First Derry
Presbyterian Church

Upper Magazine Street


There has been a Church on this site since 1690 and it is the first, and only, Presbyterian Church to have been built within the Walls. The 1690 Church, which was built with a grant from Queen Mary, was replaced by the present building in 1780 as it was too small for the number of worshippers. The recently restored Church, reopened May 2011, reflects many uniquely 18th century Presbyterian features. Presbyterianism came to our City in the early 1600s with the arrival of soldiers, traders and settlers from Scotland, from mainly the Lowlands of Ayrshire.


The Church has a long history of providing education – the Blue Coat School first opened in 1773 providing schooling for 14 boys. As part of the Church’s restoration, which was grant aided by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board & the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency, a visitor centre called the Blue Coat School Visitor Centre was opened to the rear of the Church and develops themes such as the ancient links between North West Ulster and Scotland, Defending Derry’s Walls, Spreading the Word and First Derry in the 20th century.


As you climb the steps to the main entrance you may notice the details on the risers. The patterns reflect the stone details on the building's facade. At the top you will find a plinth to the side of the entrance decorated with a carved motif of oak leaves symbolising peace and is topped with the words of the Aaronic blessing.