"Derry Air" is probably the most famous and well known Irish
song across the world, but Jane Ross had little idea that Danny Boy
would become so famous when she noted down the the song from a travelling
minstral in Limavady in 1851. When the native chiefs of Derry were ousted,
the music somehow survived, with the harps, pipes, drums and fiddles
telling of gain and loss on both sides. Derry city, with it's 17th century
walls, is the home of a Nobel Prize winner (Seamus Heaney), a jazz and
film festival, and of many giant British retail chains. Places to visit
include the Amelia Earhart Centre (the first woman to fly the Atlantic
solo), Roe Valley Country Park and it's linen Visitor Centre, and Mussenden
Temple - set high on a cliff top near Downhill.
Drumcovitt House (private property), built at the end of the 18th century,
stands near Feeny village, with award-winning Feeny picnic area adjacent.
To the west of the village is the General's Bridge, traditionally the
site of a famouse ambush by the highwayman Shane Crossagh who, in the
early 18th century, tricked an English General and his troops into surrendering
using a fake 'army' of sticks and sods.
Limavady is derived from the Gaelic and means "Leap of the Dog".
The most common legend associated with the name is that a dog owned
by one of the clan O'Cahan chiefs jumped a gorge on the River Roe bringing
warning of an unexpected enemy attack. A locality on the outskirts of
the town of Limavady is known as Dogleap, whilst a cliff overhanging
the river is known as O'Cahan's Rock. All with all towns, Limavady has
changed dramatically over the last 100 years, in terms of size and employment.
The pride of a community is reflected in its town and this is evident
in the fact that Limavady won Best Kept Medium town in 1997 and 1998
and was first runner up in 1999.
Ballykelly is an attractive small town 4.8km west of Limavady on the
main road to Londonderry. It is dominated architecturally by its two
handsome churches. The Tamlaghtfinlagan Parish Church, an 18th century
Gothic structure with a beautiful spire, was built by Frederick Augustus
Hervey, Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry and is considered to be
the finest of the churches that he built in his diocese. The Presbyterian
Church of classical style was built by the London Company of Fishmongers
who wereresponsible for the development of Ballykelly and much of the
The second largest resort on the North Coast, Portstewart is a passing
parade of things to see and do. Watch the world go by from one of the
famed ice-cream parlours or restaurants. Stroll along the famous Portstewart
strand, 3km long and a favourite with all ages. The cliff walk is also
an invigorating experience. Browse in the colourful craft and gift shops,
or enjoy an afternoon's golf, tennis or bowls. There's also the Crescent
Complex where paddling and boating pools, adventure playgrounds and
an electric car circuit will keep kids amused for hours. Add a splash
of culture to your holiday with a visit to the Flowerfield Arts Centre,
home to music recitals, exhibitions and craft displays.
Dungiven is the second town in the Borough and means "Given Fort".
It is a small market town 14km south of Limavady near the upper reaches
of the River Roe and close to the foot of the 1535 feet Benbradagh Mountain.
It is at Dungiven that the rivers Roe, Owenreagh and Owenbeg converge
and the countryside all around the town is one of valleys set amid the
mountains. The main Belfast to Londonderry road, through the nearby
Glenshane Pass, is one of the most scenic routes in the Province.
never been breached. It stands on the River Foyle, which flows to Lough
Foyle and the Atlantic Ocean. This was the route taken by Viking invaders
who plundered the old city in 812. Londonderry was also the final departure
point for many emigrants fleeing the ravages of the Famine, to start
a new life in North America. Further details below.
The story of Londonderry is a long and tumultuous one. Set on a hill
on the banks of the Foyle estuary, strategically close to the open sea,
it came under siege and attack for over a thousand years.
Saint Columb came out of Donegal to escape the plague 1,400 years ago
and founded his first monastery in the oak grove (Doire in Gaelic),
a gift from his cousin, Prince of Aileach. It was a holy place. The
Saint said that the angels of God sang in the glades of Derry
and every leaf held its angel.
You can walk along the great 17th century walls, about a mile round
and 18 feet thick, which withstood several sieges and even today are
unbroken and complete, with old canon still pointing their black noses
over the ramparts. The great siege lasted for 105 days.
The modern city preserves the 17th century layout of four main streets
radiating from the Diamond to four gateways Bishops Gate,
Ferryquay Gate, Shipquay Gate and Butchers Gate. Historic buildings
within the wall include the 1633 Gothic Cathedral of Saint Columb. In
the porch is an inscription:
If stones could speake then
Londons prayse should sound
Who built this church and
Cittie from the ground
At the time of the plantation of Ulster, the City of London sent master-builders
and money to rebuild the ruined medieval town - hence the name Londonderry.
Colonel Baker, a governor of the city who died on the 74th day of the
siege, shares a memorial in the Cathedral with Captain Browning who
was killed as his ship Mountjoy broke the boom across the river and
relieved the city in July 1689. The chapterhouse displays the keys to
the gates that were shut against James II in December 1688.
The Guildhall, looking like its counterpart in London, is just outside
the walls. Its stained glass windows illustrate almost every episode
of note in the citys history. The story flows up the staircase
and floods all the chambers with brilliant light.
