Belfast’s close links with the sea will once again be celebrated at the end of this month, when the city starts its build up to next year’s visit of the Tall Ships Race by hosting the 2014 Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival.
The Festival, organised by Belfast City Council and supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Belfast Harbour, takes place over the last May Bank Holiday weekend – Saturday 24 to Monday 26 May – at Queen’s Quay extending down to the Nomadic and Titanic Belfast.
Sailing into Belfast for the first time will be the impressive clipperbrik ‘Morgenster’, and it will be accompanied by the returning ‘Gulden Leeuw’, an impressive Dutch tall ship built in the 1930s with a rich history, and the ‘Pelican’ of London, a sail training ship built in 1948 which has served as an Arctic trawler and coastal trading vessel until 1995.
Pirate re-enactments will be taking place on the River Lagan over the Bank Holiday weekend. There will also be a wide range of land-based activities celebrating the city’s unique maritime history at Queen’s Quay, the Arc, Nomadic Boulevard and Titanic Belfast.
Children can take part in free arts and crafts activities from face painting, balloon modelling and caricature drawing and everyone, young and old, will be entertained by the variety of street theatre and performers, live music, free exhibitions and of course, no maritime festival would be complete without a bevy of pirates!
At the Titanic Quarter, delve into the hidden treasure of activities taking place there. Get the kids’ day off to a exciting start with pirate and kite making workshops, visit the Drawing Offices for interactive science experiments, demonstrations, games – or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, try your hand at Zip lining, scale the walls of the famous Titanic Dock, try out the Segway assault course and enjoy the live DJ session and freestyle BMX action with the RampRage Extreme Sports Crew.
For the first time ever a selection of Ireland’s most impressive wake boarders and water-skiers, as well as international champions, will perform a mind-blowing demonstration in Belfast Harbour! Plus don’t forget to check out the living history re-enactments on board the SS Nomadic.
All the sea air is sure to generate a healthy appetite and the Maritime Market will be returning to the Queen’s Quay over the weekend where visitors can sample the tastes and traditions of Europe. A free Maritime Shuttle Bus will also be operating from the quay to the city centre so visitors can enjoy a little bit of shopping as well.
Opening times for the Maritime Market will operate during the festival from 11am- 6pm (Saturday 24 May/Sunday 25 May) and 10am-5pm (Monday 26 May).
Gerry Copeland, City Events Manager with Belfast City Council, said: “The 2014 Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival will once again celebrate the city’s unique maritime heritage and is sure to attract thousands of visitors to the city over the three days.
“There will be something for everyone to enjoy from seeing the magnificent ships, taking part in tours and exhibitions, enjoying the street theatre or sampling the finest foods and produce at the Maritime Market. I would urge all to get down to the Queen’s Quay and enjoy a fantastic May Bank Holiday weekend.”
Eddie Rowan, Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s Events Manager, said: “We are delighted to support the 2014 Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival. As the birthplace of the Titanic and with a vast shipbuilding history, this event provides a great opportunity to fully celebrate our compelling maritime heritage.
“In addition, the range and quality of activity and entertainment on offer for all to experience will encourage more visitors from both at home and beyond to attend. I wish everyone a very enjoyable weekend.”
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For more information on the 2013 Belfast Maritime Festival, you can visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/events or contact Belfast Welcome Centre on (028) 9024 6609.