The Galley is an artist-led cafe-bar onboard a 60 year old barge, and an ambitious experiment in shifting a city centre.
Belfast is a product of the Industrial Revolution, the river Lagan fed its development with a steady stream of trade and industry along the docks. By the turn of the 20th century the linen, rope and shipbuilding trades were world renowned, the economy and population booming. like many cities dependent on traditional heavy industry, Belfast has suffered serious declines since teh 1960s, exacerbated in the 70s and 80s by the civil conflict across Northern Ireland.
Traces from a troubled history still have a large impact on how we wive, this is particularly visible in the way the city centre functions. throughout these years, urban planning was somewhat ad hoc and the city became segmented by peace lines and buffer zones. In the past ten years Belfast, has seen rapid dvelopments with a focus on commerce and tourism, but with recent regeneration of the city centre focussed on easing the path from one shopping centre to another, the city seems to have resolutely turned its back to the river.
We feel that the riverside, with its rich inductrial heritage and reminders of what made Belfast great, a leading player on a world stage, is a very appropriate place to begin thinking about what we produce today. Whether through the fresh local produce on offer, culinary skills in the kitchen, the music, art and literary programme of events or local artisans producing furniture and site-specific works, we want to celebrate local talent and we will do so very simply.
The Galley is a nod to concepts of 'design thinking', 'civil engagment' and other artist-led projects such as Gordon Matta-Clark's 'Food.' Unlike 'Food' though, which was more a utopian enterprise than a business, The Galley should truly function as a cafe and resturant. Coming from counterculture ideas, we want to borrow what works from mainstream culture and other fields of knowledge to make a lasting and sustainable contribution to the city.
It should play a role in developing the physical and creative infrastructure of the city and hightlight the social complexities of a city in transition. It should present a progressive approach to how we in Belfast, inteact, should be a meeting place for a growing and confident artistic community, a platform for the creative individuals and initiatives existing locally and beyond, a move towards the river and above all, an affordable place to eat good fish.
We can cater for up to 60 people. Call or email us for more information.