Posts Tagged ‘ Arlene Foster ’

Welcome to West Belfast 2012

The Infamous Black Taxi Tour

Northern Irish tourism has been going from strength to strength every year with overseas visitors spending an estimated £368million during 2011. As the summer of 2012 winds down, local events have attractined people from all walks of life, as West Belfast offered a range of exciting, creative and cultural experiences that were not to be missed.

Visit West Belfast Tourism Development Officer, Seán Quinn believes, “Our role involves lobbying Statutory bodies on investment and PR for West Belfast especially on tourism. We work with local businesses trying to enhance their tourism products and in developing new ideas. We also attend trade shows where we sell the West as a tourism destination.”

Many locals see West Belfast as an area where once conflict and political issues flooded the streets but in recent years this deep history has helped West Belfast in becoming a tourist hotspot. Huge numbers flock each year to Belfast to hear the stories of cultural differences and historical debates. Popular attractions include, the famous Black Taxi Tour, a walking tour organised by a political ex-prisoner and catching an open top bus to view the political murals.

Though, if politics is not your thing then start your day with a thrilling trek up Divis mountain and take in the breathtaking view of Belfast’s landscape. Then head into the heart of the West for a variety of restaurants, bars and cafés, where you can experience at first hand a warm Belfast welcome, hearty home-cooked food and traditional Irish Music.

One of West Belfast’s most captivating tours is the Gaeltacht Experience, where visitors can hear some traditional Irish music, dance and listen to locals talking about the history. This tour will surely not disappoint.

August 2012 seen the communities in West Belfast come together for a festival which firmly put the West on the map as a tourist hotspot, Féile an Phobail. The festival has gained resounding praise and has grown into one of the largest community festivals in Europe. The carnival parade brought together over 20,000 participants for a colourful, musical procession with specially-designed floats representing a chosen theme, dancers and children in costume and face-masks.It has grown from a one-week festival to a year-round programme. Kevin Gamble, Director of Féile an Phobail believes that, “festivals in West Belfast help in showcasing the West to the World.”

Mary Black, the popular Irish singer performed at Clonard Monastery and Alabama 3, a blues band known worldwide, performed at Falls Park which saw people from all areas come together, enjoy music and food and see the West in a different way. Minister of Tourism, Arlene Foster described the work put into making this all happen, “Our huge investment in tourism during 2012 and beyond is designed to help drive our economy forward faster, encouraging private sector enterprise and creating new jobs.”

The West Belfast Arts Society, which has been running for 25 years and now has a membership of over 60 people has just wrapped up a series of different weekly classes and work in different mediums. The exhibition showcased recent work of the Society’s members and featured a wide range of both medium and subject matter.

Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich in partnership with Shankill Women’s Centre celebrated International Peace Day on Friday 21st September at Townsend Street where a variety of fun filled activities such as circus performers, musicians, theatrical performances and storytelling made a great day for all to see.