The festivals

Derry is showing signs of great progress, without doubt.

Derry is showing signs of great progress, without doubt.

This was very obvious last weekend. The Clipper boats had arrived and the new walk-way on the quayside was brimming with people. You would have thought you were somewhere on the continent. People were out having a leisurely stroll, eating and drinking at the ‘pop-up’ cafes, and buying souvenirs at the colourful stalls. We can be proud of the new marina and of the modern riverside buildings. The quays now are very different from what they were say sixty years ago: old sheds, the smell of cattle, and smoke, grime and noise. The Maritime Festival was in full swing.

There was another festival on at the same time: The City of Music Festival, with musicians, singers and choirs performing throughout the city. I would like to give one musician a special mention. An uilleann piper was playing near the Tower Museum on Sunday. He was a highly talented musician, but he was not like the usual street performer: he refused to take any money.

The festivals in Derry and Inishowen are going from strength to strength, and the local committees are adding to their programmes every year. In Muff, for instance, there will be an Irish workshop for adult beginners, as well as a good number of new events (Further information: 00353 7493 84572). Clonmany Festival is now one of the biggest in the country. It is very difficult to get accommodation in the village and in the surrounding area because of the thousands of visitors attending the festival.

There are lots of festivals in the North West this summer. Go online and Google the name of the festival or visit your local tourist office.

There would be no festivals if local people were not willing to give up their time voluntarily. Business people are always willing to give support. Festivals are community events and they show that the community spirit is still alive in Ireland.