IN PICS: The City of Culture Programme Launch thus far

An expectant air hangs over the city this morning as Derry prepares to unveil the biggest cultural programme in Ireland’s history.

Within minutes, the city’s Culture Company will take to the stage at the former military barracks and announce what we’ve all been waiting for. The excitement has been building all morning, with several events attracting widespread press attention. The handover of a colossal artwork by artist David Shrigley - a special gift from the city of London to Derry - took place in Guildhall Square earlier. As the giant painting suggests - it’s now official that our ‘Small City Becomes Huge’.

The Culture Crew Marathon runners arrive via Derry's Peace Bridge to deliver the first copies of the 2013 Programme of events. (2510Sl102) Photo: Stephen Latimer

The Culture Crew Marathon runners arrive via Derry's Peace Bridge to deliver the first copies of the 2013 Programme of events. (2510Sl102) Photo: Stephen Latimer

Meanwhile, the buzz in Ebrington Square grows, with tourists, local people and visiting press all milling around the vast parade ground in anticipation of the coming revelations. A fleet of navy taxis, made up from several local firms, dominate the parade ground each with colourful 2013 logos emblazoned on their sides. The Culture mascot was also attracting some attention, particularly from some small children looking on in amusement.

Rumours of surprise announcements continue, as does talk of a helicopter flying in with a special guests. Derry rumours aside, it’s clear that the what’s about to happen here will establish the City of Culture firmly open for business. More to come....