4.2 St Augustine's Church

St Augustine’s is a beautiful quiet space on the city walls, and from Easter to the end of September parishioners open the church during the day to welcome visitors. Modern research suggest that St Augustine’s is at or near the site of the earliest monastery church, the dúreigléas or ‘black church’.

According to the 12th and 16th centuries Lives of Colum Cille, the king of his homeland, Aodh Mac Ainmhire, granted Colmcille land at Daire Calgach (Derry) where he could found a monastery.

To cleanse the land of ‘the works of worldly men’ in preparation for his monastery, Colmcille lit a fire. The fire spread and almost destroyed a grove of oak trees so, to protect them, Colmcille prayed and the trees were saved.

The 12th Century Life of Colmcille written in the abbey includes this poem:

Is aire charaim Doire
Ar a réide, ar a gloine
Ar is lomlán aingel finn
Ón chinn co n-ice ar-oile

This is why I love Derry
It is so calm and bright
For it is full of white angels
From one end to the other.

The name of St Augustine’s goes back to when the monks of the Columban abbey became part of the Augustinian order in Ireland in the 12th or 13th centuries. The present church dates back to the early 17th century but has been rebuilt in the eighteenth and 19th centuries.


getting there

St Augustine's sits on the west side of the city walls as you climb the hill alongside Magazine Street.

The church is open to visitors from Easter to October Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm as well as on Sundays for services.

  • Guild Hall, Derry, Port na Long.

    4.1 Guild Hall Square, Port na Long.

    In the medieval city, Guild Hall Square was ‘Port na Long - ‘the port of the ships’ on the banks of the Foyle. This is was a main approach to medieval city.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs

    4.2 St Augustine's Church

    St Augustines may well be the site of Derry’s Columban monastery founded in the late 6th century.

  • Áras Cholmcille

    4.3 Áras Cholmcille

    Áras Cholmcille – the St Columba Heritage Centre – is in the grounds of the Long Tower church. It is an ideal place to get an overview of the stories of Colmcille, patron of the city.

  • Long Tower Church

    4.4 Long Tower Church

    This Catholic church was built near two important Christian landmarks in Derry. The round tower of Derry’s monastery was near here until the 17th century and gives the Long Tower Church its name.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs

    4.5 St Columb’s Well

    This holy well is the focus for a celebration on 9 June - Colmcille’s feast day.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs

    4.6 St Columb’s Cathedral

    St Columb’s Church of Ireland cathedral was built between 1628 and 1633. Despite the long history of settlement here, this is Derry’s oldest surviving building.