WORDS by KATE KNIGHT
When you think of Belfast, its skateboarding culture may not be one of the first things that springs to mind.
Studies show that the number of people participating in the sport has actually been decreasing in the UK in recent years, but Belfast is actually home to a number of interesting spots as well as a growing number of young enthusiasts. Here are some of the best places to skate in the city.
Official Skate Parks
Bridges Urban Sports Park
Photo credits: belfastcity.gov.uk & Sidewalk Magazine
The most well-known skate park in Belfast is the Bridges Urban Sports Park, which is found under the M3 flyover at the junction of Little Patrick Street and Corporation Street, just a short walk from the city centre. The park includes a capsule bowl and street complex, complete with handrails, hips, grind boxes, and quarter pipes and is popular amongst BMX riders, parkour enthusiasts, and skaters alike.
Photo credits: t13.tv
There’s also the T13, a non-profit sports park and event space located in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter waterfront. The park is constructed almost entirely of wooden ramps, including a series of jump boxes, quarter pipes, and rails, and there’s a foam pit where you can practice new tricks without the risk of injuring yourself. As well as skateboarding, though, the park holds an abundance of cultural and sporting activities for young people too, including BMXing and breakdancing, street art, and DJing.
Other Great Locations
As well as officially designated skate parks, there’s also a bunch of other great locations in the city that many skaters have taken to.
The Belfast dockyards, which recently became the face of a new BBC 1 ident, thanks to the award-winning director Andy Margetson, is just one of these.
It turns out that the various steel beams, construction equipment, and machinery that formulate the site also make for the perfect place to find spots to grind and create memorable lines.
St Anne’s Plaza
Perhaps the most famous example of an open public space lending itself to skating is St Anne’s Plaza, a monument to the mother of the Virgin Mary, which inexplicably became to go-to destination for a generation of young, skateboarding enthusiasts that started in the 1990s and continues to the present day. The combination of ever-increasing slopes, differently sized ledges, and stairs has made this one of the best spots to skate in the entire city, and even spawned its own documentary a few years ago. You’ll find it here at sidewalkmag.com