2020 has been a tough year for everyone. With 2021 just around the corner, families all across the world are reuniting virtually this Christmas.

With this in mind, Taggart Homes who power the Destination Derry initiative have launched their Christmas message, #ItsTimeToComeHome video.

In keeping with the theme of Destination Derry, the message is simple. Home is at the heart of who we are. Now with remote working and working from home, maybe it’s time to consider coming home. Being closer to those we love.

Families and friends everywhere are desperately missing their loved ones, so Taggart Homes created this video to showcase the importance of home and in particular the wonderful spirit of being home in Derry at Christmas.

It highlights what an amazing place Derry is and that our thoughts are with everyone, especially our Derry Diaspora living abroad and unable to share the festive season with the ones they love at home.

This is a message of hope.

Throughout this year, our community have had to adapt to a new way of living and working. Working remotely has resulted in a new way of living and working in the region. Where originally we no choice, a new world of choice has opened up. This is remote working and working from home in Derry.

In recent months Derry has been ranked as the top place in Northern Ireland to work from home. Plus it’s fourth best in the UK. Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, said

“Derry and Strabane ticks all the right boxes when it comes to working from home and working remotely. Not only is there accessibility through strong broadband speeds, but the high scores on green spaces, low crime and air quality show that Derry and Strabane is a fantastic overall location for working and living.”

If you are considering relocating to Derry city or county, visit our Live section to find out about what we have to offer.

It is a great place to live, work, study and visit. Plus it offers a low cost of living, affordable housing and a warm and welcoming community.

We would also like to say a well done to the St Cecilia’s College choir for their beautiful rendition of O Holy Night and to congratulate them on their recent win of the prestigious UK-wide Gold Teaching Award, selected from thousands of nominations as one of the nation’s most inspirational schools.

Visit www.destinationderry.com and read all the great blogs and case studies written by people who have returned or relocated here to live in Derry.

If you are in business in the region you can register your details for free on the Destination Derry website or feel free to get in touch with queries or to tell us your story about #cominghome.

You can also check out our Destination Derry social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Finally we wish you Happy Christmas and a great New Year.

I have recently retired from my position as a Senior Lecturer/Course Team Leader at St Mary’s University College. In my time at St Mary’s I enjoyed many years contributing to the teaching profession and in particular researching the area of how a multidisciplinary approach to STEAM (SCIENCE, Technology, Engineering, Art -Design and Mathematics) education might be effectively enacted in schools.

I now hope to continue my research in that area for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, I recently became a co-founder of UCAN Achieve Ltd, a new education company focussed on providing STEAM courses and competitive challenges for students as well as professional development opportunities for current teachers.

Our prime objective is to assist our students in achieving academic excellence and to help them develop as individuals and as effective contributors to modern society, their local economy and the environment.
UCAN ACHIEVE offers a high-quality and student centric academic experience for our students. We stimulate our students’ curiosity and provide them with both the necessary academic knowledge and problem-solving skills to be successful in the 21st century.

UCAN ACHIEVE employ highly qualified and experienced tutors some of whom served as university academics with an established international reputation as pedagogical experts in the area of STEAM education. Our staff have also experience of working with industry thus ensuring our students will have the opportunity to collaboratively engage in solving real-life design problems.

We are currently running a free trial of content from our Physics GCSE course with a couple of schools and would be very interested in gathering your opinions about both the subject content and presentation of same.

If you’d like to discuss this opportunity further, then please us know by sending an email to info@ucanachieve.com.

Thanks again and I look forward to keeping in touch.

Best wishes


Dr Kieran McGeown
Education Director
UCAN Achieve Ltd

Escape from England – Destination Derry!

My partner and I had been looking to escape from England. We both lived in Northamptonshire – “semi” retired, in our 50’s and looking for a better and more holistic lifestyle. My partner had spent some of her childhood on the outskirts of Dublin, moving permanently to England at the age of 19. I had never lived in Ireland but was aware of the natural beauty of the country and the charm of its people, who, as a Northerner, I had always found incredibly friendly. I had travelled to Ireland many times for business, usually Belfast and Dublin, with a few trips to Cork and Shannon and the obligatory stag weekends in Dublin. Only once, more than 20 years ago had I been to Derry on a brief business trip and it made such an impression on me that I had always wanted to return for leisure but never got around to it.

