Last year we made the trip from Newcastle to Belfast to take in our first experience of Belfast’s Culture Night. Culture Night is a celebration of the culture and essence of a town or city, and in recent years has spread across many towns and cities in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. While we enjoyed taking in all of the festivities last year around the Cathedral Quarter, this year we went down a different route, and one that left us pleasantly surprised.
Lots to see at Belfast Harbour
Instead of visiting Belfast at night to enjoy Culture Night we called up during the day to experience some of the events taking place at Belfast Harbour. We were actually surprised just how close Belfast Harbour is to the rest of the city centre as there’s often a misconception that it’s a very industrial space outside the city centre. We parked at St Anne’s Square and made the short walk (about 3 – 4 minutes) across to the harbour area. For those of you that have never explored the area around Belfast Harbour (and we were one of you until Friday), you really will be taken back by the space. With events spread across Barrow Square, City Quays and The Big Fish, we certainly enjoyed our time around the harbour.
Get your samba on
There’s something quite hypnotic about the beat of the samba drum and one of the biggest crowds during our time at the harbour was gathered around to watch the BeatnDrum Samba Band. The guys put on quite a show and while we didn’t break into a full on dance, our feet were certainly tapping away to the beat of the drum. As the workers from around the various organisations located at Belfast Harbour came out for lunch, the reaction was priceless as this is something you simply don’t see every day when grabbing a bite to eat.
We left Barrow Square and the samba band to head over to the City Quays Walkway to check out the street artists (a fancy name for graffiti artists). This is located directly opposite the Odyssey Arena and the artists were doing a great job. With walkabout magicians on the go as well, the artists attracted a crowd of parents with young kids.
Music and Meccano
With traditional music from An Droichead and the Belfast Guitar Society also in full flow there was plenty of light entertainment on the go during our hour or two at the harbour. We also took time to marvel at the engineering team from QUB as they began to assemble a Meccano bridge at Clarendon Dock in an attempt to set a World Record. While we didn’t see the end product, the guys managed to set a World Record on Saturday, and you can read more about it here.
Time to call it a day
We only wanted to call down for an hour or so due to other commitments but we thoroughly enjoyed our time getting to know the area around Belfast Harbour. There was much more there than we imagined, and it was also handy to get to. It’s very much part of Belfast city centre and will be interesting to see what events take place in the future.
Belfast Harbour were the headline sponsor for Culture Night but sort of stayed in the background as the rest of the city highlighted just how good Belfast is. We’ve already put 2016 Culture Night into our diary as another must visit event.