On the evening of Monday 27 July 1992, a walking treasure hunt and a concert by Kilrea Pipe Band were the first two events in a week-long programme of the first ever Festival of the Fairy Thorn. As our picture gallery shows the schedule of events throughout the week was packed – and so was the town! People flocked to Kilrea from near and far to take part in sports, entertainment and arts events catering for all ages – and from these humble beginnings the festival continued until the mid- 2000s.
For some of us it was hard to believe 2022 marked 30 years since that first festival – for others it’s just something they have heard about from their family and friends. But there’s no doubt that the memories associated with it are good – fun, laughter, competitive spirit and camaraderie are words that spring to mind for all who remember it.
Kilrea Enterprise Group was the driving force behind the new initiative, working alongside Coleraine Borough Council, Community Relations Council, Kilrea ACE Office and Kilrea Development Committee. However, these organisations couldn’t have delivered anything without the support, commitment and hard work of the businesses and people of Kilrea who volunteered their time to promote and run events, provide sponsorship, and participate in anything and everything taking place. We owe everyone involved in the past a great deal of gratitude for the foundations they built back then.
We were delighted to bring the festival back to Kilrea in August 2022 and while our plan is to run the next full weekend festival in 2024, we’re pleased to be putting on a one day event on Saturday 19 August 2023. We look forward to seeing you all in the town on the day and hope you have a great time.