I am sure it hasn’t escaped your attention that I have recently visited Northern Ireland as part of a press trip with Tourism Ireland. The main focus of the trip was on Game Of Thrones locations but we also explored some other areas of NI and well it would be just plain rude if I didn’t tell you all about them. We actually ended our trip in Derry, where you can take a Game Of Thrones tour from or end it there and it is a pretty cool place to visit.
Derry Derry Londonderry Legenderry.. so first up what is the deal behind the names? I mean is it just plain old Derry? County Derry? Londonderry? Well. On the first day we spent in the wonderful walled city we had a tour around the city and we were told a little of the history behind the name and the city.
The names of the city and county of Derry or Londonderry in Northern Ireland are the subject of a naming dispute between Irish nationalists and unionists. Generally, although not always, nationalists favour using the name Derry, and unionists using Londonderry. Legally, the city and county are called “Londonderry”, while the local government district containing the city is called “Derry and Strabane” ( source Wikipedia ).
This is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. The Walls were built during the period 1613-1618 by the honourable, the Irish Society as defences for early seventeenth century settlers from England and Scotland ( Source: Discover NI )
On our tour with Visit Derry:
Before we had our tour of the city we headed to Brickwork Derry a really cool restaurant in the city centre. The food was every bit as good as I had come to expect in Northern Ireland and the cocktails were a bit special too. Here are a few photos of our meal:
The tour took us around the city, checking out the various wall art and some really interesting buildings before ending up in an Irish Coffee Demonstration. Yep we learned how to make Irish Coffee from a master Irish Coffee Connoisseur. Then they give me the remainder of the bottle of whisky to take away and the rest is a blur.. ok that is such a brazen lie. I have the half bottle of Whisky on my liquor shelf. I really am all talk.
We checked into The City Hotel which overlooked the water and I of course hit the bath and enjoyed a brief break before we got ready for a night out in Derry. We had our evening meal at Browns in Town, I had the lamb which was just mouthwateringly tender. Also a cocktail because you just have to when they are as perfectly pretty as these were.
After our meal we visited some traditional pubs in Derry where I was really pleased to find pubs just as I imagined they would be in Ireland. Live music, random dancing and well shall we say some funny chats were had. We also played the Game Of Names…only the best drinking game ever. It would take too long to explain the rules ( which were fairly flexible ) but I think we confused many people that night. We ended up back at our hotel bar for one last drink before getting some sleep before our final day.
An Irish breakfast at The City Hotel set us for the day ahead and what a day we had.
We joined up with Daragh from Far & Wild Adventures for some longboarding lessons. I have to tell you that I was more than a little apprehensive about this. I have always had a terrible sense of balance, I tried surfing years ago and well it was quite funny for observers. BUT I loved it.
I mean … how cool do I look?
I felt like it came naturally which was weird but I felt kind of addicted from the moment I started and I just wanted to go a little faster, a little further and I didn’t want it to end. We even came across a professional photographer in the town square who asked if we would try skating through the water fountains so we did and it was so much fun. Check out this pic from Gavin Connolly below:
After the whirlwind that was learning to longboard we ended up at The Walled City Brewery, now this really is a MUST visit if you are in Derry. It is a beautifully cool and modern building with the most amazing drinks. Obviously it’s a brewery so the beer was fantastic but we also sampled some of their cocktails too and they were a treat.
Favourite drink was Ready For The Hills, a heady mix of rum and lavender syrup.
It really was kind of hard to tear us away from the Brewery and had we not been heading to catch a flight home I think we would have lingered for the day.
We were flying home from Derry Airport on one of the new flights which go direct to London Stansted with prices from £44 one way with BMI with complimentary tea/coffee and snacks. I love small airports where check in and security is so straightforward and you aren’t walking for miles to find your gate. It was also a bit of fun to be on a small plane where you can virtually see into the cockpit and myself and Kim managed to get the front seats.
Bye bye Derry Derry Londonderry.
I have to say that I highly recommend a trip to Derry and I find myself already wanting to return to explore some more.
A huge part of the enjoyment on this trip was the company I had and I recommend you go check out their posts about our trips, links below:
Kim over at Kimou.co
Lauren at A Bird In The Hand Travel
Pip at Pip In The City
Steph at Scouse girl Problems
Joanna at The World In My Pocket
- I was invited on this trip as a guest of Tourism Ireland.