I will be visiting Derry/Londonderry for the first time next week. What should I call the city instead of referring to it as Derry-Londonderry everytime?

I have limited historical knowledge of why the city is known by two names but I am aware of some past events in the Northern Ireland/Republic Ireland area involving the British (unionists) and Irish (nationalists).

It is my understanding that Protestants are more likely to call it Londonderry and Catholics are more likely to call it Derry? But I do not want to cause offence when visiting. What should I refer to it as?

  • 4
    Where it seems natural I'd probably just try to avoid saying the name of the city. Just call it "the city" ;). This might be harder when you're not actually in it!
    – Muzer
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 11:34
  • 2
    you are a tourist, call it any way you want it.
    – Max
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 11:36
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    To those voting to close this as being "primarily opinion-based"... how is this question different from Is it offensive to use 'Saigon' instead of 'Ho Chi Minh City'? ?
    – neubert
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 12:23
  • @pnuts Are you saying that if the answer turned out to be "it doesn't matter", the exact same question would be OK? Or that a question about essentially the same thing would be acceptable if it asked whether one of the option is offensive but not in the way it's currently phrased? I know people here tend to balk at phrases like "best" or "should I?" but if the actual substance of the question is on-topic and it can be answered comprehensively and unambiguously, I don't see how the "opinion-based" objection applies.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 12:48

2 Answers 2


Just call it Derry. It’s shorter. Even many unionist leaning people will call Londonderry ‘Derry’ in casual conversation.

The only time you’re ever likely to find issue with using Derry is if you find yourself in a very rough, very loyalist neighbourhood, face to face with a group of youths who are looking for trouble. Which is not a situation most tourists will ever find themselves in.

In normal circumstances even if you run into someone who is an ardent unionist the worst that will happen is they correct you. Londonderry itself though is majority catholic and its city council is big on pushing the Derry name so I wouldn't expect there to even be many grumpy old men acting in this way.

Generally if you hang out in decent areas with decent people then no matter their views they're unlikely to get too upset one way or the other about a tourist saying the "wrong" word.

  • 2
    Say "this town" instead of Derry or Londonderry and add "I'm a tourist" :-)
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 14:23
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    that too, avoiding saying it all together. But I guess there are some circumstances where its unavoidable "Hello mr bus driver, can I have a ticket to... nudge nudge, know what I mean the city." Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 14:38
  • @theotherone youtube.com/watch?v=AGrvQ1c5khU ;)
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 23:04
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    Visiting Norn Iron in the 80s, I recall that radio DJs (e.g. on BBC Ulster) would refer to the place as Stroke City. This, it was explained to me, is a contraction of the clumsy phrase Derry stroke LondonDerry. Even this version got abbreviated to The Stroke. Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 7:40

Call it Derry in the city centre, call it "This city /Londonderry" when going left on Diamond Square (looking from the river side upwards, Left is through the walls and to the primark's right), Call it Derry elsewhere, specially bogside and uphill from bogside. You'll notice quite a lot of irish flags there.

Don't call it Derry after Thursday's afternoon anywere near the tri-colored sidewalks to the left of diamond square, it's the start of the weekend "party" time and people won't be as clear minded and tolerant. Same for Londonderry and the bogside.

It's an awesome city, been twice to it, you will enjoy it a lot and i didn't have any trouble, those are "just incase" reccomendations, I hardly got anything above a grumpy look when saying it wrong, but it's never early to make sure you're doing things right.

Don't miss the murals, and the Great Famine museum, and don't visit the city the 12th December or 18th August, there's "Loyalist Victory" parades and there's hard feelings during those days.

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