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Queen’s jubilee: where are beacons being lit in Northern Ireland?

Beacons will be lit across Northern Ireland tonight (Thursday, June 2) to officially launch the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The local ceremonies will form part of a wider symbolic gesture as more than 1,500 beacons are lit throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories, continuing the United Kingdom’s long tradition of celebrating Royal jubilees, weddings and coronations with a chain of lights across the country.

A beacon chain, once used as a tool for communication, has now become a symbol of unity across towns, borders, countries and continents.

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In 1897, beacons were lit to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. In 1977, 2002 and 2012, beacons commemorated the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees of The Queen and Her Majesty’s 90th birthday in 2016.

A new mural in Kilcooley in Bangor to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Are there different types of beacon events taking place?

There are three kinds of beacon events.

The Principal beacon, involving The Tree of Trees - a 21 metre high ‘tree’ constructed of 350 smaller trees - will be lit in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Members of the Royal Family will arrive at approximately 9.25pm.

Commonwealth beacons will be lit in all capital cities of the Commonwealth - 54 in total.

Community beacons - thousands of beacons will be lit by communities, charities and different groups throughout the regions of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories.

Where are beacons being lit in Northern Ireland?

Here are the main locations where beacons will be lit this evening.

Antrim and Newtownabbey

The Mayor will be accompanied at Mossley Mill by the Vice Lieutenant of the County of Antrim, Mrs Miranda Gordon and the Deputy Mayor will be accompanied by Deputy Lieutenant, Mr Shane O’Neill at Antrim Castle Gardens.

Beacons will be lit at the following locations across all seven council District Electoral Areas (DEAs) from 9.30pm:

Airport – Loanends Primary School

Antrim – Antrim Castle Gardens motte

Ballyclare – The Town Hall

Dunsilly – The Viaduct, Randalstown

Glengormley - Lilian Bland Park

Macedon – Macedon Point, Hazelbank Park

Threemilewater – Mossley Mill, beside the pond.

Ards and North Down

Newtownards - Conway Square

Bangor - The Castle, Bangor

Ballyhalbert - Burr Point

Ballyhalbert and Bangor ceremonies start at 9.30pm. A piper will play ‘Dui Regnare’ before the beacons are lit at 9.45pm, followed by closing performances of Song for the Commonwealth’ by Donaghadee Community Choir in Ballyhalbert and Bangor Ladies Choir in Bangor.

In Newtownards, the Soda Popz ‘50s Duo will entertain the crowds from 8.30pm at Conway Square. The ceremony starts at 9.30pm and pipers will play, followed by a bugle call before the lighting of the beacon at 9.45pm. Ards Choral Society will bring an end to proceedings with their performance of ‘Song for the Commonwealth’.

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon

The lighting ceremonies will begin at 9.30pm in the following locations:

Armagh - St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral

Banbridge - Civic Centre

Craigavon - South Lake Leisure Centre

Belfast

A beacon will be lit outside the Titanic Belfast building at 9.45pm.

Causeway Coast and Glens

A series of beacons will be lit at 9.45pm in four locations:

Ballycastle – Holy Trinity Church grounds with refreshments in Ramoan Parish Centre from 8pm and performances from Ramoan Church Choir from 9.15pm.

Ballymoney – Townhead Street Car Park with refreshments in the Royal British Legion from 8.30pm.

Coleraine – The Diamond with entertainment by the Coleraine Community Choir from 9pm.

Limavady – Drumceatt Square with entertainment from the Roe Valley Singers from 9pm.

Derry / Londonderry City and Strabane

A beacon will be lit at 9.45pm at London Street Gate, St Columb’s Cathedral attended by the four church leaders in the city.

Lisburn and Castlereagh

A beacon will be lit at Hillsborough Fort in the presence of the Fort Guard.

Mid and East Antrim

Beacon parties will be held at:

Ballymena - People’s Park, 7pm - 10pm

Larne - Town Park, 7pm - 10pm

Carrickfergus - Castle Green, 7.30pm - 10pm

Entertainment will lead up to the beacon lightings, expected to be at 9.45pm.

Fermanagh and Omagh

Enniskillen - St Macartin’s Cathedral and Enniskillen Castle, Enniskillen from 8,30pm.

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