Tall Ships race to begin in Belfast next year
The International Tall Ships race will start in Belfast next year, it was announced today.
Belfast City Council said the city will be the "starting post" for the Tall Ships 2015, with the event being part of the Titanic Maritime Festival in July 2015.
The Tall Ships last visited Belfast in 2009, with huge crowds coming to see the event as a flotilla of 40 ships were berthed along quays in the city.
Next year's Tall Ships race will see an extra 30 vessels sailing in to Belfast.
Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon said: "Last time they were here was in 2009 and they attracted some 800,000 people into the city for the tail end of the race, this time we are kick-starting the race and we expect it to be an even bigger and better event.
"This time we have the Titanic signature project so we have an even greater maritime offering for tourists so we expect to double the number of visitors that have come here before."
Tall Ships 2015 chairman Dr. Gerard O'Hare also predicted next years festival to smash all attendance records and he appealed to businesses across the city to get involved and support the initiative.
"We're very excited about it - there will be a lot more to see and a lot more to do and we think that the people will enjoy coming along to visit it," he said.