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Revellers in party mood to welcome millennium

THOUSANDS of revellers across Northern Ireland are today basking in the new millennium - and recovering from the huge celebrations.

THOUSANDS of revellers across Northern Ireland are today basking in the new millennium - and recovering from the huge celebrations.

The party continued well into the early hours of yesterday morning as thousands attended a musical extravaganza at Belfast's City Hall.

And on New Year's Eve around 40,000 people packed the city for the biggest party ever held in the province.

Ulster singing star Brian Kennedy dazzled the crowd with a spectacular concert.

There was also music and dancing with Abba tribute band Bjorn Again at Lanyon Place, jazz at St George's Market, and a family fun fair at Victoria Square.

It was all topped off with a spectacular fireworks display at the Waterfront Hall - 15 minutes into the 21st century.

But the night belonged to revellers, who ensured the 20th century went out with a huge bang - full of festive spirit.

In Londonderry the millennium celebrations centred around the Guildhall with a 12,000-strong crowd dancing in the streets.

SDLP leader John Hume summed up the mood of the province as it enters a new peaceful era.

He said: "It was very poignant and beautiful. It was a good time to stop and reflect on those people who were robbed of the chance to see the new millennium and to look forward to a better future for us all."

As Ulster united to celebrate, the first baby was born just seconds into the new millennium.

Baby Doherty was a bouncing 7lb 11oz on delivery at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.

He is one of the first baby's in the UK to be born in the 21st century.

Meanwhile, the last baby of the 20th century was born at Craigavon Area Hospital.

The 8lb 1oz boy was born shortly before midnight.

Four babies were born before 1.30am on New Year's Day at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Joseph Gorman, from Belfast, was delivered by Caesarian section six minutes after midnight.

Two minutes later a 7lb 15oz girl was born.

By 9am four morebabies were born at the Mater, Royal, Antrim and Mid-Ulster Hospitals.

As Millennium celebrations drew to a close yesterday thousands united in prayer.

Prince Andrew joined over 2,000 guests at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast for an interdenominational church service to mark the new millennium.

The moving ceremony was also attended by First Minister David Trimble and the province's four church leaders.

The service was one of five held in Dublin, London, Cardiff and Edinburgh.


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