posted on April 26th, 2023
Water-way to spend a day in Belfast!
New Belfast river boat cruise service to boost Belfast tourismVISITORS to Belfast will now be able to enjoy a cruise around Belfast Lough following the launch of a new river cruise service by newly-formed tourism company Waterways Belfast Ltd.The MV Lady of the Lagan, which was officially launched today by Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Christina Black, is the latest addition to Belfast’s long-standing maritime tourism product and will operate four daily one-hour cruises of Belfast Harbour, starting and finishing at the Big Fish monument on Donegall Quay.The first passengers on the ship were pupils from St Mary’s Primary School in Kircubbin, who won a competition to name the new vessel, and runners-up from Holy Cross Boys Primary School in Belfast.Waterways Belfast Ltd, founded by entrepreneurs Peter Lavery, Sean Donnelly and brothers Jeremy and Simon Rogers, has invested a quarter of a million pounds in in the new service that will navigate around Belfast Lough, highlighting key additions and developments to the shoreline and beyond that have helped to transform Belfast into a world class tourism destination over the last decade.A former luxury cruiser on Lough Erne, the Lady of the Lagan can accommodate up to 60 passengers and crew and will operate all year round, with Belfast-born Captain Alan Gilfillan at the helm.The vessel will also be available for private hire functions in the evening, with a licensed bar to host a variety of events.Waterways Belfast founding director Peter Lavery said: “It has always been a passion of mine to see the sights and sounds of Belfast Lough being brought to a wider audience in the form of a quality maritime experience.“After many months of searching, we were able to secure the MV Lady of the Lagan and, after considerable investment of approximately quarter of a million pounds, I’m absolutely delighted with the results.“We now have a fully licensed river cruiser which will offer a unique insight and experience into Belfast’s expanding maritime history tourism product. And in Captain Alan Gilfillan we have a highly experienced and personable member of the team who will help bring the unique story of Belfast Lough to life for all of our guests,“ he added.Sailing times for the MV Lady of the Lagan are 1000hrs, 1200hrs, 1400hrs, and 1600hrs from the Big Fish monument at Donegall Quay, with tours costing £30 for adults and £20 for children.Booking details are available at www.waterwaysbelfast.com and via the Visit Belfast tourist information centre and website.Built in 1998, the Lady of the Lagan is a 160hp passenger vessel with a maximum speed of 10 knots. The vessel is 16 metres in length and 5 metres wide with a capacity to hold 60 guests and crew.The launch of the new cruise service isn’t Peter Lavery’s only link to Belfast’s maritime tourism industry.The entrepreneur is also one of the directors behind the launch of the new Titanic Distillers whiskey distillery and visitor centre, which is based at the historic Titanic Pumphouse, in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.The city’s first working whiskey distillery in almost 90 years is to open its doors to the public on Friday April 28, 2023 and will give guests a chance to explore the site where Titanic last rested on dry ground, before her maiden voyage.