‘Awakening the Walled City’ this Hallowe’en in Derry and beyond

Europe’s largest celebration of Hallowe’en is to return this year to awaken the walled city, with events being spread over a number of different zones.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 4:38 pm

The three day festival, between October 29 and 31, will include over 40 events taking place in streets inside the city’s walls, along the Quay and in St. Columb’s Park and Ebrington Square.

‘Awakening the Walled City’ was launched by DCSDC yesterday and it was confirmed that the firework display will also be making a welcome return this year.

The display will be city centre focused, with a number of viewing points to be announced closer to the event.

Áine Kearney, Director of Business Support and Events at Tourism NI, the Cailleach and Mayor Alderman Graham Warke pictured yesterday afternoon at the launch of DCSDC’s programme for Halloween 2021. DER2137GS – 026

DCSDC Festival and Events Manager, Jacqueline Whoriskey, told the ‘Journal’ that the annual event had ‘outgrown’ it’s usual venue of the city’s walls.

“The footfall was really high and the Walls were never built for that many people. What we have done this year is extend the time frame for the activities, from 5pm to 10pm, and we have extended the footprint of the Awakening of the Walled City to incorporate different worlds or zones.”

Each of the zones will tell the stories of the characters that were the focus of last year’s online celebrations.

In Ebrington Square, there will be a 360 degree bespoke structure made of LED screens to create a portal.

“In the upper part of St. Columb’s Park there will be the Forest of Shadows, with shadow dancing, fire performers, fire installations and performers dotted about in the trees,” Jacqueline said.

“Unfortunately we can’t do a parade this year as this would gather too many people, but the Carnival Initiative will be creating a trail in the lower part of St. Columb’s Park.”

In the city centre, Walter, the skeleton on the city’s coat of arms, will be given the wake he never had thanks to the performers from In Your Space Theatre Company and along the Quay there will be a ‘whispering wharf’, using digital animations, lighting and soundscapes.

There will also be some pop up performances in and around Guildhall Square and the inflatables, which were hugely popular last year, will also make a reappearance in the city centre.

Some roads will be closed to allow the activities to take place.

Jacqueline said the festival will be ‘creating the stories of Derry Hallowe’en in different places’.

For the first time, this will include Swan Park in Buncrana where the characters of the Red Branch Knights ‘will come out to play’ on October 29 and 30. There will also be activities and a fireworks display in Strabane.