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Welcome to the website of Derrie Danders Walking Tours.
We aim to deliver you with an informative and entertaining experience.
The name "Derrie" comes from the original spelling of the name of the city in English, in old maps and manuscripts.
The term "Dander" is local speaking slang for a stroll or walk.
Please take time to "Linger longer in Londonderry" and enjoy a "Dander around Derry", and we can arrange a walking tour to suit you.
Our mission is to provide informative and entertaining historical tours of interest to both visitors and local residents.
We strive to be "politically neutral" and "historically accurate".
My tours cover the whole history of the city from BC to modern times but deliberately do not focus on the detailed events of "the Troubles" of 1969-1994.
Due to the wealth of historical information that exists,the biggest challenge has been not what to include, but what to leave out.
A young person's treasure hunt has been developed and is available for the pre-designed tours options ( grateful thanks to the Friends of the Derry Walls for their kind assistance)
We are steadily developing our contacts with other local tourist organisations and providers, and will continue to work as part of a connected and collaborative network for the benefit of visitors to the area. Currently we are able to offer tour add-on visits to 4 attractions (see details below), and other additional visits are in development.
Tours are currently only available in English, and by advance booking directly to us through contact box below or 07799 693789 (or indirectly through the third party reseller sites - Airbnb Experiences,Viator, Expedia,Toursbylocals or TourHQ.)
"Thank you for your inspiring,informative and delightful tour of Derry last Wednesday. We really enjoyed every minute of it."
Angela D, Castleconnell Active Social Group,Limerick.
"David, our guide, was punctual and polite when he met us.
He was the perfect guide - honest, friendly and direct. He answered everything we wanted to know.
David's usual evening tour route is a perfect way to see the city lights of Derry/Londonderry at night and is perfect for those looking to experience something a little different than an ordinary city tour. David also has plenty of tips for museums and other local sights so make sure to do this tour as one of your first things in town.
Tour duration was good. Can't recommend highly enough! 10/10!"
Ben D, Australia
"Thank you so much for the tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was greatly impressed by the depth of your knowledge and above all your obvious love for the city and its incredible history."
Martin Q, Derry/Londonderry
"The tour was first class."
"Very well explained."
"It wasn't long enough!!!"
"Looking forward to the next part in the future."
KPC Men's Group, Kilfennan, Londonderry.
"David has a wealth of local historical information, is very enthusiastic and will certainly keep your attention. The Taster Tour wets your appetite for more and David also pointed us to many other resources to explore in our own time. Overall excellent."
Will and Liz D, Eglinton
"I would strongly recommend Derrie Danders Walking Tours. As a former student of Irish history, I found the tour to be both interesting and informative. The amount of detail provided by David Douglas was way above the average tour, and the cathedral visit at the end with a look at the artefacts was the icing on the cake! If you're interested in history, this is well worth the time! 10 out of 10."
Gerard D, Liverpool
"David is knowledgeable, personable and flexible. We booked an all day tour with him , and it was the best of the 8 tours we had around Ireland ....by far. We were driven onto a beach to see a different view if the cliffs....spectacular. David thinks of everything and even topped off the tour with a visit to a local Ice cream shop....perfect ending to a perfect day."
John T, Florida, (Oceania Nautica Cruise Ship Passenger)
Do tours run all year round ?
Yes - it is hoped to run the tours throughout the whole year, though advance booking is always required.
Do tours run in all weather conditions ?
Tours will normally run in all weather conditions although routes covered may vary due to health and safety or local events and/or closures outside of our control .
Is there a minimum no of persons required for tours to run ?
Normally a minimum of 2 persons are required for tours to run, though sole tours may be available by negotiation.
Are tour prices quoted fixed ?
Discounted rates can be negotiated for children under 18, students, unwaged, families and groups.
Are tour duration times quoted exact?
The times shown are approximate and can vary dependent on the size of the group and the amount of interaction requested by the participants.
Are tours accessible to people with disabilities?
The standard published tours do access the City Walls, which are quite steep in places, and as a historical monument, do not always facilitate disabled people to enter and exit at all locations. However, with advance notice, tours can normally be adapted to facilitate people with disabilities.
Guide Prices only quoted. Rates are negotiable ; individual(1), a couple(2), a smaller group (3-4 persons) ,a medium group (5-9 persons) or as part of a larger group (10 plus - £120 plus £10 per person). See FAQs below for more detailed info.
