New Public Artwork Brings Botanic Gardens History to Life

A 27 metre long artwork illustrating some of Belfast’s Botanic Gardens most memorable moments, from its opening in 1828, has been unveiled

Belfast City Council commissioned award winning illustrator Peter Strain to create the piece to surround the Tropical Ravine while its £3.8 million restoration is completed.

The artist drew inspiration from the memories of over 400 people and also creative writing from local schoolchildren, residents and park users, who attended a series of workshops facilitated by local writer Jan Carson and poet Emma Must. The artwork stretches across the great lawn, almost to the Ulster Museum.

Councillor Sian O’Neill, Deputy Chairperson of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee said: 'This is a really fascinating piece of art which captures some of Botanic Gardens’ most iconic events and fantastic sights, including a hot air balloon ascent, the ‘King of Niagara’ Charles Blondin carrying a man across a tightrope on his back, and U2’s performance in 1997.'

'When the Tropical Ravine reopens next year, it will be another must-see attraction for Belfast. It’s wonderful that so many of the park’s visitors’ memories have been captured in this artwork – which demonstrates what a magical place Botanic Gardens is, and builds excitement for this coming new era for Botanic.'

To celebrate the installation of the artwork, a free Great Explorer Hunt has been organised for Saturday, 20 August, from 11am to 2pm in the Palm House, Botanic Gardens.  Everyone is welcome to come along to the event including little adventurers, where they’ll make their own explorers binoculars and find the hidden history of Botanic Gardens with the help of a map.  

Belfast City Council has contributed £1.5 million to the restoration project as part of its Investment Programme. The Heritage Lottery is contributing £2.3 million towards the refurbishment and the Friends ofBelfast Botanic Gardens have also contributed generously to the repairs. The work is being carried out by McAleer and Teague.

More information on the restoration of the Tropical Ravine