TENS of thousands of people took to the streets and venues of Derry and Strabane over the weekend as the city and district’s renowned Halloween celebrations began in earnest with a packed programme of events.
Highlights included the start of the ‘Awakening the Walls’ in the city centre, an animated and illuminated trail around the historic walls featuring over 40 individual attractions and the Samhain Sessions gigs under the Museum of the Moon exhibit in the Guildhall’s Main Hall.
The action continues all week with other highlights including the ‘Tower of Terror’ tour through the Tower Museum, ‘Little Horrors’ arts, crafts and storytelling in the Guildhall and the ‘Hay Bale Sculpture Trail’ throughout the district.
The celebrations will peak on Wednesday night with the Return of the Ancients Halloween Street Carnival Parade on Queen’s Quay at 7pm and the Fireworks Finale on River Foyle and Strabane’s Melvin Sports Complex.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, hailed the start of the celebrations as a resounding success and urged the public to familiarise themselves with the programme and the traffic and travel arrangements for this week.
“The 2018 celebrations started in some style at the weekend, it was fantastic to see the hordes of people taking in the sights and sounds around the city and district and it’s clear why we are considered the best place in the world to celebrate Halloween,” he said,
“The nine day programme is the most ambitious ever undertaken by Council’s Festival and Events team and features a number of new elements such as the Lumineoles illuminations in St Columb’s Cathedral which have been particularly well received so far by the public.
“There is a feast of activities and entertainment on offer all week with something to suit all ages and tastes so plan your day now by downloading the full programme from the derryhalloween.com website and keep an eye on social media for the latest traffic and travel updates.
Events continue throughout the city and district this week including the Haunted Happenings at Brooke Park on Wednesday from 3pm – 8.30pm where there will be lots of spooky goings on including pumpkin carving and broomstick making.
A limited number of tickets are available for the Samhain Sessions concerts which feature David Kitt and Malojian on Monday, Colm Mac Iomaire and Elma Orkestra on Tuesday.
TG4 will be broadcasting its Samhain Live show from the Craft Village on Wednesday night with live performances from Declan O’Rourke and Gavin James where entry is on a first come first served basis.
The Samhain Live performances will also be screened in Guildhall Square after Wednesday night’s Fireworks Display
Motorists in Derry are advised to expect some delays and diversions this week particularly during the Awakening of the Walls and the parade and fireworks display.
In the interest of safety, a number of roads will be closed to traffic or have traffic restrictions in place for the event.
Drivers are reminded that normal on street parking restrictions will be in place and that they should avoid parking anywhere they may be blocking entrances to residences or businesses or where they may be obstructing emergency access.
The following car parks are operational during Awakening the Walls: Foyleside Shopping Centre – Open until 11.30pm sharp on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Quayside Shopping Centre until 11pm 29th – 31st. Full car park listings are available at www.derrystrabane.com/trafficandtravel.
The public are also asked to note that the Peace Bridge will be closed from 7.15pm until 8.45pm.
The latest traffics and travel updates and daily events listings will be posted on the Derry Halloween Facebook page.