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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.

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.