Inside A Residential Life Trip To Derry/Londonderry
Queen’s Accommodation don’t just offer a great place to live – the Residential Life team will take you to amazing places, says Sneha Parajuli, who joined them on a recent day trip to the fab city of Derry/Londonderry.
On top of first-class housing options at a reasonable price, Queen’s Accommodation organises different trips every month for residents to make friends and more importantly, to have fun! This month, me and my friends currently residing in Elms Village decided to join the team on a trip to Derry. Here is how we got on…
On a fine Saturday morning, we headed out from Treehouse, the hub for social activities in the Elms village. Our bus had students living in BT9 and later we were joined by residents from BT1 and BT2, Queen’s other halls in the city centre. We were off to Derry by 9:30 and reached there at around 11:30. It was great to meet students from the other Queen’s Accommodation. Everyone was friendly and feeling excited.
The team had also booked two guides for the students so we were divided into two groups for tours. We started our guided walk with stories about the history of the city and visited major attractions like Peace Bridge, St. Columb’s Cathedral, Guildhall, The Derry Walls and many more -all followed by a little shopping. It was great to get under the skin of the vity and understand a bit more about the history of Northern Ireland.
Walking the city walls
The first place we visited was Derry City Walls. These 17th century walls have 7 gates and 24 restored cannons. Four major old gates were named Bishop’s gate, Ferryquay Gate, Butcher Gate and Shipquay Gate and the three new ones were called Magazine Gate, Castle Gate and New Gate.
Since the walls are intact from 17th century, the city of Derry is also called ‘The Walled City’. The walls formed a walkaway around the inner city where we walked along and learned great historical facts about the walls and took photos there. It’s amazing to hear stories about the long and colourful history of the city.
St. Columb’s Cathedral
Also known as the mother church of the Church of Ireland, St Columb’s Cathedral was built in 1633 by the City of London. The cathedral is a working church but also contains a museum for visitors to look at the artefacts representing the connection with London.
It was one of the first cathedrals to be built after the Protestant reformation.
One of the eight surviving bastions, the Royal Bastion has historical significance as the crimson flag was flown here in defiance of the besieging army.
I never heard of the term bastion before I saw this. I got to know that bastion is a gun platform which projects out from the line of the walls, giving a wider field of shot to the army. Every day is a school day!
St Augustine’s Church
This beautiful church boasts a great history and a special ambience. The church is small but architecturally remarkable to look at with stained glass windows and green gardens.
This site of St Augustine’s church is famous as this was the exact location where St Columba built his Abbey circa 543AD, and then departed from Derry down the River Foyle with his supporters to the Island of Iona in 563AD. This historically significant location was great to look at.
The Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall
Headquarters of the Apprentice Boys of Derry organization, Memorial Hall is also known as ‘The Mem’. This gothic structured building is now a home to a historic museum for tourists.
This beautiful building is considered one of the landmarks of Derry and is located centrally. The hall is a home to the Council’s chamber and Mayor’s Parlour and welcomes tourists.
Straddling the River Foyle, the Peace Bridge connects Ebrington Square with the rest of the city centre. The bridge has two arms heading in opposite directions, forming a symbol of peace. It was named after the unification between two communities, the Protestant Waterside and the Nationalist Bogside, from opposite sides of the Foyle river. It felt very special to see the bridge up close.
All in all, it was a great day. I learned a lot and laughed a lot, but more importantly, I made some great friends.
Discover more amazing activities at Queen’s Accommodation.