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In pictures: Giant bonfires take shape across Northern Ireland ahead of Juneteenth night

In pictures: Giant bonfires take shape across Northern Ireland ahead of Juneteenth night

Hundreds of giant bonfires are being built across Northern Ireland ahead of Eleventh Night.

The bonfires are almost ready before they are lit on Thursday, July 11, the eve of the traditional July 12 celebrations.




Local communities have spent the last few weeks building bonfires and many will be lit at midnight, accompanied by days of family fun, live music and more.

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Two years ago, the bonfire at Craigyhill in Larne was hailed by organisers as an unofficial world record after reaching more than 60 metres high.

Earlier this week, local resident Stephen Maginnis was filmed completing the “world’s first base jump from a campfire” in Craigyhill, which consists of 363 pallets with a 35ft beacon on top.

He has been BASE jumping for 11 years, and the Craigyhill jump was the result of five years of planning.

Dubbed the “world’s tallest bonfire,” organizers hope the structure could reach 220 feet this year, with measurements currently underway.

Eleventh Night is the busiest day of the year for Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, which usually deals with hundreds of bonfire-related calls.

The tradition of building bonfires symbolizes the small lighthouses that served as a guide along the coast for King William of Orange on his way to the Battle of the Boyne.

Ranging in size from 10 to over 200 feet, bonfires have been created by people of all ages, and some need to be maintained permanently to protect them from rivals.

Most bonfires pass without incident, but several remain a source of controversy. In previous years, there have been complaints from nationalist and intercommunal politicians about their images being placed on some of the pyres.

In 2022, a man died after falling from a separate bonfire on the Antiville estate in Larne while helping to build the structure. Last year, another man nearly lost his life when he fell 20 feet to the ground seconds after setting fire to a 60-foot wooden tower in Newtownards.


Photos: BelfastLive/PressEye

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Connswater Greenway Eleventh Night Bonfire (Flora Street)


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A finished bonfire in Portadown, Co. Armagh


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A bonfire is put out in Portadown, Co. Armagh


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Bonfires are lit every July 11th to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne in 1690


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Orangefield Eleventh Night Bonfire


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Craigyhill, Larne Eleventh Night Bonfire


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Eleventh Night Bonfire at Pitt Park


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Sandy Row Eleventh Night Bonfire


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Eleventh Night Bonfire on Shankill Road (Third Street)