One of Ireland’s leading diaspora initiatives has launched a new network of regional partners to connect people of Irish heritage abroad with their places of origin.

Ireland Reaching Out is a volunteer-driven, non-profit organisation connecting people of Irish heritage with the local community in their place of origin in Ireland and online through its platform, www.IrelandXO.com.

It has established an Irish Partner Network to improve the service offered to diaspora as they visit Ireland, north and south. One of the first organisations to join the network is the Tower Museum, which will cover Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Down, Armagh and Antrim.

Ireland Reaching Out plans to build on the increase in people tracing their Irish roots during the lockdowns, and who wish to travel to Ireland as the country begins to reopen. As well as the Tower Museum, Visit Castlebar and Ballyhoura Development CLG, Ireland Reaching Out is now seeking other interested regional heritage and tourism groups to join.

Ulster University’s Pro Vice Chancellor of Research Liam Maguire was joined by colleagues from the Derry-based Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC) at a Northern Ireland Business and Innovation Showcase in London.

Representatives from the university’s Engineering Composites Research Centre and Research and Impact Directorate also attended the event, which featured the best of Northern Ireland’s innovative businesses, start-ups and universities, showcasing what the region offers as an inward investment location and as a trade partner.

The Northern Ireland Office, the Department for International Trade and Invest NI partnered to host the September showcase, which Dr Alexander Chacko, UU’s head of Innovation and Impact, said “spread the message that Northern Ireland’s innovators, tech start-ups, and universities are leading the way in post-pandemic recovery.”

Is your business looking for help or guidance with research and innovation? Perhaps your product, service or process requires expertise that is outside your current R&D capacity? Did you know that the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network can help?

To compete in the challenging global business environment, indigenous companies face an ever-increasing demand for advancement and innovation.

Recent data also strongly indicates that companies who collaborate with third-level institutes on research, development, and innovation, have double the turnover of those that do not, and these companies are also likely to have significantly greater sales and export revenues.

Invest NI in collaboration with the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network can assist you with funding and the specialist expertise you require. The Wireless Sensor and Applied Research Lab (WiSAR) Technology Gateway develop electronic products and software using expertise in the internet of things, while PEM (Precision Engineering and Manufacturing)Technology Gateway provide mechanical engineering and process improvements, with specialisation in product design and development in the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Invest NI’s next £5,000 Innovation Voucher call opens on September 5th and to coincide with this, both WiSAR, based in LYIT and PEM, based in Sligo IT, are holding joint Innovation Voucher Clinics on the 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd of September. These clinics offer free one-on-one consultations, where businesses can discuss potential ideas for R&D projects under the scheme.

To book your free consultation at the Innovation Voucher Clinics visit:

https://bookwhen.com/wisarlab/

In Your Space Circus (IYSC) is bringing its flagship Circus, Arts and Music Festival, Carnival of Colours to the City Centre for the 14th edition of one of Derry’s favourite headline events. Carnival of Colours, which usually takes place in St Columb’s Park, has up-rooted and relocated to Derry’s stunning City Centre. Taking place on the 4th and 5th September, the programme for the weekend will be jam-packed with circus-themed treats featuring the very best of International Street Theatre, IYSC’s own walkabout characters, workshops in circus and roller-skating, graffiti arts demos, portrait painting, music right across the city and much, much more! The headline shows will include acrobatics, juggling, diabolo, clowning, comedy, physical theatre and some crazy dance moves thrown in for good measure! Acts will include Mimbre (all-female acrobatic troupe), Nakupelle (world renowned clown), Jitterbug Jackson (Master of all things circus) and Tumble Circus (acrobats who achieve near impossible feats of gravity!).

Carnival of Colours, 4th – 5th September, Derry/Londonderry City Centre

Incredible local artists will also be showcasing their talents and bringing a weekend of pure joy to the people of the North-West and visitors to the City! Tying in with the Cathedral Quarter Weekend event, we will be breathing life into the Cathedral Quarter area of the City with a stage located at Society Street Carpark, and walkabout characters entertaining those who will be roaming the traffic-free streets around St Columb’s Cathedral.

Lots of other activity will be taking place in the area including ‘Sounds of the City’ a music and performance trail featuring the best of the best local musicians, programmed by Music Capital. Carny Corner, in the Garden of Reflection, will immerse you in the world of circus with IYSC Youth Circus shows, circus skills workshops, portrait painting and screen printing at the Derry Print Workshop.

