Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Northern Ireland: What’s on near you over extended bank holiday weekend

A new dawn in history will break tomorrow as the UK begins celebrating an extended double-bank holiday weekend to mark the reign of the first British monarch ever to celebrate their Platinum Jubilee.

Her Majesty Elizabeth II has reigned for 70 years, widely respected by critics and supporters alike for an incredible life of service to her country and a steady example of leadership that the nation has admired through seven decades of incredible change in society.

Taking the throne in 1952 unexpectedly after the sudden death of her father, King George VI, aged only 25, she has skillfully learned and practised international diplomacy and the important role of a head of state for an amazing seven decades.

She is already the nation’s longest reigning monarch, and the longest still-serving sovereign in the world, having spent over 73% of her life so far on the throne.

The Queen became the world’s longest-reigning living monarch in October 2016 when the previous record-holder King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand died after ruling for 70 years.

But she is not the world’s longest-reigning monarch ever, King Sobhuza II of Swaziland, who died in 1982, reigned for 82 years while Louis XIV of France ruled for 72.

Her lengthy reign and advanced age has brought with it other milestones. At the age of 95, she is the oldest British monarch in history. She is also the world’s oldest living head of state.

The Queen also holds the world record for the most currencies featuring the same individual, and she is the wealthiest queen, with a fortune estimated at around £365m.

The official Platinum Jubilee portrait of Queen Elizabeth II photographed at Windsor Castle.

Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Alderman Stephen Martin, said: “This is a historic moment in time which has never happened before.

“The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year has been building up to the first weekend in June with many national events planned to celebrate The Queen’s service to the nation and the Commonwealth. Locally we are very much planning to celebrate through a full programme of events.”

“I have requested for not only our Civic Headquarters but also the Union Bridge & Castle Gardens in Lisburn to be lit up purple – the Jubilee colour - from Thursday 2nd June until Sunday 5 June.’

“On Thursday 2 June, Royal Hillsborough will be the centre of festivities as we co-host together with the 38 Irish Brigade a Royal Gun Salute and Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal Parade at Hillsborough Castle.

Having fun at the Village Fete organised by Mavemacullen Accordion Band in Clare, Tandragee on May 21 to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

“Later that day, I will be joined by a wide range of civic and community guests to light the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon at Hillsborough Fort in the presence of the Fort Guard.

“On Saturday 5 June the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum will be hosting special screenings of ‘A Royal Occasion’ which I would encourage everyone to take the time to view.”

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will illuminate Enniskillen Castle and Strule Arts Centre, Omagh in purple on Thursday 2 June to mark the occasion.

There will be an exhibition at Enniskillen Castle Museums entitled ‘Our Coronation Story’ from 2 to 12 June 2022.

There is an open thanksgiving service at St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen on Thursday 2 June 2022 at 8pm followed by the lighting of a beacon, with over 100 pipers and musicians from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. There will also be a Beating of the Retreat at Wellington Road Car Park on 4 June.

In Loughgall there will be a party in the Rectory Garden from 2-5pm on Saturday and a fancy dress parade from St Luke’s Church car park. This will be followed at 7:30pm by a people’s parade led by Ballytyrone and Hillhaven bands followed by a BBQ, a beacon and a lone piper. On Sunday evening at 7 pm there will be a community service involving all the churches accompanied by Armagh Old Boys Silver Band.

Today, Belfast City Council will oversee the lighting of the Platinum Jubilee Beacon at Titanic Belfast at 9.45pm while on Friday seniors’ tea dances will be hosted at city hall, 12-2pm and 3-5pm, although all tickets have now been allocated.

Saturday will see a special ‘Platinum Jubilee: Through the Decades’ event at the venue of 2 Royal Avenue from 12-5pm. And on Sunday, city hall will be illuminated in purple.

Beacons are being lit across the UK today from 9:30-945pm, with entertainment laid on in many venues.

In Mid and East Antrim today, beacons will be lit in Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne, preceded by entertainment. On Saturday parties will be held in the three towns featuring the cream of local musical and entertainment talent, and on Sunday St Patrick’s Church in Ballymena will host an afternoon civic service to reflect on the outstanding service of the Queen to the nation.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council will be lighting beacons in Ballycastle, Ballymoney, Coleraine and Limavady. A ‘Community and Crown’ Platinum Jubilee exhibition is also open at Coleraine Town Hall until Saturday.

In Ards and North Down beacon lighting will take place today at Bangor Town Hall, Conway Square in Ards and Burr Point at Ballyhalbert. The Soda Popz ‘50s Duo will provide entertainment from 8.30pm in Conway Square.

The North Down Museum’s ‘Platinum Jubilee – Queen Elizabeth II and her Reign’ continues until the end of July. The Jubilee Beacon Story Trails is an interactive family activity that is taking place in Bangor, Comber, Donaghadee, Holywood and Newtownards until June 12.

In Antrim and Newtownabbey beacons will be lit across all districts today. On Saturday there will be Platinum Parties in the Park at Antrim Castle Gardens and Jordanstown Loughshore Park from 6pm-10.30pm featuring comedians and musical acts. On Sunday the Big Jubilee Lunch takes place at parks and open spaces across all seven districts from 1pm-3pm.

In Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon, there will be a service of thanksgiving in St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh today – open to all members of the community – followed by the Lighting of the Beacons.

Beacons will be lit at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh, Banbridge Civic Centre and South Lake Leisure Centre Craigavon, accompanied by a lone piper.

On Saturday there is the Seven Decades Pageant at Brownlow House in Lurgan from 4pm-6.30pm.

For details of more events check your council website, or search the official website for local events;- www.platinumjubilee.gov.uk/events/