What­ever you call it, Lon­don­derry is a great stop on any Emer­ald Isle hol­i­day

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - ESCAPE - Phil Hawkes

LON­DON­DERRY or Derry. Don’t be con­fused by the names, as we were. It’s the same place, with a com­pli­cated his­tory re­sult­ing in two names.

This is a tricky sub­ject best ex­plained in ref­er­ences from Google, but the shorter form (Derry) seems to be in com­mon us­age and it’s eas­ier if you’re hash­tag­ging on In­sta­gram.

In fact, Derry is a story in its own right but it is most cer­tainly a high­light as well as the fin­ish­ing point of the Cause­way Coastal Route.

It’s the only re­main­ing com­pletely walled city in Ire­land and a walk­ing tour around the 17th cen­tury walls is an ab­so­lute must.

Tour guide Char­lene McCrossan ex­plains the long and some­what tor­tured his­tory of the city, in­clud­ing more re­cent events known as “the trou­bles”, which still linger.

On a pos­i­tive note, McCrossan points to the new for­ward­look­ing spirit of the towns­peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly the em­pha­sis on tourism. A newly opened mod­ern restau­rant called the Walled City Brew­ery is a prime ex­am­ple of that.

One evening, we head to a lo­cal pub des­per­ate to find a gen­uine Ir­ish stew. Greeted by a bunch of lo­cals at the bar, “where ye com­ing from?”, we in­evitably end up dis­cussing rugby.

Given the cur­rent record of the Wal­la­bies, we change the sub­ject and ask about the stew.

The bar­man pro­duces a la­dle and dips it into a big tureen be­hind the bar. A huge bowl filled to the lip emerges. “That will be five Euro, in­clud­ing a pint of Guin­ness,” he says.

A mem­o­rable evening, in­clud­ing a well-known trou­ba­dour with gui­tar, is typ­i­cal of even the most mod­est of pubs, and a fit­ting way to end what has been at the top end of road trips … at the top end of Ire­land.

Photo: Con­trib­uted

HIGH­LIGHT: Lon­don­derry's Peace Bridge.

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