The Maritime Mile
The Maritime Mile is a linear waterfront experience that will encourage people to explore Belfast’s maritime & industrial history, and connect all the key attractions, public realm, sculptures & viewing points on both sides of the river.
The Maritime Mile is an initiative developed by Titanic Foundation in association with the Belfast Harbour, Odyssey Trust and Titanic Quarter Limited.
Futurecity, a London based multidisciplinary culture agency & Growth Industry, a landscape design consultancy were appointed to identify, scope and cost opportunities to progress the development and animation of the Maritime Mile. Futurecity are a placemaking agency who have developed nearly a hundred placemaking and cultural strategies for brownfield developments and regeneration projects across the UK and mainland Europe, including the Greenwich Peninsula, Canary Wharf and the City of London. Growth Industry are a landscaping design consultancy who drive to create exceptional public spaces, and have worked on projects including the Canary Wharf Crossrail garden, and the SkyGarden at Fenchurch Street, London.
You can download the Development and Animation Strategy for the Maritime Mile below:
Maritime Mile: Development & Animation Strategy
Maritime Mile Book 1 Vision & Strategy
|4 MB||06 Aug 2019|
The Maritime Mile coming to life
The Maritime Mile begins on the city side of the river, linking Belfast’s historic Sailortown and St Joseph’s Church, to the rich maritime heritage of Clarendon buildings. The trail passes the ‘Dividers’ sculpture and the dry and wet docks, Sinclair Seaman’s Church and the Belfast Harbour office to the public realm in City Quays. Passing the Big Fish at Donegall Quay, the trail will cross the Lagan Footbridge and follow the water’s edge around past the Odyssey, to the Abercorn Basin and the SS Nomadic, Titanic Belfast and Titanic Hotel Belfast, and onto the iconic Titanic & Olympic Slipways and the Titanic Walkway. The trail continues past the Great Light, and down to HMS Caroline, with the final destination being the Thompson Dock, the 44ft dry dock where RMS Titanic was fitted out.
We have already begun delivering a number of initiatives along the Maritime Mile to animate it and encourage both locals and visitors to Belfast to engage with the city’s iconic heritage waterfront.
The Belfast Buoys
One of Belfast’s more unique landmarks, the Belfast Buoys have moved to their new home on the Maritime Mile from the Cathedral Gardens beside St Anne’s Cathedral. Donated to Belfast City Council by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the Buoys were moved as part of regeneration plans for the Cathedral area. The buoys were taken to DunLaoghaire to Irish Lights’ headquarters to be cleaned and repainted, before making their way to their new location at the Abercorn Basin in Titanic Quarter. Similar buoys would have been used in the Victoria Channel to guide ships safely in and out of the Harbour, and visitors can now learn about their history and the importance of safety at sea.
Glass of Thrones
The Titanic Film Studios was the home of the HBO series Game of Thrones for all eight seasons, beginning filming in 2011. As the final season was nearing completion, Tourism Ireland began developing a legacy campaign to showcase Northern Ireland as Game of Thrones territory. Defining moments from the series were immortalised in a stained glass window trail from Belfast City Hall to the Titanic Slipways, overlooking the studios where so many key scenes were shot. Titanic Foundation worked with local stakeholders to agree locations that would best showcase the Maritime Mile to visitors and is a must-do for any Game of Thrones fan visiting Belfast.
Out of Stores: explore our shipyard collection
Our summer exhibition offers the opportunity to learn about what was once the world’s biggest shipyard and see some of the tools used by its workers. Titanic Foundation has acquired a collection of items relating to the Harland & Wolff shipyard, via donations from former employees and their families or through heritage projects we’ve worked on, such as the preservation of the SS Nomadic or the restoration of the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices.
The free exhibition is in the Andrews Gallery in Titanic Belfast until the end of 2020, and includes diving suits and propellers loaned by Belfast Harbour.
The Maritime Mile Treasure Trail
The Maritime Mile Treasure Trail was launched in the summer of 2020 to encourage people to explore the rich maritime heritage of Belfast. The outdoor family experience takes visitors from one end of the Maritime Mile to the other, with questions, clues, facts and challenges along the way on what they can see and what they have learnt as they explore. There’s even a mini explorers trail.
