VIDEO: Piper heralds launch of Dalriada Festival

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The countdown to this year’s P&0 Ferries Dalriada Festival is now well and truly underway underway.

Now in its fifth year the festival, in partnership with UTV, is recognised as one of Northern Ireland’s biggest cultural family events, which continues to expand and deliver fun filled entertainment with something for everyone.

Strongman Dave Warner helps launch the Dalriada Festival sports programme at Glenarm Marina. Picture by Paul Faith.  INLT 17-680-CON

Strongman Dave Warner helps launch the Dalriada Festival sports programme at Glenarm Marina. Picture by Paul Faith. INLT 17-680-CON

The main event, the world famous Highland Games, has been hosted at Glenarm Castle since 1994 and since then has attracted over half a million visitors.

Following a record crowd last year, the Glenarm Castle Highland Games is back on Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19. Making a welcome return will be strongman events alongside traditional Highland Games.

New to the games this year and a major coup is the County Antrim Pipe Band Championships which will feature numerous bands from across Northern Ireland and Scotland. There is also an expanded action packed programme of events including live wrestling, additional music stages, more local foods, pop-up restaurants, shopping, a new kids zone, and back by popular demand, the ‘world’s only’ sheep fashion show.

On Saturday, July 18, the evening music concert will rock with nostalgia as Bay City Rollers starring Les McKeown take to the main stage along with Bagatelle, Hothouse Flowers and support from Rob Strong, Runabay and XOD dancers.

Adrian Morrow, festival director, said: “We are delighted that we are approaching such a fantastic landmark at Glenarm Castle - 20 years of the Highland Games and this year is our fifth P&O Ferries Dalriada Festival.

“We are one of the few remaining long standing annual events within the NI events calendar and this is all down to our fantastic team, who are already working on the event for next year, as well as our partners and sponsors who enable us to continue to deliver a diverse and ever expanding programme every year.

“The line-up this year is phenomenal with more music, more food, more sport – there’s just more festival for everyone. We are of course indebted to our sponsors – P&O Ferries, UTV, Tourism NI plus many more as well as our visitors, who support us every year, to who I say a huge thank you from all the team at Glenarm Castle – without you there is no festival.”

Joanna Walsh from P&O Ferries, title sponsor of the event, said: “P&O Ferries is proud to be title sponsor for the 2015 Dalriada Festival. Each year, the festival improves more and more with the promise of fantastic food, great music and sporting action to keep the whole family entertained. It is sure to be another successful year.

“As operators of the shortest, fastest and most frequent crossings between Larne, Cairnryan and Troon, P&O Ferries is looking forward to welcoming many visitors from Scotland on board our sailings this summer to bring them across to the event.

“We wish the festival every success.”

Michael Wilson, managing director UTV, added: “UTV has been a part of the P&O Ferries Dalriada Festival in Glenarm for the last four years and we are delighted to be lending our support once again this year. UTV is all about family entertainment and the Dalriada Festival is a perfect partnership.

“The event is first class family entertainment with the calibre of the musical line up, the food on offer and events surrounding the week. The Festival just gets better. It will be an event for all the family to enjoy.”

Following on from the Highland Games will be an action packed week in Glenarm Village and surrounding area which will feature the biggest range of sporting events to be held at any festival in Northern Ireland. Events include beach mounted relay, Dalriada wipeout, bubbleball soccer tournament, kids duathlon, sprint triathlon, super endurocross, Dalriada 5k and 10k run, rowing and sailing regatta.

Closing the festivities will be the ever spectacular fireworks finale.

For further information including Highland Games day passes, Saturday evening concert tickets (£28.50) and camping packages visit www.dalriadafestival.co.uk and www.ticketmaster.ie