The main thoroughfare, Shipquay Street, is very steep, with narrow little
streets running of it and a craft village tucked in behind the ODoherty
Tower. From the quay behind the Guildhall hundreds of Irish emigrants
sailed to a new life in the New World.
Some prosperous citizens built themselves gracious country houses outside
the walls. An eccentric 18th century bishop of Derry, Frederick Hervey,
built a palace on a windswept headland at Downhill. Today the palace
is in ruins but his library, the Mussenden Temple is still intact.
Despite his extravagances Hervey was a good Bishop. The mountain road
he built to Limavady gave work to local people. The road runs across
the Binevenagh plateau, with splendid views of the Scottish coast and
Georgian Limavady, set in the beautiful Roe Valley, was where Jane
Ross wrote down the tune of the famous Londonderry Air (Danny Boy) which
she heard a passing fiddler play.
Foyle Arts Centre boasts in auditorium space with a capacity of 100.
The centre also accommodates numerous community arts groups in our various
Christ Church Londonderry
" built by Bishop Knox in 1830 to designs of John Ferguson.
Refitted by welland and Gillespie in 1862 and enlarged in 1881... of
rubble schist and whinstone with a battlemented three-stage tower in
primitive Gothic style " ( Rowan ).Listed building
Martello Tower, Limavady
This edifice was constructed in 1812 at Magilligan Point as part of
the British defences during the Napoleonic Wars. Walls are over 2 to
5 metres thick. The surrounding Nature Reserve, Magilligan Point, is
always open. Tower is in good condition.
Saint Columbs Cathedral
Built in 1633. Stained glass depicts heroic scenes form the great siege
of 1688/89. The keys of the gates which were closed against the Jacobites
are displayed in the chapterhouse. Audio visuals on the siege, and history
of the cathedral. Wheelchair access but shallow steps at entrance to
chapterhouse. The 17th century Church of Ireland St. Columb's was the
first post-Reformation cathedral built in these islands. Traditionally,
its foundation stone incorporates a stone from Tempull Mor. Both Long
Tower and St. Columb's Cathedral have stained-glass windows depicting
the life of the saint. In St. Columb's Park, in the Waterside, on the
east side of the River Foyle, are the remains of St. Brechan's pre-Plantation
Downhill And Mussenden Temple
Set on a stunning and wild headland with fabulous views over Ireland's
north coast is the 18th century estate of Downhill. It includes the
renowned Mussenden Temple, Mauseleum and ruins of palace.
Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall Derry
Built originally in 1877 and extended in 1937. designed originally by
John Guy Ferguson and recently renovated. The building is of cut stone
and has a good museum of local items. Listed building
Saint Augustines Church Derry
Architect: JG Ferguson. A neo-Gothic church of 1872. Built of whinstone
with sandstone dressings, " it is delightfully situated on the
City walls, surrounded by its graveyard and a pretty parish school and
hall" ( Byrne and Frazer ). Hammerbeam roof inside. Listed building
Springhill House And Costume Collection, Moneymore
A charming 17th century house with a rich and fascinating history, now
run by The National Trust. The guided tour includes the history of the
house and its family, the resident ghost and also the first-class and
colourful costume collection. There are beautiful walled gardens, estate
walks and a tea-room. The rustic 'Barn' is available for private functions
all year round. Only 1 hour from Belfast. Open April - September.
Our lady of Lourdes Church
Steelstown Road, Londonderry
Description: Built in 1976 the designs of Liam McCormick. The church
is tent-shaped, its interior clad in rough-sawn deal timber which gives
a warm textured quality to the large space.
Manor House Lodge Moneymore
See a re-creation of an early Plantation settlement. Enjoy an overnight
stay at the restored Manor House and see the model villages and interpretive
The City Walls Of Derry
These famous walls have withstood several sieges, the most celebrated
lasting 105 days. Fine views from the top of the walls which encircle
the old city, a circuit of 1 mile. Free access always.
Christ Church Castlerock
A cruciform church with a tower and polygonal spire. " An unusually
ambitious little church of 1868-70 by Frederick William Porter, architect
to the Clothworkers' Company. Built of the usual black basalt, with
weathered cocoa-coloured sandstone dressings" ( Rowan ). Fine interior.
This neo-Gothic style building is the civic and cultural centre for
the people of the city. There are many concerts, exhibitions and meetings
held here throughout the year. Free guided tours are available during
the months of July and August and at other times by prior arrangement.
Power House And Weaving Shed Limavady
The Power House, Ulster's oldest hydro-electric station, was erected
in 1896 to generate electricity for commercial use. The museum building
was formerly a weaving shed at the centre of the linen industry in the
Roe Valley. Listed building
Bellaghy Bawn represents one of the defining periods in the history
of the island - the Plantation of Ulster - and dates from 1622 when
the village of Bellaghy became one of the first planned settlements
in Ireland. The Bawn interprets the history, environment and literature
of the area and in particular the poetry of Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney
who was born nearby. Wheelchair access limited.
Hezlett House Coleraine
Charming 17th century thatched house with an interesting cruck-truss
rood construction. One of few pre-18th century Irish Buildings surviving.
Good short visit between Derry City and Giant's Causeway.
Mountsandel Fort Coleraine
This large oval mound domminates the Bann river beside the site of Ireland's
oldest house, inhabited 9,000 years ago. Riverside walk. Open all year.