What You Need To Know
Derry, officially Londonderry is the second-largest city in Northern Irelandand the fourth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name Daire (modern Irish: Doire) meaning “oak grove”.In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and gained the “London” prefix to reflect the funding of its construction by the London guilds. While the city is more usually known colloquially as Derry, Londonderry is also commonly used and remains the legal name. The old walled city lies on the west bank of the River Foyle, which is spanned by two road bridges and one footbridge. The city now covers both banks (Cityside on the west and Waterside on the east). The population of the city was 83,652 at the 2001 Census, while the Derry Urban Area had a population of 90,736. The district administered by Derry City and Strabane District Council contains both Londonderry Port and City of Derry Airport. Derry is close to the border with County Donegal, with which it has had a close link for many centuries. The person traditionally seen as the founder of the original Derry is Saint Colmcille, a holy man from Tír Chonaill, the old name for almost all of modern County Donegal, of which the west bank of the Foyle was a part before 1610. In 2013, Derry was the inaugural UK City of Culture, having been awarded the title in 2010.
Population: Estimate 85,016
In recent years the city and surrounding countryside have become well known for their artistic legacy, producing Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, poet Seamus Deane, playwright Brian Friel, writer and music critic Nik Cohn, artist Willie Doherty, socio-political commentator and activist Eamonn McCann and bands such as The Undertones. The large political gable-wall murals of Bogside Artists, Free Derry Corner, the Foyle Film Festival, the Derry Walls, St Eugene’s and St Columb’s Cathedrals and the annual Halloween street carnivalare popular tourist attractions. In 2010, Derry was named the UK’s tenth ‘most musical’ city by PRS for Music. Peace Flame Monument, unveiled in May 2013. In May 2013 a perpetual Peace Flame Monument was unveiled by Martin Luther King III and Presbyterian minister Rev. David Latimer. The flame was lit by children from both traditions in the city and is one of only 15 such flames across the world.
The economy of the district was based significantly on the textile industry until relatively recently. For many years women were commonly the sole wage earners working in the shirt factories while the men in comparison had high levels of unemployment. This led to significant male emigration. The history of shirt making in the city dates to 1831, said to have been started by William Scott and his family who first exported shirts to Glasgow. Within 50 years, shirt making in the city was the most prolific in the UK with garments being exported all over the world. It was known so well that the industry received a mention in Das Kapital by Karl Marx, when discussing the factory system: The shirt factory of Messrs. Tille at Londonderry, which employs 1,000 operatives in the factory itself, and 9,000 people spread up and down the country and working in their own houses. The industry reached its peak in the 1920s employing around 18,000 people. In modern times however the textile industry declined due largely to lower Asian wages. A long-term foreign employer in the area is Du Pont, which has been based at Maydown since 1958, its first European production facility. Originally Neoprene was manufactured at Maydown and subsequently followed by Hypalon. More recently Lycra and Kevlar production units were active. Thanks to a healthy worldwide demand for Kevlar which is made at the plant, the facility recently undertook a £40 million upgrade to expand its global Kevlar production. Du Pont has stated that contributing factors to its continued commitment to Maydown are “low labour costs, excellent communications, and tariff-free, easy access to the Britain and European continent.
From 1613 the city was governed by the Londonderry Corporation. In 1898 this became Londonderry County Borough Council, until 1969 when administration passed to the unelected Londonderry Development Commission. In 1973 a new district council with boundaries extending to the rural south-west was established under the name Londonderry City Council, renamed in 1984 to Derry City Council, consisting of five electoral areas: Cityside, Northland, Rural, Shantallow and Waterside. The council of 30 members was re-elected every four years. As of the 2011 election, 14 Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) members, ten Sinn Féin, five Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and one Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) made up the council.[needs update] The mayor and deputy mayor were elected annually by councillors. The local authority boundaries corresponded to the Foyle constituency of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and the Foyle constituency of the Northern Ireland Assembly. In European Parliament elections, it was part of the Northern Ireland constituency.
English is spoken as a first language by almost all of the Northern Ireland population and Derry.
The city’s night-life is mainly focused on the weekends, with several bars and clubs providing “student nights” during the weekdays. Waterloo Street and Strand Road provide the main venues. Waterloo Street, a steep street lined with both Irish traditional and modern pubs, frequently has live rock and traditional music at night.
