Derry Main Towns


Located only a short distance from the meandering banks of the Bann. The village is also less than 10 miles from the beauty of the Causeway coast and provides a good alternative base for those wishing to visit the many attractions of the north coast.

Balllykelly is really a village that has outgrown itself. It has two handsome churches. The parish Church with its graceful spire was built by Federick Augustus Hervey, Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry. The Presbyterian Church, of classical style, was built by the London Fishmongers Company. The army garrison camp now at Ballykelly was a coastal command airfield during the war years. Other villages and hamlets within the Borough of Limavady are: Drumsurn, Feeny,Burnfoot, Greysteel, Foreglen, Drumavalley, Gortnaghey, Dernflaw and Ardgarvan.

Ballyronan is beautifully located on the northwestern shore of Lough Neagh. There is some great fishing available in the area.

At the heart of Ballaghy is this stronghold opened to the public in 1996. It contains a complete guide to the archaeology, history and nature of Bellaghy. It features Seamus Heaney’s poetry, films and broadcasts.

A short distance from the north shore of Lough Neagh is the village of Castledawson.

A mile (2 km) east of Downhill is Castlerock, a resort fronting a fine sandy beach that runs about a mile west-wards from the mouth of the River Bann. There is an open-air heated swimming pool by the beach and a championship golf course (18), (9). Permits for fishing in the Bann (salmon, sea trout, trout, bream, roach, pike and perch) may be had from the Bann Fisheries, The Cutts, Coleraine. There is good beach fishing for bass along this coast in the summer months.

The salmon filled river Faughan meanders past this little village in County Derry. Nearby Ness Wood Country park consists of 46 acres of woodland. This highlight is Ness the spectacular 30ft waterfall, streaming from the River Burntollet.

Located on the River Bann, this town survives mainly on manufacturing and the market that is run two days a week. There is a main college situated in the town and this allows the local students and others to recieve a proper and full education which bodes well fro the future of the town. Historically the town is well endowed, dating back to the 5th century when St Patrick founded a church called “St Patricks Church” which still exists and currently there is plenty for the visitor to do, visit the beach, play a round of golf, see the sights or there are amusements and a waterpark to keep the children happy.

Derry is the province’s second largest city and has an important shirt-making trade which started in the 1820s. The city stands on a hill on the Foyle estuary and, for most of its history, has been an important seaport. The royal charter of 1613, which gave Derry a mayor and corporation and added London to its name, saw it as suitable as ‘both a town of war and a town of merchandise’. The people of Derry are both soft-spoken and friendly people, they give the place an extra dimension that visitors will not encounter anywhere else in the province. The great seventeenth-century walls which encircle the historic centre are 20-25 feet high, 30ft wide in places and a mile round. Originally called “Daire Calgaigh” meaning ‘Oak grove of Calgach’. Calgach was a pagan warrior who had his camp on the ‘island’ of Derry in pre-Christian times. The name survived and the town grew until the 10th century when it became known as ‘Doire Colmcille’ in honour of St Columb. Over the following centuries this name became anglicised to Derrie or Derry.

Don’t miss Mussenden Temple, the eigtheenth century folly was built on the edge of a sheer cliff adjacent to the ruins of Downhill castle near the village of Castlerock.

Draperstown is still a lively place on market days. A small linen museum at Upperlands, north east of Drapestown, contains original weaving and bleaching machinery.

Dungiven is situated where the rivers Roe, Owenreagh and Owenbeg converge at the foot of the 1535 foot Benbradagh mountain on the main road between Derry and Belfast. Well worth a visit is the Augustinian priory of St Mary’s where the tomb of Cooney Na Gall O’Cahan can be found. Also worth visiting is Dungiven Castle which contains a nature Reserve and Victorian Gardens.

The aerodrome at Eglinton, 4 miles east of Derry, is now a civilian airport, with regular scheduled services linking north-west with Glasgow and Dublin. Further development is planned to make Derry and its surrounds more accessible to mainland Europe and beyond.

A village of south Derry with a broad main street. Surrounded by beautiful woods with scenic drives, quiet walks and natural trails. On the Tirkeeran Road just south of Garvagh is an ancient Church, founded in 560, with an underground cave cut out of rock in the field beside it, and a ritual ballum stone beside the gate into the neighbouring farmyard. Very picturesque with nearby forest walks.

Kilrea is a small village located adjacent to the River Bann on the North Coast, as it makes its way to the sea near Portstewart.

The name Limavady comes form the Gaelic and means ‘Leap of the dog’. There are several legends associated with the name, the most common being that a dog owned by one of the O’Cahan chiefs jumped a gordge on the River Roe bringing warning of an unexpected enemy attack. A locality south of Limavady town is called the Dogleap. The Borough is made up of the fertile Roe Valley and a long encircling arm of the Sperrin mountains. On the north it is bounded by Lough Foyle and the Atlantic ocan. There it boasts a 7 mile strand that has often been described as one of the best beaches in Europe and is a winner of the prestigious European Blue Flag Award. Much of the Limavady Borough hs been designated by he government as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Maghera at the foot of the Glenshane Pass was church property before the plantation and, quite unlike the settlers towns, the streets are narrow. Its main interest is Maghera Old Church on the site of a Sixth-century monastery founded by St Lurach. In the Middle Ages Maghera was the seat of a bishop.

This market town, a few miles from the north-western corner of Lough Neagh, was laid out on spacious lines by the Salters’ Company of London, who came into possession of the district under the plantation of Ulster in the seventeenth century.

Moneymore is an unusually harmonious plantation town with many nice buildings along the wide main street. This was the first town in Ulster to have piped water. Just ouside the town is Springhill (open to the public), a fine seventeenth-century house with attractive gardens and a costume museum.

Situated at the very North of Ireland Portstewart is a very well known town. Situated on the coast line Portstewart has a small sheltered harbour which when lit up at night is a sight to behold. Its long, crescent-shaped seafront promenade is sheltered by rocky cliffs and headlands. Portstewart Strand is a wonderful for a walk to get some fresh sea air so beautiful it has been preserved by the National Trust.