It’s Halloween night and for the past 20 years, this North West Culture Gal has been venturing into Derry each year. It would start out with the late evening coffee, walk on the walls, watch the parade and then finish off with the fireworks. It really is the best city in the world on Halloween night. But this year, I decided to do something different.
I booked the last Torch Light tour at Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh. Myself and a friend, and her two children (aged 9 and 13) headed off this afternoon to the park. We were booked in for the 4pm tour, so it was to the coffee shop we did head on arrival. That of course was after our lovely browse in the fabulous gift shop there.
At approximately 4pm we were introduced to Deirdre, our tour guide for the next two hours. Deirdre was excellent in her hosting, delivering, escorting and informing us throughout the tour. We were all introduced to Deirdre and she had us practicing our screeching ability before going outside. Soon we were taken out to the landscape that is the Ulster American Folk Park. We had been pre-warned about some spooky goings on as we walked and we were soon to encounter lots of different ghoulish friends!
For the next two hours we really did have a spooktacular time. We met those ghoulish friends, were in church, school, a blacksmiths, kitchen, shop, and more. We had drama, a barn dance, spooktacular goings on, trip down the village street, various meetings with ghosts, witches, clowns and ghouls. But I think what I will take away from this evening is the delicious pumpkin pie. A food I never thought I would even sample, let alone enjoy. The barmbrack, the apple pie, the colcannon and all the foods prepared were delicious. But the pumpkin pie won it for me.
As we set out this afternoon at 4pm, it was daylight. It allowed the fear factor to stay at bay. Within an hour into our tour, we came out from the drama and it was dusk; the sun was setting and darkness was kicking in. It was getting a bit eerie. By the time we came out from the Clown performance, it was dark. There were numerous howling noises in the bushes. There were numerous scary beings jumping out at us. It was scary. The tour progressed perfectly as daylight died.
It really was a lovely way to spend Halloween. Our guide Deirdre, was the perfect hostess. Our group consisted of many local folk and lots of holiday makers too. This made it a really great bunch of folk to take the tour with.
From arrival to the Ulster American Folk park today until departure tonight, we were not disappointed. This really is an evening to plan ahead for next year. Take your little ones (over 8) along and give them a Halloween with a difference. It was fun, scary and so very much learning based. We learned so much about the time of year, the history, the people, the culture, the traditions and the food. And we enjoyed it all.
This is one Halloween tour I can hugely recommend. Next Halloween will be here before we can shout, ‘Pumpkin Pie’. Do check this Torch Light tour out and let your family enjoy a tour with a difference.
It won’t be too long before I’m back at this park for the traditional tour. It’s been 40 years since I’ve had it, and it’s high time I took another one. Thanks Ulster American Folk Park for having us. We really did enjoy.