Connect with us

Good News

Belfast’s Continental Market is set to return to City Hall this Christmas



Belfast Christmas Market
Return: Continental Christmas market will take place outside Belfast City Hall from November 20 to December 2

Belfast’s much-loved Continental Market is set to return this winter, taking its well-known place on the grounds of City Hall for a month in the lead-up to Christmas.

The Market, considered by many in Belfast to be a symbol of the city’s festive spirit, will set up shop outside City Hall from November 20 to December 22.

The return comes after a scaled-down version of the Market ran last year throughout Christmas, although strict Covid restrictions were in place.

The organisers were forced to cancel the Market in 2020 due to lockdown laws, meaning that this will be the first full-scale version of Belfast’s Continental Market in three years.

What should I know before visiting?

Located slap bang in the centre of Belfast, the Continental Market is a major Christmas event that sees dozens of traders from all over the world come to the city to sell all manner of trinkets, foods drinks, and services (everything from Scandinavian knitwear to Dutch pancakes can be found here).

The market is looked at with a sense of pride by many locals in Belfast, as these cosy wooden stalls, heaving beer tents, signature Christmas tree, and dazzling Christmas lights all transform the city centre into a festive hub.

Belfast’s Christmas Market attracts as many as one million visitors each year and is estimated to contribute over £70 million to the local economy.

Speaking about the news of the Continental Market’s return, Allan Hartwell, managing director of Market Place Europe and the man overseeing the Market in Belfast, said: “We’re delighted that once again the sights and sounds of the Belfast Christmas Market will form a focal point for the city centre during the festive season…We have made renewed investment on the market to make sure it feels as special as ever.”

What should I visit at the Market if I go there?

Here’s a taster of some of the excellent stalls to visit if you’re planning on going to the Continental Market this winter:

The Dutch Pancakes Stall

The Dutch pancakes (or ‘Poffertjes’) served at the Continental Market are the stuff of legends. The stall is by far the most popular one year after year, with many looking forward to getting a taste of these light-than-air, small, fluffy treats.

The stall also serves delicious ‘gluhwein’ (Dutch mulled wine), if you’re feeling thirsty after filling up on pancakes!

The Beer Tents

You’ll find no better atmosphere in Belfast at Christmas time than in either of the two beer tents at the Continental Market.

Nestled in amongst the stalls and vendors, the local Laverys Beer Tent, and the German Beer Tent, are always alive with seasonal revelers.

In Laverys, you’ll find local craft beers, gins, and ciders galore. Meanwhile, in the German Beer Tent, you can get your hands on strong German ‘doppelbock’ beers, as well as 1 litre ‘Steiners’.

We doubt you’ll go thirsty!

The Little Salty Seahorse

A local trader, The Little Salty Seahorse was the winner of the ‘Jolly Big Business Boost’, a competition to give a local trader in Belfast the opportunity to set up a stall at the Continental Market completely free.

The business offers beautiful trinkets, ornaments, and pictures which are hand-crafted from sea glass and pebbles.

And the rest…

The Little Salty Seahorse is one of a large number of local traders who you’ll find at the Market this year. Following on from the difficulties of lockdown over the past few years, the Market’s organisers have said that they’re looking to highlight local businesses as much as possible this year. Find full details here.

Freelance journalist, travel writer, and copywriter from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Peter McGoran has worked as a staff writer for Hot Press Magazine and Belfast Live, and he has been published in the Daily Mirror NI, the Manchester Evening News, and the Daily Express.

Good News

World’s Youth for Climate Justice receives Carnegie Peace Prize



World's Youth for Climate Justice receives Carnegie Peace Prize
More than 120 students, diplomats and representatives of international organizations attended the event on December, 7th.

This week the international youth organization ‘World’s Youth for Climate Justice’ has been awarded the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize at the Peace Palace. The global youth movement received the prize for its dedicated efforts in fighting climate change by means of international law and for advocating climate justice. 

“The link between climate change and peace might not be the first one that comes to mind. However, it is a strong one. Consequences of climate change include an increase in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, more frequent floods, wildfires and drought, that can lead to food insecurity, destruction of land and livelihood, and increased displacement – factors that foster conflict”, said Quint van Velthoven and Marijn Vodegel, from World’s Youth for Climate Justice, during their winner’s speech.

The event took place at the Great Hall of Justice, Hague, Netherlands, normally used as courtroom for the United Nations International Court of Justice, where more than 120 students, diplomats and representatives of international organizations gathered on December, 7th.