The Festival attracts people of all ages from right across the Derry-Londonderry area and visitors to the city; it brings people together from all walks of life for a shared cultural experience. It also highlights Derry City as an exciting, beautiful and progressive destination for events and arts activity.  Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said: “We are delighted to be working with In Your Space Circus on delivering the fantastic Carnival of Colours.”The Carnival puts smiles on lots of faces and adds such a fun, upbeat atmosphere to our city centre as we slowly return back to normal life. “There are loads of elements to the Carnival of Colours so there will be plenty of entertainment for both kids and adults alike. I would really encourage everyone to visit the city centre, check it out and support our local businesses in the process! “In 2021 the Festival is supported by Tourism NI, Derry City and Strabane District Council, and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland. A number of local cafes and restaurants are also supporting the event by feeding and watering our artists and volunteers!  

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added, “It’s truly heart-warming to see the Carnival of Colours back for 2021, spreading amazement and joy across the city.  Once again the IYSC team have curated a fabulously fun programme with something to suit all tastes, from the very young, to the very young at heart!  I would encourage everyone to get outdoors this September and enjoy everything that this terrific celebration of circus has to offer.” IYSC is particularly proud to be bringing the Festival back to the city after an extremely challenging 18-months for the arts and events industry. The organisation and local artists, who rely on the Company for income, have suffered great losses due to the pandemic. All activity will be delivered in line with Covid guidelines and every precaution will be taken to keep audiences and participants safe.

Carnival of Colours is a showcase and celebration of In Your Space Circus’s year-round work including the Circus School and its street theatre and performance work delivered across Northern Ireland. Cath McBride, IYSC’s Company Director said: “We are thrilled to be back and at it this year. We have so greatly appreciated the support of our funders and the general public in helping us to recover and bring this unique event back to its audience. We aim to ensure that the 2021 Carnival of Colours is a celebration of the city, of our artists and participants, of circus, and of our wonderful audiences. We are confident that there is something in the programme for everyone and that it will give families a fabulous opportunity to spend some quality time together!”   

For the full Carnival of Colours programme visit: www.inyourspaceni.org/carnivalFor more information on events happening on 4th & 5th September, visit summernorthwest.com

The Cathedral Quarter is preparing to welcome visitors for a weekend of entertainment and animation this September and the opportunity to enjoy a visit to its charming historic streets and shops completely traffic free.

A weekend of events is planned for the Cathedra Quarter on 4th – 5th September.

Within the area surrounding St Columb’s Cathedral a small network of streets lies tucked within the City’s famous Walls, where a cornucopia of cafes, restaurants, galleries and heritage venues ply their trade. The area has gained renown as a unique cultural quarter, popular with visitors following the heritage trail around Derry’s most celebrated landmarks, and those seeking out some of the City’s more quirky shops and galleries.On September 4th and 5th the streets of Upper Magazine St, Society Street, Place St, Pump St and Artillery St will close to traffic to offer additional space for a programme of fun animation, street performance, music and outdoor trading as part of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s campaign to support local businesses in the wake of Covid-19.

The Covid Revitalisation and Recovery Programme is supported by the Department for Communities, introducing a range of measures in recent months to boost trade and restore customer confidence. The plans have involved the reimagining and reconfiguring of public spaces, providing more open, customer friendly areas featuring new street furniture and covered areas. Pilot traffic free zones such as the one planned for the Cathedral Quarter will allow venues, organisations and visitors to make better use of urban spaces and will help shape plans for the streetscapes of the future.

But for now it’s all about bringing life and colour back to our town and city centres, as Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Graham Warke, explains. “This pilot scheme is just one of a full programme of measures geared towards supporting our local businesses and kick starting the local economy after what has been a prolonged period of inactivity and uncertainty.”Over the summer months we have enjoyed some fantastic pop up animation which has reintroduced some fun in a safe and controlled way as we begin the cautious return to normal life. It will take time, but Council has been working closely with the local business community and listening to their needs to see how we can best channel resources to have a maximum impact on the Covid Recovery.”I’m really looking forward to this weekend of activity in the Cathedral Quarter, which is a hidden gem just waiting to be explored. I hope to see lots of people taking the opportunity to visit the area, and to see for themselves all it has to offer in terms of history, architecture, culture and retail.”Business, arts organisations and venues in the area have been involved in programming for the CQ Weekend which will offer a blend of entertainment, extended opening hours, access to attractions, special offers, and outdoors trading.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “My Department introduced the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme to support our towns and city centres in their recovery. Derry City and Strabane District Council has received over £1.6 million through the programme. I hope that events such as the Cathedral Quarter Weekend will continue to encourage people back into our towns and city centres to spend time supporting our local businesses, and ultimately help to keep our town and city centres alive and prosperous. The continued partnership working between local and central government and the business community will also help local businesses continue with their recovery”.

The Cathedral Quarter weekend will run from Saturday September 4th – Sunday September 5th from 10am – 6pm daily. That weekend will also see the return of In Your Space’s Carnival of Colours to city centre streets, the Walled City Market and some Legenderry Street Food Events on London Street. More Information on all the activities can be found at summernorthwest.com.

A local American Football club is preparing to battle it out against three Northern Irish teams in a hotly-anticipated tournament.

The Donegal Derry Vipers will take on the Antrim Jets, Causeway Giants and NI Razorbacks to compete for the Donaghy Group Invitational Cup this summer.

The action will take place over four days in July and August, with the final played on August 15 at Prehen Playing Pitches.

Vipers member Paul O’Donnell urged spectators to get out and support the North West cross-border team, which has bases in Derry, Limavady, Greysteel and Letterkenny.


Vipers member Paul O’Donnell

Founded in 2014, the team was promoted to IAFA1 (Irish American Football Association) in 2017 and has a large roster of members, including a player from Alabama, and a coach from Chicago.

The Vipers are also currently recruiting for their youth squad, which will welcome 15 to 17-year-olds, male and female, with no previous experience required.

A new YouTube channel has been launched to help young people whose education and career prospects have been affected by the pandemic.

North West Regional College students joined forces with Enterprise North West and Startacus to create Week Gen-C, to inform people about the skills and tools they will need within the post-Covid economy, and the opportunities that already exist.

The channel, funded through the David Cross Young People’s Fund, features panel discussions and interviews with businesses including Learning Pool, Alchemy Technology, FinTrU, Hypixel Studios, UV Arts, Storefront and Ferry Clever, as well as support organisations such as Young Enterprise NI, Extern, NWRC Careers Academy, Derry Credit Union, careers and employment services and mental health charity AWARE.

Brian O’Neill, Director of Development and Enterprise, Enterprise North West, commented:

“The overall Week Gen-C project has exceeded our expectations and this has been mainly achieved through the hard work and creativity of the steering group of young people involved in the series of events right from the beginning. These events have been designed, produced and delivered by young people and have taken into account the negative impact of Covid-19 and the pandemic on young people’s prospects. We firmly believe that these series of events could be upscaled or replicated across NI to inspire other young people”

Alastair Cameron, Co-founder of Startacus, added:

“We’ve all been affected by the pandemic, but it has been even more challenging for our young people so it’s vital that we all do our bit to help them to look forward and to inspire and encourage them to reach their true potential. We’ve been delighted to partner with Enterprise North West on the Week Gen-C project and we have been hugely impressed by the creativity, commitment and dedication shown by the students from NWRC in bringing the entire project to fruition”.

The Week Gen-C recording are available to view on the Week Gen-C YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqLRGRr1jo5LF56hDH6tN0Q )

An internationally recognised ‘people’s art project’ celebrating local communities is being held in Derry and Strabane.

The Inside Out Project displays large-scale black and white portraits of local people in public spaces, turning their untold stories into works of art.

More than 260,000 people have participated in the scheme in 129 countries, exploring themes including hope, diversity, gender-based violence and climate change.

The project is being delivered by UV Arts C.I.C and Derry City and Strabane District Council with the final installations located at Ebrington Square, Strabane Alley Theatre and the Queens Quay walkway.

Karl Porter, Director of UV Arts CIC, explains: “The project is about celebrating our local community and mostly those who make the community what it is. This is an opportunity to build cohesion, build community pride and to really love where you live as sometimes we can take the natural beauty of our locations for granted.

“This is a chance for the local people to send us their photographs/selfies and images that will be included in our large-scale printed posters that will then be pasted or glued onto various walls across our city and district.

“It’s such an engaging activity that anyone can get involved with, a fresh celebration of the people most important to us in our community and city.” 

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is once again set to drop anchor in Derry next year, with the city announced as a host port.

