Thursday, November 16, 2017

Derry...or Londonderry...? (Day 5 in Ireland)

Day 5 of our journey in Ireland took us to the walled city of Derry. Or Londonderry. Depends on which area you are in. The people of the Republic of Ireland refer to it as Derry. The people of Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) call it Londonderry. The Irish are particular about the city being Derry. We saw several road signs that had the "London" part of Londonderry covered up with spray paint! We focused our day inside the walled city.

In the 6th century, a monastery was established in the wooded area of Derry. Oak trees grew in abundance, and the old Irish word for oak is "daire." Thus, the beginning of Derry. In 1613, the city was given a royal charter by King James I, and the prefix "London" was added to the name. A great stone wall was erected to keep the British population safe. The walls still stand, almost completely intact. The city survived several sieges, which is not hard to believe when you see that the walls are 18 feet thick.


We entered the walled city through Bishop's Gate. We found a small parking lot and paid for about 4 hours (whatever change we had at the time).

I took a picture of the Courthouse to refer to in case we got lost. I wasn't too worried - this is a small area. Of course, that's what we thought when we toured Dublin 5 years ago. With a GPS. That is a whole other story!

Our first stop was St. Columb's Cathedral. Built between 1628 and 1633, the cathedral is the oldest building in Londonderry. The inside is beautiful and ornate, but no photography is allowed. It really was awesome. At the end of each pew was a finial, hand-carved by a father and son. Each one was different. I really was impressed with all of the woodwork. So much love and labor went into the building of the cathedral.

Just inside the doors, is this mortar shell. I got a picture before I was told not to take pictures.😇 Look at the size of this thing!

Inside the doors were two very kind older gentlemen docents. One of the men asked where my sister and I were from. When we said Utah, he was quiet a second and then replied, "The capital is Salt Lake City, if I remember correctly." I was impressed. Especially when he knew about our national parks! He said it is a dream of his to visit Arches someday. The other gentleman got out a map of the city for us and told us where we needed to go, asked where we parked, and walked us to the wall. It wasn't the way we wanted to go, but he was so friendly, we just went with it.

I absolutely loved the streets of Londonderry. So much character!

 We just had to stop and shop at Poundland! How could we not?

Poundland is on par with our Family Dollar. Only more fun. I took a picture of this package of Snickers because I wanted to remember the word "Numpty."

Along our walk we found the "Garden of Reflection." Intrigued, we entered. 

Inside was a kind of sanctuary of peace. This area of the country has seen it's share of turmoil. I won't get into that, but when you have a lot of free time, Google "Troubles in Ireland."

The center of the walled city is "The Diamond."

At the opposite end of where we started our walk is Shipquay Gate. The River Foyle is just beyond here.

The Guildhall is just outside Shipquay Gate. This place has stunning stained glass windows. Again, no photography, except in the entry hall. I got one photo of one window and a photo of a statue of Queen Victoria.

Our next stop was a visit to Tower Museum. They have an exhibit called "The Story of Derry," but the day we were there they had water damage from huge amounts of rain the area received before we arrived. Some of the museum was still open though. And guess what? No photography. That's okay. I got some great pics of the area from the top of the tower.

We found this adorable courtyard on the walk back to Bishop's Gate. It would be a dream to live in one of the apartments above the street!

We also browsed around this antique shop called Bedlam.

I love this sign just outside of a small cafe.

This graffiti looked like it said "Utah." Hopefully it doesn't mean something vulgar.

We had a great time in Londonderry. We said goodbye to Northern Ireland and headed for Belleek Pottery. I love this building. Even the outside is gorgeous!

My sister really wanted to visit this place. They have factory tours and a museum and gift shop. I feel just terrible that we missed the last tour of the day. We did get to walk through the museum though.

The museum takes you through the history of Belleek and the processe it uses to make the gorgeous pottery.

We also did some shopping! I purchased the little cutie in the bottom right corner of the photo.

After a very long day of walking and driving, we checked into our B & B and headed out for dinner. We found a fun place along a marina called Moorings.

I had the tomato soup with crusty roll and baked pepper chicken with mash, pepper sauce and crispy fried onions. This was the best dinner I ate in Ireland! The chicken was cooked perfectly!

This was a great, fun day in Northern Ireland and Ireland. Marble Arch Caves is next!

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