Derry's City Walls

Top choice in Derry (Londonderry)

The best way to get a feel for Derry's layout and history is to walk the 1.5km circumference of the city's walls. Completed in 1619, Derry's city walls are 8m high and 9m thick, and are the only city walls in Ireland to survive almost intact. The four original gates (Shipquay, Ferryquay, Bishop's and Butcher's) were rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries, when three new gates (New, Magazine and Castle) were added.

The walls were built under the supervision of the Honourable The Irish Society, an organisation created in 1613 by King James and the London livery companies to fund and oversee the fortification of Derry and the plantation of the surrounding county with Protestant settlers. The society still exists today (though now its activities are mainly charitable) and it still owns Derry's city walls.

Derry's nickname, the Maiden City, derives from the fact that the walls have never been breached by an invader.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Derry (Londonderry) attractions

1. Guildhall

0.03 MILES

Standing just outside the city walls, the neo-Gothic Guildhall was originally built in 1890, then rebuilt after a fire in 1908. Its fine stained-glass…

2. Tower Museum

0.04 MILES

Head straight to the 5th floor of this award-winning museum inside a replica 16th-century tower house for a view from the top. Then work your way down…

3. Peace Bridge

0.16 MILES

Sinuous and elegant, this 2011-completed, S-shaped pedestrian and cyclist bridge spans the River Foyle, linking the walled city on the west bank to…

4. Siege Museum


In a building adjoining the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall, this museum celebrates the role of the 13 apprentice boys who in December 1688 locked the city…

5. People's Gallery Murals


The 12 murals that decorate the gable ends of houses along Rossville St, near Free Derry Corner, are popularly referred to as the People's Gallery. They…

6. Centre for Contemporary Art

0.22 MILES

Derry's contemporary art gallery provides a showcase for emerging artists in Northern Ireland and stages changing exhibitions of contemporary art from…

7. Bloody Sunday Memorial

0.22 MILES

A simple granite obelisk that commemorates the 14 civilians who were shot dead by the British Army on Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972.

8. Museum of Free Derry

0.22 MILES

Just off Rossville St, this excellent museum chronicles the history of the Bogside, the Civil Rights Movement and the events of Bloody Sunday through…