This morning, Dean and I explored the grounds a bit.
Drumcovitt House has set up a series of paths for visitors to explore:
- The [Fairy] Glen — this path takes you around and through pastures to the front of the house. It also takes you near an old cottage, to a stream and over a bridge to cross the stream. Part of it is overgrown, but that almost makes for more fun.
- The Fort — This path takes you through a couple of pastures to an actual megalithic site that once was used to corral cattle, according to Sarah. I’d like to think it was built by fairies — it is surrounded by hawthorn trees.
- The Big Stone — This path takes you through pastures to a huge boulder in the middle of a pasture.
Dean and I followed the path to the Fort and did some exploring there. It was muddy, but we found the fort after a few wrong turns.
As I’d mentioned in an earlier post, the first night we took the Fairy Glen path and on the bridge, Clare, who was leading, saw a gray rump of an animal ahead of us on the bridge. She thought it was a goat, but there are no goats at Drumcovitt House. Sarah suggested it could have been a badger. Clare, later, tried to find the badger’s hole, and found some places that could have been where the badger lived. It’s slightly worrisome since I’d always thougth badgers as vicious creatures.
After our walk we had breakfast and drove into Derry. As soon as we got into the city, we were approached by none other than Martin McCrossan himself, owner of the Derry City Tours. After a few minutes of discussion, we decided to go with him since there were only a few other people with him at the time. Unfortunately, later he picked up about 40 other people. Good for him at £4 a person, but bad for us.
It was a good tour, and Martin was careful to tell both sides ot the story of Derry. We walked on the walls, he told us the old history of the town, as well as the more modern history. On some of the walls he told us that not so long ago we would not have been allowed to walk there.
We saw the bogside in the distance, with the murals depicting the violent history of the area.
Martin suggested we also visit the Derry museum and the Apprentice Boys museum.
After lunch at a cafe he recommended, we walked to the Derry Museum. It was impressive and detailed. I now know more about the city of Derry than I ever expected to know in my life.
Probably the most interesting part of the day was spent inside the Apprentice Boys Hall. I’d never heard of the Apprentice Boys — a group of 13 young apprentices who, in 1689, during the Seige of Derry, shut the gates against KIng James’ army — but wish I had, because the story is so interesting. The Apprentice Boys is now an international fraternal organization celebrating the event in 1689.
We thought we would just get to see a small museum in the hall, but the gentleman who met us at the door took us into most rooms in the hall. I have a feeling they don’t get many visitors — it’s not a very politically correct organization these days. We were shown, not only the Apprentice Boys Hall, but also meeting rooms for the Orange Order and the Royal Black Institution. Our guide also showed us Lundy the Traitor that is to be burned in effigy on the second Saturday of December this year.
After our educational visits, Clare wanted to do a bit of shopping. We didn’t realize that the city pretty much shut down at 6, so we didn’t get much shopping done. Dean and Andrew drove through the Bogside.
After seeing the city of Derry, I was overwhelmed at its history, but I’m worried the peace won’t last.
We stopped at a Tesco and bought provisions for dinner after our eventful day.
Andrew and Clare are exploring the grounds and I’m going to start packing soon.