Category Archives: derry walls

Finest walled city in western Europe

The Derry Walls and a walk through Londonderry’s past

derry londonderry walls tim harkin“A walking tour of Londonderry’s ramparts is a journey through time, from the 17th century to the Troubles” article in the Guardian by Henry Mc Donald:  http://www.theguardian.com/tourism-ireland/londonderry-walking-tour-troubles

Derry Prepares for Walled City Tattoo

600 strong cast at Walled City Tattoo

walled city tattooA 600-strong cast will perform at the 2013 City Of Culture’s Ebrington Square over the next four nights. Organisers expect 16,000 people to attend the event, which features pipes, drums, song, dance and theatre reflecting the city’s history and culture. The Walled City Tattoo’s James Kee said he hoped the event would build more bridges in the city.

Performers

The cast includes performers from Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Tanzania,  and the of the UK. Along with the Crossed-Swords Pipe Band, the line-up will feature Afrikan Warriors, Sontas, various mass brass and melody flute bands and highland and Irish dancers.

One hundred pipers and drummers from counties Tyrone, Donegal, Fermanagh and Derry, will perform as well as pipe bands from Newcastle upon Tyne and Germany.

More information here.

Tour of Derry Walls

The Walls of Derry Londonderry

derry londonderry walls tim harkin

Among the many historic monuments in Derry, the massive city Walls on the west bank of the River Foyle are the most striking and memorable. Built between 1614 and 1619, the original Walls are almost perfectly preserved today, making Derry one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe, resembling those of Carcassonne in the south of France. Using earth, lime and local stone (some from ruined medieval monastery buildings) Peter Benson from London skilfully constructed the thick defensive ramparts and angular artillery bastions following closely the design of Sir Edward Doddington of Dungiven.

The entire cost of the building was met by the Irish Society comprising London businessmen who were responsible for the Plantation of Derry. It was their duty, under a Royal Charter of King James I, to build and maintain the Derry Walls to help control the local Irish rebels. In return they were given large parcels of land in the region for themselves. Despite sieges in 1641, 1649 and the Great Siege of 1689, Derry’s Walls were never breached – proof indeed of their careful planning and excellent construction, and reason for the title ‘The Maiden City’, until recently the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann managed to breach the walls with fiddles, flutes, whistles and dancing!

Originally there were only four entrances (or Gates) into the walled city i.e. Bishop’s Gate, Shipquay Gate, Ferryquay Gate and Butcher’s Gate – arranged in a cross pattern with the Diamond as its centre. Drawbridges and portcullises were used to protect some of the Gates when under attack. Later were added New Gate (1789), Castle Gate (1803) and Magazine Gate (1865). The original Gates were themselves re-built in the 18th and 19th centuries. The story behind their construction and momentous history began in the 12th century.tour of derry walls tim harkin

City Sightseeing Tours Derry provide educational, informative and very entertaining tours of the famous Derry Walls. We also provide tours of Derry Londonderry on board state of the art open top buses with multi-lingual commentary.

Email info@citysightseeingderry.com or call us on  (+44) 02871 370067 to make arrangements for your Derry Londonderry tour or book a bus tour of Derry, or a Giant’s Causeway tour online now.

Tours of Derry

Tours of Derry Londonderry

The New Foyle Bridge DerryFree Derry CornerDerry walls and cannonsthe guildhall derry

The City Sightseeing team in Derry provide various tours of Derry Londonderry and the North West of Ireland. Options include sightseeing tours on board open top buses, walking tours, tours for groups and schools, custom tours. City Sightseeing Derry also cater for private functions such as weddings, hen & stags. We also do sightseeing tours of Giant’s Causeway. See the links below for more information.

The City Sightseeing team in Derry provide a selection of tours of Derry/Londonderry. Please see the following links for more information.

A full list of tours accommodated is available here on the City Sightseeing Derry Tours page

Derry walls

Among the many historic monuments in Derry, the massive city Walls on the west bank of the River Foyle are the most striking and memorable. Built between 1614 and 1619, the original Walls are almost perfectly preserved today, making Derry one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe.

Architecture / construction of Derry walls

Using earth, lime and local stone (some from ruined medieval monastery buildings) Peter Benson from London skilfully constructed the thick defensive ramparts and angular artillery bastions following closely the design of Sir Edward Doddington of Dungiven.
Cannons on Derry Walls

The entire cost of the building was met by the Irish Society comprising London businessmen who were responsible for the Plantation of Derry. It was their duty, under a Royal Charter of King James I, to build and maintain the Derry Walls to help control the local Irish rebels. In return they were given large parcels of land in the region for themselves. Despite sieges in 1641, 1649 and the Great Siege of 1689, Derry’s Walls were never breached – proof indeed of their careful planning and excellent construction, and reason for the title ‘The Maiden City’.

Originally there were only four entrances (or Gates) into the walled city i.e. Bishop’s Gate, Shipquay Gate, Ferryquay Gate and Butcher’s Gate – arranged in a cross pattern with the Diamond as its centre. Drawbridges and portcullises were used to protect some of the Gates when under attack. Later were added New Gate (1789), Castle Gate (1803) and Magazine Gate (1865). The original Gates were themselves re-built in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The story behind their construction and momentous history began in the 12th century.
Read More About Derry Walls Here.

Ten Facts About Derry Londonderry

Derry-Londonderry City - Landscape View

  1. First founded as a settlement around 1400 years ago, the name Derry has its roots in the Irish word Doire which translates as Oak Grove. In 1613 the name was changed by Royal Charter to Londonderry to reflect the London Guilds involvement in establishing the planned city and Cathedral. Actually we’ve got a few names Doire, Derry, Londonderry, Stroke city (as in Derry / Londonderry), The Maiden City, The Walled City and the rather French sounding L’Derry and the most recent Derry Londonderry (so good they named it twice) and very popular LegenDerry.
  2. The 17th century walls that encircle the old city centre make Derry the most complete walled city in Europe. They?re pretty much unchanged in four centuries with the exception of a couple of new gates that have been added in the intervening years.
  3. In the 19th century Derry became a major port for those leaving for North America, especially those fleeing the famine/genocide. Those emigrants included the founders of Derry and Londonderry in New Hampshire (sure, they decided to have 2 towns).
  4. In WWII Derry was the most westerly Allied Naval Port, played host to American troops and witnessed the surrender of the 19 U-boats (scuttled off the north coast of Donegal).
  5. The 60’s saw Derry become the focus of the Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland. The Battle of the Bogside in 1969 is often noted as the starting point of The Troubles. Bloody Sunday drew worldwide attention in 1972.
  6. St. Columb’s College is the only secondary level school in the world to produce two Nobel prize winners: John Hume (Peace Prize) and Seamus Heaney (Literature).
  7. Derry (city and county) also boasts playwright Brian Friel, the Undertones (who wrote Teenage Kicks), Aston Villa and former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill, Eurovision Winner Dana, Girl’s Aloud singer Nadine Coyle, and that one from US show Touched By an Angel (aka Roma Downey).
  8. From the 1830’s until relatively recently shirt making was the one of the city’s main industries, making Derry, at it’s peak, the shirt making capital of the world. It even gained us a mention in Das Kapital by Karl Marx.
  9. Derry is home to the world’s oldest independent department store- Austin’s ? which pre-dates Harrods in London and Macy’s in NY by 15 and 25 years respectively.
  10. Amelia Earhart landed in Gallaghers farmland just outside Derry on her solo transatlantic flight. The area is now Foyle Golf Course.