Categories: Itineraries

Built in 1613-1619 the Walls are the largest ancient monument in Northern Ireland and are the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. They were built by The Honourable, The Irish Society as defences for early seventeenth century settlers from England and Scotland.

The Walls, which are approximately one mile (1.6km) in circumference and vary in height and width between 3.7 and 10.7 metres (12 and 35 feet), are completely in tact and form a walkway around the inner city.

The city Walls are also home to Europe’s largest collection of cannon whose origins are known precisely, many of these were fired during two seventeen century sieges. In 2005 the surviving 24 cannon were restored, and under expert supervision and often by hand, craftsmen cleared the barrels of centuries of rubbish, stripped off layers of paint and corrosion and bathed, sponged and waxed the cannon back to their former glory.

The cannon are displayed throughout the City Walls with the impressive Roaring Meg located on the double bastion.

Visitors can walk around the top of the ramparts, which provides an elevated promenade to see how the city has developed.

Or, you can explore the Dry Moat Walk, which entails walking around the exterior of the monument, exiting the Walled City through New Gate, passing by Bishop’s Gate and re-entering the Walled City through Butcher Gate. On this route, which follows the line of a now lost dry moat, will you pass three surviving full bastions.

Where to start: Start at the Visitor Centre and check out the vairety of tours on offer. 

Cost: Free

Open: From dusk till dawn


  • Built in 1613-1619 by The Honourbale, The Irish Society
  • The four original gates to the Walled City are Bishop’s Gate, Ferryquay Gate, Butcher’s Gate and Shipquay Gate.
  • Three further gates were added later, Magazine Gate, Castle Gate and New Gate – making seven gates in total.
  • Historic buildings within the walls include the 1633 Gothic Cathedral of St Columb, the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall and the courthouse.
  • It is one of the few cities in Europe that never saw its fortifications breached, withstanding several sieges including one in 1689 which lasted 105 days, hence the city’s nickname, The Maiden City.
  • UNESCO Heritage Sites' top 1,001 things to do before you die.
  • Named as Northern Ireland's National Treasures in 2014 by The National Lottery.
  • Derry was voted by Lonely Planet in 2013 as one of the best top ten cities to visit.