Belfast Telegraph

All set for a Jubilee knees-up

Northern Ireland gets ready to mark Queen’s milestone year

By Anna Maguire

This weekend, communities across Northern Ireland will mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a string of traditional open air festivities.

Belfast is set to host more than 100 street gatherings — with more public parties also planned in other towns and rural areas.

Every county in Northern Ireland will mark the Jubilee with a colourful programme of events. On Sunday afternoon, Belfast’s newly-installed Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson will host people celebrating 60th birthdays and wedding anniversaries at a special tea party in the City Hall.

A Continental market will be in the City Hall. The festivities will be mirrored across Northern Ireland. Film screenings, tea dances, beacon lightings and even sponsored mountain hikes will roll out over the weekend.

Louie’s royal date

  • Artsdale Hall, Lisnaskea, Fermanagh.

She was born three years after the Queen and is said to hold an uncanny likeness to the monarch.

Louie Rutledge is busy practising her royal wave this week for a special Diamond Jubilee street party in her home town of Lisnaskea where the 83-year-old will be at the centre of the celebrations.

Biggest street party

  • Grove Park, north Belfast

Up to 700 people will stream into Grove Park in north Belfast on Saturday for what is thought to be biggest street party in Northern Ireland to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Between noon and 6.30pm, revellers can enjoy a dog show, a street dance routine by the area’s youth dance group, a football tournament and street entertainment.

DUP MEP Diane Dodds will also open the Friends of Grove Park Community Garden.

A huge celebration

  • Cookstown

Cookstown might not be the first place you would expect to find a Jubilee street party, but the Tyrone town will host what is expected to be one of Northern Ireland’s biggest street parties to mark the Diamond Jubilee. Jugglers, street entertainers and artwork created by pupils of Cookstown Primary School will fill the school’s grounds on Thursday. Around 600 children and their parents are expected.

The school’s principal, Neil Downing, said: “What the school is trying to do is put itself at the heart of the community.”

Top events to take in

  • Jubilee Carnival: Monday, June 4. Belfast’s City Hall will host fashion shows, screenings of archive film footage, craft sessions, music, dance, children’s entertainment and even a novelty photo booth.
  • The Big Jubilee Lunch: Monday, June 4. Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House.
  • Jubilee Beacon lighting: Monday, June 4. Portadown-based charity, Fields of Life, has been chosen to light the beacon at the top of Slieve Donard — which will coincide with lighting of beacons at three of the UK’s highest peaks, prior to the lighting of the National Beacon at Buckingham Palace at 10.30pm.
  • Diamond Jubilee street party: Friday, June 1. Castleroe Primary School in Coleraine.
  • Hillsborough Fort Event: Saturday, June 2. The band of the RIR makes it way from Hillsborough Castle prior to a concert — followed by a 21-gun royal salute and a parachute display.

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