Platinum Jubilee: A weekend of ‘incredible’ celebrations across Northern Ireland, from Bangor and Enniskillen to Killyleagh and Ards

The four-day extravaganza in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee was played out in countless venues across Northern Ireland over the weekend.

By Philip Bradfield
Sunday, 5th June 2022, 7:25 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th June 2022, 7:45 pm

The celebrations were much more special than a once in a lifetime experience; as the longest ever reigning British monarch, nobody could say if her record might ever be broken.

The Queen is also the longest still-serving sovereign in the world, having spent over 73% of her life so far on the throne.

North Down Deputy Mayor Craig Blaney said the celebrations in Bangor were “absolutely incredible”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The Big Jubilee Lunch at Enniskillen Castle, Sunday 5th June 2022: The Erne Highland Dancers performing at the Queenâ€TMs Jubilee celebrations at the Big Jubilee Lunch at Enniskillen Castle, Co Fermanagh. Picture: Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker Press

He added: “These are the best four days that I can ever remember in Bangor.”

The Sea Bangor Festival ran all weekend based on and around the Eisenhower Pier at the seafront.

“The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward and his wife Sopie, attended and the crowds were unbelievable - thousands and thousands of people. The feedback I have been getting from both residents and visitors to Bangor has just been that it was an incredible event.”

There were all manner of carnival rides, a ferris wheel and vintage car display and a wide range of food stalls.

Residents enjoying The Big Jubilee Lunch at Kilmaine Avenue in Bangor on Sunday. An idea from Eden Project Communities, made possible by The National Lottery, The Big Jubilee Lunch is an official part of Her Majesty The Queen's special Platinum Jubilee celebration. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

And he recounted the ‘Dancing through the decades’ competition, where people demonstrated dances representing each generation throughout the Queen’s 70 year reign.

“The feelgood factor in Bangor right now is just incredible. There was already that high off the back of us getting city status and this has really just cemented it.”

He also recounted how the Hair & Co salon in Ards had 18 staff dressed up as beefeaters while the salon owner dressed up as the queen and rode a horse round the town with a police escort.

“Across the borough people have gone out of their way to make it a great success. We attended several church events and barbecues too. I think you would have struggled to find a bouncy castle anywhere in NI for the past couple of days - and lots of places have been running out of food as events have been so popular and well attended.”

The Earl and Countess of Wessex in Bangor city centre during their one day visit to Northern Ireland to mark the Platinum Jubilee. Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.

Councillor Robert Irvine said there was also a joyful mood in Enniskillen.

“The mood was both respectful and very appreciative of Her Majesty’s Long reign,” he said.

“On Saturday night I attended the Beating the Retreat just outside Enniskillen Castle which was extremely well attended and which enjoyed very good weather. There were many people from both young and older generations.”

The event was led by the Derryclavin Pipe Band from just outside Lisbellaw and two regimental bands, the Royal Irish and the Royal Dragoon Guards.

Are you having a laugh? These ladies rally got into the spirit of celebrations on the Shankill Road on Saturday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

“The bands marched out from the castle onto the parade grounds where they did some great maneuvers, and played a variety of music. All three of them performed excellently along with a troop of local highland dancers, who carried out an exhibition which went down very well with the crowd.” The event was rounded off with a fireworks display.

Today Mr Irvine attended a Royal British Legion event organised in conjunction with St MaCartan’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Enniskillen and which was attended by the Bishop of Clogher.

“There was a parade to the Cathedral that was led by legion members, veterans of the UDR and members of the Royal Irish Association, along with scouts, guides and Brownies.”

The parade was again accompanied by three bands - Enniskillen Pipe Band along with Ballyreagh Silver Band, and the Royal Dragoon Guards.

After the church service the legion and members of the youth organisation paraded back to the Royal British Legion premises.

In south Down UUP MLA Harry Harvey was elated by the atmosphere.

The Shankill's very own 'Queen Elizabeth' waves during Platinum Jubilee Celebrations on Saturday. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

“The atmosphere in Killyleagh over the weekend has been excellent - just a really good community spirit,” he said.

People appreciated what the Killyleagh Community Association did to make it a really special weekend, he said.

“They really put a lot of thought into it and had the top of the town closed off for all the locals to take part in a street party. There was all sorts of festival food with a big turn out of people celebrating. The weather was amazing, with lots of bunting and flags and the castle in the background. There were so many people around.”

Mr Harvey also made his own contribution to the day by driving his mini - which has been decorated all over with Platinum Jubilee stickers - all around the town.

Like many others, he also attended several church services in honour of the Queen, the first being Raffrey Presbyterian Church’s on Sunday morning, which then held an “amazing” Platinum Jubilee lunch. On Sunday evening he also attended the Platinum Jubilee service in the Church of Ireland.

Platinum Jubilee Celebrations on the Shankill Road in Belfast on Saturday. The event marks the third day of festivities celebrating 70 years since the Queen's reign began. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker