Belfast Telegraph

Ahoy there Belfast! Here come the beautiful Tall Ships

By Joanne Sweeney

The majestic Tall Ships will sail into Belfast today to begin four days of spectacular nautical themed fun and adventure.

Some of the 50 ships - 18 of them Class A ships at over 40 metres long - are expected to arrive at various times this afternoon for tomorrow's start.

Already in Belfast harbour is the Dutch ship Eendracht, Ecuadorian navy ship Guayas and the Atyla training ship.

This is the third time that the international event has been held in Belfast, having been here before in 1991 and 2008.

Organisers are promising that this will be the biggest and best festival to date as the city embraces its own maritime history as it welcomes the best of the Tall Ships from around the world.

An estimated 500,000 visitors are expected to enjoy the festival from tomorrow until Sunday, with another 500,000 spectators lining the shorelines along Belfast Lough to watch the craft depart in the Parade of Ships from midday.

The festival opens tomorrow from noon to 9pm where visitors will be able to enjoy the sights of the boats and open air entertainment throughout the day. Many of the ships will welcome visitors on board as the day unfolds.

A crew parade will take place from Belfast Harbour Commissioners on Friday from 6.15pm from where it will make its way past Custom House Square before arriving at the main stage at the Odyssey.

Saturday is the longest opening day at the festival with events starting from 10am until 10.30pm, with finish times tomorrow and Friday at 9pm

There will be a stunning firework display over Belfast's skies on Saturday evening.

Two of the most visual events of the weekend will be the Red Arrows doing a flypast on Sunday in their Hawk T1 jets preceding the Tall Ships' parade, followed by an aerial display close to Carrick Castle.

There will be plenty of restaurants and outdoor catering kiosks to feed the masses with 30 stalls at the Dock Market.

Visitors are being recommended to use public transport to get to the festival area or to avail of one of the 4,500 park and ride centres at Boucher Park and Airport Road West.

Free shuttle buses will ferry people from Pollock Dock to enjoy its ferris wheel and fairground.

What's happening

Workshops

The Living History Viking Workshop will provide craft displays from the Viking period and an exciting interactive experience that brings the past to life.

The percussion boat workshop will allow you to get hands-on and experiment with a variety of electronic and junk percussion.

Watch Sunday's Tall Ships Parade from 11am-3pm

Best vantage points will be in and around Jordanstown or Carrickfergus shoreline and along the north Down coast at Cultra. Elevated positions such as Cave Hill or Belfast Zoo will also provide great views.

Vintage Teas and Music on SS Nomadic

Enjoy vintage afternoon teas with period music on Titanic's original tender ship, SS Nomadic, with cakes and traybakes.

Entertainment

The main stage at the Odyssey Arena will feature live music from various artists including The Nooks, Saffyre, the Down and Out String Band and 16-year-old Britain's Got Talent star, Bailey McConnell, who has just finished his debut US tour.

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