17-18 August 2019:
Londonderry / Derry, Northern Ireland:
Stroke City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Princes govern all things–save the wind, wrote Victor Hugo.

And so we arrived Saturday near Londonderry/Derry in Northern Ireland, which was not our original plan.

We had expected to spend yesterday, 16 August, at anchor offshore of Galway, Ireland but when we arrived in the bay the winds and the seas were ungovernable, and instead we turned about and headed out to sea. Our captain managed to secure a temporary parking space for us at an oil and chemical loading pier outside of Londonderry/Derry. It is not the most handsome pier in the world, but we are safely and securely tied up for the day and will move Sunday morning to our planned dock closer to town.

Silver Wind at her temporary safe pier near Londonderry/Derry

I went into Londonderry/Derry today to revisit the handsome Guildhall, which is emblematic of the story of this city of divided histories.

Here are some photos I took today:

Londonderry’s Guildhall, built by the guilds and associations that brought money and power from London here to the north of Ireland in the late 19th century
All photos by Corey Sandler, 2019. All rights reserved

Londonderry is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland, home to about 93,000; well behind the 483,000 in the Northern Ireland capital city of Belfast.

The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Daire or Doire meaning “oak grove”. In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and as a reflection of the funding it received from the London guilds, it added London to Derry in its name.

Its official name remains Londonderry.

But like many, many things in this part of the world it depends on who you talk to.

In general, Nationalists—those who would prefer a unified Ireland bringing together Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and who are predominantly Roman Catholic—drop the “London” and call the city “Derry.”

Many Unionists—those who want to maintain Northern Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom and who are predominantly but not exclusively Protestant—subtly, or not-so-subtly, keep the link to the UK out front by calling the place “Londonderry.”

A local broadcaster tried to popularize the unfortunate nickname of Stroke City as in Derry-Stroke-Londonderry. It’s not a pretty name.

Things are greatly—though not perfectly—calmer today than they were at the heart of the “Troubles” that obsessed most of the 20th century. A flare-up early in 2019 reminded people on both sides of the stroke of the bad old times.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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