Tall Ships return set to be biggest yet

Published Tuesday, 22 July 2014
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Next year's Tall Ships event in Belfast is set to be the biggest the city has ever seen - with 30 extra vessels expected to sail in for the start of the race.

Details of the event were unveiled on Tuesday at a business breakfast event held in City Hall hosted by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Nichola Mallon, alongside sponsor Lidl's Northern Ireland's Regional Director, Glen Cinnamon.

Next year will mark the third time the city has hosted The Tall Ships Races, with the first back in 1991 and the most recent in 2009.

The Titanic Maritime Festival in Belfast will be the starting post for the Tall Ships Races 2015, when the event takes place between the 2 to 5 July, with ships from across the globe mooring in the city's harbour.

Last time, around 50 vessels docked there. The 2015 event will see at least 80 vessels at the starting point.

There will be a range of free, family friendly festival activities on the quayside throughout the four days, before the ships set sail for the Scandinavian cities of Ålesund, Kristiansand and Aalborg.

The last Tall Ships event brought thousands of visitors to Belfast and next year’s event will provide the city and Northern Ireland with yet another strategically-important showcase opportunity.

Gerry Lennon, Visit Belfast

Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon said the scale of next year's event will bring a tremendous boost to the economy, as it is expected the race will bring in more than the £16m the 2009 event saw in revenue.

"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," she said.

"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."

Chair of Belfast Tall Ships 2015, Dr Gerard O'Hare, said: "Tall Ships 2009 was the first time that we were back in Belfast for 19 years. In fact, because of the success of the 2009 event, Sail Training International offered us the opportunity to bring it back again on a six-year basis.

"This time it is going to be a bigger event, Tall Ships festivals are about a tapestry of spectacle, of wonderful sailing vessels that weave together from a local, national and international base and they come together in Belfast in a much bigger event, possibly twice as large as they were in 2009.

"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 added: "Given our maritime history, given that Belfast is a maritime city we should celebrate it and this will be an international celebration of our maritime heritage."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
jen in lisburn wrote (170 days ago):
can't wait to go and see them, and think its a brilliant time of year for them to come, kids off school and many on leave from work
Claire in Belfast wrote (189 days ago):
What a terrible shame to have them here at the exact time that most people try to leave on out holidays. I would have loved to take my kids and I'm sure tourists would have come but who comes to Belfast that week of July?! It's a mass exodus normally!
wagmytail in Belfast wrote (189 days ago):
what a great idea bring a big festival to Belfast when people leave in there thousands to get away from the mad month great thinking ( not)
great news in ards wrote (189 days ago):
great to see these ships coming back to Belfast, I was at the first display of the ships about twenty years ago and it was very good, lets hope the people from all over both northern Ireland and afar come and see them?
John in Glasgow wrote (189 days ago):
Love tall ships, if it was in Dublin I would go. It's a bad month for Belfast, one I will always avoid.
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