On Friday morning, we had plans to visit Londonderry, the second largest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth largest city in Ireland as a whole. Although the city is officially called Londonderry, it is popularly known as Derry and that is how it was tagged in my iPhone photos.
Prior to our visit, the only thing I had ever heard of regarding “Londonderry” was the song “Londonderry Air“, otherwise known as “Danny Boy”. I have sung that song many times, but never thought I would one day visit the walled city known for its architecture. The cruise officials had arranged for us to meet the mayor, who was presented an award by Hebridean Princess. We had a brief tour of the Guildhall, a gorgeous building that houses a very impressive pipe organ. Too bad my mom wasn’t on this trip, since the guide asked if anyone played organ. My mom was a church organist for over fifty years, although I don’t know if she played a lot of pipe organs.
The gorgeous pipe organ in Derry’s Guildhall.
Stained glass was everywhere!
After a coffee and tea break, we took a tour of the city given by a local guide who wore a bright yellow jacket. Our guide’s surname was McCrossan, which made Bill perk up. For all we know, he could have been a relative of ours. Local guides can be hired for four GBP and Hebridean Princess hired one for our benefit.
Derry is right next to County Donegal, which is where Bill’s people are from. It’s very close to the border of the Republic of Ireland and, in fact, our guide pointed out where the border was. He also explained that Harvey’s Bristol Cream, a favorite sherry of Bill’s and mine, had a connection to Derry.
I learned a bit more about religion in Northern Ireland, too. Prior to our tour, I had no idea that there were so many Presbyterians in Northern Ireland. I was born and raised Presbyterian by a family full of them, so that part of the tour was especially interesting for me.
A charming block of shops near the Guildhall and the Bishop’s Gate.
David Indge presents Londonderry’s mayor with an award.
A kid unwisely walks by the fountains, which I observed to shoot geyser like sprays of water at random intervals!
Part of Derry’s famous wall.
These jets randomly sprayed water.
This was a settlement of the city inhabited by Catholics. The ground was very marshy, which the guide described to us in detail. In the distance, you can see the Catholic church. We learned that back in the day, poor Catholic households in Northern Ireland could only be represented by one person when they voted. That was one reason why they were so oppressed. It wasn’t until 1968 that this rule was changed.
A very famous Presbyterian church in Derry. The history surrounding this church was very interesting. I wish we could have gone in for a look.
I seem to recall taking these pictures because they reminded me so much of Lexington, Virginia, where my dad went to college and Bill and I got married. I felt as if I were standing there. It was kind of eerie.
Bishop Street Within… meaning it’s within the walls of the city. There’s also a Bishop Street Without, I believe.
I wish I could have taken some photos inside of this church, but you had to pay a fee… which I would have done, except we were running short on time. The guide recommended we come back and get a proper tour of Saint Columb’s Cathedral. It really is beautiful. He also told us a funny story about a woman getting married there when they had turned on the floor heating. As she was passing the grate in the floor, a gust of wind blew up her dress, Marilyn Monroe style. Now, when people get married, they make sure to turn off the heat.
A couple of shots of Bishop’s Gate.
And a pretty rainbow in Larne, after our drive back to the ship.
I would like to visit Derry again sometime, perhaps not while cruising. It appears to be a very charming city with plenty to see and do. I would have liked to have had lunch there, but the ship had arranged for us to eat at a golf resort about a half an hour away. To be very honest, I probably would have preferred lunch on the ship.
Our buffet lunch consisted of a bowl of vegetable soup, which was good, and a side of soda bread, also good. We also had wine. The main courses were Irish stew with beef, which I skipped because I was afraid of the dreaded fungus. There was also a chicken dish that was loaded with mushrooms. They had pasta and salad, mashed potatoes, and chips, too. I avoided the meat and liked the dessert, which was either chocolate lava cake or apple crumble with warm vanilla custard. I love a good crumble, so that pretty much made the meal for me.
By the time lunch was over, it had started raining. We were supposed to visit a house and some ruins, but it was mid afternoon and people were tired. Our intrepid purser arranged for a small bus to take some of us back to the ship. Bill and I decided to take the short bus rather than visit the ruins and the house. It turned out we were smart to do that, since the ground was really messy at the ruins and they didn’t stay long anyway. It gave me an opportunity to come back to the ship, relax, and try a few more local beers… and other boozy delights.
This appears to be a smoked salmon roulade starter.
Sole for me at dinner.
And Bill had veal, which I know was tasty.
A snifter of brandy…
And more dessert.