This year there won’t an Eleventh Night bonfire in Rathfriland, it has been confirmed.
On the 11th night of July the usual bonfire at the bottom John Street Rathfriland will be replaced by a cultural event for all the family.
The site had become “unsuitable” due to houses being built and the bonfire being placed on a slope.
Whilst there will be no bonfire this year, it is hoped that the lighting of a beacon will be a possibility for next year. Ulster Unionist Councillor Glenn Barr praised the young people in Rathfriland for forward thinking and showing true civic leadership. Councillor Barr said: “With a houses built right beside the bonfire site locals who usually get involved in the bonfire met and looked towards a cultural event which this year for the first will replace the annual bonfire at the bottom of John Street.
“This year there will be bouncy castles, obstacle courses, highland dancers, Lambeg drummers and Ulster-Scots music to keep the crowd entertained. We are already looking towards next year to make it better but equally I am looking at a bigger picture with areas in the new Borough becoming flagship cultural/bonfire events. All in all, I believe the event in Rathfriland on the 11th night, will be success.”
The free cultural celebration event will be held in Church Square, Rathfriland for families from the local area and further afield on Tuesday, July 11 from 6.30pm until 9pm. An amazing line-up of world-class acts will perform at the event and include folk group Bernagh, a trio made up of world champion drummer Lee Lawson, former World Champion Piper Alan McPhearson and Ballyshannon International Song Festival winner David Muldrew. There will also be performances by Bluegrass band Wood Worm and a four-piece country rock band made up of talented members of the McBride family from Kilkeel. The event will also feature a great range of family-fun activities including bouncy castles, cartoon characters, face painters, stilt walkers and fire jugglers.
Funded by the Council with support from the Executive Office and NI Housing Executive, the Council has worked in partnership with community representatives to organise an event that celebrates the borough’s rich cultural diversity and is welcoming and inclusive to all communities.