The Carnival of Colours returned in September to brighten up Derry city centre with acrobatics, circus performers, graffiti art, live music and much more.

Check out the highlights:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p–gCDpsHWE

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.

Derry has been named “a perfect base for road tripping”, and praised for its fantastic festivals and historic walls, in a list of the UK’s most hidden gem cities.

Travel writer Monica Stott, of The Travel Hack blog, included Derry as one of 10 ‘underrated’ cities she believes do not get the attention they deserve.

Stott said: “Derry is one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe and is the only intact walled city in Ireland. Derry’s Craft Village is a small but perfect ‘village’ within the walls with a quaint charm and boutique stores and creative crafters selling their wares.                 

“Keep an eye out for an array of festivals in the city, particularly the Halloween festival which was voted the best in the world by USA Today! Derry is also a perfect base for road tripping and from here you can explore the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route.”

Derry’s affordability and attractiveness as a place to live has been highlighted by two major surveys.

The Walled City was named the most affordable city in the UK to live in for the third year in a row, while a separate poll selected it as one of the Top 20 best places to live in Ireland.

Research by Halifax found that with the cost of an average city home in the UK now eight times earnings, Derry remains the UK’s most affordable city, with an average house price of £155,917 or less than five times earnings.

Meanwhile, the city also joins the top 20 contenders in the running to scoop the Irish Times’ Best Place to Live in Ireland title.

A total of 470 locations were nominated and whittled down to just 20 by a panel of judges, based on criteria including community spirit, local services and amenities, diversity, transport links, vibrancy of the local economy, cost of living, safety and the unique ‘X factor’.

The Irish Times judges said: “Derry offers a good quality of life and the ‘best of both worlds’ in there is access to the amenities and opportunities provided by a city but also beaches and countryside nearby. The people are often cited as one of the best things about the city. They are extremely proud of their city and loyal to it, but also friendly and welcoming to outsiders.”

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

Families looking for activities to do together in Derry and Donegal can now access a specific section of the recently launched Summer in the North West website and app where a host of fun options have been added.
The Family Fun section aims to offer visitors and locals a convenient and joined up way to get active together. Whether it’s tours, dancing or water sports you’re after, the website and app offers a one stop shop where you can see where is open and what’s happening and plan your days out. From outdoor adventure, “pop up” shows, summer clubs, local festivals and cultural experiences to online activities for a rainy day at home or in the caravan, there’s no shortage of fun to be had.

Hosted by Derry City and Strabane District Council with partners in Donegal County Council, Summer in the North West brings together what’s happening across the North West to make it easy for locals and visitors to access.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, launched the service earlier this month. “Summer in the North West aims to offer a joined up platform to make it easier for families and friends to try something different, go somewhere new or see something different in the region,” he said. “We are one of the most diverse regions on the island boasting a host of outstanding natural escapes and vibrant cultural experiences.”With the Walled City of Derry, Sperrins, Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route all on our doorstep, you’ll never be short of an epic view or a tranquil spot to get away from it all.”Maybe you’ll find yourself trekking with alpacas at the Wild Alpaca Way, kayaking at midnight, wandering the Cathedral Quarter Antiques and Vintage Trail or taking in a leisurely lunch after a gallery visit.”As part of the Summer in the North West programme, local arts and festival groups are offering a broad range of outdoor activity including four new outdoor shows from In Your Space Circus and Echo Echo which will tour the NW through August.

Rachel Melaugh from In Your Space Circus explained more: “In Your Space Circus are delighted to be getting out and about this summer and bringing some socially distanced, safe and fun street theatre to local audiences.”We’ll be popping up with some of the best of Irish Circus, spreading the love with our Trippy Hippies and our Olympic goddesses – The Land Syncro Swim team will be back with their brand new show ‘The Big Splash’ – making serious concrete waves.”You won’t want to miss it, we are thrilled and so grateful to have been given the opportunity to develop new work in such a challenging time for the arts and we are so looking forward to taking to the streets again.”

John Kerr, Arts and Culture Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council, added:”These summer commissions are an initiative of the NW Audience Development project delivered in partnership by Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council and approved for delivery by the North West Regional Development Group (NWRDG) in conjunction with and supported by the Executive Office and the Irish Government.” This promises to be a lot of fun and supports our aim of supporting delivery across wider areas and connecting with new audiences”


For more details and links to individual programmes, opening times, booking and access information to make your summer story visit www.summernorthwest.com​ and go to the Family Fun section. 

Why not download our App for your handy guide, available now by searching What’s On Derry Strabane in the Apple or Google Play store. Follow @WhatsOnDS on social media and share your #SummerStories.

Wednesday 21st July 2021 

One of Ireland’s leading diaspora initiatives is today launching a new network of regional Irish partners to connect those of Irish heritage abroad with their places of origin. Ireland Reaching Out, which has more than 150,000 members worldwide, wants to team up with local organisations to help drive regional tourism as part of the economic recovery. One of the first organisations to join the network is the Tower Museum which will cover the counties of Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Down, Armagh and Antrim.

One of Ireland’s leading diaspora initiatives — Ireland Reaching Out — is today launching a new network of regional Irish partners to connect those of Irish heritage abroad with their places of origin. Pictured are Mick Baynes, Tourism Officer for Visit Castlebar, and Laura Colleran, Ireland Reaching Out Programme Manager, outside the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life. Photo: Alison Laredo

Ireland Reaching Out plans to build on the surge in people tracing their Irish roots during the lockdowns and who now wish to travel to Ireland as the country starts to reopen. To support this expected influx of Irish Diaspora tourists to Ireland, the Irish Partner Network of Ireland Reaching Out has been established. This new network of regionally-based partners aims to improve the service offered to diaspora as they visit Ireland – both north and south.​ Three key groups –  Tower Museum, Visit Castlebar and Ballyhoura Development CLG — have already joined and Ireland Reaching Out  is now seeking other interested regional heritage and tourism groups to join.

Established in 2010, 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.  It is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade and is based in County Galway. This unique charity offers anyone from anywhere in the world with Irish roots the chance to connect with the community they have descended from by engaging with locals on the ground and online through its online platform – IrelandXO.com   Members avail of free advice from a large team of volunteers, helping them to trace their roots and connect with their Irish place of origin.

Ireland Reaching Out has sought partners who are leaders in heritage and tourism in their regions.  Each Network Partner will provide support to Ireland Reaching Out volunteers in a number of surrounding counties in order to increase engagement with the diaspora in those areas. The first three partnerships established are:·     

Tower Museum  – which will cover the counties of Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Down, Armagh and Antrim

Visit Castlebar –  which will cover the counties of: Sligo, Roscommon, Mayo, Leitrim, and Donegal

Ballyhoura Development CLG – which will cover the counties of Cork, Kerry and Limerick.

Laura Colleran, Ireland Reaching Out Programme Manager, says:“Our network of regional partners will provide assistance and support to the many Ireland Reaching Out Volunteers across the island of Ireland. It will also ensure that those visiting Ireland for the first time to trace their roots in Ireland have a better chance to engage with the locals living in their communities of origin in Ireland.”With volunteer help, they may get to see the homestead of their Irish forebearers, walk the land their people farmed before leaving Ireland, see the graves of their ancestor and, if possible, get to meet living relatives in Ireland. As we emerge from COVID restrictions and look to develop creative solutions that re-ignite tourism, IrelandXO is an important diaspora engagement resource for the whole country.”

Bernadette Walsh, Archivist at Tower Museum, says:“The Tower Museum has a very similar outlook to Ireland Reaching Out. We are very much about sustainability, promoting our genealogy and archive collections to encourage people to access and engage with our programmes and to promote tourism to the local areas. We are unique in that we are the only local authority archive service in Northern Ireland outside of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast. We get a lot of people visiting that want to investigate their own family history as well as research students, academics and film companies. “As part of Derry City & Strabane District Council, the Tower Museum is strongly associated with the Council’s region, we will be working with partners and volunteers all across Northern Ireland to promote the wider region as part of this project with Ireland Reaching Out. Ideally, we will eventually have partners joining from all across the island of Ireland to build on the momentum.”    

If you are interested in volunteering, becoming (or supporting) a regional partner, please contact Ireland Reaching Out at info@irelandxo.com

Ready for an al fresco meal or some drinks in a sun-soaked beer garden this summer? Local business platform Independent Derry has compiled this handy list of their favourite bars and eateries with outdoor spaces. Cheers to that!

https://www.independentderry.co.uk/post/derryoutdoordining

Unlocking the stories and secrets of the Walled City of Derry is about to get easier with the launch of the new Visit Derry Pass. This integrated ticket will help visitors plan a break in Derry-Londonderry and enjoy access to multiple experiences within the compact walkable city. The Visit Derry Pass provides discounted entry to ten of the most-loved attractions and activities across the city. 

The digital pass already operates in destinations including York, Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow and Visit Derry is delighted to the launch the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. The pass gives ticket holders access to iconic sites including The Guildhall, Tower Museum, Siege Museum and The Museum of Free Derry; tours of the City’s cathedrals and churches; and access to several guided tour options that take in the bustle of the city.

The launch of the Visit Derry Pass comes hot on the heels of the reopening of the tourism sector in Northern Ireland, with staycations expected to surge in popularity this summer. As an integral part of the city’s recovery strategy, Visit Derry recognised the opportunity to create a unified sightseeing pass which provides great value for money and brings together some of the City’s most-loved tourist sites, encouraging visitors to stay longer and explore more. The Visit Derry Pass is developed by Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with Visit Derry and part funded by Tourism Northern Ireland. It is priced from £25 per adult (1-day ticket) and £30 (2-day ticket). Passes can be bought online at www.visitderry.com/pass or in person at the Visitor Information Centre. The pass can be downloaded onto a smartphone or device making it even more convenient for visitors to use and pre-book before arrival.

Alderman Graham Warke, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council pictured at the launch of the new Visit Derry Pass with Odhran Dunne, Visit Derry CEO and staff from some of the attractions participating in the scheme. Visitors and locals alike can now enhance their experience of the city through a new innovative digital visitor pass developed by Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with Visit Derry and part funded by Tourism Northern Ireland. The Visit Derry Pass is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland and will provide discounted entry to ten of the most-loved attractions and activities across the city

Derry-Londonderry has made the shortlist for Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination 2021 at The World Travel Awards.

The Walled City is one of eight emerging city destinations in with a chance of scooping the prize at the awards, nicknamed the ‘Oscars of Travel’.

Renowned as one of the finest examples of a Walled City in Europe and the primary destination for cultural and heritage experiences on the island, Derry is a worthy nominee and needs your votes to help scoop the top spot.

With international voting now open, people have been urged to get behind Derry.

Odhran Dunne, Chief Executive of Visit Derry commented: “We are delighted Derry has been nominated for Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination. Being a finalist in this prestigious award, puts us on a world stage as we begin to emerge from the covid crises and rebuild tourism. It strengthens our international appeal and rewards the commitment of all players in our local industry to position the city region as a must-visit destination. We have all the ingredients of a standout destination, centred on our historic City Walls, heritage, renowned lively cultural and events scene and strategic geographic location to be nominated for the award is fantastic. We look forward to the global industry and travel consumers recognising our emerging potential and giving us their vote!” You can cast your vote for the Maiden City as Leading Emerging Tourism Destination here. Voting closes on 14th July 2021.

Could the Walled City of Derry be the leading emerging tourism destination in Europe? Derry has made the shortlist at the prestigious World Travel Awards for Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination 2021. The winner will be the finalist who gains the most votes. To vote for Derry as Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination, visit www.visitderry.com/vote before 14th July. First to cast their vote is the Mayor Alderman Graham Warke with Visit Derry chair Michelle Simpson and Chief Executive Odhran Dunne. Supporting the voting are, Brenda Morgan, City of Derry Airport, Ethan Dunlop, City Cabs, Lawrence, Far and Wild, Carla McDevitt, Airporter, Kiera Duddy, The Pickled Duck, Bronagh Masoliber, Visit Derry. David Douglas, Derrie Danders and James Huey, Walled City Brewery, and