Over 30,000 people turned out in Carrickfergus on Sunday to bid bon voyage to the Tall Ships and welcome the Red Arrows.
According to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, the spectacular aerial display by the Red Arrows – that followed a fly-past over the ships docked in Belfast – drew 32,000 people into the town.
Even the sometimes poor weather failed to dampen spirits for the throngs who lined viewing points along Marine Highway, the harbour and the castle’s battlements as the daredevil air display team swept across the skies, in close formation and often – it seemed - perilously close to the historic castle keep.
MEA had also laid on entertainment for children with a range of play activities on Castle Green while parents watched as the vessels set sail along Belfast Lough en route to Ballycastle and this week’s major race event which began on Monday.
The Mayor, Councillor Billy Ashe, was also on hand to witness the spectacle and meet Squadron Leader Mike Ling who is the Red Arrows’ supervisor for displays.
Mr Ashe commented: “This was the best attendance we have ever had at any council-run event. It brought thousands of people to the town, brought trade for local businesses and restaurants and bars and of course, a great deal of pleasure to the many family groups who thronged the seafront to view the Tall Ships and marvel at the aerial acrobatics of the Red Arrows.”