McDreamy's Derry: 7 attractions and restaurants to check out on your next Northern Ireland staycation
Patrick Dempsey was in Derry recently - and sure, you could be too.
Businesswoman Olivia Burns, founder of Coleraine luxury candle company Olivia’s Haven, this week revealed that Dempsey had been staying with her for two weeks while he filmed the sequel to Disney's Enchanted.
Burns described the experience as "surreal", and in fairness, it would be. He's a Hollywood star, he's McDreamy, and now he's buzzin' around Northern Ireland. You truly do love to see it.
And as summer edges ever closer (we hope), chances are you (like the rest of the country) are on the hunt for a staycation that's a little bit different... to the staycation you inevitably took last year.
Luckily, Northern Ireland is always a good shout when it comes to getting away, enjoying some culture, and embracing some gorgeous scenery - and by extension, so is the lovely Co Derry and the North coast. Patrick Dempsey thought so, and Patrick Dempsey is never wrong.
So, here are 7 attractions and restaurants in Derry that we're only dying to visit this summer.
The Walled City
A visit to Derry without a stroll around its famous walls is no visit at all. Join a guided walking tour with Derry City Tours, or go it alone, discovering a city packed with history, heritage and culture.
The iconic Free Derry Corner is a must see for anyone visiting the Walled City. Take some pics beside this famous gable wall bearing the ‘You are now entering free Derry’ slogan and see first-hand what has become an enduring image of the city and the Troubles.
And of course, The Derry Girls mural – another selfie opportunity located on the side of Badger's bar and restaurant.
This beautiful beach guards the mouth of Lough Foyle and is home to Lough Foyle Ferry and Martello Tower. This short beach walk through a National Nature Reserve provides opportunities for visitors to explore the beach or spot birdlife and sealife.
Benone Strand forms part of one of Ireland's longest beaches. A Blue Flag beach, it is popular throughout the year for a variety of outdoor activities and events with great views along the North Coast, to Inishowen in Donegal and to Scotland.
Giant’s Causeway and Antrim Coast Tours
The world-famous Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site. The result of cooling lava, the 40,000 basalt columns now form some distinct features – The Giant’s Boot and the Chimney Stacks, for example.
Depending on the tour you choose, you may also get to visit clifftop Dunluce Castle – Castle Greyjoy to Games of Thrones fans - Old Bushmills Whiskey Distillery and walk across the dramatic, and possibly ‘out of your comfort zone’, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
Restaurants and bars
According to a relatively recent legend, the Sooty Olive is named after the type of fly used by the owner of the restaurant to catch the largest wild trout in neighbouring Donegal. They seem to like their fishy tales in here and both lunch and dinner feature knockout seafood dishes that will have you hooked by the end of your meal.
The Walled City Brewery
Make your way over the Peace Bridge and into Ebrington Square for the The Walled City Brewery experience. Either sign up for their special one and a half hour storytelling experience where you taste the range of the brewery’s incredible house beers while munching on local artisan snacks or you can book a meal at their impressive restaurant.
Pyke n' Pommes
Those on the lookout for something that bit quirky should keep their eyes peeled for Pyke n’ Pommes, an adapted van that serves up delicious seafood, street food and chips.
In 2015 the same owners converted an unused shipping container into a permanent restaurant, POD, and later added Decky - a double-decker bus where people chow down, chill out and listen to tunes.
Pre-booking is essential for all mentioned attractions and experiences. You can find out more here.