Hidden Belfast Walking Tour Launches

Author Raymond O'Regan and Arthur Magee of Experience Belfast focus on the city's many notable personages

A cast of iconic Belfast characters have joined the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, to launch a new walking tour of the city.

The tour is entitled Hidden Belfast and is based on the best selling history book by Raymond O’Regan. It aims to provide residents and visitors to Belfast with an introduction to the city's rich history and heritage, and is subtitled ‘Benevolence, Blackguards and Balloon Heads!’

Present at the launch with the Lord Mayor were Thomas McCabe – the man who oppossed the formation of the Belfast Slave Ship Company – as well as punk legend Terri Hooley, who is still very much alive and well.

Arthur Magee from Experience Belfast, the company behind the tour, said: 'Belfast is a wonderful city with fantastic buildings, but I’ve always felt that what sets Belfast apart are the people.

'We’ve always produced characters, from Thomas McCabe to Terri Hooley, and whilst the tour looks at our history, it’s about some of the people that have helped make Belfast. It’s about the past but it’s also about the future.'

Speaking at the launch, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir added: 'Belfast is a city with a marvellous worldwide reputation. It’s wonderful that there’s another attraction for visitors in the city centre, and we as a council will continue to work hard to develop tourism in the city.'

The Hidden Belfast tour will last one hour, cost £5 and will start from the front gates of Belfast City Hall. At the end of the tour, customers will receive a free cup of tea or coffee at Cafe Wah on North Street, as John Hanley from the cafe explained.

'We’re delighted to be working with Raymond and Arthur, and pleased to be giving people free tea or coffee. As a city, we need to ensure that visitors have a wonderful time and experience a friendly welcome, and Cafe Wah wants to make it’s own contribution to this.'

Hidden Belfast tour meets at the front gates of Belfast City Hall at 10 am, 12.15pm and 2pm every day in July and August. No tours on July 12. Tickets are £5 and can be booked from Visit Belfast on 028 9024 6609.