The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, said he is looking forward to a bumper weekend of festivities as the St Patrick’s Spring Carnival brings thousands of visitors to the city for a multi-cultural celebration to remember.

Anyone hoping to attend the events in Derry over March 16-17 is asked to check traffic and travel information in advance as some minor disruption is expected, including a number of road closures to facilitate the main festival parade on Sunday.

On Sunday next, Bishop Street/Without, Shipquay Street, The Diamond and Strand Road will be restricted to traffic for varying lengths of time during the afternoon between 12.30pm and 4pm. Alternative diversion routes will be available during these times. There will also be a lane restriction in place on The Foyle Embankment on the city bound approach from Translink Bus Depot to Harbour Square Roundabout between 12.30pm and 4pm. Drivers should prepare for some delays and should allow a little extra time when planning their journeys, to ensure everyone’s safety and in order to help minimize disruption and inconvenience to the local community.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mayor Boyle said: “The St Patrick’s Spring Carnival is a great opportunity for people of all ages to join together to celebrate all cultures as well as our own rich heritage. This year’s programme really embraces and promotes inclusivity and the sharing of cultures and traditions, with an array of events showcasing the customs and talents of all our ethnic communities.

“As always we expect thousands of people to turn out over the course of the weekend, particularly for the traditional St Patrick’s Parade. I would ask visitors to plan ahead to ensure they arrive in plenty of time and if possible to use public transport to minimize parking congestion. This is a family celebration so I would encourage everyone to enjoy it responsibly, and please heed the advice and direction of stewards and the PSNI who will be on hand on the day to ensure the smooth running of the event. Finally I want to wish everyone a very safe and Happy St Patrick’s celebration.”

The events kick off on Saturday March 16th with the colourful Ubuntu festival, bringing local ethnic communities together for a rich celebration of diversity and culture. This free event takes place from noon – 5pm and will include a wide range of both indoor and outdoor activities in the Guildhall and also Guildhall Square. Supported by Council’s Good Relations Programme, which is funded by The Executive Office, entertainment will include arts and crafts, music and dance workshops, as well as a whole host of performers on the Global Beats Stage.

On Sunday the highlight is the annual St Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival Parade, led by the North West Carnival Initiative, bringing hundreds of local community performers onto the streets for a huge outdoor celebration commencing at 2pm. The parade will exit from Bishop Street Car Park onto Bishop Street, proceeding to the Diamond, and travelling down Shipquay Street to Whittaker Street. The parade will turn left at Harbour Square Roundabout moving to Custom House Street before turning right into Waterloo Place. From here it will turn right onto Strand Road, proceeding to Strand Road Car Park where it will end at approximately 15.30pm.

Anyone with limited mobility should note that an accessible viewing area will be located on Whittaker Street opposite the Guildhall, Visitors who wish to avail of this area should plan to arrive a little earlier in order to ensure unimpeded access before streets become congested.

Where possible, the public are strongly advised to use the public transport system or to consider walking to the event. Details of all buses can be found by visiting www.translink.co.uk/Routes-and-Timetables

Car parking is available at regular sites across the city, including on the Cityside: Foyleside Shopping Centre Car Park East, Foyleside West and Quayside Shopping Centre, Foyle Road, Magee Campus (Lawrence Hill),Victoria Market, Queen’s Quay, Society Street, Carlisle Road and William Street. And in the Waterside at: Alfred Street, Bond’s Hill, Distillery Brae, Simpsons Brae, Spencer Road and Old Bridge House. Motorists are advised that there are likely to be delays when exiting some car parks during the parade.

Blue Badge holders are encouraged to use available public, disabled car parking spaces and a limited number of accessible parking spaces for the viewing area platform will be available in the Foyle Street Car Park.

Drivers are reminded that normal on street parking restrictions will be in place and that they should avoid parking anywhere where they may be blocking entrances to residences or businesses or where they may be obstructing emergency access.

Some parking restrictions will be in force with car parks at Strand Road, Foyle Street and Bishop Street closed on Sunday March 17.

Vehicles stopping to drop off passengers should park in a safe location and avoid the immediate vicinity of the City Centre, in order to minimise traffic congestion.

Note - all times are approximate and that road restrictions and diversions will be kept to the minimum length necessary to ensure safety.

Photo shows Cllr Boyle, as Deputy Mayor, leading last year's parade with St Patrick.

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