While the name might bring you flashes of Stephen King’s book IT or the movie remakes by the same title, the town of Derry is real and spooky.
There is no place in the world to celebrate Halloween than in the country of Ireland, which is where the holiday originated from. Located in Northern Ireland, Derry (officially named Londonderry but you better not call it that!) is a short two-hour train ride from Belfast.
In keeping with its eerie name, the city’s coat of arms boasts a skeleton image and the town hosts a Halloween celebration each year to crush all other frightening festivals. The Derry Halloween is the first and longest-running one of its kind on the whole island. More than 30,000 locals and tourists alike hit the streets of Derry for the week-long party.
There are almost countless activities, and many of the events and showcases change annually. However, the most epic of the sights is the parade on Halloween proper, which is followed by the fireworks finale. Other things you can check out include:
- Live music.
- A moon museum.
- Creepy trails.
- Viking-related fun.
- Authentic Irish food.
During the festivities, we ate at the quint yet busy Guildhall Taphouse — across from The Guildhall — which has traditional Irish food to keep your bones warm. NOTE: It is very cold in Northern Ireland in October.
We also checked out The Scullery Cafe, which has HIPSTER written all over it. With delicious breakfast plates and friendly servers, we visited this shop each day of our visit.
Other Reasons to Visit Derry
Although Halloween in Derry is epic, the small city is adorable and worth a weekend trip. It is a great jumping-off location since its close to other sights like Dunce Castle, Giant’s Causeway, and Mussenden Temple. In fact, if you are a big fan of Game of Thrones, then you’ll love the tours themed around the show.
Ireland is one of the best places to visit as a first-time solo traveler. Derry is especially nice for those looking to reconnect with themselves. Even though the city hosts events throughout the year, the coastal sights are great places to escape and find peace. Unlike the bustle of Belfast, Derry is a more tranquil alternative for the introverted traveler.