Starting and finishing in Guildhall Square, we walk a full circuit "on and around the walls" in a clockwise direction. The tour covers an approximate distance of 1 mile (1.5 km) and includes a detailed history of the period from the origins of the city to the modern day. This tour will normally include a visit to the Guildhall and walk across the Peace Bridge.
THIS IS MY RECOMMENDED TOUR FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS TO CITY.
Normally starting in Guildhall Square at 7.30 pm, we walk around a section of the City Centre and Walls in an anti- clockwise direction and finish in the Diamond area, lingering at Double Bastion viewpoint for panoramic views of the west of the city. An approximate distance of half a mile (0.75 km) is covered.
Normally only Available September to March
A walk around the city, focussing on certain highlights in and around the Walls including the Guildhall,St Columb's Cathedral and the Derry Girls and Factory Girls Murals.
For groups (and by exception for individuals by negotiation), we can customize an itinerary to emphasize your interests, preferred starting and finishing points, and your available time. These may include a more leisurely half walls tour.
This tour includes the FULL WALLS TOUR as detailed above, plus a selection of the Add-On visits, customised to suit the group's interests. At least 3 working days advanced notice is required due to the need to arrange access to the Add-On Visit locations, as some of these have restricted dates and opening times. The tour time includes at least a 15 minute refreshment break and other comfort breaks as requested.
This tour includes the HALF DAY CITY VISIT as detailed above, plus options of a visit to other attractions on the outskirts of the city , the Roe Valley area, and locations in nearby Inishowen,and East Donegal.
This tour can currently only be arranged for a group with a maximum size of 4 persons due to transport limitations.
Please look at website www.derrydanders.com for detailed information about Full or Half Day Trips outside of the City, including the North Antrim Coast and Giant's Causeway.
Please look further down on the website as there are a range of speciality topics and add on visits, that may be of interest.
See the city and its historic buildings illuminated. A standard tour normally runs on a Thursday at 7.30 pm between October to March.
For groups, I can customise tours to begin from your city centre accommodation or other agreed meeting points,and at times,days and dates and for longer or shorter durations.
See the wider city area.
In addition to the Walls, alternative available destinations could also include Guildhall Square, the Peace Bridge, St Columb's Park, Ebrington Square, the Waterside murals, the Craigavon Bridge, the Fountain Estate, the Diamond, Long Tower and the Bogside.
To cover in more detail the role of the Scots who came to Ulster, their role in the city and throughout the province and the island of Ireland, and their emigration and subsequent role in the formation of the United States.
(Visits to St Columb's Cathedral, the Blue Coat Heritage Centre and the Emigration Sculptures on the Strand Road could be included as part of an extended version of this tour).
To consider the life of the famous Earl Bishop of the city and how his life and building legacy have affected the city.
A visit to St Columb's Cathedral and/or other city buildings associated with the Bishop, could be included as part of this Tour, (with a further option to extend the Tour and visit Downhill and Mussenden Temple).
Either on a stand alone basis, or as an added option to the Bishop Hervey City Tour, enjoy a 1 or 2 hour tour around Downhill Demesne, one of the Bishop's famous residences.
An additional entrance fee may be payable to the National Trust for non-members
To look in more detail at some of the "clerical" characters with links to the city.
Visits to some of the relevant churches and their museums could be included as part of this Tour.
To visit a number of the blue plaques located around the city
To walk around the "Maiden City" and present some of the sites and information about important women who have influenced its history.
As part of your tour, (with advance notice to the Cathedral staff), we can arrange a visit to the historic St Columb's Cathedral, the oldest building in the city. The visit will normally include a short video presentation of the history of the Cathedral and then a walk around the building itself, which is the resting place of Col Henry Baker and Capt Micaiah Browning, 2 heroes of the siege. The visit will conclude in the Chapter House Museum with a closer look at some of the items on display. Please allow approx 40 minutes for this visit. Please remember that this is a working church so visits may not be available if events or special services such as weddings or funerals are taking place.
Free Admission - A suggested minimum donation of £2 per person is requested to Cathedral Funds for Group Tours.
First Edition of King James Bible
Silverware inc Promise Chalice
First Edition Accounts of the Siege
Historic Baptismal Records
Artefacts of the Siege
Artefacts of Bishop Hervey
Artefacts of Mrs C.F. Alexander
War Memorial Miniatures
As part of your tour, we normally visit the publicly accessible areas of the Guildhall. It has been one of the city's most recognisable landmarks since 1890. As well as being home to the Council chamber, and the Mayor's Parlour, it is a visitors destination in its own right.There is also a cafe located within the building and accessible toilets on ground and first floor. However, as it is a public building, it is regularly used for functions and some or all of its rooms may be unavailable to visit due to events taking place or being set up.
