Northern Ireland – Derry/Londonderry

Top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in Northern Ireland

City of Derry/Londonderry

1. The Tower Museum

The Story of Derry exhibition at the Tower Museum uses a wide range of techniques and artefacts to narrate the story from monastic times, Plantation, Siege of Derry, through to the growth of Derry during the 18th and 19th centuries. La Trinidad Valencera narrates the story of one of the largest ships in the Spanish Armada Fleet. In 1588 it foundered in Kinnagoe Bay in Co. Donegal during a violent storm and was discovered nearly 400 years later. An array of exciting artefacts recovered from the ship includes cannons, textiles, pottery, wooden bowls, pewter dishes, goblets, coins and shoes.

2. The Workhouse Museum

Derry Workhouse opened in 1840, closed as a Workhouse in 1948 but continued to be used as a hospital until 1991. The Workhouse Museum exhibition includes the Atlantic Memorial exhibition, which covers the important part played by Derry in the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II. Other Artefacts and archives on display throughout the building relate to Workhouse life, 19th century poverty and the Irish Potato Famine. This historic building is said to be haunted by a number of ghostly residents!

3. Bogside Gallery of Murals

Painted murals on the streets and gable walls of Derry became a common method of political expression during the period of conflict in Northern Ireland known as ‘The Troubles’. More recently the murals have become a tourist attraction. ‘The People’s Gallery’ refers to 12 of murals painted by 3 local artists, which interpret key events from ‘The Troubles’ in Derry.

4. The Nerve Centre

The Nerve Centre has been described as ‘One of the most dynamic and innovative multi-media centres in the British Isles’. The Oscar nominated centre is housed in a new state of the art building and includes edit suites, rehearsal and recording studios, in-house animation and film production companies. The building also includes a bar, coffee house, in house cinema and two venues which regularly hosts a variety of international acts. The Nerve Centre also hosts the Foyle Film Festival every November and a range of exciting cinemagic programmes runs throughout the year.

5. Walk the Medieval Walls

Derry’s city walls are one of the best preserved defenses in Europe. A mile in length and never higher than a two storey house, they are reinforced by bulwarks and bastions and a parapeted earth rampart as wide as any thoroughfare. Within their circuit, the original medieval street pattern has remained, with four gateways surviving from the original construction.

6. The Harbour Museum

In order to preserve the Victorian architecture and décor of the building the Harbour Museum has been designed as a ‘glass case’ museum. An eclectic collection of objects is on display showing the city’s maritime connections from architectural drawings, early maps and plans of the city to archaeological finds. The centrepiece of the Museum is the 30 ft ‘Iona Curragh’, used in 1963 by a group of clerics to replicate the journey undertaken by St. Colmcille to Iona in 563 AD.

7. St Columb’s Cathedral

Saint Columb’s Cathedral was built in 1633 in a style later called “Planters Gothic’ and was the first post-Reformation Cathedral in the British Isles. Displayed in the entrance porch is a cannon shell catapulted into the churtch during the 1688-89 blockade by the besieging army – their terms of surrender were attached. Inside, an open-timbered roof rests on sixteen stone corbels carved with figures of past bishops. Hanging above the nave are French flags captured in the siege, and others brought back from various military expeditions.

8. Prehen House

Prehen House is intimately linked with the history of Derry. Records reveal that it was inhabited by 1640; in 1738 the Knox family began their great association with Prehen when Andrew Knox, the MP for Donegal married heiress Honoria Tomkins. In Victorian times the colourful Colonel George Knox was one of Derry’s most eminent figures. But with World War I looming his grandson Baron George Carl Otto Louis von Scheffler Knox was put under house arrest and the 3,641 acre estate was seized as ‘enemy property’. Happily, the house was brought back into another branch of the Knox family.

9. The Gordon Gallery

The Gordon gallery is one of the oldest private commercial art galleries and dealers in Ireland, originating as picture framers c1860 and situated in the Cathedral Quarter within walking distance of several car parks and the bus station. The gallery exhibits contemporary, mostly Irish artists of national and international repute, as well as new up and coming artists working in the disciplines of painting, drawing, sculpture, photgraphy and print making.

10. The Verbal Arts Centre

The Verbal Arts Centre promotes creative activities and learning for young people and hosts a number of free cultural events throughout the year. Integrated within the building are a number of original arts and crafts pieces including works by Louis Le Brocquy and John Behan. The centre is also home to Bloom’s cafe. This spacious venue with its relaxed atmosphere invites visitors to take the weight off their feet and taste the quality, traditional menu including home made apple pie and speciality coffee.

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