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Belfast’s Rich Maritime Heritage to Feature in City Quays Gardens Design

3rd January 2022
Belfast Harbour is bringing forward plans to develop an iconic Waterfront for the city
Belfast Harbour is bringing forward plans to develop an iconic Waterfront for the city

The Clarendon Docks are the oldest remaining docks in Belfast Harbour, built in the 1800s by Belfast’s first commercial shipbuilder, William Ritchie. He originally set his shipyard up at the Old Lime Kiln Dock (inland from the present location) but Ritchie needed a dry dock, so Belfast Harbour agreed and Ritchie built it himself, completing it in 1800. Known as Ritchie’s Dock for years, it was later renamed Clarendon Dock No 1. The second Clarendon Dock was completed in 1826. These Victorian dry docks are no longer used but remain an important link to Belfast’s maritime past.

The docks lie on the west side of the River Lagan which flows through Belfast, opposite Titanic Belfast, and Belfast Harbour is bringing forward plans to develop an iconic Waterfront for the city which will border the Clarendon Docks and provide a safe year-round destination space for the people of the city and visitors. It is called City Quays Gardens.

Belfast City Quays Gardens

City Quays Gardens will integrate Belfast’s rich maritime heritage as a Port city into the design, creating a new green space. Features will include extensive planting and landscaping, events lawns, amphitheatre style seating and leisure and outdoor workspaces. It is understood that the proposed City Quays Gardens project will begin development in 2022 subject to planning approval.

Belfast Harbour says that the maritime-inspired design is influenced by the site’s unique industrial and shipbuilding heritage and the River Lagan waterside location. A series of feature seats and benches within the gardens will tell the story of Belfast Harbour. They will form focal points and form the beginnings of a City Quays Heritage Trail which will complement the wider Maritime Mile activity and improve connectivity to the city. The Maritime Mile is an award-winning initiative developed by Maritime Belfast Trust in association with the Belfast Harbour, Odyssey Trust and Titanic Quarter Limited. It connects the waterfront physically, recognising that the sum of its parts is much greater than the individual components.

City Quays Gardens will help create a ‘Clean, Green Port for Everyone’ and support the delivery of Belfast Harbour’s ‘Green Port’ ambitions. It will seek to fulfil sustainable travel objectives such as cycle connections and cycle parking/facilities and encourage sustainable transport use through the integration of public transport.

It is the first in several landmark developments which will be delivered in future phases by Belfast Harbour and will be the first One Planet Living development in Northern Ireland. One Planet Living seeks to create a world where everyone lives healthy happy lives within the limits of the planet.

Published in Belfast Lough
Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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