Londonderry is a county of Northern Ireland that lies between Lough Neagh and the Atlantic northern coast of Ireland. Londonderry (aka Derry) is also the name given to the county’s chief town (population 52,205 in 1971 and 82,862 in 1981; now in excess of 100,000) which is also a little used port on the River Foyle.  The up-to-date Interactive Map should be useful and reliable. Old historical maps can also be accessed through a recent initiative by the University of Portsmouth and partners.

Londonderry, locally and historically Derry, Irish Doire, formally merged an old city area with a larger coextensive district in 1969 to later become one of Northern Ireland’s 26 districts in 1973. The city is officially referred to as Londonderry City although this was challenged unsuccessfully in a Judicial Review in 2006. The old city area of Londonderry occupied 4 sq miles (10.4 sq km) in 1971. Centred on a hill on the west bank of the River Foyle, it is partially contained by the well-preserved Derry Walls (completed in 1618) 1.2 mi (2.0 km) in circumference. It is about 4 miles upstream from where the Foyle widens into the broad Atlantic inlet of Lough Foyle.

Its locally popular name, Derry, comes from the Irish word doire,meaning “oak grove.”Londonderry district and city have an area of 148 sq mi and include rolling lowlands and valleys that gradually rise to the wooded slopes of the Sperrin Mountains in the southeast. It is bordered by the districts of Limavady to the east and Strabane to the south, the Irish Republic to the west and Lough (inlet of the sea) Foyle to the north. Salmon are fished in the tidal portions of the River Foyle although this is rapidly becoming only a cottage industry as Lough Foyle is almost entirely fished out for commercial purposes. However, details of the good fishing for sport which is well-maintained and widely available can be found at Derry and Donegal Gateway

By popular request, Paddy Reilly’s version of Carrickfergus is also posted here so that visitors can decide who renders this classic song better, him or Orla Fallon. Trivial Pursuit question – who unearthed this beautiful song and saved it for posterity? Answer: Peter O’Toole, the famous actor who played Lawrence of Arabia, who gave it to Dominic Behan (brother of Brendan the playwright) who put English words to it.

Question: What was the special significance of Carrickfergus for King Billy?

Answer: Carrickfergus was where King Billy first set foot in Ireland.


9 responses to “Introduction

  1. Don MacFarlane

    July 31, 2012 at 8:45 am

    King Billy is on the Wall

    This recent arrival on the Loyalist Sandy Row in Belfast is bound to catch the eye of foreign tourists. At a distance it looks like a painted mural but closer inspection reveals it to be painted and laminated metal sheets, clearly the way to go with what has become an art form.

    The mural also seeks to be educational and it will encourage closer interest in the King Billy story. It lists the Williamite troops as Danish, English, Dutch, French, Prussian, Scots, Irish, Polish, Italian, Norwegian – a veritable League of Nations. At a glance, this inventory sparks the curiosity and it causes one to question the true purpose of the whole enterprise.

    A number of obvious clues, schoolboy errors and pointers spring to mind:

    King Billy did not trust the English.
    The Danish were only there for the money.
    The French Huguenots just wanted King Louis XIV taught a lesson so as to get home.
    The Vaudois wanted the Duke of Saxony taught a lesson so as to get home.
    The Prussians and Poles made strange bed-fellows as they normally fought each other.
    Not all Irish were Jacobites.
    Norway was not a country for one hundred more years so there were no Norwegians.
    Likewise, there was no unified Italy; most of it was Sicilian or carved up between Papal States and Austria.

    A bit more digging will show that most of these alliances and expectations from the campaign would lead to nothing. For most of these soldiers it did not prove to be the victory it was trumped up to be, certainly not for the Duke of Schomberg, the hero of Sandy Row. Also, the Battle of the Boyne is said not to have been the decisive battle, that was the Battle of Aughrim where my fellow countryman, General Hugh MacKay of Scourie (an unhappy and disillusioned figure, and totally unheard of by Ulstermen and Scotsmen alike), led the Williamite forces and dealt the final blow.

    More to follow. Meanwhile, keywords for those interested in doing their own research:

    Augsburg, Pius XIV, Sobieski, Nantes Edict, Vaudois, Hapsburg.

    From that, it will be obvious that the Williamite Campaign was only coincidentally to do with Ireland and was more of a set-to between William, James II and Louis XIV, with fringeplayers being Pope Innocent XI and the Duke of Saxony, amongst others. England made the mistake of invading Holland not long before and this was more of a stagfight than a Holy War. Dominic Behan had it right after all!

  2. Kerrie Franks

    January 26, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Joseph was born in Fermanagh and his son Thomas was born in Coburgh Victoria. Joseph was born about 1825 and he appears to have arrived about 1845-1846. He married Mary Anne Thompson in 1846 and at first he was quite concerned as they both were later listed as RC but they married in St James Church in Melbourne which is an Anglican church. Further investigation found that there was no Catholic priest in Melbourne until some time later and it was easier for a married couple to gain employment so I guess ‘needs must’. Their son Thomas married in Gympie Catholic church in 1897 to Mary Slattery, daughter of Michael Slattery born Australia and Mary Hehir born Kildysart, County Clare. Mary Hehir was born about 1870 and emigrated to Australia 1890 aboard the RMS Quetta , arriving 5 Feb 1890 in Brisbane. Neither parent were listed as coming with her that I could find.

  3. cooper mellon

    January 6, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I am chasing my forefather, John Mellon, who married Mary N Collins and had a son Joseph who came out to Victoria, Australia when he was 19 year old and he died at Mooroopna, Victoria. He supposedly had a sister who went to America around 1844. Documents place him in Fermanagh, Ireland so could they be connected to Andrew Mellon who made a name for himself and family in America. In a book of theirs it is said that there was an Uncle John over there.

    • Don MacFarlane

      January 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      If from Fermanagh, unlikely to be directly related to the famous Mellons who came from North Tyrone, well away from Fermanagh. These Mellons and Collinses most likely came from Aghalurcher parish in Fermanagh. See:

    • Kerrie Franks

      January 22, 2012 at 9:51 am

      I’m from the Australian link to Joseph Mellon. Son Thomas married Mary Slattery in Gympie Queensland 1901. Their son, also Thomas was my Grandfather. Any help on the Irish side would be appreciated as I have nothing before the move to Australia.

    • Kerrie Franks

      November 24, 2012 at 7:05 am

      Did you have any luck with this search? I’d be very interested as John Mellon was my GGG grandfather. His son Joseph from Fermanagh married Mary Ann Thompson and they had a son Thomas born in Coburg Victoria (1861-1933) who married Mary Slattery b in Kildysart abt 1870 who arrived in 1890 aboard the Quetta into Brisbane. Mary’s father was Michael Slattery b abt 1826 and her mother was Mary Hehir, both b in Ireland but the details are unconfirmed.

      Mary and Thomas married at St Patrick’s Church Gympie 27Jan1891 and they had a son Thomas born 1904 in Woodford Island, Quarry NSW who was my grandfather. Other than my grandfather’s WWII service record (very brief), I have almost no details on him or on where or when Mary Mellon née Slattery died (possibly in Qld 1942, also unconfirmed) as a divorce had been filed, then cancelled, but I expect they were not together when Thomas Mellon snr died in 1933 at St Vincent’s Hospital NSW. It would be great to learn more of either ancestors or descendants.

  4. donfad

    June 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm

  5. donfad

    September 12, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Hi Robert

    All of what you say is correct as regards extant records so I checked Griffiths for Tyrone in 1848. I always assume that emigrants left some relatives behind and that nephews, brothers, old parents would still appear. If you are sure they came from Omagh, that is in the parish of Drumragh and it only leaves William, Daniel and Andrew as possible candidates as relatives (?). There were no Ellisons in Omagh, wherever they met up?

    All maps can be found in the Introduction page of this website as can a link for the Ulster American Folkpark in Omagh. That is a major genealogical Scots-Irish Centre and I am sure Dr. Brian Lambkin, the Director, would be delighted to hear from you. Especially as your ancestor left Omagh just 20 years before Andrew Mellon – see

    They have just had their most recent biennial conference and American delegates are usually to be found in abundance. The next conference is in 2010 in the US, probably N.Virginia, Carolina, Tennessee or Kentucky.

    I would imagine from your story, you are as Scots-Irish as they come! If you draw a blank, contact Dr.William Roulston at the Ulster Historical Foundation and get his book on ‘Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors’.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: