ALL THE FUN OF THE FESTIVAL!
Publish Date: Monday, 10 September 2007
ALL THE FUN OF THE FESTIVAL!
The skies of Dungannon lit up on Saturday night and were seen as far as Co Antrim in the climax of a fantastic weekend of events to mark the 400th anniversary of the Flight of the Earls!
Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council's festival kicked off with a launch night on Wednesday at the brand new Bank House Hotel, where guests were treated to a sample of programmed festival entertainment and the hilarious comedy of Kevin McAleer, hosted by UTV's Frank Mitchell.
Thursday's events were aimed at the business sector, with fully attended seminars entitled 'Meet the Buyers' and Skills Beyond 2007 taking place at Dungannon Leisure Centre and South West College (formerly East Tyrone).
Over 3000 people took a step back in time to the 17th century on Friday evening when Mayor Barry Monteith opened the gates of Castle Hill to the public for the first time in hundreds of years. BBC Radio Ulster broadcasted their bilingual programme Blas live from a marquee on the hill, and the public were encouraged to sample delicacies such as nettle soup, wood pigeon stew and mutton & root pottage. The Irish Wolfhounds, horses, lurchers and geese proved a hit with children, while adults enjoyed candle and rushlight making, basket weaving and the sounds of 1607. AS darkness fell, local Councillors held lanterns and lit a beacon to declare the hill officially open, then the evening was concluded under the light of the beacon by dancing from the Cummings School of Dance who performed Hill of the Fairies.
The fun continued on Saturday with the finest teenage talent taking the stage at Railway Park where the audience enjoyed graffiti workshops, pottery making, puppet shows and lots more. At the same time, live theatre was performed on Castle Hill where Oroubous Theatre Company brought their interpretation of Brian Friel's Making History to a packed audience.
From 6.15pm, Dungannon's own Adrian Logan hosted an evening of entertainment that will go down in history! Almost 10,000 people packed into Market Square to enjoy the sounds of Kilgannon, More Power to Your Elbow and a magical performance by Frances Black. The crowds gasped in awe as a 20ft Procession of Giants - including a modern day Hugh O'Neill on a Harley Davidson! - weaved its way through Market Square and made its way onto Castle Hill. Red Hugh had returned! A fire drawing of Dungannon's most famous landmark was lifted into the sky emblazoned with the date 1607 - 2007 and the evening ended with a fireworks display that matched milestone celebrations in any major city in the world.
To finish the festival, the four main church party leaders joined hundreds of people on Sunday to celebrate Hymns of Harmony in a moving ceremony that closed a weekend that will live in the hearts and minds of the people of Dungannon for many, many years.
The Mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council, Barry Monteith said it was an honour to bring such a high quality showcase of events to the people of Dungannon:
"This was a memorable and moving weekend for all involved - for both the people who attended each of the events, and all the staff, performers and artists who took part. Council's aim was to raise the profile of the area and I feel we have done just that. I would like to sincerely thank all of those who turned out to witness such an occasion and make the festival such a resounding success."
To view photos of the festival, please visit www.dungannon.gov.uk which will be constantly updated over the next few days with memories and pictures of the Flight of the Earls Festival 2007.