Sundays come alive in Belfast with the very first Summer Sundays guided tours
While many people enjoy a deserved 'lie in' on a Sunday morning, or tourists sit waiting in hotel lobbies waiting for their flights home, there are going to be plenty of reasons to get out and on to the streets of Belfast over the summer months.
As part of a special Belfast City Council campaign, Belfast will be coming alive on Sundays between the beginning of May and the end of September 2009, with a sizzling line-up of special events and activities in the city's cultural hub, the Cathedral Quarter, and a host of things to do and see throughout the city.
The Summer Sundays campaign focuses on the Cathedral Quarter with a fantastic programme of special events, workshops, festivities and extended openings.
The Belfast Community Circus will be presenting free street theatre, with some of the finest entertainers in Europe performing at the Cotton Court in Waring Street each Sunday in May, starting with some very special performances on May 3, as part of the Festival of Fools.
The nearby Black Box will host a series of special Sunday events, including showings of classic horror films and its popular Big Black Comedy Club. They also have a line-up of special events and an enticing Sunday Black Market - with everything from books to buttons on offer.
The Belfast Print Workshop, in Cotton Court, will also be opening its gallery between 11am and 4pm, and conducting Sunday afternoon workshops.
Around the corner in Donegall Street, Belfast Exposed, Northern Ireland's only dedicated photographic gallery, will host exhibitions on Sundays between 10.30am and 4pm, starting with What You Can`t See (until June 19), with related talks and workshops.
The groundbreaking Golden Thread Gallery, over in Great Patrick Street, will open on Sundays from 11.30am to 4pm, while there's a great traditional Irish music session at the Cloth Ear pub in Waring Street each Sunday from 5pm to 8pm.
Still on the musical theme, the new Belfast Music Tours will take place on Sunday afternoons from May onwards, costing £8 per person. Departing from the Ulster Hall at 2pm each Sunday, the tour takes in dozens of Belfast's musical landmarks, and finishes at the new Belfast Music Exhibition in the Oh Yeah Centre, in Gordon Street, which will be opening specially on Sundays.
For those culture vultures keen on learning more about the history of the area, Belfast artists Rhonda Hunter and Susan McKeever will be hosting guided tours of the Cathedral Quarter, visiting venues like Belfast Print Workshop. Tours begin at Belfast Exposed at 11am and finish at 1pm. Sunday morning Art Tours are absolutely free of charge. Log on to BelfastGalleries.com for more information on gallery exhibitions and Late Night Art coach and walking tours.
It`s not just the Cathedral Quarter that offers plenty of attractions over the summer months. You can take tours of the atmospheric Crumlin Road gaol (click on the link for a video and podcast tour), the city's political murals, and the shipyard where Titanic was built; meet birds of prey at the Zoo or living history characters at Queen`s University; enjoy live music in the parks and pulsating drama for all the family.
There also will be plenty of special events, such as the Continental Market at the City Hall at the end of May, the grand finale celebrations of the Tall Ships Festival in August, the colourful annual Indian Mela celebration in Botanic Gardens, the unique Belfast Children`s Festival and much, much more.
Over the opening weekend (beginning May 2), the Festival of Fools will bring their own particular brand of high class street entertainment to the city centre, with hourly shows in Cornmarket, Arthur Street and Rosemary Street, as well as Cotton Court, while the tenth Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival also starts, with an eclectic mix of entertainment to suit most tastes.
For more information, call in to the Belfast Welcome Centre in Donegall Place, Tel +44 (0)28 9024 6609 or visit www.gotobelfast.com.