Thousands line streets as Derry Halloween parade returns

The Derry Halloween Festival is dubbed the biggest in Europe.
The Derry Halloween Festival is dubbed the biggest in Europe.

Thousands of people have lined the streets of Derry as the city’s famous Halloween carnival parade returned for the first time in three years.

The parade was the showpiece of an evening of events that brought the curtain down on Derry’s traditional Halloween festival, which is dubbed the biggest in Europe.

Covid-19 restrictions prevented the parade taking place in both 2020 and 2021.

Young and old who gathered beneath umbrellas amid heavy rain to watch the spooky spectacular on Monday evening.

Huge crowds cheered as the colourful parade involving hundreds of performers made its way along the banks of the River Foyle.

The festival concluded with a colourful fireworks display above the city’s landmark Peace Bridge.

Derry Halloween
Performers outside the Guildhall during the Derry Halloween parade (Niall Carson/PA)

As well as the thousands packed on the quays, hundreds gathered on vantage points on the hills of Derry’s Waterside on the opposite banks of the River Foyle to watch on.

Organisers said early indications were that more than 100,000 people had attended the four-day festival.

Derry Halloween
Fireworks display in the skies over the River Foyle (Niall Carson/PA)

The mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Sandra Duffy, thanked those involved.

“What can I say? I always look forward to Halloween but this year was particularly special, with the full return of our carnival parade and all the Halloween trimmings,” she said.

“Although the weather presented some challenges throughout the weekend, it has been amazing and we just haven’t stopped.”

The council said more than 30,000 people watched the parade and fireworks, with hotels booked out across the weekend.

Derry Halloween
Performers during the Derry Halloween parade (Niall Carson/PA)

The council’s head of culture, Aeidin McCarter, said it had been a wonderful weekend for the city, and in particular local businesses.

“We are delighted at the numbers of people who turned out to support our event despite the weather conditions,” she said.

“It’s been wonderful to welcome the Halloween Carnival Parade back after a three-year break. Community involvement really is at the heart of this event, and it’s what has always made it so unique.

“We have gone through an incredibly difficult few years, and to see so many people back out sharing cultural experiences once again is particularly rewarding for us as a council.”

Derry Halloween was delivered by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Tourism NI, Stormont’s Executive Office and the NW Development Office.