BY TIM HEDGLEY, GROUP TRAVEL EDITOR
The MV Lady of the Lagan, which was officially launched today by Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Christina Black, is the latest addition to Belfast’s long-standing maritime tourism product and will operate four daily one-hour cruises of Belfast Harbour, starting and finishing at the Big Fish monument on Donegall Quay.
The first passengers on the ship were pupils from St Mary’s Primary School in Kircubbin, who won a competition to name the new vessel and runners-up from Holy Cross Boys Primary School in Belfast.
Waterways Belfast Ltd, founded by entrepreneurs Peter Lavery, Sean Donnelly and brothers Jeremy and Simon Rogers, has invested a quarter of a million pounds in the new service that will navigate around Belfast Lough, highlighting key additions and developments to the shoreline and beyond that have helped to transform Belfast into a world-class tourism destination over the last decade.
A former luxury cruiser on Lough Erne, the Lady of the Lagan can accommodate up to 60 passengers and crew and will operate all year round, with Belfast-born Captain Alan Gilfillan at the helm.
The vessel will also be available for private hire functions in the evening, with a licensed bar to host a variety of events.
Waterways Belfast founding director Peter Lavery said: “It has always been a passion of mine to see the sights and sounds of Belfast Lough being brought to a wider audience in the form of a quality maritime experience.
“After many months of searching, we were able to secure the MV Lady of the Lagan. After a considerable investment of approximately a quarter of a million pounds, I’m absolutely delighted with the results.
“We now have a fully licensed river cruiser which will offer a unique insight and experience into Belfast’s expanding maritime history tourism product. And in Captain Alan Gilfillan, we have a highly experienced and personable member of the team who will help bring the unique story of Belfast Lough to life for all of our guests,“ he added.
Sailing times for the MV Lady of the Lagan are 1000hrs, 1200hrs, 1400hrs, and 1600hrs from the Big Fish monument at Donegall Quay, with tours costing £30 for adults and £20 for children.
Booking details are available at www.waterwaysbelfast.com and via the Visit Belfast tourist information centre and website.
Built-in 1998, the Lady of the Lagan is a 160hp passenger vessel with a maximum speed of 10 knots. The vessel is 16 metres in length and 5 metres wide, with a capacity to hold 60 guests and crew.
The launch of the new cruise service isn’t Peter Lavery’s only link to Belfast’s maritime tourism industry.
The entrepreneur is also one of the directors behind the launch of the new Titanic Distillers whiskey distillery and visitor centre, which is based at the historic Titanic Pumphouse in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.
Belfast City’s first working whiskey distillery in almost 90 years is to open its doors to the public on Friday, April 28, 2023.
It will give guests a chance to explore the site where Titanic last rested on dry ground before her maiden voyage.
Walk in the footsteps of the dock workers and explore the site where Titanic last rested on dry ground before her maiden voyage.
Visitors to Thompson Dock and Pumphouse will clock in, as workers did a century ago, to experience the workings of our distillery and hear the story of Belfast’s whiskey tradition; why it disappeared and how it has returned to the home of Titanic Distillers – the city’s first working distillery in almost 90 years.
PREMIUM TOUR £40
This experience brings the stories of Thompson Dock’s rich heritage to life and showcases our distillery’s ongoing innovations during this unforgettable tour.
Visit the historic Pumphouse and Belfast’s first working distillery in almost 90 years.
Taste both our Premium Irish Whiskey and Premium Irish Vodka and take home a limited edition glass after experiencing the new spirit of Belfast’s famous docklands.