Nearing the end of 2019, we knew we wanted out of England and considered Ireland as a good potential destination, so we flew to Belfast on the 3rd January 2020 to explore. We had an insanely good time there, much better craic than you would find in England! We hired a car and headed through the breath-taking, rugged landscape to Derry where we stayed for 3 nights, enjoying a fabulous time in the local pubs and exploring the area. During our trip, we viewed a few houses at a new build development company in Culmore before flying home. Wow! We were so impressed by the location, quality and price of what was on offer – much better than anything in England! We knew that this is where we wanted to be.

Heading back to Belfast, we both agreed that we had experienced one of those moments in life where a different path suddenly illuminates.

I’m an impulsive individual who very much subscribes to the Richard Branson philosophy of “screw it, let’s do it” and on the 10th January we paid the deposit on the house we fell in love with. Finalities came just 40 days later and we were here! We have a better house than we could have afforded in England and really lovely neighbours who have made us very welcome here.

I think Northern Ireland is a bit of a well-kept secret in England. People don’t know much about what it’s like here, which is a pity because it’s such a unique place and very much a land of opportunity, particularly Derry, which is often overlooked.

Post-BREXIT Northern Ireland occupies a unique place in Europe. It is the only place in the UK with an open land ‘border’ to the European Union that we are now privileged to live less than a mile from. I like the idea of the best of both worlds. Derry is truly a special place, with a passionate and genuine people who appreciate quality and nature’s bounty.

Derry is in a fabulous location at the mouth of the Foyle, right on the boarder of Donegal. In less than 30 minutes I can be on the Wild Atlantic coast of Ireland having driven through the Mamore Gap mountain pass. Seeing the patchwork fields and hamlets of the “Poitin republic of Urris” spread before, you would be forgiven for thinking you had entered The Shire from The Lord of the Rings. It is stunning! Likewise, 20Km gets you to Inch Island in Lough Swilly. Here, my partner was on the beach at the harbour one day with her 2 year-old granddaughter, who had also relocated to Derry with her mother at the same time as us. They were chatting to the Fishermen who were landing their catch and left with a complementary sample of their yield that I cooked. Fresh king and queen scallops and oysters and freely given with a smile; a perfect example of Irish hospitality. Also on your doorstep is the amazing Causeway Coastal route and Sperrin Mountains, with its eerie elevated pine forests calling to be explored.

The city itself is fascinating, with a rich history and sense of pride. It is a walled city full of character and has everything you need locally. The floral displays the council provide and maintain are fantastic, I have rarely seen healthier bedding plants nor more profuse displays. I never tire of the views of the Foyle with its ever-changing patina of colours as I drive into the city, nor the views of the Lough and mountains as I come back home.

To us, as runaways from England, we love it here. Everything is better and cheaper. The food is much better quality than we would get at home with organic, local produce being the norm. Even the roads are better maintained. We don’t pay for prescriptions or water, unlike in England. We have community convenience stores here that actually are “proper” local shops where you can get anything you need at a reasonable price – like a takeaway 8 piece Ulster Fry breakfast for just £2.50, and where you will be made to feel welcome by the staff.

Derry is a great place. I know we made the right decision to move here and wish we had done so years ago, you would be doing yourself a great disservice not to come and see what’s on offer.

Finally, we feel at home and look forward to the continuing journey of discovery that awaits us.

D & C, proud new Derry residents.

18 October 2020

Find out more about living in Derry here

Destination Derry Webinar – A Great Place To Live and Work

The Destination Derry website was launched recently through a webinar, promoting Derry city and county as a great place to Live, Work, Study and Visit.

A number of guest speakers from business, community and government life joined on the day to share their voice on working from home, growth in the community and why Derry really is such a great place to live.

Watch the full webinar here.

Jennifer and Killian’s story to Co Derry

We, Jennifer and Killian knew each other from university in Dublin but ended up forming a relationship in Tasmania 12 years later, after Killian had been living and working there for some time. Staying there for three years together, adding Lochlann to the family along the way. We decided that it would be important for Lochlann and his grandparents to be near to each other… but not too near, as it turns out.

