'Giant Adventures' 2019 Set to Bring More Epic Moments Across Newry, Mourne and Down
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s free flagship Giant Adventures festivals, and other events, all return this summer with enchanted vigour, building and drawing on the success of previous years.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “This year’s Giant Adventure festivals - Footsteps in the Forest, Festival of Flight and Wake the Giant, will entice visitors and locals alike with a rich programme of activities that celebrate our myths, legends, landscapes, coastlines and mountains.
“The Council’s ambition to be one of the premier tourism destinations in Ireland is supported through investment in a varied events programme that offers an array of different attractions, from family fun to outdoor activities, ensuring choice for every person and pocket. The development of the Giant Adventure events since their inception in 2016 has seen a marked increase in visitors to Newry, Mourne and Down, which has had a positive economic impact on our local economy. Additional summer events organised by other groups and communities also add vibrancy and value to our own Council-run activities, all of which enhance the visitor experience.
Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin continued, “These events and attractions are created to be ‘epic moments’ tailor-made for discerning travellers looking for an authentic cultural experience.”
Kicking off the first of the Giant Adventure events is the award-winning Footsteps in the Forest, which takes place on 1 and 2 June. This event has grown in popularity with families since 2016 and offers an unforgettable experience as intriguing characters enchant and delight visitors on a journey through Slieve Gullion Forest Park.
June also sees the return of Skiffies Strangford Lough on 8 and 9 June, which will attract many international and local rowing clubs as they compete against each other in their community-built skiffs. Organised by Down Coastal Rowing Association, this popular event will provide visitors with the opportunity to watch the racing, meet the rowers and savour a variety of locally produced food at the accompanying food fair and enjoy a fun-filled programme of events in Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh.
Back for a second year is DownTime from 13-16 June, celebrating the culture and heritage of Downpatrick. Last year’s inaugural event piqued the interest of visitors and locals, and this year’s line-up promises the same focus on family, quality and fun in the historic streets and venues of the town.
The well-established Mourne International Walking Festival will take place over three days from 21-23 June. Based in Newcastle, the Festival will offer walkers of all levels of fitness stunning routes in the Mourne Mountains and surrounding countryside. There are several routes to choose from featuring a variety of self-guided lowland walks including more strenuous mountain climbs ranging in distance from 10km to 40km.
Another Giant Adventure favourite is the Festival of Flight in Newcastle, which will happen earlier in the season on Saturday 22 June. The event once again promises a packed programme of land and air-based displays and entertainment, supported by the ever-popular Aviation and Food Village at Castle Park. The full programme of airborne antics will be released in due course.
In a district famed for its fabulous golf courses, the Newry, Mourne and Down Junior Summer Golf Trophy returns from 14-16 August for boys and girls under the age of 18. The top 20 overall gross score from the qualifying tournaments, which will take place in Kilkeel and Warrenpoint Golf Clubs on 14 and 15 August, will play the championship course at the world famous Royal County Down on Friday 16 August.
Running simultaneously to the Junior Summer Trophy is the Summer Golf Trophy for seniors played over the same three days from 14-16 August on three of Newry, Mourne and Down’s fantastic courses - Spa, Ardglass and Royal County Down. Both fabulous events are a great way for young and old to experience great competitions on wonderful courses at top class venues.
Wake the Giant is back on 24 and 25 August in Warrenpoint and is the last of this year’s Giant Adventure festivals. Visitors, locals will be treated to a new twist in the tale to wake the impressive 32-foot giant, Finn, assisted by a merry band of acrobats, drummers, sprites and fairies. Now in its fourth year, ‘Wake The Giant’ has established itself on the district’s events calendar as a must-see spectacle of colour and wonder on the shores of Carlingford Lough.
In addition to an already packed summer programme, the Newry, Mourne and Down will host three other high profile events that are sure to garner huge interest. Donard Park in Newcastle will be the venue for this year's Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland (RSPBANI) Ulster Championship on Saturday 24 August. Pipes and drums and pure passion will be on show throughout the day from the best bands on the circuit.
The streets of Castlewellan will be filled with traditional music and dance from 20-27 July as the Ulster Fleadh comes to town, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the host branch, Newcastle Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. Visitors from all across Northern Ireland and the border counties will come to enjoy and participate in this major cultural and musical event.
Bringing the summer events to a dramatic and colourful close is the Pride in Newry – UK and Ireland Pride 2019 festival, which will see a week of local events lead up to a spectacular Festival parade on Saturday 31 August.
Other summer events happening throughout the district will include: Mourne Way Marathon in Rostrevor on 8 June, SOMA Festival in Castlewellan from 19-22 July, GI Jive Festival, Kilkeel from 23-28 July and Reiver’s Festival, Kilkeel from 28 June -11 July, Fiddler’s Green Music Festival, Rostrevor from 22-29 July, Camlough Lake Water Festival from 1 –2 June, Newry City Triathlon and Festival of Water on 25 August in Newry. ‘PSYCLE Mountain Bike/Cycle Endurance Event, Castlewellan on 24 and 25 August and also Iúr Cinn Fleadh, Newry from 2-9 September.
The Maiden of the Mournes festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this year from 11-18 August and by way of celebration, the event promises to be even bigger and better.
Later in the year the Ballynahinch Harvest Festival, Hallowe’en events and of course the Christmas Light Switch On events will take place, delivering festive fun with a local flavour at their centre. Finishing off the year will be the programme for St. Patrick’s Celebrations 2020.
Check our website regularly for more details of events closer to the time and we look forward to seeing you at our Giant Adventures and tourism events for 2019-20.