Published: 15th August 2019

Tourism Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland join forces to launch spectacular arts programme, Embrace The Place, at key tourism sites

The multi award-winning, Dumbworld along with project partner, Titanic Foundation, will present, All The Things We Are, a striking piece of audio-visual contemporary art

Titanic Slipway

Embrace The Place‘, an exciting new partnership between Tourism NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, will animate four key tourism sites across the region by using the arts to tell the stories of that particular area, offering visitors something new and inspiring to enjoy.

Following an investment by Tourism NI of £150,000 and an open call, Dumbworld, Kabosh, The Armagh Pipers and Snow Water, were commissioned to present an original art work that reflects the heritage of some of the Northern Ireland most special locations including, Belfast’s Maritime Mile, Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Navan Fort in Armagh and The Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh.

Tourism NI Director of Product Development, Rosemarie McHugh, said:  “We have a very vibrant arts sector here. We want this project to enable the best talent to create new innovative content to animate key tourism sites across Northern Ireland. Visitors want to engage with the authenticity of the destination and its people and the best way to get an emotional connection with place is through the arts. This creates memories and gives visitors even more compelling reasons to visit, return and encourage their friends and family to visit. 

“We have had a phenomenal response to this project from the arts sector and were overwhelmed by the quality of entries, given it was a new initiative. We are very excited to have supported the creation of the four projects and look forward to our visitors experiencing them over the coming weeks,” Rosemarie added.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added, “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to partner with Tourism NI on this thrilling programme of arts and heritage events to be held at some of Northern Ireland’s most scenic  locations.  There is so much to look forward to and all four projects promise to be wonderful, immersive experiences for the thousands of visitors that will engage with them.”        

The multi award-winning, Dumbworld along with project partner, Titanic Foundation, will present, All The Things We Are, a striking piece of audio-visual contemporary art that uses three shipping containers to reflect the comings and goings of this unique coastal location.  The art work, which is located at the Titanic Slipways, is free to access and marks the beginning of a new multi-purpose art installation that will remain in place for six months, drawing local people and tourists to the Maritime Mile.

Kerrie Sweeney, Chief Executive of Titanic Foundation, who also funded the launch project, All The Things We Are, commended all the partners involved, “Embrace The Place is an innovative approach to location inspired art. For us, the initial investment from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Tourism NI was a much-needed catalyst to deliver a project of scale with Dumbworld, which we could never have achieved alone. Through unique collaborations, all the projects have delivered exciting new content, unlocking new partnerships and fresh ways of working.  We are delighted to be involved and look forward to building on this success in the future”.

Theatre company, Kabosh and Seamus Heaney HomePlace, will present, A Bellaghy Tale, across three weekends in September.  A Bellaghy Tale is a theatrical walking tour, beginning at HomePlace and linking key sites throughout the village of Bellaghy that are closely related to the life and works of Seamus Heaney.  Written by Vincent Higgins, the 60 minute experience consists of 6×7 minute long dramas featuring local songs brought to life by Jane Cassidy.   Inspired by the history of each location, these original short plays will give voice to the spirit of each site and how they impacted on the life of Seamus Heaney, ultimately inspiring his life’s work.  The dramas and music will be available to download from the HomePlace and Kabosh websites with the scripts made available in a number of different languages.

On 6-7 September, the Armagh Rhymers and Armagh Pipers Club will present Macha at Navan Fort, a spectacular multi-media performance featuring music by renowned composer, Niall Vallely.  Macha is a unique musical and dramatic celebration of the myths and mysteries of Eamhain Macha, the ancient seat of the rulers of Ulster. Commencing at the Navan Centre, the two evenings includes a dramatic performance by Armagh Rhymers, musicians from Armagh Pipers Club and audio-visual displays together with a promenade to the Fort itself.

Snow Water has created Live at the Folk Park, which takes visitors on a musical journey charting the stories of those who had to leave Ulster over the course of 300 years.  It involves some of Northern Ireland’s finest musicians and singers (including Gareth Dunlop, No Oil Paintings, Jack Warnock, ROE, Eilidh Patterson, Niall Hanna and Maurice Leyden) with Neil Martin as Musical Director and Joe Lindsay as Presenter.

Live performances filmed in locations throughout the Ulster American Folk Park include songs from home and songs written from afar about home; Scottish-influenced fiddle music and piping; Appalachian music; religious songs; fast, lively, energising dance music and slower, reflective pieces.  It will culminate in a new permanent online exhibition, a piece of vinyl, and an innovative app which will be used as a guided tour of the Park and as part of a treasure hunt.