“No Surrender” mural outside city wall, taken in 2004. Concerns have been raised by both communities over the increasingly divided nature of the city. There were about 17,000 Protestants on the west bank of the River Foyle in 1971. The proportion rapidly declined during the 1970s; the 2011 census recorded 3,169 Protestants on the west bank, compared to 54,976 Catholics, and it is feared that the city could become permanently divided. However, concerted efforts have been made by local community, church and political leaders from both traditions to redress the problem. A conference to bring together key actors and promote tolerance was held in October 2006. The Rt Rev. Dr Ken Good, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, said he was happy living on the cityside. “I feel part of it. It is my city and I want to encourage other Protestants to feel exactly the same”, he said. Support for Protestants in the district has been strong from the former SDLP city Mayor Helen Quigley. Cllr Quigley has made inclusion and tolerance key themes of her mayoralty. The Mayor Helen Quigley said it is time for “everyone to take a stand to stop the scourge of sectarian and other assaults in the city.”
The city is the north west’s foremost shopping district, housing two large shopping centres along with numerous shop packed streets serving much of the greater county, as well as Tyrone and Donegal. The city centre has two main shopping centres; the Foyleside Shopping Centre which has 45 stores and 1,430 parking spaces, and the Richmond Centre, which has 39 retail units. The Quayside Shopping Centre also serves the city-side and there is also Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre in the Waterside. These centres, as well as local-run businesses, feature numerous national and international stores. A recent addition was the Crescent Link Retail Park located in the Waterside with many international chain stores, including Homebase, Currys & PC World (stores combined), Carpet Right, Maplin, Argos Extra, Toys R Us, Halfords, DW Sports (formerly JJB Sports), Pets at Home, Next Home, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Tesco Express and M&S Simply Food. In the short period of time that this site has been operational, it has quickly grown to become the second largest retail park in Northern Ireland (second only to Sprucefield in Lisburn). Plans have also been approved for Derry’s first Asda store, which will be located at the retail park sharing a unit with Homebase. Sainsbury’s also applied for planning permission for a store at Crescent Link, but Environment Minister Alex Attwood turned it down. Until the store’s closure in March 2016, the city was also home to the world’s oldest independent department store, Austins. Established in 1830, Austins predates Jenners of Edinburgh by 5 years, Harrods of London by 15 years and Macy’s of New York by 25 years.The store’s five-story Edwardian building is located within the walled city in the area known as The Diamond.
The Foyle Bridge showing Derry-to-Belfast rail link. The transport network is built out of a complex array of old and modern roads and railways throughout the city and county. The city’s road network also makes use of two bridges to cross the River Foyle, the Craigavon Bridge and the Foyle Bridge, the longest bridge in Ireland. Derry also serves as a major transport hub for travel throughout nearby County Donegal. In spite of it being the second city of Northern Ireland (and it being the second-largest city in all of Ulster), road and rail links to other cities are below par for its standing. Many business leaders claim that government investment in the city and infrastructure has been badly lacking. Some have stated that this is due to its outlying border location whilst others have cited a sectarian bias against the region west of the River Bann due to its high proportion of Catholics. There is no direct motorway link with Dublin or Belfast. The rail link to Belfast has been downgraded over the years so that, presently, it is not a viable alternative to the roads for industry to rely on. There are currently plans for £1 billion worth of transport infrastructure investment in and around the district. Planned upgrades to the A5 Dublin road agreed as part of the Good Friday Agreement and St. Andrews Talks fell through when the government of the Republic of Ireland reneged on its funding citing the recent economic crisis.
Derry has, like most of Ireland, a temperate maritime climate according to the Köppen climate classification system. The nearest official Met Office Weather Station for which climate data is available is Carmoney, just west of City of Derry Airport and about 5 miles (8 km) north east of the city centre. However, observations ceased in 2004 and the nearest Weather Station is currently Ballykelly, due 12 miles (19 km) east north east. Typically, 27 nights of the year will report an air frost at Ballykelly, and at least 1 mm of precipitation will be reported on 170 days (1981–2010 averages). The lowest temperature recorded at Carmoney was -11.0 °C (12.2 °F) on 27 December 1995.