Cities of ModSquad: A Locals’ Guide to Derry-Londonderry
Last month our local ModSquad guides took us on a journey around the wonderfully weird city of Austin, Texas. This month, we travel across the pond to the home of our European Operations Center, to a city some may say is legenDERRY. Join us as we explore Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
You may have seen the show Derry Girls on Netflix, which has helped to spread the word about the city. Today, we present ModSquad’s look at what makes this city so loveable. A city that is as friendly and welcoming as it is beautiful. A place that is as sure to impress you with its rich history as it is determined to split your sides with its inhabitants’ bold sense of humor.
Things to do: Not to be missed are the City Walls, winding their way around Derry, standing today more than 400 years since their completion. Assistant Project Manager Joe M., born and bred in the city, says, “If you don’t walk the most fully intact feudal walls in Europe, you will have missed a uniquely historic feast of beauty.” Another local favorite is the Craft Village in the town center. It’s entered via a quaint alley branching off from the central Shipquay Street. Whether you’re looking for a cuppa tea, artisan crafts, or a delicious bite to eat, you’ll find it all in this historic reconstruction.
Check out the parks: There are more than a few parks to choose from within easy reach of the city center. UK Representative Martin H., who moved from England 15 years ago, enjoys Creggan Country Park. It offers a wide range of watersports, including an inflatable water assault course and aqua zorbing (where one walks on water inside an inflatable ball). Brooke Park is a favorite spot of natural beauty for German native Cindy Z., UK Representative, who made a new home near Derry-Londonderry six years ago. The park, she says, has a great playground and pond, as well as Gwyn’s Cafe & Pavilion, a perfect spot to enjoy a warm drink and a scone. Ness Country Park, so named for its waterfall (the highest in Northern Ireland), is an enchanting woodland strongly recommended by Joe, who says the woodlands “remind you why Ireland is so magical.”
Great eats: You may have heard that the island of Ireland is having a foodie revolution, which our local experts confirm is absolutely true. For an incredible vegetarian-friendly menu, Cindy recommends Sooty Olive. Its kitchen is staffed by a vegan creative genius who designs wonderful options for veg-loving restaurant-goers to enjoy. Several of our local guides suggest Browns Bond Hill for a fine dining experience, dubbing it “lovely for Sunday lunch or to enjoy local food that’s as delicious as it is artistic.”
Best place to enjoy a tipple: You can’t visit without enjoying a traditional music session in one of the many incredible pubs, such as the famous Peadar O’Donnell’s on Waterloo Street. For a closer look into the emerging craft beer scene, Cindy recommends Walled City Brewery. It’s located in Ebrington Square, just across from the Peace Bridge, which spans the River Foyle. For those of you who enjoy whiskey, be sure to check out local distillery The Quiet Man, independently Irish owned and operated. No matter where you go in Derry-Londonderry, our local guides promise you’ll find the “craic” (that’s fun in Irish).
Best quick trips out of the city: Derry-Londonderry is within easy reach of the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route, both highly recommended by our local guides for their incredible natural beauty. Just outside the city, in nearby County Donegal, you’ll find Grianan of Aileach. This stone hillfort, well over a millennium old, boasts views across the surrounding loughs (lakes) and hills. It comes highly recommended by Project Manager Shane B., who has been proud to call the city home since childhood.
Best time to visit: Our local guides agree: While there isn’t a bad time to visit, Halloween season is something quite special! A little-known fact is that Halloween actually has its roots in the Celtic harvest tradition of Samhain (pronounced sow-een). Later this month, ghouls and goblins will take to the streets in a lively Halloween parade set alight by fireworks and fire performers. At Halloween time you’ll definitely want to bring your best costume, but for other times of year, Cindy recommends that you “take your sunglasses and hoodie. The umbrella would just blow away!”
If you’re planning a visit to the Emerald Isle, consider adding Derry-Londonderry to your itinerary. Don’t forget to look us up for a friendly welcome and a bit o’ craic.This entry was posted in Offbeat. Bookmark the permalink.
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