Derry's City of Culture countdown

Published Wednesday, 30 May 2012
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With only months to go until 2013, the countdown begins to bring the UK's biggest culture and arts festival to Derry/Londonderry.

Derry's City of Culture countdown
Derry is gearing up for a year of celebrations. (© Getty)

The programme of events for the UK City of Culture 2013 was revealed on Wednesday and promises some unforgettable experiences.

The Turner Prize - the UK's most prestigious arts award - is coming to the maiden city next year, the renowned Field Day Theatre Company is reforming and, of course, the All-Ireland Fleadh.

Shona McCarthy, is from the Culture Company, the firm behind compiling the year long events schedule.

She said the arts festival will give the city "a chance to have a serious conversation with itself.

"And now today marks the time when it has a conversation with the rest of the world as well."

She continued: "We have a huge amount more to announce, but this is the first step in this city telling the rest of the world here's who we are, here's what we're about and here's what we can expect to show you next year.

Renowned singer and composer Phil Coulter says the city has a lot to offer.

"I'm sure when people come to see what we have to offer they're going to go away with cherished memories of the town I loved so well."

Culture minister Carál Ní Chuilín described the events programme as not only sensitive, but inclusive.

She continued: "It's also very exciting because there will be many people throughout this city who will recognise themselves or how they identify themselves in that programme and that is something very, very few arts festivities often get right."

The minister said she believed that the cultural year could serve as "a force of healing."

Ms Ní Chuilín said: "Let's be clear about this - culture didn't put us in the economic situation that we're in, it didn't cause the economic downturn. But it will certainly go some way towards lifting the spirits, providing inclusion and actually helping the local economy, and it's not often governments get that right."

The economic forecast predicts the series of events will create 1,600 jobs and generate an extra £40m in wages and profits.

However, there is scepticism regarding the city's capability to accommodate all its visitors.

Aideen McGinley is the chief executive of the urban regeneration company Ilex.

She said: "We know that one of the big deficiencies is hotel accommodation, it's one of the big wins in terms of legacy. We won't get it all in place for next year but we have broad catchment area that will allow us to bring people here. "

She said what they want is the tourist to come and stay for longer rather than coming for the day and passing through.

"We've now got product here that people will want to stay here and make it their base."

Sinéad McLaughlin, from the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, told UTV the city "is in a process of renewal."

"The City of Culture is one of the catalysts that will deliver that renewal, and it will deliver it on an economic basis as well.

Ms McLaughlin said Derry's city is much brighter and much more confident.

"And the fact that we've got a stage, and a global stage, to show case all of that is wonderful."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
2 Comments
andy in belfast wrote (784 days ago):
city of culture? more like city of RAAD shootings, and dissident bombings...
Sean D in Derry wrote (785 days ago):
Derry has come along way in a short space of time and the city is looking great but as much as I am excited and looking forward to next year, enjoying the events and welcoming tourists, I am worried that we still do not have a a decent train service, an airport that has no flights to Dublin and Belfast (never mind the rest of Europe)and not enough hotels. I hope we can pull it off but I am slightly worried
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