Jan van Zanen, mayor of The Hague, the international city of peace and justice, concluded the ceremony by underlining how important it is for young people’s voices to be heard: “Especially on a topic directly related to the future of today’s young people and generations to come. Young people should be at the table, locally, nationally and internationally.”

The Carnegie Foundation, owner and manager of the Peace Palace, and the Youth Peace Initiative award the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize every two years in order to garner best practices from young individuals or youth-led organizations and to put them in the spotlight. The prize recognizes the work of young peacebuilders and aims to encourage others to start their own projects. 

Continue Reading

Good News

San Cristóbal de La Laguna wins 2024 Access City Award



Winners of the 2024 Access City Award on the stage
Since 2010, the Access City Award celebrates cities that make accessibility their priority.

The Spanish city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna has received the 2024 Access City Award, for its comprehensive approach to accessibility and its improvement of the quality of life of people with disabilities.

The city has prioritised the accessibility of persons with disabilities across urban spaces, transportation systems, and social activities.

Some of the improvements in San Cristóbal de La Laguna includes all vehicles and all stations of the city’s tram network being fully accessible. And the city centre has acoustic traffic lights and tactile paving to guide visually impaired people.

In 2021, the municipality launched the Orange Point, a mobile space with resources for inclusive and accessible events. Orange Point provides sign language interpreters, anti-noise systems, and trained staff, as well as easy-to-read materials.

The city’s commitment to accessibility also includes the adoption of an institutional declaration for the defence of the rights of persons with disabilities to promote positive actions in this area. In addition, a disability council and an ombudsman for people with disabilities have been created.

Accessible spaces, both physical and digital, are a crucial first step towards achieving equality. Around 87 million people in the EU have a disability.

The city of Łódź (Poland) was awarded thesecond-place prize for implementing comprehensive standards of accessibility to guide all municipal investments, and the city of Saint-Quentin (France) won the third place for improving accessibility of the city’s public transport network.

In addition, Tübingen (Germany) received a special mention for its city development aligned with the principles of accessibility and the New European Bauhaus.

Continue Reading

Good News

EU journalism prize awarded for investigation into migrant boat shipwreck



EU Parliament journalism prize awarded for investigation into migrant boat shipwreck
A Greek, German and British consortium has won the 2023 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for investigating journalism.

A Greek, German and British consortium has won the 2023 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for investigating the Adriana shipwreck, which left over 600 migrants dead off Pylos in Greece.

The joint investigation by the Greek investigative outlet Solomon, in collaboration with Forensis, the German public broadcaster StrgF/ARD, and the British newspaper The Guardian revealed how the deadliest migrant shipwreck in recent history happened as a result of the actions taken by the Greek Coast Guard. It also reveals inconsistencies in the Greek authorities’ official accounts.

Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, Pina Picierno, Vice-President responsible for the Prize, and Juliane Hielscher, President of the Berlin Press Club and representative of the 28 members of the independent European-wide Jury, participated in the award ceremony held in the Daphne Caruana Galizia Press Room of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

“Today, as every year, we honour Daphne Caruana Galizia’s memory with a prize that is a powerful reminder of her fight for truth and justice. Journalists around the world continue to be targeted just for doing their job, but they refuse to be silenced. This Parliament stands by their side in this long-standing battle to safeguard press freedom and media pluralism in Europe and beyond”, said Metsola.

When accepting the prize on behalf of the winning consortium, Iliana Papangeli of Solomon said: “The fatal event has forced us to confront questions about so-called European values and where the EU really stands on protecting human life – regardless of passport, ethnicity, race, gender, disability, or class. This joint investigation showed how violent and restrictive EU migration policies are, ultimately leading to a massive loss of life”.

Between 3 May and 31 July 2023, more than 700 journalists from the 27 EU countries submitted their stories for consideration. Twelve of these submissions were shortlisted by the jury before the overall winner was decided.

About the winning story

The investigation took an in-depth look into the events surrounding the loss of the fishing trawler Adriana on 14 June this year some 50 nautical miles off Pylos, in south-western Greece, killing over 600 migrants who had left Libya some days earlier.

Over 20 interviews were made with survivors, and court documents and coastguard sources were looked into. The findings detail missed rescue opportunities and offers of assistance that were ignored, whereas the survivors’ testimonies indicate that it was the attempts by the Greek coastguard to tow the trawler that ultimately caused its sinking. The Greek coastguard denied that it attempted to tow the trawler.

The fateful night was simulated by Forensis using interactive 3D modelling of the trawler thanks to data from the coastguard’s log and testimony of the coast guard vessel’s captain, as well as from flight paths, maritime traffic data, satellite imagery and videos taken by nearby shipping vessels and other sources.

Continue Reading