Irish Name: Doire - "Oak Wood"
County Town: Derry
Nickname: The Oak-leaf County
GAA Colors: Red and White
Famous People with Derry roots: Paul Getty, Cardinal John McCloskey of New York, U.S.A., Sir William Massey, Premier of New Zealand and Col. Robert Torrens, Boxer John Duddy, Singer Nadine Coyle, actress Roma Downey, Martin McGuinness
Derry is a the second-biggest city in Northern Ireland the fourth-biggest city on the island of Ireland. The old walled city lies on the west bank of the River Foyle, which is spanned by two bridges. The city now covers both banks (Cityside on the west and Waterside on the east).
The city district also extends to rural areas to the southeast. The population of the city proper (the area defined by its 17th century charter) was 83,652 in the 2001 Census, while the Derry Urban Area had a population of 90,663. The wider Derry City Council area had a population of 107,300 as of June 2006. The district is administered by Derry City Council and contains both Londonderry Port and City of Derry Airport.
The Greater Derry area, that area within about 20 miles (32 km) of the city, has a population of 237,000. This comprises the districts of Derry City and parts of Limavady district, Strabane district, and North-East Donegal.
Derry is close to the border with County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, with which it has had a close link for many centuries. The person traditionally seen as the 'founder' of the original Derry is Saint Colm Cille, 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 c. 1600). Derry and the nearby town of Letterkenny form the major economic core of northwest Ireland.
According to the city's Royal Charter of 10 April 1662 the official name is Londonderry. This was reaffirmed in a High Court decision in January 2007 when Derry City Council sought guidance on the procedure for effecting a name change. The council had changed its name in 1984, the court case was seeking clarification as to whether this had also changed the name of the city. The decision of the court was that it had not but it was clarified that the correct procedure to do so was via a petition to the Privy Council. Derry City Council have since started this process and are currently involved in conducting an equality impact assessment report.
Despite the official name, the city is more usually known as simply Derry, which is an anglicisation of the old Irish Daire, which in modern Irish is spelt Doire, and translates as "oak-grove/oak-wood". The name derives from the settlement's earliest references, Daire Calgaich ("oak-grove of Calgach"). The name was changed from Derry in 1613 during the Plantation of Ulster to reflect the establishment of the city by the London guilds.
The name "Derry" is preferred by nationalists and it is broadly used throughout Northern Ireland's Catholic community, as well as that of the Republic of Ireland, whereas many unionists prefer "Londonderry"; however in everyday conversation Derry is also used frequently by Protestants.Apart from this local government decision, official use within the UK the city is usually known as Londonderry. In the Republic of Ireland, the city and county are almost always referred to as Derry, on maps, in the media and in conversation. In April 2009, however, the Republic of Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, announced that Irish passport holders who were born there could record either Derry or Londonderry as their place of birth.
Whereas official road signs in the Republic use the name Derry, those in Northern Ireland bear Londonderry (sometimes abbreviated to L'Derry), although some of these have been defaced with the reference to London obscured. Usage varies among local organisations, with both names being used. Examples are City of Derry Airport, City of Derry Rugby Club, Derry City FC and the Protestant Apprentice Boys of Derry, as opposed to Londonderry Port and Londonderry Chamber Of Commerce.
The council changed the name of the local government district covering the city to Derry on 7 May 1984, consequently renaming itself Derry City Council. This did not change the name of the city, although the city is coterminous with the district, and in law the city council is also the "Corporation of Londonderry" or, more formally, the "Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of the City of Londonderry". The form "Londonderry" is used for the post town by the Royal Mail, however use of Derry will still ensure delivery.
The city is also nicknamed the Maiden City by virtue of the fact that its walls were never breached during the Siege of Derry in the late 17th century. It is also nicknamed Stroke City by local broadcaster, Gerry Anderson, due to the 'politically correct' use of the oblique notation Derry/Londonderry. A recent addition to the landscape has been the erection of several large stone columns on main roads into the city welcoming drivers, euphemistically, to "the walled city."
The name Derry is very much in popular use throughout Ireland for the naming of places, and indeed there are at least 6 towns bearing that name and at least a further 79 places. The word Derry often forms part of the place name, for example Derrymore, Derrybeg and Derrylea.
The name Derry/Londonderry is not limited to Ireland. There is a town called Derry situated right beside another town called Londonderry in New Hampshire in the United States of America. There are also Londonderrys in Yorkshire, England, in Vermont, USA, in Nova Scotia, Canada, and in northern and eastern Australia. Londonderry Island is situated off the Tierra Del Fuego in Chile.
Derry is also a fictional town in Maine used in some Stephen King novels.
Derry is the only remaining completely intact walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe. The walls constitute the largest monument in State care in Northern Ireland and, as the last walled city to be built in Europe, stands as the most complete and spectacular.
The Walls were built during the period 1613-1619 by The Honourable The Irish Society as defences for early 17th century settlers from England and Scotland.
The Walls, which are approximately 1 mile (1.5 km) in circumference and which vary in height and width between 12 and 35 feet (4 to 12 metres), are completely intact and form a walkway around the inner city. They provide a unique promenade to view the layout of the original town which still preserves its Renaissance style street plan. The four original gates to the Walled City are Bishop’s Gate, Ferryquay Gate, Butcher Gate and Shipquay Gate to which three further gates were added later, Magazine Gate, Castle Gate and New Gate, making seven gates in total. Historic buildings within the walls include the 1633 Gothic cathedral of St Columb, the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall and the courthouse.
It is one of the few cities in Europe that never saw its fortifications breached, withstanding several sieges including one in 1689 which lasted 105 days, hence the city's nickname, The Maiden City.
The city has long been a focal point for important events in Irish history, including the 1688-1689 siege of Derry and Bloody Sunday on 30 January 1972.
Derry is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Ireland. The earliest historical references date to the 6th century when a monastery was founded there by St. Columba or Colmcille, a famous saint from what is now County Donegal, but for thousands of years before that people had been living in the vicinity.
Common Surnames in Derry: Doherty, McLaughlin, Gallagher, McCloskey, Kane, Kelly, Coyle, Moore, Bradley, McKeever and Campbell