Belfast Telegraph

Red Arrows wow crowds during Festival of Flight

By Amanda Poole

Thousands of revellers took to the sun-drenched streets and beaches of Newcastle at the weekend for the closing days of the Harry Ferguson Festival of Flight.

The week-long festival marks the centenary of the first official powered flight in Ireland, made by engineer and inventor Harry Ferguson across the sands from Dundrum to Newcastle in December 1909.

The Co Down town was buzzing with tourists and families from all over Northern Ireland enjoying the programme of events, including a treasure hunt, a tractor cavalcade, music performances from Peter Corry, helicopter flights, tales of Ulster's aviation history and a spectacular Red Arrows acrobatic display tribute to our own flight hero Harry Ferguson.

Plumes of red, white and blue smoke danced across the sky as the crowds took in every dramatic twist and turn in the skies, with the Mourne Mountains providing a beautiful backdrop.

Clifford, Jill and Amy (13) Smith from Dromore watched with West Highland terrier Monty, who barked in approval at the impressive display. “Newcastle is a lovely place, with a great atmosphere and the weather is fantastic. The Red Arrows were incredible,” said Mr Smith. Environmental artist Celia Spouncer was on hand at Murlough beach to help little ones make beach art in the sand, along with Harry Ferguson kites, butterflies and mosaics.

“Today has been brilliant, manic and really busy. The weather is great and the kids are enjoying themselves making art on the beach,” she said.

Chloe Magee and Casey McCann, both 13 and from Belfast, tried making a mosaic. “We are in Newcastle for the whole summer and it's lots of fun,” said Casey.

David Thompson, coast and countryside manager for the National Trust in Murlough & Mourne, said: “We are following up the theme of flight, as Murlough is famous for its butterflies and moths. We are delighted to take part in the festival and entertaining the children by creating fun activities to take part in.”

Linda Matthews from Gilford was in Newcastle for the day with children Megan (11), Lauren (8), Chloe (7), twins George and Amy (5) and their grandmother Eileen. “We are down for the festival and have spent all day on the beach. The kids are loving it,” she said.

The festival ended on Sunday with a fancy dress carnival parade of floats, vintage vehicles, music and dance.

Belfast Telegraph


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