Iconic Belfast Barge relaunches as Northern Ireland’s only floating arts centre

Chris Logan and Susan Doherty from Belfast Barge pictured with lord mayor Kate Nicholl and Captain Bob the Dog
Chris Logan and Susan Doherty from Belfast Barge pictured with lord mayor Kate Nicholl and Captain Bob the Dog

LAGAN Legacy, the not-for-profit charity behind the capital’s iconic Belfast Barge, has relaunched as the north’s only floating centre for arts, heritage and tourism.

The venue has been converted into an arts hub with a maritime museum, gallery and bookable events space. The upstairs river room was once home to a restaurant but has now been converted into a family and dog friendly café, which will open to the public next Tuesday.

Moored in Belfast at Lanyon Quay beside ICC Belfast, the barge space can also be booked for events such as weddings, birthdays or corporate hire.

Belfast lord mayor Kate Nicholl said: “It’s fantastic to see the much-loved Belfast Barge back in action. It is over-flowing with history and is a fantastic space for artists, musicians and creators to come together.

“I have no doubt the many tourists who visit Belfast and Northern Ireland will be down to see the vessel very soon and congratulate the charity Lagan Legacy for all their hard work.”

Susan Doherty, manager at Belfast Barge (, said: “We are thrilled to announce that the barge is again open to visitors. The charity was established to preserve the history and industrial heritage of the River Lagan.

“Belfast Barge is a fantastic multi-use event space and we are open now to bookings. It is also a museum space, and visitors are again coming to see us daily.

Susan added: “We wish to thank all our funders including Belfast City Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council for NI, and the Community Fund for their support.

“During the last 18 months the doors were closed, but Belfast Barge had to remain afloat! It was during this period of reflection the decision to create one space here on the barge was hatched.

“We are now able to extend the museum downstairs, with the ‘Greatest Story Never Told’ upstairs with the iconic views of the river and bridges. Giving young and upcoming artists an opportunity to showcase their art is important to us, along with musicians new and established.

“There’s now a greater scope for larger events, such as weddings, birthdays and corporate parties which can all be catered for upstairs and downstairs, and still offer the unique quirkiness of this special setting.”

Belfast Barge was built in the Netherlands in 1960 and was previously known as MV Confiance. It was sailed to Belfast from Holland by Captain Derek Booker, founder of Lagan Legacy, in 2010.