Derry city, Northern Ireland's second largest city, is located along the banks of the Foyle. We found ourselves in this cultural hub on a Sunday morning. Having parked the car along the banks of the Foyle, we were excited to discover this flourishing city which has received a major makeover since it's stent as UK city of culture in 2013. And for anybody who thinks about Derry's troubled past, it is nowadays a thriving artistic hub where tourism is booming. First exciting structure we noticed during our walk is the fabulous peace bridge, a cycle and foot bridge built across the Foyle which symbolizes a handshake of peace across the river Foyle.
Next were the Derry walls, the intact 17th century enclosure around the city which makes Derry the only fully walled city in Ireland. Walking on top of the ramparts, you get to see the city from a birdseye perspective allowing you to absorb the cheer size Derry city has grown into over all those years. We entered the walls from Butchers gate, one of the 4 original gates in the city's walls.
Informative signpost explain the history behind the historical buildings you pass along the walk, it explains in detail the area and the history. These informative signs are a great addition to an already fabulous walk. The walk is also great for kids, especially the canons will be of great interest to any kid. And at each Bastion, you can find these imposing canons.
As it was Sunday, the streets were quiet, but the wall itself was busy with the many tourists around. Passing St Columb's cathedral, we made our way over towards the Guildhall.
The Guildhall, which is located at the main city square in Derry, is an imposing building. Built in a neo-gothic style out of red sandstone, the end result is a striking building. Walking into the building, you find a tourist information desk where we were welcomed with open arms and received a lot of useful information about Northern Ireland and Derry. On the groundfloor of the Guildhall, you will find a great exhibition which explores how the plantation shaped Derry's history. This interactive exhibition is brilliant for kids and adults alike. You have many games/puzzles which teaches you in an interactive way about the plantation, but you also have the opportunity to dress up which Dolores couldn't resist.
On the first floor, you will find the main hall where you will be mesmerized by the huge stained glass windows which are the main feature in the room together with a huge organ. Making our way back to the car after a bite to eat in one of the restaurants, we continued are trip towards the Causeway coast. One thing we can say is that we are eager to go back to Derry and explore it in more detail, see the museums, sample the food, discover some of the shops and just enjoy this artistic tourist hub along the Foyle. Derry has surprised us in many ways, but all of them being positive.