News

Beacon secured for Rathfriland

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

A BEACON has now been secured for the annual 11th night festivities in Rathfriland tonight (Tuesday).

The traditional bonfire at the bottom of John Street will not happen due to an expansion of The Slopes housing development near the site posing a health and safety issue.

Instead a 'family fun and cultural event' organised by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council will be hosted in the Square between 6.30pm-9pm.

It had been thought it was too short notice to secure a beacon this year, however, Rathfriland Bonfire Committee has managed to secure one of the pyre structures at the 11th hour.

The Bonfire Committee held discussions with the local Orange Order (Rathfriland District No 3) who agreed to grant permission to host a "large beacon and fireworks display" within the demonstration field on the Castlewellan Road, Rathfriland.

The Bonfire Committee say "this will be in addition to the events already planned in the Square".

"There will be a parade of the town after the street events conclude in the Square to the demonstration field (at approximately 9pm) and we invite everyone to follow the bands to the field. We also invite all local bands to participate.

Car parking will also be available in the Orange field on the Hilltown Road.

"This will be a fitting climax to the 11th night celebrating the Glorious Revolution. As the whole day has been geared towards a family-friendly atmosphere a strict no alcohol policy will be in force. We celebrate the Battle not the Bottle.

"We hope that this year's events will lay a foundation for years to come. We thank Rathfriland District No 3 and local farmers for their permission to use the ground. The day's events wouldn't have been possible without all local organisations and individuals working together in our common desire to celebrate our history and tradition together.

"A special thanks also goes to Glenn Barr and Stuart Magennis for their hard work. We once again hope everyone enjoys the 12th holiday period," the statement from Rathfriland Bonfire Committee said.

Meanwhile, UUP Councillor Barr would like to congratulate the young people for what they have been able to organise.

"Hopefully the weather will stay dry. I would also like to thank the Orange for the use of their field and to council workers Pamela and Wendy for their efforts in supporting the young people through the process," he said.

"Hopefully it will be a good night that will be enjoyed by everyone." Meanwhile the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is urging people to think safety first when building or attending bonfires.

It comes as they said that last year, firefighters attended 33 bonfire-related incidents over the 11th night - nine more than in 2015 (a 39 per cent increase).

Meanwhile, in Rathfriland Square tonight (Tuesday) from 6.30pm there will be a bouncy castle, assault course, balloon modellers, cartoon characters, face painters and stilt walkers alongside a cultural stage featuring Bernagh trio, The Woodworms, The Johnston School of Highland Dancing and Deni Reality. There will also be Lambeg, snare drum and piping workshops.

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