Destination Derry: The Walled City in revival
Derry has come into its own in recent years and is today a vibrant cultural stronghold spanning the banks of the Foyle.
With so much to see and do, just a few hours’ drive from Dublin, you’ll find a city that harbours the best of Northern Ireland in terms of food, nightlife and craic while forging a new image for itself a resilient centre for the arts, culture and heritage. Isn’t it time you discovered Derry for yourself?
The Nobel Laureate has his home county at the very heart of his poetry and used his childhood and adult experiences to find the universal humanity in the details of his own life in Derry. Bellaghy in Derry is the place that gave Seamus Heaney to the world and today Seamus Heaney Homeplace is home to an exhibition centre dedicated to the life of the greatest force in literature to come from Ireland this century. Comprising of a stunning collection of Seamus’ own memorabilia and artefacts including his first school desk and a Bag and Boot room, there’s also a hugely ambitious and accomplished interactive exhibition of his work and influences. A visit to Seamus Heaney Homeplace in Bellaghy brings you closer to the poet’s interior world that formed his creative self and stimulated the work that continues to touch so many around the world.
This landmark Victorian hotel has been reborn in glorious boutique luxury while keeping the essence of its elegant soul fully intact. Step back into a more gentile era with afternoon tea served in the elegant Edwardian surroundings of the “Hervey Library” or contemporary styling of "The Gown Restaurant. Bishops Gate is centrally located and just a few minutes’ walk from the Foyle Peace Bridge and the murals of the Bogside it’s a perfect base for your cultural excursions as well as your shopping adventures.
The new Siege Museum and Exhibition is a permanent display of the history of the Siege of Derry and of the Associated Clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, including artefacts, video and interactive media. Delve into the events that prefaced the Williamite War in Ireland and defined Derry’s heritage and identity.
Browns In Town is a favourite with local foodies and visitors alike providing a casual dining experience with culinary excellence. A combination of great food, original cocktails and craft beers in modern and comfortable surroundings, makes Browns in Town a real treat. Browns in Town is one of only two restaurants in the city recommended in the Michelin Guide 2016 (the other being Browns Restaurant & Champagne Lounge).
The Walls of Derry
The last completely walled city in Ireland the city’s fortifications tell their own unique story of the city’s storied past. Today these walls are used for recreational purposes and walking them allows you to view the layout of the original town which still preserves its Renaissance Style street plan to this day. The walls lay claim to Europe’s largest collection of cannon whose origins are known precisely. Many of them thundered in anger over the two seventeenth century sieges.
Brickwork in the walled city of Derry epitomises the fresh vibes around the city’s rejuvenation. With its delicious, innovative dishes, bursting with flavour, fantastic drinks and warm, friendly, relaxed atmosphere, Brickwork is a refreshing take on modern dining with great food, great drinks and a great time waiting for you.
The Bogside Museum of Free Derry is dedicated to the city’s Civil Rights Movement of the 60s and the following period of unrest known as ‘The Troubles’. The exhibition covers the period 1968 – 1972, popularly known as ‘Free Derry’, and including the civil rights era, Battle of the Bogside, Internment, Bloody Sunday and Operation Motorman. Here you can really get close to the story of the city’s darkest night that preceded the new dawn of modern peace and rejuvenation.
Nothing symbolises Derry’s new era of peace, conciliation and cooperation than the Peace Bridge which spans the river Foyle and brings together the Waterside and the Cityside. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects in London the bridge is a gleaming piece of modern architecture that any city can be proud of but which this city, and the symbolism the bridge is imbued with, can be especially proud of.
The stunning redbrick Guildhall is an example of Neo-Gothic architecture at its very best. Built in 1887 by The Honourable The Irish Society, the Guildhall contains impressive examples of stained glass windows, staircase, main hall organ and corridors all with a unique appeal and fascinating history.
Reviving the city’s brewing heritage is the Walled City Brewery that makes flavoursome craft beers in the first new brewery in Derry in over 100 years. Having the brewery and a restaurant in the same building means visitors need no invitation to eat, drink and be merry.
Derry has so much to offer and with the exchange rate so good your euro goes a lot further. The Walled City has stepped out of the shadows and is a vibrant, thriving hub of life and culture. Make the short trip up and you’ll find a city that goes far beyond your expectations and a local people waiting with open arms.
For more information on a short break to Derry, visit discovernorthernireland.com