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Famous Sons and Daughters of Derry

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Famous sons, daughters and grandsons of Derry city and county include

  • Seamus Heaney from Castledawson, Nobel Prizewinner for Literature.
    Distinguished by his unique and homely use of language which reverberates even with people who have no particular love of poetry.
  • John Hume from Derry City, Nobel Prizewinner for Peace.
    Distinguished by his willingness to put his desire for peace for his country before narrow or partisan party interests.
  • Martin McGuinness from the Bogside, Deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland.
    Distinguished by putting his shadowy past behind him and the ballot box before the Armalite.
  • Phil Coulter from Derry City, Popular Songwriter.
    Distinguished by his modern interpretations of traditional Irish music.
  • Cardinal McCloskey from Banagher, New York Primate and Philanthropist.
    Distinguished by his compassion for his countrymen and countrywomen who sought new beginnings against the odds.
  • Jim Scullin from Tamlaght O'Crilly, Australian Prime Minister.
    Distinguished by being the first Catholic Premier in Australasia at the time of the Great Depression.
  • Dr James Murray from Culnady, Inorganic Chemist and Physician.
    Distinguished by his invention of superphosphates which transformed agriculture (but later were used in the most lethal IRA bombs).
  • John Mitchel from Dungiven, Presbyterian and United Irishman.
    Distinguished by his fight for Catholic emancipation but who lost his two sons in the American Civil War in support of his fight against abolition of slavery.
  • William Ferguson Massey from Limavady, Prime minister of New Zealand.
    Distinguished himself as the Maggie Thatcher of his day and saw New Zealand through the Great World War 1914-18.
  • Agnes Jones from Fahan and Derry, Nursing pioneer and colleague of Florence Nightingale.
  • Half-hanged MacNaghten from Prehen who asked for the fourth and last time for a fresh rope after the first three ropes failed to hang him.
  • Richard Moore from Templemore and blinded by a British soldier in the Troubles.
    Described by the Dalai Lama as 'his hero', his Children in Crossfire organisation reaches out to oppressed children worldwide.

  • Aed Finliath from Ailech in Inishowen, High King of Ireland who drove the Vikings out of Ireland, annihilated Meath the fifth Province of Ireland and married Muire, daughter of Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots.