A “Legenderry” Year in Northern Ireland

Derry City, which will be City of Culture in 2013. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire.
Derry City, which will be City of Culture in 2013. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire.

By Michelle Meagher, Contributor
December / January 2013

“Let it be Legenderry” is the phrase being coined by the Derry-Londonderry 2013 City of Culture initiative, a year-long celebration of the Northern Irish city.

There has been a flurry of activity about Derry ever since it won the first-ever UK City of Culture title, for which it competed against 54 cities in the United Kingdom. The result was announced in 2010, and the famous walled city has been busy preparing ever since. Culture Company 2013, an independent group formed in partnership with Derry City Council, Ilex Urban Regeneration Company and the Strategic Investment Board, is planning the program.

Though the initiative’s official name, Derry-Londonderry City of Culture, points to the social, political and religious divisions still to be navigated, the opportunity for the city to show all that it has to offer is a clear indication of how far it has come from the days when its name was most closely associated with The Troubles and Bloody Sunday.

Throughout 2013, the city will host an array of events. Derry is known for its rich musical heritage, and the City of Culture website promises that “the city will be overrun with musical talent.”  Phil Coulter will return to his hometown on June 15 to perform with the Ulster Orchestra. There will also be a 10-day (August 11-18) All Ireland Fleadh, the world’s largest Irish festival, brought by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.

For theater lovers, Brian Friel and Stephen Rea’s Field Day company will return to Derry with a new work by American playwright Sam Shepard. From May 19 -25 a festival will mark the 80th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s landing in a Derry field, with over 40 events to celebrate the pilot’s legacy. Derry will also host the World GAA Congress from March 22-24.

In anticipation of the year ahead, Lonely Planet guidebooks named Derry fourth in its list of the top ten cities to visit in 2013.

Visit www.cityofculture2013.com for further information.

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