Derry, Northern Ireland

Rail Guide to Derry


Derry is often referred to as Londonderry and is one of the most important cities in Northern Ireland. Originally, Derry was a small walled city on the west side of the River Foyle although this has now changed and Derry has expanded to cover both banks of the River Foyle. The population of the city is now around the 100,000 mark, making it the fourth largest city in Ireland.

Interestingly, Derry was actually the first city in Ireland that was specifically planned. Its development began in 1613 and the final bricks were positioned in the wall, during 1618. The walls were designed in a central diamond shape as this was thought to be the best layout for providing security and defence.

Today, Derry has retained its defensive layout which makes it a historically significant city to visit.

Things to do

One of Derry’s main visitor attractions are the walls around the old part of the city. Amazingly, the walls were never penetrated during the many battles and sieges that took place during the 17th century. For this reason, a look at the wall is essential for any visitors. Part of the wall is home to the ‘No Surrender’ mural and a further sign that states ‘You are now entering Free Derry’, both of which are testimony to the chequered past of this city.

Other attractions of note include St Columb’s Cathedral and the Castle Dungeons, both of which played important roles during the 13th and 14th century.

Local transport

The provision of transport within the city is plentiful if a little fragmented. Part of this fragmentation is due to the modern railway lines that have been added onto the old style railways, creating a mixed degree of reliability.

Buses are still widely used across the city and Derry’s bus system is run by the Ulsterbus Foyle with a total of thirteen routes around the city, connecting both sides of the river. As well as the Ulsterbus Foyle, there is also a free Rail Bus Link that takes those arriving at the Waterside Railway Station to the centre of the city.

For onward travel, there are multiple bus and railway services that connect Derry to Belfast, Shannon Airport and Limerick. Strangely enough, direct bus services are often faster than the railways that run between the various towns, which is worth bearing in mind when travelling outside of Derry itself.