Derry

Derry

Situated between Lough Foyle to the west and the River Bann to the east, the county of Derry was named and created after the city on the banks of the Foyle of the same name.

Also like the city, there is some dispute over the naming of the county, with the unionist community and road signs throughout Northern Ireland referring to Londonderry and nationalists and road signs in the Republic of Ireland using just Derry.

The Irish Doire name means oak grove and refers to a mythical tree that grew on the banks of the Foyle. In the 6th century St Columcille/Columba established a monastery here and the settlement of Doire or Derry grew. During the plantation of Ulster by James I in the 17th Century Derry was taken over by the livery companies of London, who built the defensive walls that still surround the city. At the request of these companies the present county was created incorporating the former County of Coleraine and parts of neighbouring counties Tyrone, Donegal and Antrim. The city was renamed Londonderry and the new county was named after it.

Derry City is often referred to as the maiden city, as its walls have never been breached, despite a protracted siege during the 17th Century.

In the south of the county are the windswept moor lands and forests of the Sperrin Mountains bordering county Tyrone, while in the north lies Roe Valley Country Park outside the town of Limavady and Ireland's longest beach at Magilligan Strand.

Famous names from County Derry include, statesmen and Nobel peace prize-winner John Hume, poet Seamus Heaney, former Celtic football manager Martin O Neill.

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