Plans are now underway for the July 2022 Clipper stopover and the return of the internationally acclaimed Foyle Maritime Festival, which draws more than 200,000 attendees to the city’s quayside.

The Clipper 2019-20 Race was suspended in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, and plans for Derry to act as a Host Port Partner for the fifth time last summer were put on hold. The award-winning Foyle Maritime Festival was also cancelled as Council’s events programme moved online. The last Foyle Maritime Festival in 2018 attracted almost 211,000 attendees to a packed programme of events, and provided an estimated economic boost of at least £2 million for the local economy.

As part of the visual arts programme, from March 8th ‘Full Hoist Always’, delivered by the Void Gallery, will see roadside billboards transformed by artist Locky Morris, focusing on a positive message around care and support in the current times.As part of the Inside Out programme, UV Arts will deliver ‘The People’s Art Project’ which will take place from March 16th, looking at celebrating our local community and those who make the community what it is through portraits.The North West Carnival Initiative will deliver ‘Imagine That…’ – a combination of artist led creation, online content including tutorials, and neighbourhood focused activity.  Our city centre will be re-imagined with creative installations and pop up displays adorning areas including Shipquay Street and several quiet spaces within the Walls; fairy dwellings in​ Kilfennan, St Columb’s Park, Foyle Road, Brooke Park and the Fountain; a willow hare sculpture at Strabane Allotments, and the pig sculpture at the Alley Theatre being transformed into a seasonal leprechaun, and lots more.There will be a vast range of online content, including many events for Irish Language Week which is currently taking place and will finish on St Patrick’s Day.

. Included with Mayor Brian Tierney are Sha Gillespie and Jim Collins, NWCI, at front, and Margaret Crabtree, Keep her Knit, and Ann Millar, community participant.

In partnership with Donegal County Council, Irish Language Week aims to create opportunities for people to use and enjoy the Irish language, and this year Council have been working with partners in the Irish language community across the city and district to create a unique programme of online events which celebrate the Irish language as part of the shared heritage of the region.On March 16th, Council is working with partners on the virtual Destination Derry – Connecting with Home event which will see our diaspora living in all corners of the world come together to enjoy our shared history and love of this time of year, with conversation, music, culture and lots of entertainment.St Patrick’s Day will be marked by students from North West Regional College’s School of Performing Arts who will put together two celebratory traditional Irish music sessions. There will be range of talented artists and lots of great music for audiences to enjoy.Launching the programme,

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, said it has something for everyone.”I’m delighted to launch our Spring and St Patrick’s Day programme which will be a much-needed boost to everyone locally and will bring some colour to our city and district as we move into a brighter season.”Like everything we have done over the past year, this programme has been put together with public health at the very forefront of our minds. Our Council officers have worked incredibly hard to organise a programme that strikes a balance between giving the public something to look forward to and celebrate, while also keeping everyone safe.”St Patrick’s Day and our Spring Carnival are terrific occasions in our annual calendar and while it is disappointing that we cannot celebrate with the usual gatherings and events, and our St Patrick’s Day parades, we have some very exciting online content as well as visual arts and creative outdoor installations and pop-up displays.”The Inside Out programme looks fantastic and we are once again working with the North West Carnival Initiative who have adapted their delivery of ‘Imagine That…’ festivities. It all comes together as one highly-anticipated programme.”

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, with Sha Gillespie and Jim Collins, North West Carnival Initiative, and Margaret Crabtree, Keep Her Knit, at the launch of the Spring programme.

Jacqueline Whoriskey, Council’s Festival and Events Manager, added: “We have come through perhaps one of the most challenging winters that many of us have ever faced, and as we put together this Spring programme we were very conscious of capturing the spirit of a new season, a new chapter, and a fresh, bright outlook.”We have really adapted how we deliver these programmes in the past year, and in line with that we have continued to put a big focus on online content through the likes of Irish Language Week, the Destination Derry event and the music session being delivered by North West Regional College.”While we will not be holding any public events or gatherings, we have focused in on how we can creatively bring the Spring spirit to our streets with artwork and installations, with fairy dwellings and artistic sculptures that can be enjoyed by everyone when out getting some fresh air and exercise.”We hope that this adapted programme can be enjoyed safely by everyone.”

The Inside Out Programme is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with funding through the Department of Communities’ Business Revitalisation and Recovery Programme. For more information, visit www.derrystrabane.com/insideout