Derry in History

Northern Ireland: Armagh - Belfast

Historical Events

  • 1689-04-20 The former King James II of England, now deposed, lays siege to Derry
  • 1894-06-27 American Annie Londonderry [Annie Kopchovsky] sets out from Boston to become first woman to bicycle around the world (completes journey September 1895)
  • 1895-09-12 Annie Londonderry [Annie Kopchovsky] arrives in Chicago to complete first round-the-world trip by a woman on a bicycle in 15 months and collects her $10,000 prize

PlaneAmelia Earhart Flies Across the Atlantic

1932-05-21 After flying for 17 hours from Newfoundland, Amelia Earhart lands near Londonderry, Northern Ireland, becoming the 1st transatlantic solo flight by a woman
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Amelia Earhart not long after she landed in Ireland in 1932, becoming the first woman to fly non-stop solo across the Atlantic
Amelia Earhart not long after she landed in Ireland in 1932, becoming the first woman to fly non-stop solo across the Atlantic
  • 1968-03-25 Members of the Derry Housing Action Committee (DHAC) disrupt a meeting of Londonderry Corporation to protest at the lack of housing provision in the city, Northern Ireland
  • 1968-05-16 In the Stormont (Northern Ireland parliament) by-election in the city of Londonderry (Derry) the Ulster Unionists retain the seat
  • 1968-07-03 As part of a series of protests against housing conditions in Derry, the Derry Housing Action Committee (DHAC) hold a sit-down protest on the newly opened second deck of the Craigavon Bridge in the city, Northern Ireland
  • 1968-08-27 Portest by the Derry Housing Action Committee (DHAC) at the Guildhall's council chamber; after which Eamon Melaugh phones the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) to organise a march in Derry
  • 1968-10-03 The proposed civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland, is banned from the area of the city centre and the Waterside area; the banning order is issued under the Public Order Act by William Craig, then Home Affairs Minister
  • 1968-10-04 A Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) delegation meet with the Derry March organisers and try to have the march cancelled; eventually it was decided to go ahead with the march.
  • 1968-10-05 Civil rights march in Derry stopped by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)and resulting clashes lead to two days of serious rioting, often considered the start of 'the Troubles' in Northern Ireland
  • 1968-10-07 Rioting continues in Derry, Northern Ireland after Royal Ulster Constabulary put down civil rights march two days earlier
  • 1968-10-19 Derry Citizen's Action Committee, formed Oct 9, stages illegal sit-down at Guildhall Square as part of large civil disobedience campaign
  • 1968-11-02 A banned march in Derry, North Ireland, by members of the Derry Citizen's Action Committee (DCAC) is joined by thousands; due to the number of people taking part, the Royal Ulster Constabulary is unable to prevent it
  • 1968-11-08 Londonderry Corporation agreed to a Nationalist request to introduce a points system in the allocation of public sector housing in Northern Ireland

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1968-11-09 Ian Paisley and Ronald Bunting lead a Loyalist march to the Diamond area of Derry, North Ireland

First Minister of Northern Ireland Ian Paisley
First Minister of Northern Ireland
Ian Paisley

