Huge numbers travel to Newry for UK and Ireland Pride 2019

The parade and open-air concert were the finales in a week of successful events which saw huge numbers travel to Newry from as fas away as Sydney.

Newry Pride festival organisers walking in parade holding a banner which reads
Image: Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Saturday, August 31, saw the UK & Ireland Pride festival highlight as hundreds joined the parade in Newry which kicked off from The Quays Shopping Centre.

A Church of Ireland minister joined the parade with placards apologising for “how the church mistreated LGBT+ people”.

Rev Andrew Rawdingm a Church of Ireland rector from Coalisland.

Following the parade, the Albert Basin Park hosting an open-air concert, funfair and stalls from 3 pm to 8:30 pm which saw live performances from Claire Richards from Steps, Heather Small, the voice of M People, Saara Aalto, B*witched and many many more.

Saturday’s celebrations drew a close to a week-long festival which ran several successful events including a Football vs Homophobia tournament, theatre performances, social evenings, debates, workshops, film screenings, and information evenings.

On the eve of the parade, Sydney Mardi Gras were welcomed to Newry.

Paul Savage, who is originally from Newry, is a former Co-Chair of Sydney Mardi Gras.

Paul commented on how far Newry has come since he left 15 years ago: “I’ve been watching what the Newry Rainbow Community and Pride In Newry have been doing over the last seven years, and I think they have done an amazing job that Newry and NI should be very proud of. Changed times since I lived in Newry 15 years ago…”

Saturday began with a Pride Breakfast and was closely followed by a celebration of traditional music.

The Pride Parade then kicked off at 2 pm and made it’s way to the Albert Basin Park where the outdoor concert and funfair took place.

A fireworks display capped off the evening festivities and party-goers danced the night away in Bellini’s at the official after-party.

North East LGBT+ charity Northern Pride will host UK Pride in 2020, and Ste Dunn, chair of Northern Pride, has said plans are already underway for next year.

“Pride in Newry has set the bar high for anyone hosting UK Pride in the future, and the Northern Pride team have already started planning a full schedule of events, campaigns and activities for the coming months, leading up to the main event next summer.

“The North East is a warm and welcoming part of the UK, and our aim will be to celebrate our rich and diverse region, while also highlighting successes and achievements for the whole LGBT+ community and all minority groups.”

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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