So, in May 2019, we sold what we could and packed up the rest, while Lochlann mostly stared at the ceiling making googoo noises. We flew back to Dublin and stayed with the grandparents for what ended up being six months while we tried to figure out where to live and what to do. Killian worked as a kayak guide and tried to find work in renewable energy. When the right job came along, it was in Derry. Hmm, we knew we wanted to be outside of Dublin but Derry was never on the cards, especially since we had just spent six months setting ourselves up in the Republic of Ireland systems.

On the way to an interview in Belfast, Killian did a quick tour of some towns in Derry near to the work sites and decided that Limavady looked nice (although, he only actually made it as far as the country park). When the job offer arrived, the family spent three nights in Ballykelly and had great meals at The Well and The Drummond, where Killian helped put up the Christmas tree and we were bought a pint by a friendly business owner. Jennifer’s early hesitations about the whole ordeal were softened.

We had set aside a day for looking at places and the one that suited us most was in Limavady. A month later we were moving in and have lived here since.

Current story

It turns out that we love it here. The people are extremely friendly and some new friends helped us celebrate our wedding last month (at time of writing). We have a wonderful leisure centre and pool across the road, cycle routes to town and convenience shops everywhere. For the baba, there are endless toddler groups and activities, heaps of playgrounds and other open spaces and creches to choose from. For us, the town is full of independent shops like Inside Out, The Furniture Factory and Chaps Subzero.

It was easy for Jen to look amazing at the wedding but Killian certainly couldn’t have looked so well without stumbling across Different Class in Derry City. One of the things we like is how easy it is to get to Derry from Limavady and we can stop at Ethical Weigh on the way back and get packaging-free goods (and pick up some eggs from the Hunters farm container).

It’s very easy to get out to Coleraine too and onwards to Portrush and the Causeway Coast, or Donegal by road or ferry. Killian sometimes has to go to Edinburgh on business trips too and, within 2.5hours of leaving the front door, he can be sitting at a desk in Edinburgh via the City of Derry Airport.

What makes living here great

What really makes living here great, though, is how close we are to the outdoors. Within 15 minutes from our home we can walk in any of Roe Country Park, Ness Country Park or Muff Glen Forest Park. In the same amount of time, we could be hiking the spectacular Binevenagh, surfing at Benone on one of the longest beaches on the island or kayaking on our local whitewater river, the Roe.

We also play a lot of music and find that the Roe Valley Arts Centre is a great place to visit. We have played at locally organised Dogleap Events evenings and are booked for some recording at Blast Furnace in Derry City in the next month. Jennifer sings professionally and so having Drenagh House & Estate and the Roe Park Resort nearby is handy too. Just writing this down makes us really appreciate how there are so many opportunities in this wonderful county to make a life the way we want to live it.

Top Tips

  • We moved in one go from Dublin. We rented a huge van from Enterprise in Eglinton and they were extremely helpful.
  • The traffic is terrible in Limavady… between 3 and 3:15pm. There are lots of schools. Otherwise traffic is a distant memory.
  • House prices and rents allow for more opportunities here than they do in Dublin. We found the sale market to be much healthier than the rental market in terms of choice.
  • There are too many places to visit. Indecision can lead to inertia. Watch out for that one.
  • We found meeting people was easy. We joined a couple of classes for the baby, for exercise, for music. Anything really. Once we found some people, we were very quickly introduced to others.

Jennifer and Killian

I like that the Derry area is unexpectedly connected. It has a good variety of decent-sized towns like Coleraine and Limavady, as well as Derry City itself.

If I really need a larger city, Belfast isn’t far away but I don’t have to live there. I have everything I need here, and business trips through City of Derry Airport are so smooth!

I can leave my house and be in an office in central Edinburgh in a couple of hours! The facilities are perfect for me and my family where I live in Limavady, with playgrounds, a leisure centre and day-care centres nearby.

Everyone I have met has been really friendly. There’s a great local atmosphere. I’ve seen mid-lockdown live music being set up in housing estates with people watching from their own gardens. The town is also full of independent shops and cafes.

