So this week we’re in Derry, a place steeped in history and guaranteed to give you the warmest of receptions. Like their Donegal neighbours, the people here open their arms wide to welcome you and they love a good old fashioned get-together. Let’s start at the magnificent city walls.
1. Derry City Walls
The only completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples in Europe, these beautifully preserved walls date back to the 17th century, built between 1613-1618. They surround the original city over 1.5km and offer commanding views on all sides. They also hold Europe’s largest collection of the canon which have been beautifully restored.
2. St Columb’s Cathedral
Dominating the city’s skyline and situated within the old city walls, stands the magnificent St. Columb’s cathedral. Named in honor of St. Columba, the sixth-century monk who formed a Christian settlement here, it was built in 1633. The cathedral holds a wealth of historical artefacts, particularly from the famed Seige of Derry and the craftsmanship in the building is stunning, with beautiful stained glass and imposing arches and pillars.
Stepping outside the old city walls now for a visit to the impressive Guildhall. built-in 1887. As well as being the local council chamber and the Mayor’s Parlour, it has been recently restored and is home to the impressive visitor experience, charting the history of the building and indeed the city. Feast your eyes on the wonderful stained glass windows and the impressive main hall organ.
4. The Peace Bridge
Just across from the Guildhall, you will find the impressive peace bridge which represents the coming together of communities and literally bridges a 400-year-old divide in the city. It opened in 2011 and is 235 meters long and is now the city’s most popular promenade. Take a seat on one of the bridge’s benches and watch the world go by.
Derry City is the only place to be at Halloween and was recently voted the best Halloween destination in the world, beating off competition from Sleepy Hollow and Transylvania! The whole city comes out and takes over the streets in all their spooky finery. The party atmosphere at their Halloween festival is second to none!
6. Mussenden Temple
Time to get out of the city now and pay a visit to a true gem. Take an invigorating clifftop walk to Mussenden Temple, built-in 1785 as a summer library-what a wonderful place to read! The design is inspired by the Italian Temple of Vesta in Tivoli and perches 120ft above the Atlantic with stunning views over Downhill Strand.
7. Portstewart Strand
You all know how much I love a good beach walk and this has to be one of the finest in the north. 2 miles of golden beach await you at this award-winning beach near the lovely town of Portstewart. The dunes here are particularly impressive and in the summertime, they are brimming with wildflowers and butterflies. For all you golf fans, this is also the home of Portstewart Golf Club, one of the most impressive links courses in Ireland.
Well, that’s all from me for this week. See you next time when our journey will continue.
Slán go fóill!
The Irish Store Founder.