Northern Ireland shines in 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony
Published: 28th Jul 2012 00:52:28
Northern Ireland has had its own starring role to play in the Opening Ceremony at the Olympics.
Local athlete Katie Kirk had the honour of lighting the official Olympic cauldron along with seven other young athletes.
Dame Mary Peters symbolically passed an Olympic torch to Ms Kirk during the ceremony.
Over one billion people from across the world tuned in to watch the spectacle live from London.
Dame Mary Peters nominated runner Katie Kirk for the honour.
The passing of the torch from Mary Peters to Katie Kirk was a symbolic gesture to inspire a generation.
Nine local schools also took part supporting the teams.
Northern Irish gold medallists Stephen Martin and Jimmy Kirkwood also took part.
Bangor musician Alex Trimble from Two Door Cinema Club performed during the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.
Twenty athletes from Northern Ireland will take part in the Olympics representing either Team GB or Team IRE.
The three hour show which was directed by Danny Boyle cost around £27 million.
The Queen and James Bond star Daniel Craig have also taken part in the ceremony.
A group of Northern Irish youngsters appeared in a video that formed part of the opening sequence of the ceremony.
The Phil Kids' Choir were filmed at the Giant's Causeway for part of a montage of singers from around the UK.
The group performed the popular song Danny Boy.
The Phil Kids' Choir were filmed at the Giant's Causeway for part of a montage of singers from around the UK
Part of the ceremony charted Great Britain's rise during the industrial revolution, with local actor Kenneth Branagh playing the leading role.
Branagh played Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the ceremony, speaking Caliban's lines from Shakespeare's The Tempest.
"Be not afeard: the isle is full of noises..."
Brunel, who died comparatively young by modern standards at 53, managed in that time to become a world-leading engineer of steamships, bridges, tunnels and railways.
Lynne McDowell from Ahoghill participated in the ceremony in a segment charting British music through the generations.
The communications manager was one of thousands of volunteer performers who spent also 150 hours in rehearsals for the performance.
After the performance McDowell said; "Thank you thank you thank you. Absolutely amazing. I hope you all liked it. What a dream come true for me."
Nine local schools also struck gold with the chance to join in the celebrations.
They formed a Guard of Honour for teams of athletes en route to Olympic Park for the Opening Ceremony.
Fionnuala McGrath, PE teacher at St. Catherine's College, Armagh said the evening had been a dream come true.
"Mary Peters is the reason I became a PE teacher, when I watched her in 1972 I knew I just had to do that. I hope this evening will just inspire the children and leave a great sporting legacy."
Pupils from Ballee Community High School in Ballymena had also been learning some traditional greetings from Swaziland so they could welcome the athletes they are supporting.
Fourteen athletes from Northern Ireland will be competing for Team Ireland. They were led into the stadium by boxer Katie Taylor.
Team GB was led into the stadium to huge applause by Chris Hoy. Around half of Team GB's 514 members took part in the ceremony.
Some of the local members of Team GB include rower Alan Campbell, Peter and Richard Chambers, table tennis player Na Liu, hockey player Iain Lewers and cyclist Wendy Houvenaghel.
Team GB were dressed in white Stella McCartney outfits with golden hoods and trim. Seven billion pieces of biodegradable paper confetti fell from the sky during their entrance.
Some of Northern Ireland's former gold medallists also took part in the event.
Dame Mary Peters who won a gold medal during the 1972 Munich Olympics. Peters is an Ambassador for the 2012 Olympics. It is exactly 40 years since she won her medal.
Stephen Martin and Jimmy Kirkwood who won gold medals for hockey in 1988 will also take centre stage.
"It is fantastic to see the games here in London. It was such a wonderful gesture of the organising committee to ask us along. It means so much to me", Stephen Martin told the BBC.
Also in Hyde Park a concert was held celebrating music from across Great Britain. Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody took part in the concert representing Northern Ireland.
The Opening Ceremony was shown on big screens in Northern Ireland. Hundreds of people turned up to watch the show at Belfast City Hall and at Waterloo Place in Londonderry.
The Artistic Director of the ceremony Danny Boyle has his own links to Northern Ireland. He began his career working for BBC NI as a television producer before moving on to produce hit movies such as Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire.
Meanwhile, the Red Arrows performed a fly-past over Belfast to mark the start of the Olympic Games and the bells on Londonderry's two cathedrals and those at two venues in Belfast rang out in harmony in celebration of London 2012.
Thousands of bells were rung across the UK as everyone was encouraged to ring some kind of bell for three minutes, beginning at 08:12 BST.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Northern Ireland shines in 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. [Online] (Updated 28 Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1443199-Northern-Ireland-shines-in-2012-Olympic-Opening-Ceremony [Accessed 25th May 2013]
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