Belfast & Northern Ireland

Derry - A Brief History

more than a year ago
6th Century AD: First mention of a monastery, but settlement is believed to stretch back many more centuries. The Irish name Doire, from which Derry derives, means Oak Grove. The site of the settlement was seen as a strategically important high point overlooking the River Foyle.

1609-1613: After the de-population following the Nine Years War and the Flight of the Earls, the Plantation of Ulster begins. Derry is renamed Londonderry due to the involvement of the Guilds of London in its development. With its imposing walls and new Protestant Cathedral (1633), Londonderry was intended to be a bastion of British power.

1688-1689: Siege of Derry. Thirteen Protestant Apprentice Boys close the gates on the Catholic King James, with a bitter 105 day siege following. There is great loss of life before the siege is lifted.

1968 onwards: Outbreak of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, with Derry at its centre. Civil Rights demands by the city's Catholic majority lead to violence, with Bloody Sunday, on 30 Jan 1972, seeing 14 unarmed Catholic civilians shot dead by British Paratroopers, an event which remains emotive to the present day. During this time, the city sees a great exodus of the Protestant population to the East of the river.

1990 onwards: the city enjoys a renaissance and return to normality quicker than most other areas of Northern Ireland. 1995: President Clinton visits Derry City.

2010: The City of Derry is shortlisted for the prestigious title of 2013 UK City of Culture.

15 June 2010: The Saville Inquiry, set up by former UK PM Tony Blair to investigate the events of Bloody Sunday, concludes that all 14 victims were innocent and wrongfully shot by the Paratroopers. The Inquiry lasted 12 years and cost £191million, making it the longest and most expensive inquiry in British legal history.

2013: Derry becomes the first UK City of Culture and a year-long calendar of events includes the Turner Prize, Lumiere and the Return of Colmcille.


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