What makes Derry special for me, though, is the access to the outdoors. Within 15 minutes’ drive, I can go for a hike in the mountains like Binevenagh. I can go white-water kayaking in my local river – the Roe. Or I can head for a surf in the ocean at Benone, taking in the views of the Sperrins and the monuments and waterfalls at Downhill while I’m at it. For weekend adventures, it’s a tough choice between the Glens of Antrim, Lough Erne or Donegal.

Working from home isn’t new to me and I’ve always tried to find a place to suit my lifestyle. Derry makes it easy for me and my family to live life the way we want to.

Killian Halpin

I ended up in Derry because I married a Derry girl, Joanne :-) .

We did not immediately settle in Derry – it took over twelve years for us to get there. The journey started in the UK, where we met, and which led to us living in many countries because we both worked in the airline industry. Apart from the UK, we lived in Germany, Dubai and Italy before the decision was made to make Derry our base. This decision was mainly due to the arrival of our daughter Lilianna, and the stability she would need around her growing up.

Derry was also my wife’s choice due to her family being close and as I grew up in Ireland myself, I was more than happy to make it our home. I would still have to travel globally but there was no better base to have, especially due to the very good schooling available for our daughter. Derry, even though it has a turbulent past has risen out of the ashes, and is a very pleasant and friendly place to live. It has a lot of history and culture, and has a very warm welcoming feel to it. There is a lot of nature around that is easily accessible like forests, parks and beaches, which we always take full advantage of. The walled city itself has a lot of history attached to it and is filled with character… and everything is no more than a ten-minute drive away.

This is our main home, but we still enjoy others like Germany and Croatia and Doha where I’m based due to my job.

So, all in all Derry is a very nice place to live and bring up a family with plenty of activities so there’s never a dull moment even with the weather.

By Vlaho Brbora

Derry, the muse of both musician and poet alike, a city of hardy beauty with a people laced with integrity. Derry may be something different to everyone, but to me it’s home.

Derry is that first mouthful of tea after a long day – a living embodiment of hygge – a place you come to rest and stay for the company.

I grew up in an area called Rosemount, once widely recognised for its booming factory industry.

Rosemount was like a small village in itself. Everything was on your doorstep, and the sense of community was almost contagious. My childhood was spent playing on the streets with friends, carrying out errands for neighbours in exchange for penny sweets. Summers were long, where Brooke Park served as the nucleus of our small world.

I attended a school in Rosemount by the name of St Anne’s, formed by teachers whose passion was to teach, I developed a love of learning that left a lasting impression.

My teacher’s early influence prompted a heightened interest in education, and I worked tirelessly to attain acceptance into a prestigious local school, Lumen Christi College.

During my teenage years, the week was filled with academic study. I was inspired by teachers who challenged the misconception that being boring was a prerequisite to being a teacher…..teachers who were passionate about their specialised subject, who had larger than life personalities and who were dedicated to helping you fulfil your potential.

The weekends were reserved for the glitz and glamour of teenage living, the town was our catwalk where we would showcase our unique attire, hit the shops with whatever our EMA money allowed. We dined in the finest takeaway joints and chilled out in St Columb’s Park, immersed in a moment, without care of what Monday would bring.

I had a group of good friends who helped the transition into adulthood. Days in the town where swapped for bottomless brunch, joyfully reuniting to discuss where life had taken us.

Although life has taken me in a different direction, a part of my heart lives on in Derry.


So you’re making the move, what happens next? We have outlined the most frequently asked questions when moving to our humble abode

 Will I require a visa to live in Derry?

In most circumstances a visa for stay or work will be required. Personal circumstances will dictate exactly which visa you require. For more information contact the relevant authorities or click the link here.

I am moving to live in Derry , do I require a Northern Irish driving licence?

Upon arrival in northern Ireland your license will need to be changed in accordance with NI regulations. For more information about the finer details click the link here.

Or you can change your current licence for an NI driving licence by filling out a DL1 form readily available in most post offices. Original paperwork must be submitted to confirm proof of identity. Passport and proof of residency should suffice.

Can I bring my own car / motorcycle when I move to live in Derry?

