THE CREW of the Derry-Londonderry yacht left Halifax last week and is currently making its way across the Atlantic towards the city, to be welcomed with the 10 day Clipper Homecoming Festival.
This unique festival will include spectacular ceremonies to mark the arrival and departure of the 10-strong fleet, including a flotilla of around 100 pleasure craft.
A new Foyle Marina will enable the public to access the Clipper yachts and crews, board the Tall Ship, The Earl of Pembroke, and the RNLI’s Severn Class lifeboat, as well as tour Lough Foyle on the Maid of Antrim and the Wee Blue Boat.
The Ardglass Vikings and the Foyle Paddlers will be offering activities on-shore and off-shore, and there are opportunities to try keelboat sailing with the Ocean Youth Trust or witness a daring air-sea rescue by the Irish Coastguard.
Ultra-modern Zap Cat racing and a breath-taking display of water stunts will take place alongside historic exhibitions celebrating the city’s maritime heritage, as well as the Flavours of the Foyle Seafood Festival, featuring live cookery demonstrations and food stalls.
The Legenderry Concert, which takes place at Ebrington during the Festival, will boost the very best of local talent - with international recognition and acclaim. The legends that are ‘The Undertones’ will headline the event on Thursday July 5th (6pm – 9pm), as well as featuring; Paul Casey, one of Ireland's finest songwriters - due to release his latest album in July; Paddy Nash and his Happy Enchiladas with their unique blend of folk-pop-punk-country-blues; and the talented singer songwriter 'Best Boy Grip'.
On Friday 6th July (8pm – 10:30pm) The Clipper Connections Concert, also at Ebrington, will celebrate our musical links with the countries participating in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, with the Saw Doctors, the unique Red Hot Chilli Pipers, James Peake experience and Eoghan Quigg - not to mention dragon dancers and musical acts from around the world.
The first lot of tickets for these free concerts will be released for distribution this Saturday, 23rd June at Foyleside Shopping Centre and Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre between 4pm – 7pm. A second release of tickets will also be available from Cool Discs, Foyle Street; and from information points along the Quay during the Clipper Homecoming Festival, in the days leading up to the concerts. Tickets will be limited to two per person.
Fireworks on the Foyle will wind up Clipper Homecoming Festival on July 5th and a grand Parade of Sail promises an incredible visual spectacle for the Ceremonial Race Start of the next lap of the Clipper Round the World Yacht on July 7th.
Mayor of Derry, Councillor Kevin Campbell, said: “Our city is changing. It has a new life and ambition that is moving us forward with a great pace of commitment and change. It is this new vibrancy that we would like to invite everyone else to be part of.”
Chief Executive of Derry City Council, Sharon O’Connor, said: “2012 will continue to be a great year for Northern Ireland and Derry and we are delighted to have been part of the significant investment and ambition for change.
“We truly believe that 2012 and 2013 will be transformative years for the city - we know that when we look back in 2014 that we will see a city that has grown and come of age. We invite you to be part of this story of change with us. And don’t just keep it to yourself, tell your friends and family about it and make sure you ‘Make A Date’ with us!”
For more information on the Clipper Homecoming Festival, and to download the full programme go to www.derrycity.gov.uk/clipper, and like us on Facebook Derry~Londonderry Clipper 11-12
The Clipper Homecoming Festival is organised by Derry City Council, and supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Loughs Agency, Londonderry Port and Harbour and Ilex.