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County Londonderry

County Londonderry or County Derry is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, situated in the north of the island of Ireland. Adjoined to the north-west shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,074 km squared, with a population of approximately 233,550. It is also one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland, lying within the historical province of Ulster.

Since 1981 it has become one of four counties in Northern Ireland that has a Catholic majority (55.56% according to the 2001 Census), with 57% of the Catholic population residing within Derry City Borough.

The highest point in the county is the summit of Sawel Mountain (678m) on the border with County Tyrone. Sawel is part of the Sperrin Mountains, which dominate the southern part of the county. To the east and west, the land falls into the valleys of the Bann and Foyle rivers respectively; in the south-east, the county touches the shore of Lough Neagh, which is the largest lake in Ireland; the north of the county is distinguished by the steep cliffs, dune systems and remarkable beaches of the Atlantic coast.

The county is home to a number of important buildings and landscapes, including the well-preserved 17th-century city walls of Derry; the National Trust-owned Plantation estate at Springhill; the Mussenden Temple with its spectacular views of the Atlantic; the dikes, artificial coastlines and the noted bird sanctuaries on the eastern shore of Lough Foyle; and the visitor centre at Bellaghy Bawn, close to the childhood home of Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney.

In the centre of the county are the old-growth deciduous forests at Banagher and Ness Wood, where the Burntollet River flows over the highest waterfalls in Northern Ireland.

The county flower is the Purple Saxifrage. The term Oak Leaf County is the county nickname particularly in relation to the county's teams in Gaelic Athletic Association competitions.

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