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Crowds flock to Derry for biggest St Patrick’s celebration yet

19 March 2019
Derry’s city centre was a blaze of colour today as the city’s biggest ever St Patrick’s Day Parade filled Shipquay Street with a vibrant display celebrating youth and culture.
Over ten thousand people lined the streets despite the windy conditions, as over 700 performers from community, arts and sporting groups brought the magical story of Tír na nÓg to life.
The parade, which is delivered by the North West Carnival Initiative with support from Council, was the highlight of a weekend of multi-cultural events taking place across Derry and Strabane, with a whole host of family friendly activities and animation.
Leading off the parade the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, said he was delighted to see so many people enjoying the festival. 
“It’s fantastic to see so many local groups taking part in the festivities today. 
"It really is a massive community effort and a great cultural event for the City that showcases our creative talent and community spirit. 
"I’m delighted to see so many people flocking to the city centre to support the event that will benefit local businesses and enhance our profile as a cultural hub.
“Over the weekend we have celebrated cultures and traditions from around the world, and embraced the rich tapestry of ethnicity that makes our City and District such an inclusive and welcoming place. 
"I want to thank the North West Carnival Initiative for all their work in delivering such a vibrant parade, Council’s Festival and Events Team and all who took part today and over the weekend for making it so special.” 
This was the second year that the parade followed a new route taking in the city centre’s main street, Shipquay Street, which was such a success last year with spectators. 
The event continues to develop year on year, attracting growing numbers of visitors and participants for the North West’s biggest St Patrick’s celebration. 
The programme kicked off on Saturday with the Ubuntu Global Festival which took over the Guildhall Square and Guildhall for the afternoon, with an eclectic mix of music, arts, animation and food from around the world for all to enjoy.
Strabane also hosted its own St Patrick’s festival programme on Sunday with a packed line up of activities taking place at various locations throughout the town. 
Thousands thronged the town's streets for the annual St Patrick’s Parade at 2pm, with family festivities continuing throughout the afternoon.
Speaking after the parade, Council’s Festival and Events Manager Jacqueline Whoriskey, said it had been a very successful weekend. 
“The celebrations have been fantastic and we are once again overwhelmed by the numbers of families who have turned out to support all the groups who have taken part today.
“The fact that we have had more participants than ever this year is testament to the growing success of the event, and the intensive work that the North West Carnival Initiative and organisers put into ensuring an exciting and enjoyable experience for everyone. Thank you to everyone involved.”