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Staycation Spotlight: Derry City

I recently visited Derry City for the first time over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. It was my first time visiting the North, a trip I won't forget anytime soon. With a mixture of education, great food, and even better music, there is something for everyone in Derry City Writes Tara Maher

One of the first stops on my trip was The Museum of Free Derry. The museum retells the history of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland and the early conflict era in Derry City, including the Battle of the Bogside, Internment, Bloody Sunday, and Operation Motorman through a range of visuals and memorabilia. The museum was opened by The Bloody Sunday Trust in 2006 and situated meters away from where some of the victims lost their lives on the 30th of January, 1972. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the museum and recommend it to anyone considering the trip.

The Free Derry Corner is only a stone's throw away from the museum. The Free Derry Corner is a prominent landmark in the Bogside neighborhood. The monument famously states, "You are Now Entering Free Derry," which is famously painted across the wall. The wall is often painted in the colors of various campaigns as an act of solidarity. The wall was previously painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag and a bright pink to support Derry Pride. When I visited last weekend, a tribute to Sinead O'Connor lay at its foot.

The Free Derry Corner

Derry is synonymous with its murals that are dotted around its city. Each mural represents a different event of the Bogside's troubled history, from the hunger strikers to John Hume. On my tour, a Derry local who witnessed the troubles poignantly said, "The murals are there, so we don't forget their faces and their stories." Each mural is lamentable in its own unique way, but the mural 'End of Innocence,' to me, was heartbreaking. The mural is dedicated to Annette McGavigan, a 14-year-old schoolgirl who was shot and killed in 1971 while wearing her school uniform.

The Derry Girls mural is the most recent mural to be painted in the city. It was created by a local not-for-profit company, UV Arts, and is located on the side of Badger’s Bar and Restaurant. It is one of Derry’s leading tourist attractions following the success of Channel 4 comedy ‘Derry Girls’. The show was written by Derry woman Lisa McGee who grew up during The Troubles. As a huge fan of the show and its characters, seeing the mural in person was something that I could tick off my bucket list.

The Derry Girls Mural

The Derry Walls were built in the 17th Century and are approximately 1.5km in circumference. Derry is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and offers some spectacular views of the City and The Sperrin Mountains.

After a day of exploring, a well-deserved break was needed, which led to the infamous Peadar O'Donnells. Peadars is at the heart of nightlife in Derry City. It is easy to see why after visiting on two separate occasions during my stay. The venue offers live music every night and attracts both locals and tourists. It is believed that the best pint of Guinness is poured in Peadar O'Donnells, but you can make up your own mind. The pub is decorated from head to toe with flags, old photographs, and license plates—a must-visit.

Peadar O'Donnells

The Lake Kilrea is the perfect day trip and is an hour away from Derry City. Lake Kilrea is a family-friendly Outdoor Adventure and Water Park situated in Coleraine. They offer many activities, including our Aqua Inflatable Adventure Park, the BEAST slide, Pedalos, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, archery, and Zipline. The lake is a freshwater spring-fed lake. You can find out more at

After an action-packed few days, some well-deserved R&R was needed. LoughBeg Glamping is the newest glamping experience to open up in Northern Ireland and is located less than an hour's drive from Derry City, next to Lough Beg in Co. Antrim. The site hosts four cabins, each fully equipped with a kitchen, come-dining-room, bathroom, bedroom, and a private hot tub. You can find LoughBeg Glamping on Instagram @loughbegglamping.

As I left Derry, I am already looking forward to my next trip. A city full of fun and mystery, I can't wait to explore more.

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