Ahoy mateys! For those who don’t know me, I am very partial to an adventure onboard a ship. But, eh just to clarify this comment I mean I’ve been lucky enough to go on some jolly cruises with my mum over the last few years. Although the locations have been a lot warmer than our fair city of Belfast, they have definitely given me a fondness for all things nautical.
So with the Tall Ships sailing into town this week, I knew I had to jump on the bandwagon or whatever the corresponding maritime term is and focus this week’s G Spots! on the spectacular ‘monsters of the sea’.
The lovely people at Lidl (@Lidl_ni) got the party started by inviting me onboard the Norwegian Sørlandet last night and between the acrobat, swing music, posh nibbles and tall blonde crew, I nearly didn’t get off!
If you are planning a visit to the 40+ Tall Ships this weekend, here are some details to make your experience ship shape.
Access to the ships is free and it will be on a first-come, first-served basis, but there will be no access on Sunday 5 July as this is the day of the parade. Opening times vary depending on deck hospitality events and crew activities such as training or meal times. The tidal range will also affect whether or not the ships can welcome visitors on board.
Day 2: Friday 3 July (12.15pm – 9pm)
Day 3: Saturday 4 July (10am – 10.30pm)
Day 4: Sunday 5 July (10am – 4pm) – Tall Ships Parade along Belfast Lough from 11am
Remember that ships bring sailors, so if this float your boat, get your glad rags on – but maybe no heels though unless you want to take the risk of taking a tumble overboard…
Lidl is one of the main sponsors, so you will be treated to demonstrations from its top chefs, Dean Coppard and Ian Orr. There will be lots of food samples over the weekend so prepare to have your tastebuds tickled with interactive food stations at the Lidl marquee.
There is also a range of other food to suit every taste – local, national and international with a range of pop-up restaurants and bars. Prices range from £2.50 for crepes to steak burgers at £4.50 and hog roasts at £7. You can bring your own food to the event but keep the place looking tidy after you leave.
The Dock Market will also be on and there will be a host of local suppliers selling tasty fare. Look out for our friends at Harnett’s Oils (@HarnettOils) – its flavoured rapeseed and hemp oils which will be perfect for summer salads and BBQ’s.
If you are heading out after, some bars in the cathedral Quarter will have nautical themed food and drinks on their menu this weekend and Custom House Square will have a special beach bar to keep you in the holiday mood.
There is lots of live music in the Odyssey car park across the whole weekend. Not the best location, but definitely a good mix of local artists.
If you fancy a monster of the sky, then The Ulster Aviation Society will be displaying a Spitfire and you’ll be able to sit in and enjoy.
The Red Arrows will fly past on Saturday night at 10pm. I had a preview in Bangor on Sunday and it is definitely worth staying up to enjoy.
On Saturday, Britain’s Got Talent sensation, Jesse-Jane McParland, will perform her famous martial arts routine.
You will also have the chance to have your picture taken with people dressed as pirates and sailors. Well, the latter will be real so don’t be stealing their hats as they need them for the day job!
Whatever you get up to, it’s definitely an event to get out and enjoy.
(For what goes on behind the scenes on a Tall Ship, check out my fellow Belfast Times contributor, Lindsay Malone @LyndsayMalone)
By Grainne McGarvey. Spotting local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com