Northern Ireland’s premier rally car sports event, the Ulster International Rally, is taking place in Derry and Strabane this summer, the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion has confirmed.
Speaking at the official launch of the Council’s 2016 festival and events calendar, the Mayor said she was delighted that the city and district will host the Rally on 19 and 20 August, which is one of a select number of events included in the prestigious MSA British Rally and TROA Irish Tarmac Rally Championships.
“Securing the Ulster Rally is a major coup for us and the Council is delighted to be supporting the organisers of this premier sporting event in the city and district. Motor racing and rallying is an extremely popular sport in the North West region and we are hugely excited about international rally drivers and competitors travelling from all over the world to compete in this fantastic competition,” she said.
Gary Milligan, Clerk of the Course for the Ulster Rally, thanked the Mayor for the warm welcome extended to the event by the Council and its Officials. He said that the organisers shared her excitement at bringing the Ulster Rally to Derry and Strabane. “With the magnificent Ebrington complex as our base, the support of the Maiden City Motor Club and the unique opportunity to hold part of the rally on the Foyle waterfront, we believe we can make this a truly memorable event for both competitors and the many visitors it will attract to this great City.”
The Mayor said the Ulster Rally was a fantastic addition to the already action packed events calendar for 2016 which see the return of events such as the annual Spring Carnival which includes St Patrick’s Day celebrations, the Ubuntu Global Festival and more in a packed programme of fun for all the family taking place from March 17 – 20 , followed closely by the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival, from 28 April – May 02 which attracts tens of thousands of music lovers to venues across the district and the Angling Festival in Strabane on 07 and 08 May.
For anyone hoping to take on a fitness challenge in the New Year, Ireland’s toughest mental and physical endurance challenge, Hell and Back, will be making makes its first visit to Northern Ireland on 21st May, while the Strabane Half Marathon is scheduled for 15 May. On 05 June, the Walled City Marathon makes a welcome return to the city centre when athletes from Ireland, Britain and across the world arrive in the city to compete over a stunning 26.2 mile course that takes in all the sights and sounds of the city, followed closely on the 19 June by the Triathlon.
Strabane’s Summer Jamm Country Fest welcomes the summer on June 11th and 12th, becoming a weekend festival for the first time while preparations will be well underway in Derry to welcome a return of the Clipper Race yachts for the Foyle Maritime Festival, 09-17 July, when the River Foyle will come ablaze with colour for a week of maritime celebration, music, food, water displays and family fun.
For sporting fans The Foyle Cup will make a welcome return in mid-July, welcoming both local and international soccer talent for a tournament that has the potential to launch the careers of aspiring young players.
As the city’s running craze continues, September sees the return of the Waterside Half Marathon to the Foyle Arena in Derry, one of the city’s most popular sporting events which draws competitors from all over the country. October is one of our busiest months as the city gets into a spooky mood for our annual Halloween celebrations – voted the top Halloween destination in the world – this year’s 30th anniversary celebrations promise to be out of this world with something for all the family to enjoy from 28 October to 01 November.
The Council rounds off its year in traditional festive style with the annual Christmas programme in November and December with some magical events including the Guildhall Craft Fair, Festive Markets and Fashion Fest.
Mayor McCallion said she was very impressed with the line-up of events foe 2016. “Once again Derry City and Strabane District has come up trumps in providing top quality events for the local community and visitors to enjoy. I am delighted that there is so many festivals and events to look forward to throughout the year, there is no excuse for not getting out there and enjoying what is on offer,” she added.