Belfast’s offering as a maritime heritage destination has been given a boost today as the Great Light and Titanic Walkway officially opened to the public in Titanic Quarter.
The opening event was also selected to launch The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in Northern Ireland.
The Great Light gave Mew Island Lighthouse on the Copeland Islands its traditional revolving light and guided mariners to and from Belfast Lough until technology progressed and solar powered LED lighting replaced it. The lighthouse optic was installed in Tory Island Lighthouse in 1887 then reconfigured and moved to Mew Island in 1928.
‘The Great Light is one of the largest optics of its kind ever built in the world, and is around 130 years old. Weighing 10 tonnes and measuring 7 metres tall, the optic is a unique maritime heritage object with significance to Belfast’s economic, maritime and industrial past. It is totally irreplaceable and is an exceptionally rare maritime artefact. It produced one of the strongest lighthouse beams ever to shine – a truly GREAT LIGHT’ Source Titanic Foundation
The Great Light project from Titanic Foundation, the charity committed to preserving Belfast’s maritime and industrial heritage, in partnership with the Commissioners of Irish Lights, will see the optic given a new role bringing to life the story of lighthouses, their technological developments, their light-keepers and their role in the maritime and industrial history of Belfast and beyond.
Visitors will be able to walk the new 500 metre Titanic Walkway on Victoria Wharf, which connects the Titanic Slipways to HMS Caroline and the Thompson Dock, learning about the maritime and industrial heritage of the area on their way to the Great Light. This iconic waterfront walkway has been delivered by Titanic Quarter Limited.
Learn more about The Great Light:
The projects have been funded by Tourism NI, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Belfast City Council, Ulster Garden Villages and the Commissioners of Irish Lights.