DETI Minister Arlene Foster has pressed the ‘on button’ in Derry to launch the lighting-up of some of its most famous locations.
The illuminations include the historic City Walls, six major built heritage projects and the Craigavon Bridge.
The Walled City Lighting Strategy is designed to boost tourism and the evening economy, as well as further strengthening the city’s reputation as one of Northern Ireland’s top destinations.
Speaking at the launch event at the city’s Guildhall, the Tourism Minister said the Lighting Strategy illuminates the past, present and future of Derry as a centrepiece of tourism in Northern Ireland.
Arlene Foster said: “In this UK City of Culture year it is pleasing to see that – quite literally – the spotlight is on the Walled City once again.
“The fact that key elements of Londonderry’s built heritage are now visually enhanced in the hours of darkness can only offer differentiation for the tourism product and encourage visitors to spend more time in the city.
“The new lighting will assist the evening economy by making the city more vibrant and it will further strengthen the city centre’s growing reputation as a place of entertainment, shopping and eating out, thereby stimulating tourism and business growth.”
The world-class project includes creative lighting solutions that enhance the night time visual appeal of the city’s key cultural, heritage and tourism assets, including St Columb’s Cathedral, First Derry Presbyterian Church, the Apprentice Boys’ Memorial Hall, The Playhouse, Aras Colmcille (former Wee Nuns school) and the Guildhall.
The Walled City Lighting Strategy is the result of a major £1.4 million investment by the Tourism Development Scheme, with the remaining funding in the £2 million project provided by the Department of Social Development, SEUPB and the Inner City Trust.
Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland added: “The Walled City Lighting Strategy will further enhance the considerable work that has been completed in Londonderry over the last few years. The iconic Peace Bridge serves as a major attraction within the city and the introduction of this new lighting will contribute to making the city a location that is a safer and more attractive environment for all.”
Mayor Martin Reilly, welcoming the official launch of the lighting strategy, said it was a very successful partnership project.
He added: “The implementation of the Walled City Lighting Strategy has made a significantly positive impact on the physical look and feel of the city.
“It has created a unique installation of feature lighting apparatus on the City Walls and buildings, bringing about positive benefits to the city centre in terms of improving our evening economy and helping us welcome thousands of visitors.”