Derry is one of the oldest cities in Ireland and now one of the most famous due to its City of Culture title during 2013 and its ranking by Lonely Planet as one of the Top Five Cities in the world to visit during 2013. The city continues to experience record visitor numbers and has even been named by USA Today as the world’s Top Halloween Destination. We are now engaged in a joint bid with Belfast to become European Capital of Culture 2023. The city’s modern origins date back to the foundation of a monastery in an oak grove (‘Doire’ in the Gaelic language which was later anglicised to ‘Derry’) by our patron saint, the iconic Saint Columba (also known as Colmcille) in the 6th century. The city was the location of the biggest settlement of the Plantation of Ulster 400 years ago. The iconic city walls were built to protect the English and Scottish colonists and still dominate the city centre today.
Those same walls, still intact after 400 years, now act as an ideal traffic free route to walk and learn about the history of the city with your guide. During your walk you will view the majestic Georgian architecture which replaced the original structures devastated by the Jacobite onslaught during the siege of Derry in 1689 as part of the contest between James II and William of Orange for control of the English throne. The 18th and 19th century saw massive industrial development in whisky and tobacco manufacturing and especially in shirt making. As well as exporting these goods the port also saw a steady stream of emigrants, both of Ulster-Scots and Irish background,to seek a new life in the Americas, Britain and Australia which is reflected in the large numbers of people visiting the city to research the genealogy of their family with Derry Blue Badge Guide.
The partition of Ireland in 1921 saw Derry become a border city which in turn led to major economic and political upheaval, culminating in the civil rights campaign of the late 1960’s and subsequent conflict including the Battle of the Bogside, Bloody Sunday and the Hunger Strikes of 1980 and 1981. The involvement of key local political figures such as Martin McGuinness and John Hume in the peace process from the mid-1980’s has seen the city transform itself over the last twenty years. This culminated with the City of Culture events including the hosting of events in 2013, including Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann, the biggest Irish traditional music festival in the world.
Halloween in Derry!