An International Festival with the participation of all communities and cultures was just one of the suggestions at the February Newry 2020 Meeting. Photograph: Columba O'HareAn International Festival with the participation of all communities and cultures was just one of the suggestions at the February Newry 2020 Meeting. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

After last months very successful inaugural Newry 2020 meeting in Sugar Island where many ideas both old and new were discussed, the second public meeting will take place this Tuesday night the 11th of March at 7.30pm in the Sugar Supper Club, Sugar Island, Newry at 7.30pm. All are welcome

Newry 2020 is a newly formed group with the aim of helping make Newry fulfil its untapped potential as a vibrant, exciting place to live and work and an attractive destination for tourists.

Following on from last month already there have been several initiatives set in motion including a new Festival that will run from the 12th to the 14th of September the Iúr Cinn Fleadh and the proposed

festival of windows that aims to encourage local businesses to keep their shop front shutters open permanently or at least to midnight.

Ideas Discussed at the February Meeting Included (In no particular order)

Revisit the Newry Masterplan - people don’t know about it See it at

Need to widen discussion beyond business people and involve young people

Need a theme - eg, maritime, gateway to South Down, etc

Lesson from Galway - need to concentrate facilities

Need to market Newry addressing legacy issues and security

Look at Westport - has worldwide reputation

We need a welcoming atmosphere

Urban park is key - should be bus depot

Redevelopment of the Albert Basin as a city park was another topic discussed at the February Newry 2020 meeting. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Pedestrianisation needs to be a reality

Newry should promote itself as being in the centre of beautiful landscapes - outdoor activities

Link Albert Basin into cycle path

Newry themed as an Eco-town to help connect to our natural environment.

Green park in centre will change impressions

Redevelopment of the Albert Basin as a city park was another topic discussed at the February Newry 2020 meeting. Photograph: Columba O'Hare“Slow cities” - originated in Italy 

Technology to host info about events in Greater Newry

Business events network

Cultural trail - historical tours of Newry - need to make this visible - they’re out there but they’re hidden

Urban Geological Tour

Quality assurance needed - by council - online reviews?

Tourist info should be in centre of town

Hook in with Low Carbon City initiative?

Maritime theme - evolve this idea - maritime heritage tour?

Public consultation on Albert Basin - refer to masterplan - educate people as to what is in it

Parks - community facilities for various ages - eg, skateboards, velodrome

World Music Festival - a week of variuos world music - eg, West African drumming, reggae, dancing, South American - celebrate the food of these countries. Go to all the pubs / coffee shops in Newry - ask them to host

Use empty buildings - pop-up spaces

St Christopher’s Park - needs to be used for events / theatre / etc - needs a bridge to Newry Shamrocks

Parks - community / children’s entertainment in centre / fitness / theatre / education / conference centre / open gyms - look at Boyle / Bingo setting up an events space

Hill Street -  open up and brighten up - graffiti on shutters - or just get rid of them

Youth Groups - giving more opprortunities - promotion

Regenerate Mary St and Market Place -  for local and international craft space

City Centre Living - apartments / night life

Festival of Arts - with SRC

Woolworths / pop-up / regenerate space

World Music evening - build a culture night - bring jazz/folk/south american bands & food

Revive market space for bank holiday weekend / Sunday / International Farmers Market / puppet shows / open air theatre / something for adults

 The Hub - business speed dating

Biz Camp - business connections and fun events - Air Hotel - Air BnB

Lodging letting of rooms in houses to visitors - kind of like an exchange

Set up charity vehicle for community events / networking / marketing - set up people to run it

Look at festival for summer 2014

One central website for events / initiatives

A pedestrianised city centre - cafe culture - cycle friendly

Enhanced quality of life - space to enjoy life 

Family life - city park

Use empty shops to showcase local businesses

Get up off our butts and do it for ourselves

Rejuvenate already existing committees in Newry with youth

Shutters get painted

pubs - music nights

culture nights

Identify influential bodies and speak to them

Get a boat on the canal - form the youth marine corp

Multi story car park at north street flats 

Play park at cathedral car park

Streets on to Hill Street cleaned up 

Regeneration programmes 

Glass/feature over Bridge over canal 

Guerilla gardening 

Tax office etc all higher level floor with ground floor shops etc & unground car park etc 

City centre living ( apartments on Hill Street etc ) 

Exhibitions on the street - Shops become an art gallery 

Large city centre student life - large campus with students living in city centre

SRC - festival of arts - student pieces exhibited 

Roseleen - pride of newry 

Tow path through the centre centre with markers 

Plaques at historical sites, eg history of golden teapot

Why should people have to leave Newry at the weekends for leisure and enjoyment?

Development  of Arts and Cultural activities

Incorporate Mary St into Newry Market as a dedicated Arts, crafts, culinary, fashion quarter

Make Newry people proud of Newry - empower them to take action and own an agreed vision

An international festival that really achieves the participation of all communities and cultures 

Better support for festivals to feed into this

Signage should reflect reality of a multi-lingual society

Creation of an integrated marketing plan for Newry CIty

Major signature week-long festival focused on canal and river

Co-ordinated promotions for “nights out” by pubs and eateries

Shopkeepers to take responsibility for footpath outside their premises - don’t be afraid of “claims”

Brighten up shop fronts - do away with shutters at night

Create a traders’ fund to sustain revitalisation activities

Pilot a late night “shutters up” evening with street entertainment

Focused publicity for events, timed for maximum effect

Monthly events guide - or quarterly. Full year is too long

Guerilla playpark in Marcus Square

Easter egg hunt - picnic in the city event

Bi-lingualism and creative arts - looking at ways to encourage participation and create events

“Coder Dojo” - a programme to teach children about programming and games - will run every two weeks

Support Local businesses

Where possible develop mutual support for “competitors” - eg, tweet about events

Canal - cafe barge / re-opening

Tunnel - Gallows Hill re-opening

Hill Street - new night life

Skateboard park

Potential change - citizen-lead 

Big Ideas - garden for locals and visitors

Canal - use for public - bars

Venues - make the city attractive - open up / clean it up

Central cultural hub / venue

Town Hall and Arts Centre need updating - need to fulfill potential