A fireworks display to rival Disneyworld

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Thousands of people packed the city centre on Monday night to celebrate the beginning of what promises to be a massive year for the city.

Local families and visitors queued from early afternoon along Queen’s Quay for the best spots to view a spectacular show of fireworks and pyrotechnics - the like of which Derry has never seen before.

Even the cold December weather and the odd shower of rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the happy revellers who gathered to soak up the atmosphere and share in Derry’s historic night.

The city was graced by a number of visitors who made a special trip to share in Derry’s big moment as the city prepared to take centre stage as UK City of Culture 2013.

The events kicked off at 6.30pm when church bells rang out across the city calling people to join in the celebrations.

The show began at 6.50pm with a musical arrangement that captured the journey of the city towards 2013, finishing with the voice of Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney giving an emotional rendition from The Cure of Troy.

It was clear that the thousands who had gathered by the riverside were touched by the moving words, and some were even moved to tears.

There were cheers at an opening sequence performed by the Lords of Lightning followed the incredible fireworks and pyrotechnics finale by Walk the Plank at the epic time of 20:13 (8.13pm).

At one stage when the entire Peace Bridge was lit up with fireworks streaming from it, there were gasps from the crowd clearly enjoying what was on offer.

Linda Devitt who travelled to Derry from Dublin to see the fireworks said: “What an amazing night, the fireworks were incredible. I am so glad I came. Well done Derry, I’ll be back again this year.”

Karen Davidson from the Waterside, who was at the event with her grandchildren said the events brought an emotional start to the new year.

“It was outstanding. The atmosphere was just great, everyone was stunned. I have never seen the like of this before.”

Joanne Gallagher from Derry said: “I have seen fireworks in Disney and at the fourth of July celebrations in California but tonight’s event outdid them. What an absolutely brilliant way to start the new year.

“I am so glad that I came out and was part of it. It gives you hope for the year ahead. “