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Queen paid glowing tribute from Northern Ireland as she celebrates 90th birthday

String of beacons set ablaze at climax of a memorable day of parties and ceremonies

By Allan Preston

Published 22/04/2016

Two VIPs, both of whom celebrated their 90th birthday on the same day as The Queen (Thursday, 21 April), Albert Moore from East Belfast (left) and Austin Henderson from Stranmillis (right) assist Deputy Lord Mayor Alderman Guy Spence to light the beacon on the front lawn of City Hall. The Belfast tribute was part of a UK-wide beacon lighting programme marking the Royal birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Two VIPs, both of whom celebrated their 90th birthday on the same day as The Queen (Thursday, 21 April), Albert Moore from East Belfast (left) and Austin Henderson from Stranmillis (right) assist Deputy Lord Mayor Alderman Guy Spence to light the beacon on the front lawn of City Hall. The Belfast tribute was part of a UK-wide beacon lighting programme marking the Royal birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Handout photo issued by Harrison Photography of a 21 Gun Salute at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast, to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. PA
Handout photo issued by Harrison Photography of a 21 Gun Salute at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast, to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. PA
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st April 2016 A mural on Rockview Street in the Village area of south Belfast on the day the Queen celebrates her 90th birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Pacemaker Press Belfast 21-04-2016: A number of events are being held in Northern Ireland to celebrate the 90th birthday of the Queen. A 21-gun salute took place at Hillsborough Castle and at other venues across the UK at noon. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 21-04-2016: A number of events are being held in Northern Ireland to celebrate the 90th birthday of the Queen. A 21-gun salute took place at Hillsborough Castle and at other venues across the UK at noon. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 21-04-2016: A number of events are being held in Northern Ireland to celebrate the 90th birthday of the Queen. A 21-gun salute took place at Hillsborough Castle and at other venues across the UK at noon. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
21 gun salute at Hillsborough Castle to mark the Queen's 90th birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
21 gun salute at Hillsborough Castle to mark the Queen's 90th birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
21 gun salute at Hillsborough Castle to mark the Queen's 90th birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
21 gun salute at Hillsborough Castle to mark the Queen's 90th birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
21 gun salute at Hillsborough Castle to mark the Queen's 90th birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
21 gun salute at Hillsborough Castle to mark the Queen's 90th birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
21 gun salute at Hillsborough Castle to mark the Queen's 90th birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
21 gun salute at Hillsborough Castle to mark the Queen's 90th birthday. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Pacemaker Press Belfast 21-04-2016: A number of events are being held in Northern Ireland to celebrate the 90th birthday of the Queen. A 21-gun salute took place at Hillsborough Castle and at other venues across the UK at noon. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Street parties, beacons, gun salutes and cakes - people across Northern Ireland made every effort to mark the Queen's 90th birthday in style.

At Hillsborough Castle in Co Down it was a proud day for cadets from Queen's University Officer Training Corps taking part in a 21-gun salute at midday.

Under the watchful eye of soldiers from the 206 Ulster Battery, Royal Artillery, 10 student cadets helped to fire three ceremonial field guns for 21 deafening blasts.

More than 100 royal fans gathered to watch the spectacle.

Lt Colonel Brian Johnston, from the Royal Engineers, called the occasion "a great experience on a beautiful day in Hillsborough".

"It was a beautiful event with a high degree of military precision and panache," he said.

The celebration was co-ordinated with similar gun salutes in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

"Things like that make you recognise you are part of a bigger event celebrating Her Majesty," added Lt Col Johnston.

"I'm really very proud of the performance of my cadets while serving alongside the gunners."

