AIRPORTER Buses are getting behind the celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the completion of Derry’s iconic walls.
The bus service providers who offer regular buses from Derry to Belfast International and Belfast City Airports have branded the back doors of four of their fleet to help raise the profile the programme.
Derry City and Strabane District Council and its partners The Honourable The Irish Society – the builders and owners of the Walls – and the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division, have identified Walled City 400 Years as a key theme for events programming from April 2019 to March 2020.
A vibrant programme of events are already underway to mark the milestone in the city’s history including an eclectic range of musical ensembles, dance audio plays, exhibitions, symposiums, films, living archaeology demonstrations and workshops.
Highlights include the Walls Fest 400 a music festival later this month 24-26th May within the city walls.
Funding has also been made available for local groups and organisations to feed into the programme, bringing the community together in this shared celebration.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, welcomed Airporter’s support of the programme.
“The celebration of the 400th anniversary of the walls completion is a great opportunity for both visitors and locals to experience our city at its very best,” he said.
“The visibility offered by airport’s fleet of buses will help raise the profile of the programme and will highlight it to visitors at both Belfast International and Belfast City airports and traffic on the busy A6 Derry to Belfast corridor.”
Tourism Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Jennifer O’Donnell added: “This celebration of the 400th anniversary of the completion of the walls programme will provide a great opportunity for both visitors and locals alike to experience the Walled City at its very best.
“The wide array of events will engage the local community in bringing the walls to life and highlighting the role they have had to play in the growth and development of our fantastic city.
“I would encourage local groups to check out how they can get involved.”
Jennifer McKeever, Managing Director at Airporter, added that they were delighted to be a partner in the initiative:
“Airporter is delighted to be a part of the celebration of the 400 year anniversary of our magnificent walls,” she said.
“As the only walled city in Ireland, the walls are a key part of our tourism product and fascinate and delight our visitors.
“We are all excited to see the program of events this year and to be a part of the infrastructure that supports and promotes tourism in the city and region.”
Airporter, founded in 1996, now runs 30 journeys a day to Belfast International and Belfast City Airport from the North West, carrying around 150,000 passengers per year.
Since 2014, employee numbers have trebled, with 30 drivers and 15 buses on the road every day.
Recently, the company has announced £1m investment in a new, purpose-built facility and hub as the company goes from strength to strength.
The company’s new 14,000 sq. ft. hub on a 2.5 acre site, will regenerate the former headquarters of the old Lough Swilly Bus Company in Springtown Industrial Estate.
A full timetable is available on their website airporter.co.uk
For full programme details and information on how you can be a part of the Walled City 400 programme, go to www.walledcity400.com