County Derry

County Derry, officially know as Londonderry, is perched on the northwest coast of Northern Ireland. Covering an area of some 798 square miles, the Derry landscape is varied and breathtaking. To the south are the forested glens of the Sperrin Mountains while to the north and east is the spectacular coastline of Benone Strand, Ireland’s longest beach, 7 miles of wide-open sand and surf.

Derived from the Irish ‘Doire’ meaning oak grove, Derry has long been a sacred place for early Celtic and Christian settlements. In the 6th century, the Irish Saint Columba founded a monastery beside the River Foyle in 546 AD, where the oak trees grew.

The City walls of Derry are amongst the best-preserved fortifications in Europe. The layout of the city reflects the original town plan set out several hundred years ago. In 1609, an agreement was made with the Corporation of London for the rebuilding of Derry, hence the introduction of the name Londonderry.

Derry has some fine architecture across the County including the Georgian town of Limavady and the folly overlooking Downhill Strand, Mussenden Temple, built by the eccentric Earl Bishop of Derry.

Other cultural attractions include Bellaghy Bawn, a 17th-century enclosure, containing a permanent exhibition on the locally born, Nobel laureate poet, Seamus Heaney.

The Earhart Centre at Ballyarnet commemorates where Amelia Earhart (the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo) brought her plane down in 1932. The first recording of ‘Londonderry Air’ was by Jane Ross in 1851, which was later affectionately known as ‘Danny Boy.

Visitors to Derry can also enjoy a multitude of outdoor activities from first-class golf to hill walking and excellent river angling.

Roe Valley Country Park near Limavady is a superb place for salmon and trout fishing, canoeing, rock climbing and walking through miles of magnificent, preserved woodlands.

Towns in County Derry

The largest town the County is the City of Derry. Coleraine, Limavady, Portswart, Dungiven, Maghera and Magherafelt are other principal towns. The estimated population of County Derry is just over 213,000.

Business Information

Four Councils administer County Derry: Derry City Council, Limavady Borough Council, Coleraine Borough Council and Magherafelt District Council.

Together and individually they promote tourism and economic development across the County. Derry is the regional centre for the northwest of Ireland. Industry in the northern part of the County is chiefly located in and around the City of Derry.

The manufacturing of textiles, IT, and chemicals are the principal sectors. External contracts in the US, Continental Europe and in the UK have been won by local joinery companies to build themed Irish pubs, interior fit-outs for hotels and restaurants overseas.

The food sector in rural Derry is characterized by family-owned businesses, mostly in the bakery sector. South Derry is known for its specialist agricultural engineering. On the land, there is sheep and cow rearing in the Sperrin Uplands to crop-growing of potatoes and cereals on the fertile lowlands.

Helpful contact details for business enquiries
Derry City Council
Tel: (44) 01504 365151
Limavady Borough CouncilTel: (44) 015047 22226
Coleraine Borough CouncilTel: (44) 01265 52181
Magherafelt District CouncilTel: (44) 01648 32151
Coleraine Enterprise AgencyTel: (44) 10265 56318
Roe Valley Enterprises LtdTel: (44) 015047 65707
LEDU Regional OfficeTel: (44) 01504 267257
Sources of finance applicable to business start up, development and acquisition, and related agencies, are as follows

Dept. of Enterprise, Trade and Investment

Tel: (44) 01232 529900
Industrial Development Board
 Tel: (44) 01232 233233
LEDU Head Office
 Tel: (44) 01232 491031
Bank of Ireland Head Office NI Tel: (44) 01232 246901
Ulster Bank Business Banking Tel: (44) 01232 897777
Northern Bank Business ProgrammeTel: (44) 01232 245277
Northern Bank Business ProgrammeTel: (44) 01232 245277
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment supports economic development in Northern Ireland. On their website at is a multitude of helpful information and links where and how to find business development assistance. The subsidiary body of the Industrial Development Board is responsible for inward investment into Northern Ireland and funding assistance for indigenous manufacturing and tradable services businesses with over 50 employees. LEDU, The Small Business Agency, assists local businesses with up to 50 employees. They have regional offices across the North. Local Enterprise Agencies support and work with the LEDU programmes. A list of local agencies is available from the LEDU Head Office.
Travel (see also town guides)

County Derry has its own City Airport with direct flights to Glasgow, Manchester and London. Northern Ireland Railways run a train service along the coast from Coleraine to the city of Derry. Ulsterbus and North West Busways operate across the County. Larne and Belfast have regular ferry services to Scotland and the UK.

City of Derry AirportTel:(44) 01504 810784
Stena Line

Tel: (44) 01232 747747

P&O; European

Tel: (44) 01574 872147

Norse Irish Ferries
Tel: (44) 01232 779090
NI Railways
Tel: (44) 01504 342228
Tel: (44) 01232 333000

North West Busways
Tel: (353) 077 82619
Tourism, Leisure, and Accommodation
Please see town guides

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