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Derry-Londonderry: The Walled City

Londonderry wall and promenade
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Londonderry wall and promenade

Called Derry or Londonderry, depending on political persuasion, this was where Ireland’s last walled city was built. Its massive stone walls have never been breached.

A little history

When the Crown seized power, control was given to the London Guilds.

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Guild Hall, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

The city walls were built between 1613 and 1618.

Londonderry, Northern Ireland
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Londonderry, Northern Ireland

The streets were laid out in latest continental Europe style.

map of Derry/Londonderry and the wall
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map of Derry/Londonderry and the wall

Industry surged, with rope works, four mills, tanneries, and distilleries. By the early 1900s, there were forty shirt factories alone. A few remain.

The Craft Village

The Craft Village is  by the wall. Its thatched cottage and 18th and 19th century square and streets, seems right out of the time of Dickens. Recycled bricks were used to build the shops, cafés, restaurants and apartments of this gathering place.

 

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The Craft Village, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Sweet tooth? Try some Yellow Man candy at Aunt Sandra’s. his toffee honeycomb Northern Ireland confection is traditionally sold at the “Oul’ Lammas Fair” in Ballycastle, Ireland’s oldest traditional market fair along with another special, dulse, a dried seaweed popular along the Coastal Causeway.

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dulse, Northern Ireland

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Yellow Man candy, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The nearby Nerve Centre is a creative media arts centre where many musicians got their start. There are music classes, creative media courses and live events.

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nervecentre, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Bishop’s Gate is one of the city’s four gates, each built with a portcullis and a drawbridge over a dry ditch. It was named for the Bishop’s Palace that was within the city walls.

The walls now serve as a lofty 30’ wide promenade dividing the old and new parts of the city.

Londonderry wall and promenade
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Londonderry wall and promenade

Our guide picked up an oak leaf and told us that the early monastic center here was known as ‘Doire’, the Irish term for ‘Oak Grove’.

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Our guide, Garvin, with an oak leaf, the symbol of Derry or Londonderry, Northern Ireland

St. Columb’s Cathedral is named for the Irish saint who founded a monastery here in 545 A.D., making it a center of Christianity.

St. Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
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The Cathedral (1633) is one of first built after Protestant Reformation. A Siege Mound on its grounds covers the remains of people who died during the Siege of 1688-89.

St. Columb's Cathedral and mound, Londonderry
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St. Columb’s Cathedral and mound, Londonderry

Queen Victoria gave the Scots who settled here the money to build the First Derry Presbyterian Church in appreciation for their bravery during the Siege.  There are strong links between several American cities and Derry as a result of the many area Scots who emigrated to America and settled in cities like Philadelphia.

Presbyterian Church, Londonderry
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Presbyterian Church, Londonderry

The Bluecoats School was established here in 1773. It is named for the color of the school uniform. The male students led singing in church in exchange for clothing, shoes, and an education.

 

The Bishop’s Gate Hotel

The Bishop’s Gate Hotel is near the gate. It is part of the prestigious Hasting’s Hotel group,

Bishop's Gate Hotel, Londonderry
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Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Londonderry

The building was built in 1902 with a library, billiards room, and catering facility for the Northern Counties Club, a group of the landed gentry who served in the Crimean War. It became a place for businessmen and intellectuals to discuss the development of the city’s industries. Notable guests include Winston Churchill, W. B. Yeats, Field Marshalls Montgomery and Alexander.

The original and adjacent buildings have been restored with this legacy in mind for the B-1 listed Bishop’s Gate Hotel.

dog art, Bishop's Gate Hotel, Londonderry
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dog art, Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Londonderry

dog art in stairway, Bishop's Gate Hotel, Londonderry
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dog art, Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Londonderry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish cooked breakfast at Bishop's Gate Hotel, Londonderry
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Irish cooked breakfast at Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Londonderry

guest room in Bishop's Gate Hotel, Londonderry
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Irish cooked breakfast at Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Londonderry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wig Champagne Bar features the original fireplace. Its decor and signature cocktails feature a legal theme.

Bishop's Gate Hotel, Londonderry
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Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Londonderry

The Tourist Information Center is in the magnificent Guild Hall (1889). It reopened in 2013 after a £9 million renovation. There are information panels throughout.

guild house detail, Londonderry
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guild house detail, Londonderry

The impressive stained glass windows were rebuilt during the restoration.

stained glass windows in the Guild Hall, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
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stained glass windows in the Guild Hall, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

The Guild Hall is also home to the Derry City Council chamber. It is Ireland’s only surviving guild hall still in civic use.

Council chamber in the Guild Hall, Londonderry
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Council chamber in the Guild Hall, Londonderry

The Peace Flame across the road. On May 19, 2013 the flame was switched on by students from the city’s two traditions in the presence of Martin Luther King III.

Peace Monument across from Guild hall, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
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Peace Monument across from Guild hall, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Children designed the peace-themed ceramic tiles that line the walkways.

Peace walk, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
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Peace walk, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Another symbol of Northern Ireland’s reconciliation, the Peace Bridge, spans the River Foyle. This pedestrian and cycling bridge unites the two parts of the city.

Peace Bridge, Londonderry
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Peace Bridge, Londonderry

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