50 Great Things 21-30 - Born to Shop

As if casting some sort of magical spell, two old trees are silhoutted in the foreground above The Foyle Bridge.
As if casting some sort of magical spell, two old trees are silhoutted in the foreground above The Foyle Bridge.
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21.LOVELY LITTLE SPOT - Visit the spot where was Derry was born (possibly) – at St Augustine’s Church on Grand Parade, where Colmcille built his first abbey in 546AD. The little church on the Walls is also the site of the oldest gravestone in the city (the Carrec Stone) and is the resting place of the legendary steamboat pioneer, Captain William Coppin.

22.EAST OF DERRY - Trace your Irish (& Derry) roots at the Derry Genealogy Centre in the Harbour Museum – or at the city’s Central Library, which also has a full archive of local newspapers dating back centuries. Who knows, John Steinbeck could have sat in that seat . .

23.SUN FORT - Hike out the back road from Creggan to Grianán of Aileach fort, former home of Irish High Kings – and site of the finest views in Ulster. (Three counties minimum or your money back.) At the bottom of the hill, be sure and visit Grianan Chapel, modelled on the ancient fort, and which was voted Ireland’s Building of the Millennium.

24.Wear out your youngsters or pets with a long nature walk in the Roe Valley Country Park, on Inch Island or at the Burt Bird Sanctuary. (For more, pick up a copy of Sam Mitchell’s excellent Country Roads: Walks on Foyleside and Inishowen.)

25.Pop into Little Acorns, the Guardian-acclaimed bookshop, at Bedlam Indoor Market on Pump Street, for a huge selection of fiction and non-fiction from national, international and local authors (*ahem*).

26.SHOWTIME - Catch a live show in the Theatre Quarter. The first theatre inside the walls, The Talbot, was built at New Gate in the 18th century and can still be seen today. Within 400 yards of this, you can currently find four performance halls: the Playhouse, the Millennium Forum, St Columb’s Hall and the Little Theatre.

27.Sample fine art from the city and far beyond at a host of renowned galleries, including the Void, Context, Gordon, Eden Place and the new Cowley Cooper on Shipquay Street. And don’t forget the William Scott mural in Altnagelvin hospital, the F. E. McWilliams sculpture outside it, the Le Brocquy design in the Verbal Arts Centre, the Walter Osborne in St Columb’s Cathedral etc. etc.

28.GOING TO THE DOGS - If you fancy a flutter, why not hit the terrific new Greyhound Stadium at Lifford? Even if luck’s not your lady, you’ll at least enjoy a good meal in the restaurant overlooking the track or maybe a couple of drinks.

29.YES, ANOTHER WALL - Follow the Famine Wall along the River Foyle from Derry to Culmore. The wall was constructed during ‘the Great Hunger’ of the 1840s as a sponsored project to keep the men who built it from starvation.

30.Indulge in some retail therapy in the city’s bustling commercial sector, whether at the Austin’s - by some accounts the world’s oldest department store - Foyleside, the North’s biggest indoor mall, or at the gigantic Crescent Link Park, which is growing by the minute.