An award winning Belfast-based artist has just breathed a new lease of life into popular Botanic Gardens.

Illustrator Peter Strain was commissioned to create the piece to surround the Tropical Ravine while its £3.8 million restoration is completed.

Peter and Emma

The 27 metre long artwork illustrates some of Belfast’s Botanic Gardens most memorable moments, from its opening in 1828!

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The artwork stretches across the great lawn, almost to the Ulster Museum.

Peter drew inspiration from the memories of over 400 people and also creative writing from local schoolchildren, residents and park users, who attended a series of workshops facilitated by local writer Jan Carson and poet Emma Must.

Councillor Sian O’Neill, Deputy Chairperson of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee said: “This is a really fascinating piece of art which captures some of Botanic Gardens’ most iconic events and fantastic sights, including a hot air balloon ascent, the ‘King of Niagara’ Charles Blondin carrying a man across a tightrope on his back, and U2’s performance in 1997.”

Tropical Ravine 3
“When the Tropical Ravine reopens next year, it will be another must-see attraction for Belfast. It’s wonderful that so many of the park’s visitors’ memories have been captured in this artwork – which demonstrates what a magical place Botanic Gardens is, and builds excitement for this coming new era for Botanic.”

To celebrate the installation of the artwork, a free Great Explorer Hunt has been organised for Saturday, August 20, from 11am to 2pm in the Palm House, Botanic Gardens. Everyone is welcome to come along to the event including little adventurers, where they’ll make their own explorers binoculars and find the hidden history of Botanic Gardens with the help of a map.

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Belfast City Council has contributed £1.5 million to the restoration project as part of its Investment Programme. The Heritage Lottery is contributing £2.3 million towards the refurbishment and the Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens have also contributed generously to the repairs. The work is being carried out by McAleer and Teague.

For more information on the restoration of the Tropical Ravine, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/tropicalravine

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