A new major two week long festival in 2018 will see local Newry, Mourne and Down Council run Festivals, Footsteps in the Forest, Slieve Gullion; Wake the Giant,Warrenpoint and new 2017 festival Newry City of Merchants combined, in a new 'giant adventure' called "Guardians of the Mournes and Gullion".

It's all part of the council's plan to entice many more thousands of people to the area and become one of the premier tourism destinations on the island of Ireland.

The Feet of Finn at the Wake the Giant Festival in Warrenpoint. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The Feet of Finn at the Wake the Giant Festival in Warrenpoint. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The new festival which will take place in August 2018 will cost an additional £128,000 compared to 2017, bringing the total spend to £413,000.

An additional £200,000 capital cost will be used to create four new 'giants' to joint the existing giant Finn, created in 2016 which forms part of the Wake the Giant Festival in Warrenpoint.

The festival approved at yesterdays Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism meeting in Newry is based on the Finn McCool story. The five giants will be placed throughout the area, along the Mourne's Coastal Route and in Slieve Gullion to encourage visitors to travel and stay in locations throughout the district.

It's planned that each of the giants will gather for a "Procession of the Giants" as part of Wake the Giant in Warrenpoint.

The festival will end with the City of Merchants festival in Newry which aims to build on this years spectacular fireworks display.

Provisionally Footsteps in the Forest is happening 4 and 5 August 2018, Wake the Giant 25 August and City of Merchants 26 August (potentially sharing the bill with the Newry Festival of Water/ Triathlon)