Tens of thousands soak up the sun and reaffirm their enduring affection for Queen on her Platinum Jubilee
JUBILEE jubilation was on display across Northern Ireland on Saturday as thousands of Royalists got their Union flags and bunting out to celebrate the Queen’s 70-year reign.
There were scores of events and street parties as Northern Ireland basked in glorious sunshine on Her Majesty’s special day.
Prince Edward and Princess Sophie, Earl and Countess of Wessex, spent the day visiting Northern Ireland as representatives of the royal household and hundreds of well-wishers lined the streets to welcome the couple.
They enjoyed a Belfast bap in the capital before heading to Bangor where the duke showed off his pint-pulling skills and the pair had an Omelette cook-off judged by celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.
Earlier in the day the regal couple paid a visit to 2 Royal Avenue, a new community arts space in Belfast city centre, which turned the clock back to the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s time on the throne with a 1950s themed Jubilee event.
The venue was transformed into ‘50s Belfast, allowing visitors to take a step back in time and get a flavour of life in the city 70 years ago.
Eimear Burton, venue manager, said: “It was an absolutely fantastic day and the weather really helped as well, we started off with the royal visit from Prince Edward and Princess Sophie.
“They were here in the morning which was incredible, once we had said goodbye to them we opened up to the public for the rest of the day and we had storytelling, crafts, a Chinese dragon giant puppet and people coming along and contributing to our digital archive.
“We also had kids doing crafts including making little corgis as well as some dancers from the Polish community and an exhibition of dances through the ages.
“On top of that we had several showings of the children’s film The Queen’s Corgi with free popcorn, a vintage market where you could get your hair done in a 1950s style and a record store. It was all go.
“We had at least a thousand people through the doors which, on a very sunny day in Belfast were most people probably wanted to be sat in the garden, is great.
“The venue is owned and run by Belfast City Council and has become a cultural hub, it used to be a Tesco but is very different now.
“We’re seeing a lot of interest from different sections of the community and community groups which is positive. We had as many people as we could through the doors and gave them a good taste of Northern Ireland, we had a right royal day of it.”
Events were held in many communities including in Portadown where the YMCA organised a street party in the grounds of Millington Primary School.
Among the festivities were inflatables, vintage cars, music and a birds-of-prey display.
Elsewhere in Kesh, Co Fermanagh, a street party had prizes on offer for the most original jubilee cake and floral arrangements.
In Bangor, Quay Street car park hosted a range of activities throughout the day celebrating the food, music and dance of the eras which have passed during QEII’s reign. Visitors were transported through time as the area was transformed by beach huts, vintage fun fair rides and a ballroom featuring music and dance from each of the decades.
Along the Eisenhower Pier a demo kitchen had chefs from each of the decades serving up iconic recipes including Coronation Chicken.
In Jordanstown, Co Antrim, comedian Shane Todd and Downtown Radio presenter Stuart Robinson joined broadcaster Claire McCollum for an evening of live entertainment including a live screening of the Party at the Palace.
Elsewhere in Fermanagh there was a family fun day and Armed Forces Display at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School followed by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Fermanagh performing the Beating Retreat.