Beyond the City Walls
It is worth exploring beyond the walls and discovering other aspects of Londonderry's heritage. Viewed from the city walls, the Murals on the Bogside and Fountain Estate depict momentous political events and upheaval. The Museum of Free Derry captures the emergence of the civil rights movement in 1968, a cross community movement created to challenge Unionist gerrymandering and limiting of Catholic families' housing entitlements.
Photographs, newspaper archives, gas masks and clothes worn by protestors and police vividly retell this explosive episode in the political evolution of Derry and Northern Ireland. Elsewhere in the Fountain Estate, the Siege of Derry and King William's triumph at the Battle of the Boyne are portrayed in street murals.
The murals of Derry provide a local interpretation of our past, present and future aspirations. On occasions the representation of these strongly held opinions can be dark, poignant and shocking.
Yet perhaps the most memorable mural is that designed with the direction of local Protestant and Catholic school students, a contemporary and optimistic dove of peace, whose wing an oak leaf commemorating the city's original name, appears on a background of multi-coloured squares, representing equality.
The Guildhall was built in 1887 in a neo-Gothic style, to honour the London guilds which had financed the new city almost three hundred years' earlier. Today it is a civic and cultural centre where visitors are welcome. Visitors should see the vivid stained glass windows, oak panelling, ornate ceilings and magnificent concert organ, and the four faced clock tower.
Standing beside the Guildhall, the Harbour Museum is located in the former harbour commissioner's offices which were built in 1882. The exhibitions narrate the city's maritime history using early maps, drawings and artefacts. Saint Colm Cille's voyage to Iona in 563 is remembered by the currach on display. Priests sailed to Iona in this replica boat in 1963, to retrace the Saint's journey.
Visitors to the Workhouse Museum glimpse the harsh conditions poverty and destitution brought to the city's people in Victorian Ireland. Exhibitions display the Great Irish Famine from 1840-1849 when entering the Workhouse was the only chance of survival. Also on display is the Atlantic Memorial Exhibition which relates Londonderry's role in the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II.
Amelia Earhart on her solo transatlantic flight in 1932, made an unexpected landing near the city. The Amelia Earhart Centre at Ballyarnett Country Park remembers the landing with a tour and also includes an exhibition on local aviation history.