Tall Ships Slip Into City

A celebration of sail has arrived in Belfast with the first of the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge 2009 vessels docking in Belfast this morning.

Although not taking place until 13 -16 August, a Brazilian and a Uruguayan boat both docked at Belfast port on Thursday morning, ahead of the huge maritime festival next week.

Having left originally from Spain in early May, the historic boats have travelled via the Canary Islands, Bermuda, the USA and Canada before reaching Northern Ireland.

Soon, a fleet of over 40 ships will berth along the river Lagan, providing a colourful, majestic backdrop to one of the most memorable and exciting events in Belfast's calendar.

This unique event is something for the whole family to enjoy and hasn't been to the city since the dark days of 1991 when The Troubles were at their height - and the arrival of these spectacular vessels brought a welcome distraction from the daily mayhem of a troubled province.

This month, the city will play host to the Tall Ships fleet as they cross the finish line of the 2009 Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge.
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Having completed over 7,000 nautical miles before arriving into the Port of Belfast, these magnificent vessels will receive a welcome at the major event which is funded by Belfast City Council.

They said that there will be plenty of activities for visitors along the quayside, such as street theatre, aerobatic displays, live music, continental markets, a fun fair and even the UK Strongest Man competition.

The festival will take place within Belfast's Harbour over five main sites: Clarendon Dock, Pollock Dock, Queens Quay and Albert Quay with entertainment also being provided at Custom House Square.

Due to the nature of the event and the site it is anticipated that visitors will be continually moving along the Quayside allowing all spectators unobstructed views of the Tall Ships.

There will be major fireworks displays too, on Thursday 13, Friday 14 and Saturday 15 August.

Each evening, a burst of colour will light up the River Lagan and Belfast Lough, which will bring the day's events to a close at approximately 9.10pm.

Coinciding with the Tall Ships, Newtownabbey Shoreline Festival will be full of family fun and will include popular music, classics in the park, a green living fair.

See: Tall Ships Belfast


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