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County Londonderry or County Derry ( ) is one of the traditional counties of Ireland. It is located within the province of Ulster and is part of Northern Irelandmarker. It was named after its main town – and later city and administrative centre – Derrymarker , which lies in the north-western corner of the county. It is one of four counties in Northern Ireland which presently has a majority of the population from a Catholic community background, according to the 2001 census.


The highest point in the county is the summit of Sawel Mountainmarker (678m) on the border with County Tyrone. Sawel is part of the Sperrin Mountains, which dominate the southern part of the county. To the east and west, the land falls into the valleys of the Bann and Foyle rivers respectively; in the south-east, the county touches the shore of Lough Neagh, which is the largest lake in Ireland; the north of the county is distinguished by the steep cliffs, dune systems and remarkable beaches of the Atlantic coast.

The county is home to a number of important buildings and landscapes, including the well-preserved 17th-century city walls of Derrymarker; the National Trust-owned Plantation estate at Springhillmarker; the Mussenden Temple with its spectacular views of the Atlanticmarker; the dikes, artificial coastlines and the noted bird sanctuaries on the eastern shore of Lough Foylemarker; and the visitor centre at Bellaghymarker Bawn, close to the childhood home of Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. In the centre of the county are the old-growth deciduous forests at Banagher and Ness Wood, where the Burntollet River flows over the highest waterfalls in Northern Ireland.

The county flower is the Purple Saxifrage. The term Oak Leaf County is the county nickname particularly in relation to the county's teams in Gaelic Athletic Association competitions.

Name

As with the city, its name is subject to the Derry/Londonderry name dispute, with the form Derry preferred by nationalists and Londonderry preferred by unionists. The name Derry is used in the Republic of Irelandmarker, while most of the British authorities prefer to use the name Londonderry.

History

Unlike the town, governmentally there was not a preceding administrative area called County Londonderry: it was established in 1613 by the government combining the former County of Coleraine, the Barony of Loughinsholin (which comprised the north of Country Tyrone) and small parts of Counties Antrim, Donegalmarker at the behest of the London Livery Companies and the Irish Society (hence, London-Derry) so that they could control both banks of the mouths of the River Foylemarker and the River Bann and have access to sufficient wood for construction.

Administratively, the city became a separate county borough, so from the establishment of Londonderry County Council in 1899 until its abolition in 1973, the town of Colerainemarker was the official county town of County Londonderry with the county council's headquarters.

Administration

Since 1973, administration has been divided between district councils. The councils covering the county are Derry City Councilmarker, Limavady Borough Council, and Magherafelt District Council; and most of Coleraine Borough Council, which is partly in County Antrim; and part of Cookstown District Council, which is largely in County Tyrone.
Map of County Londonderry, 1837.


Settlements

Cities

(population of 75,000 or more with a cathedral)

Large towns

(population of 18,000 or more and under 75,000 at 2001 Census)

Medium towns

(population of 10,000 or more and under 18,000 at 2001 Census)

Small towns

(population of 4,500 or more and under 10,000 at 2001 Census)

Intermediate settlements

(population of 2,250 or more and under 4,500 at 2001 Census)

Villages

(population of 1,000 or more and under 2,250 at 2001 Census)

Small villages or hamlets

(population of less than 1,000 at 2001 Census)

Education

Government-funded education up to secondary school level is administered by For Catholic grant-maintained schools administration is by the Derry Diocesan Education Office.

Two major centres of the University of Ulster are in the county, including its headquarters at Coleraine and the Magee Campus in Derry.

Sport

In Gaelic games, the county teams wear the colours red and white. There are many club teams competing in up to five leagues and three championships. The county team has won one All-Ireland Senior Football Championship (in 1993) and five National League titles. Hurling is also widely played but is not as popular as football. However, the county team is generally regarded as one of the top hurling sides in Ulster and in 2006 won the Nicky Rackard Cup - the third tier hurling competition in Ireland.

In association football, County Londonderry is represented in the IFA Premiership by Coleraine F.C. and Institute F.C. Coleraine are one of the most successful provincial sides in the country. Limavady United F.C., Moyola Park F.C., Portstewart F.C. and Tobermore United F.C. compete in the IFA Championship. Derry City F.C. play in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland after leaving the Northern Ireland structures in 1985, having resigned from the Irish Football League at the height of the Troubles because of not being allowed play their home games at the Brandywellmarker due to security concerns from other clubs.

The Northern Ireland Milk Cup was established in 1983 and is regarded as one of the most prestigious youth football tournaments in Europe and the world. The competition is based at Colerainemarker, County Londonderry and several surrounding towns - Ballymoneymarker, Limavadymarker, Portstewartmarker, Portrushmarker, Castlerockmarker, Ballymenamarker and Broughshanemarker. The event, held in the last week of July, has attracted teams from 56 countries around the world including Europe, the USA, Africa, the Far East, South America, the Middle East, Australia, Russia, New Zealand and Canada. Some of the biggest teams in the world have entered including Premiership giants Everton F.C, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur as well as top European teams such as Feyenoord, FC Porto, FC Barcelona, Benfica, Bayern Munich and Dynamo Kiev.

In rugby union, the county is represented at senior level by Rainey Old Boys Rugby Club, Magherafelt who compete in the Ulster Senior League and All Ireland Division Three. Limavady R.F.C, City of Derry Rugby Club, Londonderry Y.M.C.A and Coleraine Rugby Club all compete in Ulster Qualifying League One.

Cricket is particularly popular in the north-west of Ireland, with eleven of the twenty senior clubs in the North West Cricket Union located in County Londonderry: Limavady, Eglintonmarker, Glendermott, Brigade, Killymallaght, Ardmore, Coleraine, Bonds Glen, Drummond, Creevedonnell and The Nedd.

In rowing, Richard Archibald from Colerainemarker along with his Irish team-mates qualified for the Beijing 2008 Olympics by finishing second in the lightweight fours final in Poznan, thus qualifying for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Another Coleraine rower Alan Campbell is a World Cup gold medallist in the single sculls in 2006.

Media

The county currently has four main radio stations

See also



References

  1. http://www.libraryireland.com/IrishPictures/IX-Derry-History.php)
  2. http://books.google.com/books?id=kVslRbrSH7QC&pg=PA123&dq=daire+origin+of+Derry
  3. County flowers in Britain www.plantlife.org.uk
  4. Protest at Derry name switch, The Times, January 25, 1984
  5. Centre for European Policy Studies, accessed October 6, 2007
  6. High Court may decide on Derry name change, The Times, May 8, 1984
  7. BBC News: Court to Rule on City Name April 7 2006
  8. City name row lands in High Court BBC News
  9. Court begins Derry name change hearing BreakingNews.ie
  10. Judge to decide Derry name issue RTE News
  11. Judgement of Mr Justice Weatherup
  12. Derry City Council: Re Application for Judicial Review
  13. Newsletter.co.uk
  14. [1] NI Milk Cup Official Site
  15. [2] Manchester United Official Website
  16. University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)


External links




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