Derry Halloween invites you to a spirited scarefest

Awaken to a world of wit, wonder and imagination at the much anticipated Derry Halloween 2021, Europe’s biggest Halloween party.

The ancient spirits of Samhain, the Celtic festival marking the end of summer, will once again roam the streets of Derry~Londonderry when, from 29–31 October, Derry Halloween 2021 presents its famous Halloween celebrations.

Now in its 35th year, Derry Halloween has become the ‘go to’ festival for Halloween aficionados from around the world. This year the theme is ‘Awakening the Walled City’ with the festival creating a series of magical worlds filled with spirits across the city and in the neighbouring towns of Strabane and Buncrana.

The city’s sparkling waterfront will be transformed into the Whispering Wharf where seanchaí (story tellers) will tell the tallest of tales, blending fiction and fact. Cailleach, Queen of Winter, Goddess of the Cold and Winds, will greet those who wander here.

The Samhain Moon. The annual Hallowe’en parade and Fireworks display which has brought tens of thousands of people into Derry-Londonderry to mark this years theme, the Samhain Moon. which when the division between this world and the otherworld is at its thinnest and supernatural beings and the souls of the dead flood into the city. Picture Martin McKeown. 31.10.17

At the heart of the city, the City of Bones will present a spectacular aerial installation filling the night sky with daredevil acrobatics while the spirits of Walter de Burgh and his ancestors haunt the Guildhall Square and city gates.

In the Forest of Shadows in St Columb’s Park, the phantom Queen Morrigan will welcome you with dancing flames and hypnotic displays, luring you into the depths of the forest where paths lined with shadowy shape-shifting creatures lurk.

Strabane, south of Derry~Londonderry, will have its own haunting with spooky shenanigans around the town including the Halloween Hay Trail, while for the first time the ancient heritage site of An Grianán of Aileach in County Donegal, a fort that was once the seat of the High Kings O’Neill, will join the Halloween festivities.

It is here, so legend says, that the ancient Red Branch Knights of Ulster (An Croabh Rua) lie sleeping in full battle armour under the hill, ready to ride forth at Ireland’s moment of greatest need. This year they will ride forth to Swan Park Buncrana, in a stirring display of strength.

As always Derry Halloween will also feature delicious food trails, fabulous live music and amazing firework displays. The events are being managed to ensure social distancing enabling festival-goers to enjoy the huge variety of experiences safely and at their leisure.

Derry~Londonderry is the only completely walled city in Ireland and the UK, and recently celebrated the 400th birthday of its legendary fortifications.

With 1,450 years of history it’s a fascinating city to visit at any time of the year but is especially vibrant at Halloween when it becomes a hot-bed of high spirits and supernatural enthusiasm, eagerly welcoming visitors from this world and the next.