Northern Ireland 2012 – Your time, our place
Think of Northern Ireland 2012 as a scrapbook of festival frolics, arty parties and epic concerts just waiting to be filled in. This is a once-in-a-lifetime party you won’t want to miss.
Northern Ireland 2012 will be rocking to a very broad beat - from living art and star-studded concerts to glamorous galas and even a spot of sailing. It all kicks off with the Titanic Belfast Festival, marking the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the famous liner as well as the opening the doors of the magnificent new Titanic Belfast visitor centre. Just when you’ve taken all that in, you can scoot on down to the 50th Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s and the unmissable Peace One Day Concert in Londonderry. Of course, you’ll also be donning your boater to fit in with the nautical vibe as the World Clipper Yacht Race moors itself in Londonderry.
To cut a long story short - a party like this isn’t easy to find, so grab a camera, wear a smile and make your Northern Ireland 2012 scrapbook one to remember.
As the city that built the Titanic, it makes sense for Belfast to host the festival of festivals in her honour. Running through April and May the Titanic Festival packed quite a punch; we’re talking Titanic theatre, tours into the bones of the build and the grand opening (really grand, in fact!) of Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction. As if that lot didn’t make your jaw drop, MTV made a post-EMA visit back to Belfast to get the party popping with a concert right on the slipways where the liner was launched. We like. We like a lot.
With the title UK City of Culture 2013 adding some pep to Londonderry’s step, it’s fair to say this is a city at the top of its game. The walled wonder will be hosting a cracking concert in June to promote the Peace One Day campaign for a global truce. Headed up by filmmaker Jeremy Gilley and A-list hunk Jude Law, the tunes will flow from the city’s newest open-air event space at the exquisite Ebrington Barracks.
The largest (or maybe we should say ‘most giant’?) outdoor arts event is Northern Ireland has ever seen plodded into Belfast. The spectacular one-off show took place on the Titanic slipway, where another of Northern Ireland’s most famous ‘giants’ was created. The show also referenced a few other local giants including Finn McCool (he of the Giant’s Causeway), Jonathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’ and Harland and Wolff’s huge Samson and Goliath cranes. You might call this the, ahem, big one…
Experience renowned director Deborah Warner and respected thespian Fiona Shaw’s living art installations dotted around Northern Ireland’s coastline. Think vibrant, thought-provoking installations that will pop up from dawn ‘til dusk along the rugged wonder of the North Coast. Just when you thought the scenery couldn’t get any prettier.
The Clipper Round the World Race will be making port in the City of Londonderry to add some nautical spice to NI2012. Grab a straw boater and walk the plank to the marvellous Maritime festival. You can even rap with the chaps from the city’s own yacht, ‘Derry-Londonderry’, about their adventure spreading word of the city’s title of UK City of Culture 2013.
One of Northen Ireland’s festival gems, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s is celebrating its 50th year in action in 2012 and it sounds (literally) very special. Past visitors read like a terrifically trendy list with Jimi Hendrix and Laurence Olivier among those who made the trip to Titanic’s home town. It’s not all about the music either, so open your mind to cinema, dance, comedy and well, yes, lots of great music.
UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway is about to be decked out with a state-of the-art visitor centre worthy of the wonder. Bringing some architectural awe, the new centre boasts charming tearooms, on-site orientation and some shiny new information points to make exploring easier. Not to mention newly engineered walking routes for a giant or miniature leg-stretch. Keep your eyes open for the ‘giant’ art installation to mark the opening in 2012.
The MTV EMAs aren’t the first time Belfast has gotten its groove on. Belfast is a stage for some of the most rocking live music around. Whether the tunes are home-grown or from visiting talent, you can be sure anyone who’s anyone has a visit to Belfast planned for 2012.