  • 1968-11-13 William Craig, Home Affairs Minister, bans all marches, with the exception of 'customary' parades, in Derry, Northern Ireland; the exception of 'customary' parades meant that Loyalist institutions could parade but civil rights marches could not
  • 1968-11-16 The Derry Citizens Action Committee defies a ban on marches in Derry, Northern Ireland, by marching with an estimated 15,000 people
  • 1968-12-09 The Derry Citizen's Action Committee (DCAC) calls for a halt to all marches and protests for a period of one month
  • 1968-12-20 The People's Democracy (PD) announce that its members will undertake a protest march from Belfast to Derry beginning 1 January 1969
  • 1969-01-01 People's Democracy (PD) begin a march from Belfast to Derry, inspired by ML King's Selma to Montgomery march in the US
  • 1969-01-04 A People's Democracy march between Belfast and Derry is repeatedly attacked by loyalists and off-duty police officers
  • 1969-04-19 Serious rioting in the Bogside area of Derry following clashes between Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marchers and Loyalists and members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary
  • 1969-06-22 The Derry Housing Action Committee (DHAC) stage a protest by blocking the Lecky Road in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland
  • 1969-07-02 Ireland cricketers dismiss West Indies for just 25 (Dougie Goodwin 5 for 6, Alec O'Riordan 4 for 18) to set up a huge upset in Londonderry
  • 1969-07-12 As the 'marching season' reaches its height there is serious rioting in Derry, Belfast and Dungiven; many families in Belfast are forced to move from their homes
  • 1969-08-14 In response to events in Derry, Irish nationalists hold protests throughout Northern Ireland, some of these became violent
  • 1970-06-22 Irish socialist, republican and Member of Parliament, Bernadette Devlin, loses her appeal against a 6-month prison sentence imposed for taking part in riots in Derry
  • 1970-06-26 Two young girls die in a premature explosion in Derry after their father, a member of the Irish Republican Army, was making an incendiary device, presumably for use against the British Army
  • 1970-06-27 Following the arrest of Bernadette Devlin, intense riots erupt in Derry and Belfast leading to a prolonged gun battle between Irish republicans and loyalists
  • 1971-02-28 A British soldier dies in Derry after his vehicle had been attacked with petrol bombs (he died as a result of inhaling chemicals from fire extinguishers that were used to put out the fire)
  • 1971-06-13 In defiance of a government ban, members of the Orange Order march through the mainly Catholic town of Dungiven, County Londonderry, causing a riot
  • 1971-07-08 During street disturbances, British soldiers shoot dead two Catholic civilians in Free Derry; riots erupt, the Social Democratic and Labour Party withdraw from Stormont in protest
  • 1971-08-16 Over 8,000 workers go on strike in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest at the introduction of Internment (allowing suspected terrorists to be indefinitely detained without trial)
  • 1971-12-18 Three members of the Irish Republican Army die when the bomb they were transporting explodes prematurely in King Street, Magherafelt, County Derry.
  • 1972-01-22 An anti-internment march is held at Magilligan strand, County Derry; as the march nears the internment camp it is stopped by members of the Green Jackets and the Parachute Regiment of the British Army, who used barbed wire to close off the beach

  • 1972-01-27 Two Royal Ulster Constabulary officers shot dead by IRA in an attack on their patrol car in the Creggan Road, Derry
  • 1972-01-30 Bloody Sunday: 27 unarmed civilians are shot (14 are killed) by the British Army during a civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland; this is the highest death toll from a single shooting incident during 'the Troubles'
  • 1972-02-06 A Civil Rights march held in Newry, County Down; very large turn-out with many people attending to protest at the killings in Derry the previous Sunday
  • 1972-02-21 The first session of the Widgery Tribunal, investigating the events of 'Bloody Sunday' (30 January 1972), is held in Coleraine, County Derry
  • 1972-03-14 Two IRA members shot dead by British soldiers in the Bogside area of Derry
  • 1972-04-10 Two British soldiers are killed in a bomb attack in Derry
  • 1972-04-16 Two British soldiers are shot dead by the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) in separate incidents in Derry
  • 1972-04-18 The Widgery Report on 'Bloody Sunday' in Northern Ireland is published, causing outrage among the people of Derry who call it the "Widgery Whitewash"
  • 1972-05-22 Over 400 women in Derry attack the offices of Official Sinn Féin in Derry, North Ireland, following the shooting of William Best by the Official Irish Republican Army
  • 1972-06-13 The Irish Republican Army invites British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Willie Whitelaw to 'Free Derry'; Whitelaw rejects offer and reaffirms his policy to not "let part of the United Kingdom ... default from the rule of law"
  • 1972-06-14 Members of the NI Social Democratic and Labour Party hold a meeting with representatives of the Irish Republican Army in Derry; the IRA representatives outline their conditions for talks with the British Government
  • 1972-06-24 The Irish Republican Army (IRA) kill 3 British Army soldiers in a land mine attack near Dungiven, County Derry
  • 1972-07-31 Claudy bombing: nine civilians were killed when three car bombs exploded in County Londonderry, North Ireland; no group has since claimed responsibility
  • 1972-10-30 Loyalist paramilitaries carry out a raid on Royal Ulster Constabulary station in County Derry, and steal 4 British Army Sterling sub-machine Guns
  • 1972-11-28 2 members of the IRA are killed in a premature bomb explosion in the Bogside area of Derry
  • 1972-12-20 Five civilians (four Catholics, one Protestant) killed in gun attack on the Top of the Hill Bar in Derry, North Ireland
  • 1973-01-14 2 Royal Ulster Constabulary officers are killed in Derry by a booby-trap bomb attached to their car by the Irish Republican Army
  • 1973-01-28 In the run up to the first anniversary of 'Bloody Sunday' there is serious rioting in Derry, North Ireland
  • 1973-06-12 Coleraine bombings: six Protestant civilians were killed and 33 wounded by a Provisional Irish Republican Army car bomb in Coleraine, County Londonderry
  • 1978-09-21 The Provisional Irish Republican Army explodes bombs at the RAF airfield near Eglinton, County Londonderry; the terminal building, two aircraft hangars and four planes are destroyed
  • 1982-04-20 The Provisional Irish Republican Army explode bombs in Belfast, Derry, Armagh, Ballymena, Bessbrook and Magherafelt; 2 civilians are killed and 12 injured
  • 1982-12-06 Droppin Well bombing: 11 British soldiers and 6 civilians are killed by an Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) time bomb at the Droppin’ Well Bar in Ballykelly, County Londonderry
  • 2019-04-18 Irish Journalist Lyra McKee shot to death covering riots in Derry, Northern Ireland with dissident republican group the New IRA claiming responsibility

