Belfast Telegraph

Gathering of straw men that will see the crows take fearful flight

By Brendan McDaid

It has been the stage for nail-biting peace talks, is the residence of the Secretary of State, has hosted the Queen and even welcomed a US President.

But now Hillsborough Castle is set to welcome a rather earthier set of important visitors — 30 scarecrows.

Children from Oakgrove Integrated Primary School in Londonderry have created some of the bird-scarers going on display at the castle’s walled garden for the Airtricity Garden Festival.

The pupils gathered at the weekend to wave goodbye to their colourful characters before they take up position at ‘Scarecrow Street’.

The line-up has been produced by pupils from integrated primary schools during the festival, which runs this weekend.

Oakgrove staff are hoping people from Derry will come along to meet their scarecrows and offer support as the entrants are judged in a series of categories, including scariest and most traditional.

Event sponsor Sharon McTaggart, operations manager with Allianz, said: “This year promises to be one of the most exciting yet for Allianz Scarecrow Street. No doubt the children will have a few imaginative and fun surprises lined up for us.”

The festival is free to children under 16 and will incorporate Northern Ireland's largest collection of gardening experts and suppliers all under one roof.

There will also be professional show gardens, live jazz, hog roast, cream teas, fashion, floristry, craft and cookery demonstrations and a host of activities for the kids.

For more information and to avail of the special online discounted ticket fees visit www.gardenshowireland.com or call the tourist information centres at Hillsborough on 9268 9717 or Lisburn on 9266 0038.

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