Yesterday Alan and myself had the opportunity to take a trip on the water to look around the Tall Ships festival which is starting today in Belfast.
We were treated to a 90 minute tour of the Belfast Harbour which will be hosting nearly 50 tall ships for 3 days. Here I must declare an interest: I am a bit of a boat fan.
It’s not that I know a lot about sailing or anything, but I do like the experience of being on a boat. My awe and enthusiasm for being there was tempered by Alan’s desire to take pictures and take in the wonders of our local docks.
We played around with Periscope while and you can catch our musings for another couple of hours before they time out. We take you through some of the ships in port and there is some footage of two Tall Ships coming into the harbour. Plus, we look at the Royal Princess (not part of the Tall Ships) which was docked in our city yesterday.
Anyway back to the Tall Ships, it is expected that around 500,000 people will be visiting the area, generating around £10 million for the local economy. Not only will we be making money, but we will also have the One Show broadcasting live from Belfast on Friday night.
So, how can you get to see the Tall Ships?
Translink are laying on special services to get people safely to and from the Tall Ships. There will be Park and Ride facilities at Sprucefield, Cairnshill, Dundonald and a new site at Ballymartin, just off the M2 at the junction for the International Airport. There also will be bus services from Belfast City Council Park and Ride sites at Holywood Exchange travelling to Queen’s Quay and from Boucher Road Playing Fields to Pollock Dock. A free shuttle bus will help ferry visitors from Wellington Place in the city centre to Pollock Dock, and another between there and Queen’s Quay.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs