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Derry (city) in General
Member Name: lulu2004
Derry (city) in General
Date: 23/03/04, updated on 23/03/04 (212 review reads)
Advantages: It's pretty, friendly, lively
Disadvantages: has a bad reputation
??In my memory, I will always see,
the town that I, have loved so well??
© Phil Coulter
Derry/ Doire/ Londonderry- the city so good they named it thrice! Delete name as appropriate depending on which political belief you hold is Northern Ireland?s second city. (I assume they made a mistake with the first one: Belfast.) It goes by several nicknames- ?the Maiden City? or even ?Stroke City? (Stroke City is due to politicians calling it Derry-stroke-Londonderry? and not any medical condition!)
I will state from the beginning that I do not intend to write a political review. Recently I?ve read so many inaccurate views of this country, misinformed and at times uneducated, and in many cases at least 5 years out of date. I want to promote my country for its good parts. The past is precisely in the past. British Army checkpoints on the Irish/Northern Irish border have not existed for over ten years. Bomb Scares are no more frequent than in any other part of the UK, and in twenty-two years I have never experienced death or injury to any person I?ve known through political unrest. For the record, mainland UK is more dangerous than here at the moment, since it is currently on terrorist bomb alert- not Northern Ireland. So never let the word ?troubles? put you off coming here. The media is to blame for the hype. Northern Ireland has a lot going for it, and the troubles are a part of the rich culture, and have created strong identities. But ultimately, they are behind us.
*** LET?S START THE TOUR***
So, back to Derry and a short explana
tion of the town itself. Derry is located on both banks of the river Foyle. One side is termed ?the Waterside? and when you cross the bridge you cross over to ?the Bogside? although, the Bogside is actually just one residential area of the city. As a city, Derry is compact enough that you can walk to any location within a few minutes, the main difference in cities in Ireland, and other European cities is that because everything is so close together there is no need for an underground or metro system. The distance between the Waterside and The City Side is merely 1.5 miles and a pleasant walk over the Craigavon Bridge, should you wish.
Both sides have their attractions, the Waterside being more business and residential orientated, while the cityside is crammed with Shops, hotels, and restaurants.
*** WHERE THE TOURIST SHOULD SEE ***
Derry?s Walls are it?s primary attraction, so are a definite must-see. It?s a good way to take in the layout of the city, as you get to see it from all angles. I would suggest that you do this on a dry day though. As it?s quite a long walk, and like any place, Derry is much more attractive when the sun shines! The walls are free of charge, and are in top-class condition. They have a rich history that is documented on little billboards along the walk. Call into the Tower Museum on your way past- it?s built into the walls.
Millennium Forum: This is built almost into the walls too and is the city theatre, They have a good variety of national plays and shows on throughout the year, so it?s worth ringing up to book tickets. The forum is very plush, and quite new. It also has conference facilities if you are on business.
Tel: (028) 71264455
Political Murals: Yes, I know I said that this wouldn?t be a political review, but these really are worth seeing! Art is very strong in the city, and some of Northern Ireland?s most recognisable images are remembered forever on the gables of houses in the ol
d flash-point areas. Visit the Bogside, see ?Free Derry Corner? as it was in the 1970s, look at the murals, and read what they commemorate. Usually they commemorate the slaughter of innocents. They aren?t trophies of a bloody war, they?re touching tributes to children caught in cross fire, or invasions of the homes of old people. When you visit the Bogside, make sure to visit an area such as ?The Fountain? or cross to the Waterside and visit ?Bond?s Street.? See how similar both sides were? how they represented their fears through art. How they paid tribute to their lost loved ones. I guarantee you will be moved with emotion. Be mindful of what you say to locals, if you?re not fully aware of the facts, for the wounds still hurt. But you are in no danger. That is a promise.
Have a bit of Craic! Craic is an ancient Irish word, meaning ?chat.? It?s almost becoming a universal term, and it?s one you?ll hear time and time again. So visit the bars for the craic! I?ve suggested a list, and I?ve included an age range: this isn?t formal, but it might give you an idea of where might suit you best! Ohm they?re all very different in terms of music, crowd etc?
18-30 age group:
Strand Bar, The Metro, Earth/ Café Roc, The Carraig, Bound for Boston, Bar Zu, Sugar, Gweedore, The River Inn, and Pepe?s, the gay bar in the town is also a great little place.
25-50 age group:
Cosmopolitan, Jackie Mullen?s, Downey?s Bar, Sandinos, most little corner pubs are also great for this age group, and as students we go to a little bar called ?The Argyle Arms? at the back of the city, near the Uni: it?s great!
There are loads of traditional little bars, which also cater for older folks as well: there are hundreds of places you can go in the town! And lots of the little traditional bars are reputedly haunted! It?s worth asking the bar men!
*** THE SHOPS ***
Increasingly, Derry is overtaking other towns as being one of Northern Ireland
?s best shopping destinations. On the city side there are two shopping centres:
The Richmond Centre: Internacionale, Holland and Barrett, Mexx, New Look, Morgan, MK One, The Gadget Cube, Yellow Moon, Bay Trading Co, and the Chinese Health Shop are some of the better stores in this centre.
Foyleside Shopping Centre: Debenhams, Marks and Sparks, Etam, River Island, Dolcis, Dunnes, Next, Eason, McDonalds, and Thorntons are the better shops in here.
As well as this, outside the centres the streets are lined with stores such as Bennetton, Kookai, French connection, Boots, superdrug: the list goes on!
Craft Culture is rich in the city too, and a little place called ?the Craft village? is worth taking a look at: it is styled like an old Irish Village and has most of the old-time skills such as crystal making, key cutting, shoe repairing and clock repairing are included within it?s cobbled streets. It really is quite pretty.
*** MY ADVICE***
My main piece of advice would be to wear flat shoes! Derry is situated on a lot of hills. It apparently also holds one of the steepest streets in Europe- Fountain Hill! I?m not sure if this is fact, but a lot of people are afraid of that street when they?re driving!
The people here are friendly, and the hotels are very good, they?re also quite new, as with the troubles behind us, we look to the future, and welcoming people to our pretty town. You?re all more than welcome to come: flights are cheap so no excuses- we even have our own airport!
Wow! I?m exhausted after thinking so much!