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Donal prepares to light up the sky 30.10.19

THE man responsible for lighting up the sky at Europe’s biggest Halloween party is putting the finishing touches to Derry's fireworks display.
Donal Neill is the Irish franchisee of Pain Fireworks, the largest fireworks provider in the UK, and has won the tender to provide the fireworks on the River Foyle for Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Halloween celebrations for the last four years.
The 2018 Derry Halloween fireworks display on the River Foyle.
Derry will play host to over 100,000 revellers during its week long Halloween celebrations that climax in a parade and fireworks display on Thursday night, October 31st.
Donal operates out of Eglinton in the outskirts of the city and his company is the fireworks service provider for eight of Northern Ireland’s eleven Councils' Halloween celebrations this year.
“Logistically it’s a major challenge,” he admitted. ”It’s useful to be part of a bigger company as operators can cross over during busy periods.
“At Halloween some of the English based staff come over to us and some of the Irish operators will then go to England to cover Guy Fawkes night the week after.”
Donal Neill of Pain Fireworks on board the barge at Foyle Port ahead of the Derry Halloween fireworks display.
Donal explained “We have five or six operators on the night who load up the boat and bring it down to the city centre, the part the public see is easy where we push a button to start the display and let the programme run.
“Normally there are no problems, it’s a bit like radio where you don’t want dead air so we have a back-up box to let off more fireworks if any of them fail.”
Highlights of the Derry Halloween festival include the Awakening the Walls trail around the city centre, a Carnival Parade, the Legenderry Halloween food event and of course the fireworks finale.
For more information on Awakening the Walls and Derry Halloween, visit www.derryhalloween.com .
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