabulous and faultless, worth the amount charged. Browns, Primrose Cafe and Pyke ‘N’ Pommies that serve bespoke food. What better way to enjoy eating but at the river side. The outdoor setting and the food is so good you would grade it fit to be a five star restaurant. The Sooty Olive Restaurant has amazing ambience and the food is also equally good. Badgers Bar, La Sosta, 24 QueensQuay, Dynasty, Mama Masala, Cafe del Mondo etc. are the restaurants in Derry. 

Derry has its share of nightlife and more of it at weekends. Some of the popular venues are Strand Road and Waterloo Street. On this street you will be greeted with modern and traditional pubs lining both the sides of the road with live traditional and rock music. This city has brought forth many talented musicians and you will come across bands performing at venues in different parts of this city. Nerve Centre is a place where bands, both local and international, perform. The Beatles Tribute Night is a show presented at the City Hotel Derry, along with cabaret, dinner and dancing. Have an evening to remember with the glass of finest Mead at the Grianan Hotel and Live traditional Irish music. Derry has enough of nightlife to keep you occupied in the evenings. Peadar O’Donnell’s has music sessions every night, a typical Irish pub-cum-grocer and also a display of old bric-a-brac meant for museums. 

There are quite a number of shopping options within the walled Derry city. Austins, the world’s oldest department store is here. This store is in the five-storey Edwardian building.The two main shopping destinations are the Richmond centre, a big name in retail and Foyleside Shopping Centre with over 50 top stores plus a food quarter. In the waterside, you have the Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre and in the city, the Quayside Shopping centre.  Attractive crafts and popular eateries are available at Derry’s walled City Market or the Craft Village. This market is held on the first Saturday of every month. 

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