Armagh celebrates its epic Georgian past in new festival spectacular next month

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Georgian Festival

Armagh’s award-winning Georgian Festival returns to the Cathedral City on Thursday 24 November for four days

Armagh celebrates its rich Georgian heritage next month when the Cathedral City kicks off this year’s official Christmas countdown with the highly anticipated return of the award-winning Georgian Festival.

Marking 18 years since it first all began, fun, family, food and frolics are firmly back on the agenda as part of the busy festival programme, which runs from Thursday 24 November until Sunday 27 November, and is all neatly wrapped around the hugely popular Georgian Day festivities on Saturday 26 November.

Taking place in and around its historic venues and along the cobbled streets and squares of Ireland’s oldest city, visitors are in for a real spectacle and experience, historic style and grandeur, great food and drink – and the welcome return of the jaw-dropping Georgian light show for not one night, but two, due to huge public demand.

This year’s dramatic light-filled spectacular light show ‘Coming Home for Christmas’ takes place on both Friday and Saturday night for the first time and across seven unmissable performances in a city transformed with stalls filled with crafts and cuisine, on-street performances, living history characters and plenty of children’s entertainment – and that all-important sight of Santa busy in his workshop.

Bursting with atmosphere, the captivating smell of roasting chestnuts from among the swathes of brimming treat-filled stalls and the sound of horses’ hooves trotting through the streets, there are activities on every day, including horse and carriage rides around the famous Georgian Mall, live music and song, tours and places to visit.

Visitors will also be captivated by the pageantry of gentrified ladies and gentlemen in authentic dress of the time, flanked by street urchins, as they make their way around the iconic tree-lined Mall and through bustling city streets.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Cllr Paul Greenfield, said:

“For almost two decades, Armagh’s award-winning Georgian Festival and Georgian Day has proven itself a firm favourite for locals and visitors alike and marking the official start to the countdown to Christmas.

“Unequalled for the electric atmosphere it creates for people of all ages and a landmark date in our annual calendar of outstanding festivals and events, it celebrates the beauty and heritage of this bustling city and provides an unrivalled showcase for our very best in entertainment and mouth-watering food and drink. Let the countdown begin!”

Georgian Festival

The Hill of Armagh will play a big role in welcoming visitors back for Georgian Day as the historic Robinson Library and No 5 Vicars’ Hill, the former Registry, open to the public for a special showcase of the city’s Georgian past, which includes wax sealing demonstrations.

The world-famous Armagh Observatory will also be open to visitors on this special day as it celebrates its astronomical history and its stunning Georgian façade that includes the exciting start of ‘Mission Santa’ at Armagh Planetarium’s Dome theatre.

There’s always a reason to take a tour in Armagh and this year is no exception, with specially-organised tours planned at the gorgeous Palace Demesne, at Armagh Observatory and at the historic Milford House, with afternoon tea. There’s even a ‘not so gorgeous Georgian’ tour exposing the dark underbelly of life at the time that will make you want to come back for more.

Armagh County Museum will be home to a talented silhouette cutter, who will capture your likeness in this pretty Georgian trend or why not try your hand at the Gilding Workshop?

Brace yourself for the very grand and luxurious Georgian Tea Party at the Palace with delights including Prosecco and tiered delectable treats and when combined with the option of an afternoon tour of the city, is one remarkable way to make memories that will last for a lifetime.

Georgian Festival Celebrating the creativity of the thriving city of Armagh and its Georgian roots, award-winning international costume designer Enda Kenny is adding to the festival’s rich tapestry this year by offering a special workshop to help visitors make their own Georgian hat or bonnet. Show off your creative skills to other guests in the opulent surroundings of the Archbishop’s Palace at the Georgian Tea Party.

The Georgian Festival Armagh promises to be a weekend which brings the city’s Georgian history and stories to life, where you can uncover some of the city’s hidden gems and take part in a range of activities and experiences which are not only enjoyable but interpret and explain the city’s Georgian roots. Make memories this wintertime and be a part of it.

Some of the events as part of the programme are ticketed and tickets can be bought online at visitarmagh.com/georgianfestival.