County Derry

County Derry

Tours of Ireland often take in the county of Derry. It is also accessible on our extended Belfast tours. And if you visit Belfast on a cruise ship it is a super day tour. A real hidden gem of a county , though the city walls are a must see attraction in my opinion.

It is one of the six counties in the province of Ulster, which make up Northern Ireland.

Derry has a population of est. 210,000.

The county is bounded on the north Atlantic Ocean, and on the East and West by the Lower Bann and the River Foyle, respectively.

Derry City, the county capital, was the site of a monastery founded in the 6th century by St. Colm Cille (Columba) who, according to legend, saved the poets from being banished from Ireland.

The ancient territory of Tir Eoghain (named after the son of the early Irish King Niall of the Nine Hostages) occupied most of the county, which remained Gaelic in power and culture until the Flight of the Earls in 1607 ended Gaelic hegemony in Ulster.

King James I of England granted the confiscated lands of these native chieftains to English settlers after 1609. These settlers, mostly Londoners, named the county Londonderry, and some of the smaller towns, such as Draperstown, after their trades and occupations.

The English settlers were joined in the middle of the 17th century by dissenting Presbyterians from Scotland, many of whom, disappointed at not finding the religious liberty they yearned for, later left for North America.

During the siege of Derry in 1689, the city, protected by its stout walls built three quarters of a century earlier, withstood a long onslaught by Jacobite forces.

Derry had a significant naval base on the Folye during World War II where American troops were stationed.

The Nobel Prize winning  poet Seamus Heaney was born in Toome, County Londonderry, and well known poet and literary critic Seamus Deane was born in Derry City.

Its worth seeing on any Ireland tours.