Skies lit up all across Northern Ireland in celebration
Beacons have lit up the skies across Northern Ireland to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
They marked the close of the first day of festivities to celebrate 70 years since the Queen’s reign began.
Beacons were lit at towns and cities across Northern Ireland including at Titanic Belfast and St Columb’s Cathedral in Londonderry.
Sinn Fein’s Stormont Finance Minister Conor Murphy took part in a service to mark the date at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh, and Sinn Fein’s new Belfast Lord Mayor, Tina Black, was at Titanic Belfast
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The most westerly town, Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh, also hosted a service of thanksgiving at St Macartin’s Cathedral.
The Queen visited the cathedral in 2012 as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and crossed the road to the nearby Catholic St Michael’s Church.
Former Stormont first minister Dame Arlene Foster was among the guests at the service.
Following the service, a beacon was lit in the grounds of the cathedral, while 12 beacons were also lit on the walls of Enniskillen Castle which was illuminated purple by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to mark the occasion.
More than 100 pipers and musicians from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association played ‘Diu Regnare’, which was specially composed to mark the Platinum Jubilee.
Two beams of light were projected into the night sky to symbolise the Queen’s historic visit in 2012.
Further beacons were lit nearby at Castle Island, Topped Mountain and the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School.
The official four-day celebration of the Queen’s 70 years on the throne includes street parties, exhibitions, church services and lunch events.
At the weekend, big lunch events will be taking place across the Province, including on the Shankill Road and in Bangor, Co Down, which was made a city as part of the Jubilee celebrations.
On social media yesterday, the Orange Order described the Queen as “an inspiration”.
In a tweet, the loyal order said: “We send our warmest congratulations to Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of Her Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Her faithful service and dedication to our nation is an inspiration. God Save The Queen! #PlatinumJubilee.”
Former Labour MP and UK sports minister Baroness Kate Hoey said: “Watching the Trooping the Colour makes me so proud to be British and hearing some Northern Ireland accents from the Irish Guards am even more proud of Northern Ireland’s place in the Union #PlatinumJubilee.”
Former DUP leader and first minister Arlene Foster, who was made a Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, tweeted: “Thank you everyone for your lovely messages on this wonderful day for HM the Queen. #PlatinumJubilee. Watching the Trooping of the Colour and then off to Enniskillen to celebrate #GSTQ.”
Ex NI police officer Roy McComb asked people to spare a thought for the thousands of police officers on duty in London for the mass celebrations.
“Can we take a moment to thank @metpoliceuk & @MetPoliceEvents for the professionalism of the operation today? It’s too easy for a pile on when they get things wrong – as all organisations do – but we need to recognise the scale/complexity of this event. Well done #PlatinumJubilee.”
l Morning View, page 14