At Belfast City Hall two pensioners from the city celebrating their 90th birthday were the guests of honour for a beacon-lighting ceremony.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh travel through Windsor in an open top Range Rover after her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh travel through Windsor in an open top Range Rover after her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Royal Standard flies above Windsor Castle as the Queen celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh travel through Windsor in an open top Range Rover after her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II talks to local women who are all aged in their nineties during her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II talks to local women who are all aged in their nineties during her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wave from the top of an open Range Rover on the monarch's 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (centre L) accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh greet wellwishers during a 'walkabout' on her 90th birthday in Windsor, west of London, on April 21, 2016. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh greet wellwishers during a walkabout on her 90th birthday in Windsor on April 21, 2016. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALLBEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II waves to well wishers from a open top Range Rover in Windsor, Berkshire, as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets the public on her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
A gun fires during a 41 gun royal salute to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II at Hyde Park on April 21, 2016 in London, England. 71 horses pulled six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into place at Hyde Park to fire forty one blank shots. The soldiers, horses and guns are from The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery who rode out from their forward mounting base in Wellington Barracks and are commanded by Major Robert Skeggs. (Photo by Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
A gun fires during a 41 gun royal salute to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II at Hyde Park on April 21, 2016 in London, England. 71 horses pulled six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into place at Hyde Park to fire forty one blank shots. The soldiers, horses and guns are from The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery who rode out from their forward mounting base in Wellington Barracks and are commanded by Major Robert Skeggs. (Photo by Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The Burger King restaurant at Tottenham Court Road in London, which has been rebranded for one day only as 'Burger Queen', in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday. David Parry/PA Wire
Members of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards band play outside Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, ahead of a 21 Gun salute in honour of The Queen's 90th birthday. Ben Wright/PA Wire
Crowds gather for the Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Crowds gather outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Crowds gather outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Town criers Steve Clow (left) and Peter Baker join crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Photo credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Judy (left) and Anne Daley, from Wales, join crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Sandra Martin from TV show Gogglebox joins crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Royal supporters pose for pictures outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
David Weeks joins crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Royal supporters pose for pictures outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Royal enthusiast Margaret Tyler holds a cake that she has made for Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by the Queen as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Steve Clow, one of the 'Three Criers' Town Criers prepares for the Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The 'Three Criers' Tony Appleton, Steve Clow and Peter Baker prepare for the Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Judy Daley and Anne Daley from Cardiff wait in position for the Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Dennis Melvin waits in position for the Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Royal enthusiast John Loughrey and Kathy Martin join crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Royal supporters pose for pictures outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
A rosette wishing Britain's Queen Elizabeth II a happy birthday is pictured on a royal supporter outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as the Queen celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Royal supporters pose for pictures outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Royal supporters gather outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Bunting is pictured outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Royal enthusiast Margaret Tyler holds a cake that she has made for Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by the Queen as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
The cake made for Queen Elizabeth II by royal enthusiast Margaret Tyler is seen outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by the Queen as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Royal enthusiast John Loughrey joins crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Donna Werner, from Connecticut in the USA, joins crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire

A message from the Queen was read by Lord Lieutenant Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle, with music from the Belfast Temple Salvation Army band.

Looking forward to the ceremony was the DUP's Deputy Lord Mayor Guy Spence.

"Belfast is certainly leading the Northern Ireland celebrations," he said.

"The Queen has brought so many nations and cultures together, especially here in Northern Ireland with her visit just a few years ago to the Irish Republic."

In Derry, Ebrington Square made a spectacular evening setting for the beacon-lighting, with music from the Hamilton Flute Band.

Church leaders from across the city joined in with crowds to sing hymns, and a message from Prince Charles was read by the Lord Lieutenant for Co Londonderry Dr Angela Garvey.

Lloyd Magee, chair of the Bond Street Community Forum, helped to organise the ceremony.

"It's fantastic we're allowed on Ebrington Square to do this - we're really chuffed to bits," Mr Magee said. "Everybody's welcome and we're all very delighted we have a chance to do this for Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday."

In Enniskillen Hazel Johnston, owner of the Jolly Sandwich Bar, was setting the mood for a night of festivities.

"We're having a street party with elderflower champagne and cupcakes with the Queen's face on them," she said. "There's just a real buzz about the town and a terrific atmosphere.

"We're absolutely delighted to be joining in. We don't know how many people are going to come, but we will do our best.

"We've also made two large cakes with a photo of the Queen walking between the two churches when she was last here in Enniskillen. That was really a terrific bonding moment between everyone when she came here - it was absolutely fantastic."

Last night a cross-community service was held at St Macartin's Cathedral in the town followed by a beacon-lighting ceremony. Two high-powered beams were also shot into the sky, crossing over to symbolise the two communities coming together.

And the Enniskillen Castle Museum was lit up with regal purple lights.

"It's all happening in Enniskillen, everyone has worked so hard," Hazel said.

"We're just going about like lamplighters today."

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