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The Belfast Barge: A Visitor Attraction with a Maritime Theme

10th January 2022
The Belfast Barge, then named MV Confiance at Lanyon Quay
The Belfast Barge, then named MV Confiance at Lanyon Quay Credit: Ardfern

Not too long ago the City of Belfast had turned its back on the River Lagan which enters Belfast Lough on the border between Counties Antrim and Down. But since 1989 when the Laganside Corporation began redevelopment of the surrounding area the transformation has been immense.

And this transformation has enhanced the location of The Belfast Barge, a visitor attraction with a maritime theme, as it lies at Lanyon Quay close to the Belfast Waterfront Hall and minutes from the city centre.

The vessel was built in the Netherlands in 1960 and named MV Confiance. In 2006 the Lagan Legacy charity brought it to Belfast (not without some difficulty as it’s flat bottomed) and after considerable work it opened in 2012 as a museum. But now, with the name changed to The Belfast Barge, it is much more than that, with events space, the museum, gallery, and dog-friendly café.

The Belfast Barge Photo: Susan DohertyThe Belfast Barge Photo: Susan Doherty

The world-renowned Harland & Wolff shipyard which since its establishment in 1861 has built over 2000 ships, offshore vessels and various stell structures, was situated downriver of the two bridges spanning the Lagan and after the shipbuilding ended the Barge managed to acquire many items such as archived plans which would otherwise have been dumped and these formed the basis of the museum collection.

BBC News has reported that manage Susan Doherty said the space would host maritime events, new bands and weddings. She added, “It’s a bit more of an event going on to a boat as to a run of the mill venue”.

The Belfast Barge is funded by the Heritage Lottery fund, Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

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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