Wrapped in historic walls and hilly cobbled streets, Derry (or Londonderry, as it’s also known) oozes character. With a population of just over 100,000, it’s a relatively small city on the rise, with the imprint of the past around every corner, proud of its 400-year-old walls and architectural heritage as well as the multimillion-pound beautification project that has seen landmark buildings emerge in recent years. Derry’s remarkable history is told in expressive visual terms: walls and stained glass, a compelling open-air gallery of 21st-century political murals, the rejuvenated Guildhall, and a spectacular Peace Bridge across the River Foyle. The bridge links the city center with Ebrington Square, a redeveloped military parade ground now turned into a spacious playground filled with concerts and tai chi practitioners. The base figured in World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic, and its developers are slowly building a gallery, art center, studios, a brewery and bar, shops, and a maritime museum.

Collectively, the changes of recent years are viewed as progress born of the peace process, and there is great desire to continue to build on this message that this city's communities, so long divided, now desire to work together.

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Fodor's Essential Ireland: with Belfast and Northern Ireland

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