Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s free flagship ‘Giant Adventures’ festivals, and other events, all return this summer with enchanted vigour, building and drawing on the success of last year’s events.
Giant Adventures Festivals
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew said, “The Giant Adventures festivals namely; Strangford Lough Skiffie Festival, Footsteps in the Forest, Festival of Flight, Wake the Giant and City of Merchants will take place across the district in various locations that will use and highlight the areas mountains, coastline and unique stories of legend and lore to bring each to life. It is estimated that the Giant Adventures flagship festival programme will have a positive impact on the local economy of circa £10m.”
Cllr Mulgrew continued, “In addition to the ‘Giant Adventures’ festival programme there will be an exciting programme of summer events, organised by communities and businesses across the district, that will also celebrate the districts culture and heritage. These events will benefit from an increased level of financial support from the Council this year and will add greatly to another summer of spectacular events for everyone to enjoy.”
Cllr Mulgrew added, “The development of our festivals under the Giant Adventures brand, together with additional financial support for a range of other established events, is one of the positive steps the Council took to position it’s district as one of the premier tourism destinations in Ireland. The Giant Adventures programme has been designed to deliver ‘epic moments’ to our visitors, providing experiences that they will never forget and want to return for. The more choice that we can offer, the more appealing our district will be.”
The series of summer events will kick off 14 -17 June 2018 with ‘DownTime’, a new festival to promote the fantastic racing, culture and music heritage of Downpatrick. The festival will host an epic weekend of horse racing plus unique arts and cultural events and music performances at intimate venues to include; Cara Dillion in the majestic Down Cathedral, Stockton’s Wing in the grounds of Down County Museum. There will be something for all the family so come along, relax and enjoy some well-deserved ‘DownTime’.
The internationally recognised Mourne International Walking Festival will take place over three days in Newcastle between 22-24 June 2018 and will offer walkers, of all levels of fitness, stunning routes in the Mourne Mountains and surrounding countryside. The walking routes will vary between 10k and 40k at both high and low level.
Strangford Lough Skiffie
Strangford Lough Skiffie Festival will take place on Strangford Lough and in Delamont Country Park between 27-29 July 2018 and will attract many international competitors and local competitors with their community built skiffs. This popular event visitors will have the opportunity to watch the racing, meet the rowers, savour a variety of locally produced food at the accompanying food fair and enjoy a fun-filled programme of events in Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh.
Footsteps in the Forest
The ever popular Footsteps in the Forest event take place on 4-5 August 2018 using the beauty and mystery of Slieve Gullion Forest Park to capitalise on well-known tales associated with the forest. This event was the winner of the 2016 Heritage Council of Ireland Cool for Kids award and continues to excite and delight. Visitors will have an opportunity to encounter mythical people, hear their stories of a world that has been forgotten and explore their woodland realm through the magical living storybook tour.
Festival of Flight
Now a firm favourite, the Festival of Flight promises a powerful combination of stunning airborne antics led again by the Red Arrows and complemented by a lively ground level programme of family-friendly events and attractions, including the popular Aviation and Food Village. New for this year there will be a corporate STEM area, a ‘FansZone’, corporate hospitality area and an enhanced exhibit of RAF flying aircraft on the ground to mark the centenary of the RAF, all played out against the iconic backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne. The event will be soaring high over the shores of Newcastle and Dundrum Bay on 11 August 2018.
Wake the Giant
Wake the Giant festival is back between 18-19 August 2018 in Warrenpoint for more gigantic interactive fun and a new story that will once again bring Finn the Giant to life using the combined efforts of the audience, the artists and craftspeople. Come along and marvel at the sleeping Giant – as who knows what magic will happen as the story unfolds.
City of Merchants
City of Merchants will take place between 21-22 September 2018 in Newry and bring another year of epic ‘Giant Adventures’ to a close. Drawing on the maritime and industrial heritage of Newry, this event will celebrate and commemorate the roles of commerce and trade in the City. The pivotal role of trade along the canal, river and basin will be brought to life through site specific theatre, music, sound and dance and showcase a contemporary celebration of the best local produce from the kitchen of the city food providers.
More Major Events
Furthermore the district will also host three other high profile events during the summer that will attract a huge interest and visitors. Castlewellan will play host to ‘Fleadh Uladh’ 23-29 July 2018. This event will see an influx of visitors from all across Northern Ireland and the border counties travelling to participate and enjoy this major cultural and musical event. Donard Park in Newcastle will be the venue for this year’s ‘RSPBANI Ulster Championship’ on 21 August 2018. Pipes, Drums and Passion return to the shores of the Mournes and visitors can enjoy a feast of music and competitions featuring the best bands from the circuit. Finally there will be an inaugural ‘Cycle Sportive’ covering the district. This mass participation cycle is scheduled for September and more details will be announced soon!
Other spectacular summer events happening throughout the district will include: ‘Mourne Way Marathon’ in Warrenpoint 9 June 2018, ‘Soma Festival’ in Castlewellan 19-22 July 2018, ‘GI Jive Festival’ in Kilkeel 23-28 July 2018 and ‘Reiver’s Festival’ in Kilkeel 28 June -11 July 2018, ‘Fiddler’s Green Music Festival’ in Rostrevor 22-29 July 2018, ‘PSYCLE Cross Country Mountain Endurance’ event in Castlewellan 24-26 August 2018 and ‘Pride in Newry’ Festival in Newry City Centre 1 September and also Iúr Cinn Fleadh between 2-9 September 2018, also in Newry City Centre.
For details of all this summer’s Giant Adventures and community/business led events visit here.