Downpatrick festival gets council support

Downpatrick festival gets council support

10 January 2018

A PUBLIC meeting is being held in Downpatrick in two weeks’ time to outline plans for a major four-day summer festival aimed at attracting thousands of visitors to the town.

The January 24 meeting is being held at the St Patrick Centre and will provide people with details of the proposed Down to the Races event and encourage them to play a full and active part in it.

On Monday night, Newry, Mourne and Down Council agreed to provide financial support for the ambitious event which has been put together by a group of local people who are keen to help raise the profile of the town.

Politicians believe the festival has the potential to grow over the coming years and become firmly embedded in the district’s tourism offering.

The summer festival will coincide with a two-day event at Downpatrick racecourse that staged the first ever official horse race in Ireland in 1602.

Organisers are keen for the local business community, sports clubs, schools and other organisations to get involved.

The June festival could feature a headline act at an outdoor concert and those behind the event are appealing to the wider community to not only have its say, but a key input into the process of putting together an exciting programme.

A spokesman for the group working on the summer event said he was keen for a wide group of people to not only pledge their support, but get involved. He said the festival is not just for Downpatrick but the entire Newry, Mourne and Down Council area.

The spokesman is also appealing to people to attend the forthcoming public meeting, the start time of which will be confirmed shortly.

He said the new festival had the potential to become firmly established in the future and provide Downpatrick and the surrounding area with a major boost.

Downpatrick councillors Gareth Sharvin and Dermot Curran have welcomed plans for the festival and praised those who came up with the idea.

“The proposed festival is great news for Downpatrick and will hep support local businesses,” said Councillor Sharvin.

“I am delighted Newry, Mourne and Down Council has agreed to provide financial support and included in the money in its tourism events budget for the new financial year.”

He added: “The festival aims to increase town centre footfall and provide an economic boost to our local traders. I have no doubt that with everyone pulling in the same direction this can be achieved.”

Councillor Curran said he was delighted Downpatrick will once again have a major summer festival and praised those who came up with the idea on their foresight.

He added: “The forthcoming public meeting provides an opportunity for everyone to get involved in the event and I hope it is one they will make the most of. 

“I particularly welcome the view of those who came up with the idea that if managed correctly, the festival has the capacity to involve the entire community, encourage people and organisations to work together and develop new relationships. This is exactly what Downpatrick needs.”