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Belfast’s Sailortown gets ready for The Gathering

A four-day festival is set to take place in Belfast’s Sailortown next week.

Organised by Sailortown Regeneration, The Gathering is an exciting festival taking place from Thursday, June 9 to Sunday, June 12.

The event, headlined by artists such as Brian Kennedy, Radio Ulster’s Hugo Duncan and Johnny Hero from U105 will see a whole range of performances and events from concerts and theatre to dances, boxing, a market and even a pet pageant.

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Organiser Terry McKeown, project manager of Sailortown Regeneration said: “Sailortown are delighted to invite all to our weekend of festivities as we continue our long term vision of bringing this historic Urban Village back to life.

Terry McKeown, project manager, Sailortown Regeneration and Johnny Hero, DJ and presenter, U105. Picture: Francine Montgomery / Excalibur Press

“Thanks to all those who have supported us to reopen St Joseph’s Church as a focal point for the local and wider community.

“We particularly extend a warm welcome to Sailortown’s ex residents who kept their home fires burning all these years.”

Following years of restoration the ‘sailor’s church’ has been transformed to a community hub in recent years.

“The Gathering which is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the National Lottery and is supported by Belfast City Council, allows us to bring people back to showcase the creative talent that’s in Belfast and celebrate the transformation of the chapel on the quays to a community hub” added Terry.

Singer/songwriter Anthony Toner. Picture: Francine Montgomery / Excalibur Press

There is an impressive variety of both free and ticketed events across the weekend, ranging from musical performances to theatre and exhibitions, with something for everyone to enjoy.

Throughout the four-day festival, visitors can explore free exhibitions that detail the past, present and future of Sailortown at the American Bar, Dockers Club, the Flying Angel and St Joseph’s Church.

The Gathering kicks off on Thursday, June 9 in the evening with a performance of ‘I’ll Tell My Ma’, Patricia Gormley’s one woman play about the misadventures of four generations of a Belfast family, performed by Christina Nelson at St Joseph’s Church.

Friday evening sees an array of events, including the Dockers Club Dance off, hosted by Radio Ulster’s Hugo Duncan, Boxing Blasts From The Past, a 12-round exhibition of boxing history and a trad session at Pat’s Bar for those with a flair for poetry and or music.

The weekend will bring lots of craic and fun for the whole family with the return of the Sailortown Fair on Saturday, featuring local crafts and produce throughout the day and music performances throughout the evening.

On Sunday, there will be a performance from Cavehill Community Choir and a pet pageant at Barrow Square.

Belfast star Brian Kennedy will close the festival with a performance at St Joseph’s Church on Sunday evening, with support from Anton Glackin.

The Gathering is an opportunity to support Sailortown Regeneration, who are leading a regeneration of the maritime village and have reopened St Joseph’s Church with the aim of it becoming a space to celebrate the culture and history of the area.

Terry added: “The festival is an opportunity for old friends and new to gather together, relive old memories and make new ones as we recreate renowned Sailortown events such as the Blessing of the Pets, St Joseph’s Boxing Club and the lively social scene in Belfast Docks. We’re building on the past to create a future in this iconic waterfront location.”

With something for everyone at the event, The Gathering promises to be an exciting weekend packed with events that showcase the cultural heritage of Sailortown.

To view the full schedule of events, go to www.maritime-mile.com

To find out more about Sailortown Regeneration, and how you can support the regeneration of Sailortown, visit www.sailortownregeneration.com

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