Special Features include:
Magnificent stained glass windows which tell the story of key events in the city's history.
An exhibition exploring the Plantation of Ulster with interactive displays.
Main hall with 1891 dated organ, one of largest in Ireland.
The Guildhall staff may offer a more detailed guided tour of the building to groups at a cost, though advance booking is not possible . Please allow approx 60 mins for the full tour (if available). £2 fee per individual required for group guided tour
The Tower Museum, located in the replica 16th century O'Doherty Tower,houses 2 permanent exhibitions, the Story of Derry and the An Armada Shipwreck.
The Story of Derry shares the story of the city from early settlement,through the plantation,the growth of 18th and 19th centuries up to the modern day.
The An Armada Shipwreck - explores the story of La Trinidad Valencia, one of the largest ships in the Spanish Armada fleet which sank in Kinnegoe Bay, Co.Donegal in 1588. Artefacts including cannons recovered by the City of Derry Sub Aqua Club are on display.
Admission Fee required.
I am pleased to advise that I have negotiated a group discount rate for all customers on my tours.
The present building dates from 1872. It is a very ancient church and the most likely site of St. Columba's monastery founded 546 AD.
It was subsequently taken over by the Augustinian order.
From 1600, the Church, was used by the first settlers or planters and the cannonball containing the terms for surrender during the Siege 1688/1689 fell in the church graveyard.
The present building was consecrated by Bishop William Alexander, husband of the famous hymn writer, Cecil Frances Alexander.There are also many famous graves in the graveyard.
Free Admission - Donations Appreciated
The Blue Coat School Heritage Centre, situated adjacent to First Derry Presbyterian Church (entrance on right of Church), tells the story of how Presbyterians arrived in this area.
Presbyterians have worshipped in the City since the early 1600s, and the first Church on this site was built in 1690. It was the first Presbyterian Church in the City and is still the only Presbyterian Church within the City Walls.The 1690 Church was replaced by the present building in 1780, with the Dungiven sandstone vestibule added in 1820, and the portico & the four fluted columns with corinthian capitals in 1902 and again more recently restored in 2011.
Free Admission - Donations Appreciated
As part of your walking tour, we can take a diversion from the Walls and visit the Playhouse.
The Playhouse is actually 2 buildings, and these were saved in 1990, by its founder Pauline Ross, bought for only £300, and a large restoration project ensued. It incorporates an 192 seater theatre gallery,and is also home to several resident theatre and dance companies, as well as being a busy community used resource centre for the arts and crafts.
The public areas are usually always accessible, but by prior arrangement with the Playhouse staff, it may be possible to visit other interesting areas of the building, if not being used.
The Playhouse on Artillery Street is linked by a courtyard to the old Sisters of Mercy Convent in Pump Street, which was originally built as the Kings Arms Hotel in 1780 for the Grand Jury. In 1840 the Kings Arms was put up for sale and was purchased by a Thomas Doherty of Muff for £1,210 acting on behalf of the Catholic Bishop. This was the original site of 4 schools including Thornhill and St Columb's Colleges.
Please allow between 10 -20 minutes for this visit, depending on what areas are available for access.
The current Long Tower Church dates from 1909,after it was extended through the leadership of Fr Willie Doherty.
The original building opened in 1788, and was paid for by both Catholics and Protestants. It is believed to be located close to the Teampall Mor,built in 1164, which was the city's medieval cathedral accidentally destroyed by gunpowder stored by the army garrisoned in the city.
The Church is beautifully decorated with stained glass and mosaics and floor inscriptions linking to St Columba.
Outside the church is a ballum stone, set into a wall below a calvary scene, which had been moved from its original location beside the nearby St Columba's Well.
Please remember that this is a working church so visits may not be available if events or special services such as weddings or funerals are taking place.
The Saint Columba’s Heritage Centre (Aras Cholmcille) is located in the restored listed school building in the grounds of the Long Tower Church.
The Saint Columba’s National School, known affectionately locally as the “Wee Nuns’ School”, dates from 1813 and after major restoration provides the city with a centre to promote the heritage and history of Saint Columba, the city’s founding father.
The Heritage Centre exhibition offers a bespoke, interactive experience, that includes a facsimile of the Book of Kells, as well as items and objects relating to the 200 year history of the building.
Please allow approx 60 minutes for this visit, including visit to the Church.
£3 Admission Fee required.