As is customary in many countries if you wish to transport your car / motorcycle there are certain regulations that need to be adhered to

  1. You must inform HM Revenues and customs of your vehicles arrival within 14 days
  2. VAT & Duty must be paid if requested by HMRC
  3. Your vehicle must pass an inspection to ensure it meets the required safety & environmental standards
  4. You are then required to register and tax your vehicle with DVLA – after which you will be issued a registration number in order to obtain your identification plates

If you wish to save yourself the grief, it’s possible to employ a third party to act on your behalf such as an importer or shipping company.

Before taking your vehicle out in public it’s necessary to have full insurance, a valid MOT if necessary and a driving licence otherwise risk prosecution for failure to comply with road safety & regulations.

Residents of mainland UK or Northern Ireland are free to move their vehicle provided it is registered.

For more information click here.

What are weather conditions & climate like in Derry?

Like any new venture or in this case a permanent relocation, weather and climate are one of the many contributing factor in determining your choice.

Derry has a weather pattern that matches most of its bordering counties. This includes a temperate maritime climate, with highs exceeding 18 degrees Celsius during summer months and a drop to around 5 degrees Celsius in the winter.

Rain is an all year round gift that keeps giving!

Our recommendation would be to carry a nice large umbrella and raincoat and if it gets really bad a pair of waterproof wellies should do the trick. After a while you will come to love our weather just like everything else about our city and county.

What is the standard cost of living in Derry?
The cost of living in Derry is extremely reasonable and allows its residents to experience high quality of living at a moderate price.

Food and beverages prices are radically cheaper than their city counterparts and you can expect no drop off in quality thereafter.

A standard meal (main course) in Derry will generally cost no more than £12 and there are many offers and attractive deals too. In other words, check out the bargains!

Buying a house is considerably cheaper in Derry than other parts of the UK.

What are the opportunities for employment in Derry?

This city which continues to expand daily will require a large workforce that caters to all skills and levels.

The city has become home to many global companies, employing a large workforce and continue to recruit. Check out the huge growth and investment of these companies here in the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce website.

The city’s hospital has a great reputation, and it is constantly upgrading its facilities. In consequence, there is a constant recruitment process for medical specialists, consultants and nurses.

There are many government authorities happy to assist you in your search for work. Most employment opportunities are available to apply online here.



So, you want to blend in with the locals? Here’s a few pointers to help you adapt to the ways of a proud Derry people and their endearing lifestyle.

Derry people have a unique and sometimes outlandish diet. It’s not uncommon to see a local tucking into a sausage roll bap which in other parts of the world would seem preposterous. Bread overload poses no issue to a Derry native and don’t get me started on gravy rings (sugared doughnuts).

The city itself has a wide selection of top-class takeaway restaurants, which the residents are only too happy to support. Weekend nights outside any city takeaway resemble the pandemonium of a black Friday sale, as hungry locals descend upon every available outlet in search of their food fix.

To be fair to the locals you haven’t lived until your taste buds are left tingling by a Paulo’s famous chicken box. If you are feeling truly adventurous then why not feast into a one-of-a-kind chicken box pizza which has become a stable part of many locals’ weekend treat.

For many years the Derry people mocked themselves and their strong, sometimes inaudible accent. But to the pleasant surprise of our locals, reputable website lovin.ie conducted a poll which revealed that Derry’s accent was in fact voted the sexiest accent in Ireland! With ex Girls Aloud band member, Nadine Coyle spearheading the charge, how were we ever going to lose?

The hospitality in this city is ever present as you will see whilst visiting any establishment. Whether it’s fine dining in one of our many high-class restaurants, or popping into the neighbours for a friendly chat, you won’t be disappointed. There is no problem too big or small, that won’t be sorted by a hot cup of tea and a friendly ear.

The first most noticeable characteristic of the Derry folk is their unmistakable sense of humour and wit. The beauty of this city is people’s ability to engage in banter, without taking it seriously.

The down to earth nature is obvious throughout, and god help anyone who develops an ego! People won’t hesitate to remind you of your humble beginnings. All in all, the people here are a light-hearted genuine bunch who only have each other’s best interests at heart.

The turbulent past is a constant reminder for people of this city that’s life’s too short and around every corner lies a new challenge. In doing so the people have developed a thick skin which in turn enables them to look at life’s problems through a different lens. The attitude is simply summed up as: Live and let live.

Welcome to Derry!