Bangor in Co Down has been awarded city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
It’s one of eight towns that will have their status upgraded, along with Colchester (England), Doncaster (England), Douglas (Isle of Man), Dunfermline (Scotland), Milton Keynes (England), Stanley (Falkland Islands) and Wrexham (Wales).
There were 38 bids in all to be awarded city status. The other two from Northern Ireland were Ballymena and Coleraine.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said: “Bangor has a strong community focus and so much to offer, including its beautiful coastline, a thriving marina, and a resurgent cultural and arts sector that is drawing people from across Northern Ireland and beyond for events.
“I’m delighted that Bangor has secured city status, and this well-deserved honour will provide a further boost to tourism and to the economy, creating new opportunities for the community and recognition for the area.”
Bangor's pitch was focused on 'heritage, heart and hope'.
Councillor Mark Brooks, Mayor of Ards and North Down, said: “I am delighted by the news of Bangor’s success in the City Status Competition. It would be an honour for the town and people of Bangor to receive at any time but coming as part of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations makes it extra special.
“City Status isn’t judged on the size of your town and isn’t dependent on having particular assets such as a cathedral, rather it’s about heritage, pride and potential.
"When putting forward the case for Bangor we found evidence of each of these in abundance. I would like to put on record my thanks to all those who contributed to Bangor’s application – both in terms of their words of support but more importantly in terms of their practical and ongoing work in the local area.
“Bangor has been given a great boost today and I’m extremely proud of this new and significant accolade for our Borough.”
Alison Gordon of the Open House Festival said: "This is terrific news and paves the way for a future UK City of Culture bid. Bangor has an unrivalled musical and cultural history - it was formerly known as the Brighton of Ireland.
"Its musical heritage goes way back to the 40s and 50s with the famous Capronis and Milanos dance halls; it has been home to Blues legend Rory Gallagher, the late Derek Bell of the Chieftains, Ireland’s only surrealist painter Colin Middleton, and hosted NI’s first punk club which spawned the classic punk anthem Alternative Ulster.
"It’s now home to many of Northern Ireland’s finest creatives – Snow Patrol, Two Door Cinema Club, Foy Vance, Hannah Peel, writer Colin Bateman, painter Colin Davidson and renowned contemporary dancer Oona Dogherty.
"A cultural renaissance is under way in Bangor that will drive the future identity and economy of our town."