Today marks the start of a nautically -themed festival in Londonderry.
It boasts just over a week’s-worth of events, and its launch comes ahead of the arrival into the city of the Clipper round-the-world race, after its final trans-Atlantic route leg.
As of yesterday afternoon, the Derry-Londonderry-Doire contender was leading the pack.
It is hoped the boats will start to arrive into the city on Monday morning.
When they do arrive, the city will already be enjoying a programme of activities as part of the Legen-Derry Maritime Festival, including a “Summer Solstice dawn chorus”, which was set to have kicked off the week at 3.30am today.
Other events include choirs and bands at Guildhall Square from 10am to 8pm, and performances by trad and jazz acts on a floating stage in the River Foyle from 1.30pm to 9.30pm.
The success of the 2012 Clipper Race Homecoming had firmly established the festival on the wider events calendar, Odhran Dunne, the general manager of the city’s tourism organisation ‘Visit Derry’, said: “It’s a great hook for the destination to use the international Maritime Festival to highlight all that is best about the city – its people, heritage and culture...
“The launch of the programme including the Beach Boys concert, the markets, Red Arrows, the boats themselves and access to the water is a fantastic opportunity for the city to raise its profile.
“This is a great boost to the local tourism economy and the festival gives us a great platform to showcase the city as a must-see destination in international tourism markets”.
It runs until June 29. For a full programme of events, go to: www.legenderrymaritimefestival.com