Belfast Telegraph

15 events to enjoy at Newry's first City of Merchants festival

The first ever City of Merchants festival takes places in Newry this weekend, with a huge programme of events to celebrate the city's history, and maritime and industrial heritage.

Running from Friday, September 29 to Sunday, October 1, visitors are being invited to enjoy  three days filled with fireworks, family fun, arts, culture, food and drink.

Here are 15 highlights from this year's festival:

1. A Newry Merchant’s Journey - Friday, September 29

A walking tour which starts at Bagenal’s Castle and ends with dinner from 3pm to 9pm. Booking essential at £10 from Newry Visitor Information Centre.

2. Frisky Whiskey History Tour - Friday, September 29

A whiskey sampling tour which leaves from the Bank Bar and Bistro at 7.30pm. Booking is essential at just £10 from Newry Visitor Information Centre.

3. Creative Shop - Friday, September 29 - Sunday, October 1

Call in to the ‘Big Telly’ creative shop at 52 Hill Street throughout the festival for details of all activities.

4. Newry Canal Cruises & Tours - Friday, September 29 - Sunday, October 1

Sail down Carlingford Lough on the Brienne or Soteria or take a tour of the La Malouine Tall Ship from 12 noon until 8pm.

5. Dazzling Light Projections - Friday, September 29 - Sunday, October 1

Key buildings across Newry will be lit up with images of the city’s famous past from 6.30pm until late. Photos can also be submitted for consideration.

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Newry's City of Merchants Festival

6. McCanns Bake Off and Victorian Bakery Tour - Friday, September 29 - Sunday, October 1

View the display of cakes and help decide the winner from 3pm at Bagenal’s Castle on Sunday 01 October.

7. Hill Street Hooley - Saturday, September 30

Newry’s bustling Hill Street will be a hive of activity with music, dance, street art, wacky races, pop-up theatre and more thanks to the BOSCO School of Dance, SRC and local school children from 2pm until 5.30pm.

8. Sugar Fairy Sugar Island Tour - Saturday, September 30

Starting at Newry Town Hall, take a tour of Newry’s busy bakeries and cafés to learn the history of Newry’s tastiest trade and sample delights on your way from 12 noon until 3pm. Booking is essential from the Creative Shop on Hill Street.

9. History of Newry Tent - Saturday, September 30

From 10pm until 5pm and featuring interactive displays and historical activities to delve deep into Newry’s famous past.

10. Trade Secrets - Saturday, September 30

A series of special, interactive events which take place at locations including the Quays Shopping Centre, Buttercrane Shopping Centre and Newry Library from 10am until 5pm, they will provide a unique insight into Newry’s shops and businesses through ‘creative boxes’ that will fire your imagination.

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Newry's City of Merchants Festival

11. Merchant Quest - Saturday, September 30

Join an interactive game led by actors, traders and volunteers to unlock the city’s secrets. For teams of between four and eight people which must contain one adult, these special adventure starts at the Creative Shop on Hill Street and run from 10am until 5pm with a price of only £10. Advance booking at is essential.

12. Cake Decorating Workshop - Saturday, September 30

Linda McCann provides a step-by-step guide on the art of cake decorating at Bagenal’s Castle from 10am until 4pm. For £10 which includes a light lunch, booking is essential by calling 028 3031 3178 or emailing

13. Street Food - Saturday, September 30

From 5pm until 9pm alongside Newry quays, sample the best in local food and drink.

14. Gospel - Saturday, September 30

Join visitors from across the city and beyond to a unique listening experience at the steps of Newry Cathedral at 5.15pm.

15. Fireworks Display - Saturday, September 30

Newry’s first City of Merchants festival wouldn’t be complete without the best fireworks the city has ever seen.

Come early to enjoy the events, sample the food and experience the carnival atmosphere before taking your place to watch the fireworks from 8.30pm at Albert Basin.

Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, said: “We’re really excited to unveil a very special festival giant for Newry and for Northern Ireland that promises to complete a summer of fantastic fun and entertainment for hundreds of thousands of visitors from near and far.

“Newry’s City of Merchants festival is a wonderful chance for everyone to celebrate this great city, its past, present and its confident future in ways that everyone can enjoy.”

  • For more details on City of Merchants, visit

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