The joint initiative with Belfast Harbour also includes the opportunity to win weekly prizes, as well as the main prize, a specially commissioned Maritime Mile painting by local artist and former Harland & Wolff employee Colin H. Davidson. Everyone who completes the experience will get their very own Maritime Mile certificate.
For further information on the Maritime Mile Treasure Trail visit www.maritime-mile.com. Follow Maritime Mile on Facebook and Instagram #MaritimeMile.
SoundYard - coming soon!
Titanic Foundation are working with the young architects who won the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) and JP Corry’s “CityPlay” design competition, to develop a play area on the Maritime Mile.
The winning idea by Eunan Deeney, Hannah Wilson and Matthew Kernan is entitled Sound Yard. Inspired by the noise of striking metal emanating from the old ship yard, the proposal is for an interactive play area consisting of a constellation of chimes made from metal pipework. Whilst the sound frequencies are to be reminiscent of the ship yard the aim is to create a harmonic, inclusive play space that provides a focal point on the waterside walkway near the Odyssey. Read the full press release here.
Do you have memories of what the shipyard used to sound like? Get in touch below:
Sounds of the Shipyard
Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival
The Maritime Festival encourages people to explore the Maritime Mile while visiting the tall ships and enjoying the entertainment of the Maritime Festival. In 2019 animation and events ran from Sailortown in the Harbour Estate across the Lagan Bridge as far as HMS Caroline in the Alexandra Dock, culminating in over 5 kilometres of nautical fun. Titanic Foundation work closely with Belfast City Council, Titanic Quarter Limited and Belfast Harbour and local partners to deliver the Maritime Festival and animate the waterfront area. Tall ships and smaller vessels dock at Queen’s Quays and the marina, and the surrounding open areas contain fun activities for families, along with an array of performers, musicians, flash mobs and numerous street food traders.
The 2019 Festival also extended into the evening for the first time, with Titanic Foundation working with Blunt Fringe to hold some special performances of the Jimmy Ellis play Home Again in Titanic Belfast. Jimmy Ellis was an actor & playwright from East Belfast and Home Again is based on his memoirs of growing up in the shadow of the shipyard. It featured local actors with a starring performance from Stuart Graham (The Fall, Macbeth) as the adult Jimmy reflecting on his upbringing.
Hello Maritime Mile
This digital ‘smart city’ project was a pilot initiative in 2019 that encouraged people to talk to objects along the Maritime Mile via SMS text. Titanic Foundation worked with Belfast City Council, Tourism NI, University of Ulster and Hello Lamp Post, to trial the project in March 2019. It proved so successful that the project continued to run through 2019 and into the busy summer months. There were eleven landmarks on the Maritime Mile that could be texted: Barrow Square’s Tall Ships Mural, the historic Clarendon Docks, Belfast Harbour’s Smart Bench, the Big Fish, the Lagan Weir, Belfast Harbour, the Belfast Buoys, SS Nomadic, Titanic Belfast, the Great Light and HMS Caroline.
Hello Maritime Mile won Best Use of Digital Tourism Technology to Improve the Visitor Experience at the 2019 Northern Ireland Tourism Awards.
Riverbox: All The Things We Are
Titanic Foundation worked with Tourism NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland on their partnership Embrace The Place, which funded the commissioning of four original art works to animate the sense of place across four key tourism sites; Belfast’s Maritime Mile, Seamus Heaney HomePlace, The Ulster American Folk Park and Navan Fort. For Riverbox, Titanic Foundation worked with Dumbworld a multidisciplinary, creative production company that makes work found at the intersection of music, image and words. Their body of work includes film, opera, documentary, oratorio, animation, public art installation, performance pieces, theatre and curatorial projects.
All The Things We Are is an audio-visual installation inspired by the essential nature of the port as a space of comings and of goings. Working from conversations with dock workers, local residents, sailors and individuals who have both recently arrived and left Belfast, artistic directors Brian Irvine and John McIlduff have crafted a work that is both a meditation on this ebb and flow but also participates within the emotional geography of the port, singing the Outbound; singing the Inbound.