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Newry’s very first Festival of Windows takes place from Friday the 13th of June to Friday the 27th of June and will showcase work from local art and crafts people in shop windows in Hill Street in the City centre, turning the Street into a continuous Gallery from the Town Hall all the way down to John Mitchel Place.

Launching the Festival of Windows which will take place in Hill Street, Newry from Friday the 13th of June till Friday the 27th of June. Back from left: Marie McKeown, U3A; James Adair, Journeyman Saddlery; Rosemary O'Reilly, U3A and Agnes Murnin, SRC. Front Garry McElherron, Newry 2020 Joseph Alphonsus Morgan, U3A and Fiona McCartney, SRC. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Launching the Festival of Windows which will take place in Hill Street, Newry from Friday the 13th of June till Friday the 27th of June. Back from left: Marie McKeown, U3A; James Adair, Journeyman Saddlery; Rosemary O'Reilly, U3A and Agnes Murnin, SRC. Front: Garry McElherron, Newry 2020 Joseph Alphonsus Morgan, U3A and Fiona McCartney, SRC. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Exhibitors will include Newry’s up and coming and established artists and crafts people including Students from the SRC, U3A members, Newry Arts Society, The Journeyman Saddler, Clanrye Lace, pupils from local primary schools and more.

A substantial amount of the art and craft work will be for sale. The public will deal directly with the artist via a contact number on each piece and 25% of proceeds will go to the Southern Area Hospice.

Agnes Murnin, 3D Lecturer in Art and Design, Southern Regional College said “This is a great occasion for the region to observe the talent within the area and to see what opportunities are available within the art department at Southern Regional College.”

The Festival was the brainchild of the Newry 2020 group, a grassroots organisation set up to help make Newry city a better place to live in and visit. The group are also working on music festival Iúr Cinn Fleadh which will run from the 12th to the 14th of September and are campaigning to bring a City Centre Park to the Albert Basin.

Exhibitors and organisers get ready for the opening of the Festival of Windows which will run from Friday the 13th of June until Friday the 27th of June. From left: Brian Cleland, NEwry 2020; Fiona McCartney, SRC; Agnes Murnin, SRC; James Adair, Journeyman Saddlery; Garry McElherron, Newry 2020; Joseph Alphonsus Morgan, U3A; Rosemary O'Reilly, U3A; Declan McChesney, Cahill Brothers; Marie McKeown, U3A; Jack Murphy, Murphy Jewellers and Neil Bradley, Newry 2020. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Exhibitors and organisers get ready for the opening of the Festival of Windows which will run from Friday the 13th of June until Friday the 27th of June. From left: Brian Cleland, NEwry 2020; Fiona McCartney, SRC; Agnes Murnin, SRC; James Adair, Journeyman Saddlery; Garry McElherron, Newry 2020; Joseph Alphonsus Morgan, U3A; Rosemary O'Reilly, U3A; Declan McChesney, Cahill Brothers; Marie McKeown, U3A; Jack Murphy, Murphy Jewellers and Neil Bradley, Newry 2020. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Commenting on the Windows Festival, main organiser Garry McElherron said “I've been to the Southern Regional College and marvelled at the wonderful art that will be a big part of The Hill Street Festival of Windows. The uptake of the shops and businesses is over 90%. I commend and thank them wholeheartedly for their support. There will be art installations, delicate ceramic pieces, mixed media, photography, crafts such as quilting and lace and a saddler. I’d like to thank Aisleain McGill of the Arts section of Newry and Mourne District Council who have commissioned an artist to help some of the local schools to showcase their work too.”

Concluding Garry added “These are very talented people and I hope all can make it down Hill Street at some point to see Ireland's Greatest Art Gallery.”

The ethos of the Festival of Windows is to brighten up the Hill Street area and encourage more people to visit by showcasing the wide variety of extremely talented arts and crafts people present in our area . 

The Arts section of Newry and Mourne Council have sponsored the event by commissioning an artist to help pupils from Windsor Hill Primary School, St Joseph’s Primary School and Bunscoil an Iúir provide art for several windows.

Jack Murphy, Newry City Centre Management and one of the organisers of the event praised the connection it made between Hill Street and the Southern Regional College, attracting students, tutors, parents and friends to the street to check out the exhibition.

Marie McKeown with some of her Decoupage cards made in the U3A Monday Craft Class. Marie and many more from U3A will be taking part in the Festival of Windows. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Marie McKeown with some of her Decoupage cards made in the U3A Monday Craft Class. Marie and many more from U3A will be taking part in the Festival of Windows. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

A secondary element of the festival is to encourage shops to leave their shutters open longer as well as promoting the painting of unsightly shutters, a service that members of The Magnet Centre have agreed to do for free as long as the business covers the cost of paint, typically £150.

Already the Sugar Supper Club in Sugar Island has it’s shutter painted with incredible artwork so if anyone needs to see the potential of the project they should check it out. Any businesses interested or if you need more information on the festival you should contact the Newry 2020 group at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Ultimately Newry 2020 would like to see a future Hill Street where shutters are a thing of the past and prospective shoppers can wander down the street at any time of the day or night checking out what the shops have to offer. This may be some time away but small steps such as the Festival of Windows should begin to show the potential out there.

It is hoped that the festival will become an annual event.

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