As the Foyle Maritime Festival fast approaches the city is waiting with bated breath as Londonderry prepares to host tens of thousands of visitors for a celebration of all things nautical from July 9-17.
Among the many spectacles during the course of the festival there will be myth and magic on the Foyle this year, as the city welcomes the medieval maritime heroine Sunniva for an evening finale event to remember on Saturday, July 16.
This atmospheric outdoor celebration, titled ‘The Voyage of Sunniva - Night of the Two Moons’, will harness the power of the elements bringing together earth, water, light and aerial performance for an impressive evening of entertainment on the beautiful River Foyle.
Speaking ahead of the event, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Hilary McClintock, said she was looking forward to what will be a unique and magical performance.
“Each time I look at the programme something new stands out as a highlight, and The Voyage of Sunniva promises to bring something completely new and exceptional to the Foyle Maritime Festival.
“It promises to bring together something more mysterious and magical - a real opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere and natural beauty of the river. I think that after a week of action packed water sports and family fun, the Voyage of Sunniva will add a different element to the programme celebrating our maritime heritage.
“I would really encourage everyone to come along and be part of a special moment in our Festival programme.”
Grounded in local heritage the story is a compelling maritime adventure recreating the perils faced by the medieval maritime Queen Sunniva who fled from an invading king, surviving at sea against all the odds before reaching safety on distant shores. Mysterious figures will walk the Quayside before joining their Queen for a final parade of light on the river as Sunniva and her followers prepare for their journey.
Council Festivals and Events Manager, Jacqueline Whoriskey, said the performance would be a dramatic conclusion to what’s shaping up to be a fantastic week of events for the city. “The Voyage of Sunniva will really capture people’s imaginations and we are delighted to bring such a unique and creative piece together for the Festival Finale event.
“All the action takes place on our stunning River Foyle which is a great platform for performance. The Voyage of Sunniva will be a visual spectacle with a beautiful aerial and light show brought to life by LUXe.
“This will end with a spectacular fireworks finale bringing to a dramatic close our Foyle Maritime Festival celebrations before we say farewell to the Clipper Race fleet the following day.”
Events along the Queen’s Quay will begin from 8pm, with music and animation, culminating in some beautiful fireworks on the Foyle at 10.45pm.
The event is a highlight of a packed programme taking place throughout the festival from July 9th – 17th. The programme centres round the Clipper Race 2016 homecoming welcome as the city hosts the 12 Clipper crews on their third stopover here in recent years as part of this major global sporting challenge.
The festival features a wide array of activities taking place at locations throughout the city. The quayside will be transformed into a bustling seaside promenade with market stalls, funfairs, arts and crafts and fun for all the family. And what Maritime Festival would be complete without some fish? The Clipper Kitchens will be literally stocked to the gills with some of the very best seafood from our local shores.
Add to that a jam packed music line-up headed up by The Riptide Movement on Friday July 15, and some adrenalin fuelled nautical displays, including dragon boat racing, wake-boarding and water skiing, and you have the perfect recipe for a fantastic week.
The Foyle Maritime Festival is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Foyle Port, Loughs Agency, Diageo, DuPont Kevlar and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
For more information on the full Foyle Maritime Festival programme go to www.foylemaritimefestival.com.