Famous Birthdays

  • 1778-05-18 Charles William Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (d. 1854)
  • 1815-11-03 John Mitchel, Irish nationalist (Jail Journal), born in Camnish, County Londonderry (d. 1875)
  • 1888-12-07 Joyce Cary, Anglo-Irish writer (House of Children), born in Londonderry, Ireland (d. 1957)
  • 1912-04-19 William Murray, British teacher and educationalist, born in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland (d. 1995)
  • 1923-02-12 James Chichester-Clark, Irish politician, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland (1969-71), born in Moyola Park, Londonderry (d. 2002)
  • 1925-01-31 Fred Catherwood, British politician, Vice President of the European Parliament 1989-1992, born in Castledawson, County Londonderry (d. 2014)
  • 1927-08-11 James Eaton, Lord-Lieutenant of the City of Londonderry
  • 1936-12-22 James Burke, British science historian and broadcaster (Connections), born in Derry, Northern Ireland

Person of interestSeamus Heaney

1939-04-13 Seamus Heaney, Irish poet and playwright (Nobel Prize in Literature 1995), born in Castledawson, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland (d. 2013)

  • 1946-12-14 Jackie McAuley, Irish rock pianist (Them - Here Comes The Night), born in Coleraine, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Person of interestMartin McGuinness

1950-05-23 Martin McGuinness, Irish Sinn Féin politician and IRA member, born in Derry, Northern Ireland (d. 2017)

Sinn Féin Leader Martin McGuinness
Sinn Féin Leader
Martin McGuinness
  • 1957-05-23 Jimmy McShane, Irish singer (Baltimora-Tarzan Boy), born in Derry, Northern Ireland (d. 1995)
  • 1958-08-13 Feargal Sharkey, Irish rocker (The Undertones), born in Derry, Northern Ireland
  • 1961-05-06 Roma Downey, Irish actress (1 Life to Live, Touched by an Angel), born in Derry, Northern Ireland
  • 1968-01-20 Junior Murray, West Indian cricketer (WI keeper, no relation to Derryck or David), born in St. George's Grenada
  • 1970-11-07 Neil Hannon, Northern Irish musician (The Divine Comedy), born in Derry, Northern Ireland
  • 1976-10-25 Steve Jones, Northern Irish footballer, born in Derry, Northern Ireland
  • 1987-10-25 Darron Gibson, Irish football player (Manchester United), born in Derry, Northern Ireland

Famous Deaths

  • 1822-08-12 Robert Stewart, 2nd marguess of Londonderry, commits suicide, dies
  • 1854-03-06 Charles William Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, British soldier and politician (b. 1778)