Derry is one of the Ulster counties and, at the same time, one the six counties that make up Northern Ireland. The name "Derry" is derived from the Irish "Doire", that is related to the word for "oak" this is why Derry has been often called "Oak Grove County". It is situated in the north west of Ireland, and most of it is hilly, with picturesque glens and river valleys. The only mountaineous area stretches in the south, along the border with County Tyrone the Sperrin mountains, with their highest peak, Sawel, measuring 2240 feet. In the north, magnificent beaches lie all along the Atlantic Coast. Benone Beach is on the northern coast, near Downhill, and numerous other tourist attractions can be found throughout the county.
Derry city, its capital and the second largest city in Northern Ireland, is situated on a hill overlooking a curve of the River Foyle. It is an ancient, historic town, home to the O'Donnell and O'Neill clans, known as "The Earls of Ulster". Most of the present day city was built in the 17th century, to replace the town that had been destroyed by fire in the 1600's. The Walls of Derry, over a mile in circumference, are still intact, hence the nickname, "The Maiden City", that has been given to Derry. One can walk along the top of these walls, and enjoy the great view of the city. Derry has been a seaport for thousands of years, being even mentioned in songs about the departure from Ireland.
Nowadays, it is an important business center, and even though it has recently been a focal point for "the troubles", as they are known, it has maintained an aura of friendliness and liveliness, together with a vivid interest in the arts.
Lots of arts festivals are being held in the summer months and the city has a lot of art centres and galleries: Foyle Arts Centre, with an auditorium and community arts space, The Verbal Arts Centre (literary centre), The Nerve Centre (multimedia centre including rehearsal studios and a cinema), The Playhouse (a contemporary art center theatre and visual arts), Orchard Gallery, that also houses the Visual Arts Department of Derry City Council, and last but not least, Rialto Entertainment Center. There are also some heritage centres worth seeing and most of them have free admission: The Harbour Museum (presenting Derry's maritime history); Amelia Earhart Centre, commemorating the famous solo Atlantic flight of 1932; Foyle Valley Railway Center (a railway museum; train rides may be arranged, and they are cheap); The Tower Museum (presenting the history of the city through the ages); The Fifth Province, for those interested in Celtic history ( with audio visual facilities).
Saint Columb's Cathedral in London Street is worth a visit too, especially since it dates from 1633.
One need not worry about outdoor activities either, while in Derry: fishing is good on Enagh Trout Lake and he/she may also choose Glenowen Fisheries or Foyle Fisheries; for the golf enthusiasts, there's the Foyle International Golf Centre, and for horse riding, there's Ardmore Horse Riding Stables (in Ardmore). There are a lot of leisure centres, too, both in the city of Derry and across the county.