From top, left to right: Austin's Department Store, Derry's Walls, Free Derry Corner, Peace Bridge across the River Foyle, a view of Derry at night, Diamond War Memorial, 'Hands Across the Divide' sculpture
Coat of arms of Derry.png
Vita Veritas Victoria
"Life, Truth, Victory"
(Adapted from a decoration on the Craigavon Bridge)
Derry/Londonderry is located in Northern Ireland
Derry/Londonderry shown within Northern Ireland
2008 est.
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBT47, BT48
Dialling code028
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
EU ParliamentNorthern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry
54°59′45″N 7°18′27″W / 54°59′45″N 7°18′27″W / 54.9958; -7.3074

Derry, officially Londonderry (i/),[5] is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland[6][7] and the fourth-largest city on the island of Ireland.[8] The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name Daire (modern Irish: Doire) meaning "oak grove".[9][10] In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and gained the "London" prefix to reflect the funding of its construction by the London guilds. While the city is more usually known colloquially as Derry,[11][12] Londonderry is also commonly used and remains the legal name.

The old walled city lies on the west bank of the River Foyle, which is spanned by two road bridges and one footbridge. The city now covers both banks (Cityside on the west and Waterside on the east). The population of the city was 83,652 at the 2001 Census, while the Derry Urban Area had a population of 90,736.[13] The district administered by Derry City and Strabane District Council contains both Londonderry Port and City of Derry Airport.

Derry is close to the border with County Donegal, with which it has had a close link for many centuries. The person traditionally seen as the founder of the original Derry is Saint Colmcille, a holy man from Tír Chonaill, the old name for almost all of modern County Donegal, of which the west bank of the Foyle was a part before 1610.[14]

In 2013, Derry was the inaugural UK City of Culture, having been awarded the title in 2010.[15][16]


Road sign in Northern Ireland with the reference to London obscured
Road signs in the Republic of Ireland (County Donegal shown) use Derry and the Irish Doire.

According to the city's Royal Charter of 10 April 1662, the official name is "Londonderry". This was reaffirmed in a High Court decision in 2007 when Derry City Council sought guidance on the procedure for effecting a name change.[17][18] The council had changed its name from "Londonderry City Council" to "Derry City Council" in 1984;[19] the court case was seeking clarification as to whether this had also changed the name of the city. The decision of the court was that it had not but it was clarified that the correct procedure to do so was via a petition to the Privy Council.[20] Derry City Council since started this process and were involved in conducting an equality impact assessment report (EQIA).[21] Firstly it held an opinion poll of district residents in 2009, which reported that 75% of Catholics and 77% of Nationalists found the proposed change acceptable, compared to 6% of Protestants and 8% of Unionists.[22] Then the EQIA held two consultative forums, and solicited comments from the general public on whether or not the city should have its name changed to Derry.[23] A total of 12,136 comments were received, of which 3,108 were broadly in favour of the proposal, and 9,028 opposed to it.[23] On 23 July 2015, the council voted in favour of a motion to change the official name of the city to Derry and to write to Mark H. Durkan, Northern Ireland Minister of the Environment, to ask how the change could be effected.[24]

Despite the official name, the city is more usually known as "Derry",[11][12] which is an anglicisation of the Irish Daire or Doire, and translates as "oak-grove/oak-wood". The name derives from the settlement's earliest references, Daire Calgaich ("oak-grove of Calgach").[25] The name was changed from Derry in 1613 during the Plantation of Ulster to reflect the establishment of the city by the London guilds.[26][27]

The name "Derry" is preferred by nationalists and it is broadly used throughout Northern Ireland's Catholic community,[28] as well as that of the Republic of Ireland, whereas many unionists prefer "Londonderry";[29] however in everyday conversation Derry is used by most Protestant residents of the city.[30] Linguist Kevin McCafferty argues that "It is not, strictly speaking, correct that Northern Ireland Catholics call it Derry, while Protestants use the Londonderry form, although this pattern has become more common locally since the mid-1980s, when the city council changed its name by dropping the prefix". In McCafferty's survey of language use in the city, "only very few interviewees—all Protestants—use the official form".[31]

