Northern Ireland news

Virgin Mary statue placed above German sausage grill in Belfast

A statue of Our Lady at the 'Black Forest Bar' stall, which has been constructed in Belfast city centre. Picture by Hugh Russell
Marie Louise McConville

A STATUE of Our Lady at a Belfast Christmas market 'bar' has raised eyebrows, but the council has insisted the new structure is not a pub.

The Virgin Mary and several other religious statues have been placed above a stall named the 'Black Forest Bar'.

It is under construction at Castle Place as part of efforts to draw more shoppers into the city centre in the aftermath of the Primark fire.

Additional attractions have been planned in areas impacted by a safety cordon, including extra Christmas market stalls, amusements, live music and street theatre.

But some shoppers have questioned the placement of the religious statues including the Wise Men atop the 'Black Forest Bar' stall, which is to open tomorrow.

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Belfast City Council said the stall is "not a bar", but instead a "German bratwurst sausage grill".

The Black Forest Bar, which has been erected at Castle Place in Belfast city centre. Picture by Hugh Russell

"The windmill structure located at Castle Place is not a bar," a council spokesman said.

"It is one of a number of attractions being installed in the city centre to help drive footfall in the run up to Christmas and beyond, to assist traders affected by the Bank Buildings fire.

"This particular structure is a German bratwurst sausage grill and is part of a larger windmill style attraction which is popular at Christmas markets all over Europe.

"The structure is currently under construction and will be officially open to the public from November 23.

"Prior to opening a check will be made to ensure all signage is relevant to customers in Belfast.

"No alcohol is being served at the grill and the sign referencing a bar will be removed prior to it opening."

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