Your Time, Our Place

Northern Ireland is doing it all in 2012 with a cornucopia of special events, anniversaries, new visitor attractions, not to mention some compelling visitor experiences and its wrapping it up nicely under the banner — “Your Time, Our Place.” Jayne Shackleford, manager of Tourism Ireland in Canada, says of the coming year: “2012 is going to be an amazing year for Northern Ireland and should be a must-see destination for Canadian travel specialists’ clients.” Shackleford continues: “With a new iconic Titanic Belfast visitor attraction, unprecedented events and historic anniversaries, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. This is the year for your clients to check Northern Ireland off their bucket list and with 2.2 million Canadians claiming ancestry links in Northern Ireland, it also makes it a great time for them to explore the land of their ancestors.” Personally, the fact that Van Morrison was born there — in East Belfast — is enough of a reason to make the trip by itself — but look at all this other great stuff: There’s the Titanic Belfast Experience opening March 31 — come on, admit it, you didn’t know it was built in Belfast, did you; from its opening, until May 2012, the Titanic Belfast offers plays, tours, exhibitions and talks all with a Titanic theme, including commemoration ceremonies on April 14 and April 15 to mark the sinking of the great ship. MTV, after hosting its music awards event — the EMAs — in Northern Ireland last year, will be back for the MTV Titanic Concert. But wait, it gets better. Do you like GIANTS, well starting June 30, Northern Ireland is hosting what’s billed as “the largest outdoor theatre and arts event ever staged” to celebrate “all things associated with giants.” Think of Finn McCool from the Giant’s Causeway to the literary giants featured in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and you’ll get the idea. It all happens in the Titanic Quarter and the Land of Giants will include a carnival, circus and music to celebrate the theme. Another highlight is the Clipper round-the-world Yacht Race which coincides with the Maritime Festival that runs — perhaps sails, would be a more appropriate verb here — from June 30 to July 8, Derry~Londonderry will welcome the 10-strong international fleet as it plays host to the final transatlantic stage of the 40,000-mile race, with teams arriving from Nova Scotia, Canada, during the last leg. The city’s own yacht, the Derry~Londonderry, is promoting the city’s UK City of Culture 2013 status on its travels. So, start talking to your clients about Northern Ireland 2012: Your Time, Our Place … and if you need more information, talk to Jayne Shackleford and the rest of the gang at Tourism Ireland — .