Apart from the name of Derry City Council, the city is usually[28] known as Londonderry in official use within the UK. In the Republic of Ireland, the city and county are almost always referred to as Derry, on maps, in the media and in conversation.[32] In April 2009, however, the Republic of Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, announced that Irish passport holders who were born there could record either Derry or Londonderry as their place of birth.[33] Whereas official road signs in the Republic use the name Derry, those in Northern Ireland bear Londonderry (sometimes abbreviated to "L'Derry"), although some of these have been defaced with the reference to London obscured.[34] Usage varies among local organisations, with both names being used. Examples are City of Derry Airport, City of Derry Rugby Club, Derry City FC and the Protestant Apprentice Boys of Derry, as opposed to Londonderry Port, Londonderry YMCA Rugby Club and Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.[35] The bishopric has always remained that of Derry, both in the (Protestant, formerly-established) Church of Ireland (now combined with the bishopric of Raphoe), and in the Roman Catholic Church. Most companies within the city choose local area names such as Pennyburn, Rosemount or "Foyle" from the River Foyle to avoid alienating the other community. Londonderry railway station is often referred to as Waterside railway station within the city but is called Derry/Londonderry at other stations. The council changed the name of the local government district covering the city to Derry on 7 May 1984, consequently renaming itself Derry City Council.[36] This did not change the name of the city, although the city is coterminous with the district, and in law the city council is also the "Corporation of Londonderry" or, more formally, the "Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of the City of Londonderry".[37] The form "Londonderry" is used for the post town by the Royal Mail,[31] however use of Derry will still ensure delivery.

The city is also nicknamed the Maiden City by virtue of the fact that its walls were never breached despite being besieged on three separate occasions in the 17th century, the most notable being the Siege of Derry of 1688-89.[38] It is also nicknamed Stroke City by local broadcaster, Gerry Anderson, due to the 'politically correct' use of the oblique notation Derry/Londonderry[28] (which appellation has itself been used by BBC Television[39]). A recent addition to the landscape has been the erection of several large stone columns on main roads into the city welcoming drivers, euphemistically, to "the walled city".

The name Derry is very much in popular use throughout Ireland for the naming of places, and there are at least six towns bearing that name and at least a further 79 places. The word Derry often forms part of the place name, for example Derrybeg, Derryboy, Derrylea and Derrymore.

The names Derry and Londonderry are not limited to Ireland. There is a town called Derry situated right beside another town called Londonderry in New Hampshire in the United States. There are also Londonderrys in Yorkshire, England, in Vermont, United States, in Nova Scotia, Canada, and in northern and eastern Australia. Londonderry Island is situated off Tierra del Fuego in Chile.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Derry
العربية: ديري
azərbaycanca: Derri
تۆرکجه: دری (شهر)
български: Дери
brezhoneg: Doire (kêr)
català: Derry
čeština: Londonderry
Cymraeg: Derry
dansk: Derry
Deutsch: Derry
eesti: Derry
español: Derry
Esperanto: Derry
euskara: Derry
فارسی: دری (شهر)
français: Londonderry
Frysk: Derry
Gaeilge: Doire
Gaelg: Doirrey
Gàidhlig: Doire
galego: Derry
한국어: 데리
Interlingue: Derry
Ирон: Дерри
íslenska: Derry
italiano: Derry
Basa Jawa: Londonderry
қазақша: Дерри
kernowek: Ker Dherow
Latina: Derria
lietuvių: Londonderis
magyar: Londonderry
Malti: Derry
norsk nynorsk: Derry
occitan: Derry
polski: Londonderry
português: Derry
русский: Лондондерри
Simple English: Londonderry
slovenčina: Londonderry
slovenščina: Derry
ślůnski: Londonderry
српски / srpski: Дери
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Londonderry
svenska: Londonderry
Tagalog: Derry
Türkçe: Derry
українська: Деррі
اردو: ڈیری
Tiếng Việt: Derry
Winaray: Derry
粵語: 倫敦德里