Counties of Ireland - Derry

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County Derry coat of arms

The name of this northwestern county has been a point of contention for decades. Although drawing its name originally from an Old Irish word, Daire ("oak leaf"), the county and its main town were both christened "Londonderry" in 1613 when King James I authorised the plantation of the area, adding the "London" prefix. Generally speaking, the name "Londonderry" is used on most official British documents and is preferred by Unionists, while "Derry" is more commonly used by the Irish and Nationalists.

Derry/LondonDerry, Co. Derry

Co. Derry's pride and joy is the city of Derry, which stands as the only surviving completely walled city in Ireland. It is also considered to be one of the finest fully walled cities in Europe, built over the course of six years between 1613-1619. The presence of the walls earned Derry the nickname, "The Maiden City", for their defences were never breached, even during the 1689 Siege of Derry.

Derry Walls, Co. Derry

Adjacent to Co. Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, Co. Derry has always been strongly tied – economically and culturally – to its traditional neighbour, and as such has quite a strong sense of Irish identity, including a big Catholic majority.

Derry Girls Mural, Co. Derry

Another of Co. Derry's best features is its long northern coastline, which stretches from the city of Derry in the west to its county seat at Coleraine in the west. Along the way, the coast ebbs and flows from the nearly oceanic Lough Foyle to the dramatic cliffs near Castlerock. Here, the impressive, circular Mussenden Temple (originally built as a library) enjoys a strangely intimate view of the pink sandy beach and ocean waves far below, while the remains of the Downhill House, part of the original estate, are crumbling nearby.

Mussenden Temple, Co. Derry

Co. Derry's most prized son is the contemporary Nobel Prize-winning poet, Seamus Heaney, who is from the village of Bellaghy and referenced his birth village in the stunning poem, Mossbawn Sunlight. Derry has also produced several international politicians, including Australian Prime Minister Jim Scullin and New Zealand Prime Minister William Ferguson Massey, as well as pop singer and lust object, Nadine Coyle, who hails from Derry City.

Benevenagh, Co. Derry

101 Must-Do’ ways to live your regional connection.

Our 101 team have been working with local tourism, business, community and Council initiatives to bring you some of the best ways for you to live your connection to Derry.

Top 20 Surnames from Derry

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8 Day Derry Region and Best of Ireland Tour
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Cultural Map of Ireland