At last- with two reluctant children, one submissive child and husband in tow – I managed to make it to the Tall Ships Festival. Yes, I know what you are thinking – that’s 3 times this week she’s been to Belfast! It was well worth it and completely lived up to the hype for me and my kids who were more than glad I had twisted their little arms into accompanying me.
We spent the afternoon along Clarendon Dock – the weather was perfect and the ships were certainly a sight to behold. I was glad we had not opted for the Co. Down coast as apparently the traffic was brutal.
The ships began their voyages home bang on time and we were kept well informed of what was what through the pa system. The kids favourite was without a doubt the Bounty which looked magnificent as it sailed on into the distance at full sail. Personally I liked the look of the Europa – a bit more majestic.
There was a fantastic carnival atmosphere along the docks and it was obvious that the event had attracted visitors from all over Ireland as well as further afield – we were beside a family from France. The crowds had certainly turned out in force for the finale and were not disappointed.
Despite some recent bad press we were impressed with the ease with which we were transported to the city centre, having parked at Fortwilliam Park and Ride – we were able to get on a bus straight away and within minutes found ourselved amidst the festivities on the dock. The Market was bustling with an ample variety of food to choose from. The prices were not extortionate – as some people may have been lead to believe. (All the pirates were on the Bounty, not selling burgers!). No queues for toilets which were aplenty – and when it was time to go home the journey was as painless as getting there. We just missed a bus but were surprised to see 3 more waiting to ferry us back to Fortwilliam. 10/10 for organisation Belfast! We had a great experience.
Something else that caught my eye in the market was the Hilden Brewery tent – the cider seemed to be going down a treat! Which brings me nicely on to this months Hilden Beer and Music Festival which will take place on the weekend of 28th August. This event has a full listing on the site. For full details click see main website and search “Hilden”. Three days of locally brewed beverages and music – what a great way to pass the weekend!