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Travel News March 2017


Historic visit by young William to Titanic site W


ILLIAM Harland, aged 13 whose great, great, great, great uncle was owner of the Harland and Wolff Shipyard that built the RMS Titanic, recently travelled to Northern Ireland to visit the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience, Titanic Belfast.


William arrived in Belfast and was greeted by the signature ‘H&W’ yellow cranes, abbreviated for his family’s surname, Harland and Wolff, or as locals joke ‘Hello and Welcome’. He visited the attraction, which recently crowned the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction, to learn more about not not only Titanic but the city and people that built her, including his great uncle.


The 13-year-old’s great uncle, Edward Harland, was one of the main men behind the RMS Titanic and Belfast’s strong industrial heritage. His name is synonymous with Belfast and his legacy lasts to this day. The staff at Titanic Belfast were able to help him discover more about his great uncle.


Faye Harland, William’s mother, commented, “William loves everything to do with Titanic and wanted to learn more about his family’s heritage and legacy – where better to do this than Belfast. It was great for him to see and learn first-hand about its shipbuilding and industrial heritage and his family’s


role in it.”


Tim Husbands, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast, said, “At Titanic Belfast, we not only tell the story of how the world’s most famous ship was built, designed and launched, but also the story of Belfast and the personal stories behind it. There are literally thousands of fascinating connections to Titanic but to have one of the Harland family with us is an honour. Over the years we have welcomed guests including Her Majesty the Queen but our staff equally loved having William to visit and teaching him about the work of his family and what the Harland and Wolff Shipyard meant to Belfast, under the Harland and Wolff cranes, which still to this day are synonymous with Belfast skyline.”


Titanic Belfast and its world-class galleries tell the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through to her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end. The iconic attraction has now welcomed almost 3.5 million visitors and was also recently named the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction in the prestigious World Travel Awards. It is easily accessible from both George Best Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport and only 90 minutes from Dublin.


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Titanic Belfast’s Chief Executive Tim Husbands is pictured welcoming 13 year old William Harland whose great, great, great uncle was owner of the Harland and Wolff Shipyard that built the RMS Titanic, to world’s largest Titanic visitor experience.


Two new city centre hotels bound for Belfast


AT LEAST two new hotels - including a George Best themed hotel – are set to be developed in Belfast this year by luxury hotel developer Signature Living as a direct result of the city’s attendance at the world’s largest property investment event last year. The announcement came at the Waterfront Conference and Exhibition Centre as Belfast revealed that it will take its largest ever trade delegation when it returns to MIPIM in Cannes next month, with a record financial support of over £250,000 from private sector sponsors and stakeholders.


MIPIM, an annual global property investment conference that brings together the most influential players from all international property sectors, is at the centre of Belfast City Council’s ‘Go to Market’ strategy, which also includes inward and outward trade delegations to and from Nashville, Boston and China in the coming months.


Councillor Aileen Graham, Chair of the Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said that with the recent political developments across Europe, in the USA and closer to home, it was more important


than ever that Belfast promotes itself on the global stage.


She said: “There is tremendous energy in Belfast and the city has already reinvented itself. Investors, developers and employers who are familiar with the city, and its people, recognise that we are on the cusp of another phase of transformation, and that now is the time to invest in Belfast. But there are many more potential investors and developers out there who are not familiar with the opportunities in our amazing city. That is why it is vital we do not sit at home in the vain hope that we might catch their eye – instead, we need to proactively go out to the world during the coming year. We are confident we will reap the benefits of this approach in the years ahead.


“This announcement about two new hotels for Belfast, including a George Best themed hotel, is evidence of the value of such an approach, since conversations in relation to these projects started at MIPIM last year. We would not have reached where we are today if we had not attended MIPIM in 2016.” Lawrence Kenwright, director of Signature Living


which will develop the new hotels in Belfast said: “I was hugely impressed by what I saw of Belfast at MIPIM in 2016 – so much so, in fact, that I have visited the city seven times in the past 12 months to find out more.


“It is clear to me that Belfast is at an exciting stage in its development, with so much happening around the city. Most importantly, it is looking outward and forward and, as a result, I believe the city will really continue to flourish in the coming years. “I am confident that Belfast is an excellent city in which to invest and, to that end, have committed to commencing development of two new city centre hotels in 2017 – one of which will have a strong George Best theme. All together we are looking to create five hotels in the city and are very close to agreeing terms for the acquisition of a landmark building in which we will develop the first. These hotels will not only boost Belfast’s already thriving tourism sector, but will contribute significantly to the local economy through the creation of up to 500 jobs during and post- development.”


Big Apple bar winner


NICOLE Kane from Muriels Café Bar, Belfast, has been crowned the winner of Northern Ireland’s ‘Jameson NYC Experience’ competition. Eight of Northern Ireland’s Jameson Irish Whiskey loving bartenders battled it out this week at the grand finale of the Jameson NYC Experience competition, with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York up for grabs.


The winner will now travel to New York where she will gain behind the scenes access to the World’s Best Bar, The Dead Rabbit, and newly opened BlackTail at Pier A with Northern Ireland’s finest cocktail export, Sean Muldoon. In recent years Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry have taken the New York bar scene by storm with their innovative, world-renowned bars and their love of Irish Whiskey.


The final, which took place in a secret location, was judged by Sean Muldoon, along with leading drinks industry experts including Ger Garland, Irish Whiskey Ambassador for Irish Distillers Pernod-Ricard; Jason Scott, owner of Bramble Bar in Edinburgh and Craig Harper, UK On Trade Manager for Fever-Tree.


The big tourist season begins on beautiful island of Rathlin!


AMIDST the rugged landscape of this beautiful island, let your mind wander and discover a tranquillity and beauty that is so unexpected. The ferry to Rathlin Island travels just six miles across the Sea of Moyle. This island is six miles long, one mile wide, "L" shaped and home to a slowly increasing population of around 140 people. A short walk from the harbour is the Boathouse Visitor Centre, where visitors can discover some of the exciting history, learn about present day island life and see some artefacts


from shipwrecks around the island. Enjoy many of the walks the Island has to offer including along the shore to Mill Bay where you may see some of the resident seals basking or at play. Cycle hire is another way to enjoy the island or take a bus trip.


From April to July is puffin season so don't miss the opportunity to see them along with lots of other sea birds. The re-furbished seabird centre is open to the public from Easter with the added bonus of being able to explore a real


working lighthouse which is now part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland tour.


Many tales of myth and mystery surround Rathlin; perhaps the most famous tells of Robert the Bruce. In 1306, the Scottish King was driven from Scotland by Edward I of England and took refuge on Rathlin where he watched a spider persevering again and again to bridge a gap with its web. Eventually it succeeded. Taking heart from the spider's efforts, he returned to Scotland and eventually regained his crown.


The island has a range of accommodation to suit different needs, a pub, restaurant, community shop and gift shop, offering Rathlin produced crafts. ‘Breakwater Studio’ features the work of local artist Yvonne Braithwaite. The Rathlin Development & Community Association (RDCA) is the voluntary body that represents the Rathlin community and manages an informative website with detailed information about services and activities on the island - rathlincommunity.org.


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