Fodor's Expert Review Tower Museum
The history of Derry is chronicled in this tall, medieval, and magical granite tower that houses the Tower Museum. The original building was constructed in 1615 by the O'Dohertys for their overlords, the O'Donnells, in lieu of tax payments. The museum has excellent information celebrating the life and legacy of St. Columba, with a new Discovery Zone on the first floor. The vivid "Story of Derry" covers the city's history, from its origins as a monastic settlement in an oak grove up to the Troubles, which began in 1969 after years of institutionalized discrimination in jobs and public housing. (A well-known Derry joke is that the skeleton in the city's coat of arms was actually a Catholic waiting for a house.) There's also an exhibition, spread over four floors, on the Spanish Armada, thanks to the fact that its fourth-largest ship, La Trinidad Valencera, foundered in Kinnagoe Bay, in County Donegal, in 1588.