The Bob Harte Memorial Trust researches, collates and disseminates information regarding local history and has established The Thiepval Gallery as an interpretative centre.
Opened in 2008, it is located at 18 George's Street, off Wapping Lane in the Fountain area.
The Gallery contains a number of storyboards, each one representing a decade in the Fountains history and above each of these is exhibited a painting of a representative event from each of the decades.
Admission only by advance booking.
Free Admission - Donations Appreciated
The Heritage Tower Museum is the last remaining part of the Derry Gaol, which was closed in 1953 and demolished in 1971.
The Gaol was once the prison home to famous Irish leaders, Wolfe Tone and De Valera and is located in the Fountain area of the city.
Today the Museum exhibits a very impressive collection of artifacts and memorabilia dating from World War One to the present day, the majority of which is owned by the Jackson family.
Admission is by appointment only and donations requested.
The Siege Museum is a purpose built visitor centre dedicated to the history of the siege of Londonderry and the Associated Clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry.
The museum features artifacts,video and interactive media and is located adjacent to the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall,Society Street.It includes a replica of the statue of Governor Walker which originally stood on the column on the walls of the city, prior to its destruction by a bomb explosion in 1973.
Guided tours of the adjacent Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall available to groups by advance booking. Access to Walkers Plinth is currently only available through the Siege Museum)
Admission Fee required
Opened in 1853 and the property of the local council, it became the main burial place for all people in the City from 1867, after the graveyards of St Columb's Cathedral, St Augustine's and Long Tower Churches were closed for new burials. From 1970 and the onset of "the Troubles", Protestant families primarily used graveyards in the Waterside.
Some of the notable graves include those of the hymnwriter Cecil Frances Alexander and her husband Bishop William Alexander, and the locally born architect, John Guy Fergusson. In recent years it is more prominently known as the resting place for some of the deceased from Bloody Sunday and in the republican plot, that of the former Deputy First MInister,Martin McGuinness.
The cemetery is free to visit, though guided tours can be arranged through the Friends of the City Cemetery at the cost of £5 per individual -advance booking required.
The Beech hill Hotel stands on the site of the plantation home, Skipton House which was originally built in 1622. Over the past 400 years it has been in the ownership of three families who have helped shape the city and the county, the O'Cahans, the Kennedy-Skiptons and the Nicholsons. In 1989 the house was converted to a hotel.
When the United States entered WWII in 1941, the city of Londonderry was chosen by the US Navy as the location for its Base One Europe, and officers and men from the US Marine Corps were billeted in the house and estate now occupied by the Hotel.
The Hotel houses a museum room and a woodland trail which remembers that period 1942-1944 and the continuing links between the people of the city and the United States Armed Forces.
Entry to the museum and woodland trail are free, but since this is a working hotel, access may be restricted at times and advance notice of your visit is recommended.
Ashbrook has been the family home of the Ash family since before 1595 and are the only family to have lived in the same house continuously in the North West. They are recorded by the Honourable The Irish Society as one of only four native owners prior to the plantation.
The oldest part of the house was built circa 1590, and it was partly burned by Jacobite forces in 1689 when the Ash family were within the City walls. Captain Thomas Ash wrote the most widely accepted history of the Siege and his sister Jane was widowed when her husband Captain Browning of the Mountjoy was killed during the relief of the city.
In the 1940's, Ashbrook also played host to the US Marines as part of Base Camp One Europe, when it was owned by the current Beresford-Ash family.
Open by appointment only, admission charge of £5.
Located on the outskirts of the city on Church Road on the Waterside, this is an ancient burial ground where early Ulster Scots planters and siege defenders were laid to rest. In particular the graves of Colonels Murray and Mitchelburne are located here.
The graveyard is free to visit, though hard to find due to its location. Take particular care when parking and exiting your vehicle as there is no car park. Also be careful when in the graveyard due to the uneven nature of the ground and hidden broken headstones.
Located in the former Monreagh Presbyterian Church manse in Carrigans Co.Donegal approx 8 kms out from the city. The centre explains the rich heritage of Ulster-Scots of the Laggan district of East Donegal, from the time of the Ulster Plantation to their migration to the New World, and in particular the USA. The Centre also provides assistance and advice on those tracing their Donegal ancestors.
Bloody Sunday Memorial/Free Derry Corner
Foyleside Shopping Centre
09:30 – 21:00
19:00 – 21:00
19:00 – 21:00
09:30 – 21:00
09:30 – 21:00
09:30 – 16:30
Advanced Booking is required
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