Fangtastic extension of tourist season with new nine day festival extravaganza

derryhalloween Awakening the Walls Octoberr 28th-30th 2018
Some of the thousands of people enjoyed the installations and performers during the first night of the Awakening of the city’s 400 years old Walls as part of the annual Hallowe’en festival. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.10.18

The spooktacular success of this year’s internationally renowned Hallowe’en celebrations in Derry~Londonderry with a new nine day festival extravaganza attracting a record 100,000 plus visitors, has been hailed as a fantastic extension to the tourist season in Ireland’s historic Walled City.

Derry is recognised globally as home to Europe’s biggest Hallowe’en party and festivities to mark the city’s biggest night of the year were this year extended from four to nine days packed with family-friendly frights and delights from October 26th-November 3rd 2018.

Visitors from around the world descended on the banks of the Foyle to experience over 100 animated activities across more than 40 venues in a legendary programme of events coordinated by Derry City and Strabane District Council who have been running the festival for the past three decades and it is growing in popularity every year.

The celebrations broke new ground this year as record numbers of visitors attended the climactic ‘Return of the Ancients’ themed street carnival parade and fireworks display over the River Foyle. Around 60,000 people also flocked to the magical Awakening the Walls illumination trail which took place for three successive evenings on and around the historic City Walls.

Welcoming the success of this year’s record-breaking Hallowe’en extravaganza, Odhran Dunne, General Manager of Visit Derry, said: “With no vacancy signs on display for Hallowe’en night, the growth of the event to a nine-day international festival has been a fantastic extension to the tourist season.

“The average accommodation occupancy over the period was 85% and this has ensured we have established Derry as the place to be and, Derry Halloween as the ‘must-see’ festival for those looking for an authentic international visitor experience on the island.

“We have welcomed visitors from Mexico, China, India, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Brazil, Czech Republic, Australia, Finland to name but a few and these visitors will now play an important role to help our ambitions to market Derry as a must-see tourism destination in the international marketplace.

“With record interest from national and international media outlets and live coverage of the event on TG4/BBC2 we look forward to building on the success of 2018 and reaching a greater global audience for 2019 with the support of Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland.”

Speaking after the celebrations on Hallowe’en night with several days of the exciting festival programme still to run, Aeidin McCarter, Head of Culture at Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the record number of people attending the event was a ringing endorsement of the extension of this year’s festival.

“We have seen in excess of 20,000 people per night coming out for Awakening the Walls and over 30,000 attended the Hallowe’en night parade and fireworks displays bringing the total figure to in excess of 100,000 people.”

Other key highlights of the Hallowe’en celebrations which saw thousands of revellers don killer fancy dress and superhero costumes, included the ComicCity Festival which attracted some of the top international guests in the industry; Museum of the Moon; and making their debut in Ireland, Le Bal des Luminéoles, commissioned in 2012 for the Fete des Lumières Lyon.

Laura Davies, Business Development Manager at Bishop’s Gate Hotel, said: “We had guests from Finland, France, Germany and the US, all of whom stayed for a minimum three nights.” Some guests had already booked online to return for Hallowe’en next year.

The Derry Hallowe’en 2018 celebrations were launched back in August with 400 Witches on the Walls to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the ancient ramparts for which an exciting new programme of events is also being produced.

For more information and to book your stay in Ireland’s only remaining fully intact Walled City visit

Leave a Reply