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Queen's Island, Belfast

Queen's Island is at the heart of Belfast's shipyard. Originally called Dargan's Island after the Carlow born engineer William Dargan who constructed the channel that opened up Belfast as a port, it was renamed in 1849 after Queen Victoria. The island was, for a long time, a 'people's park' and, according to Cahal O'Byrne in "As I Roved Out", was "a pleasant retreat for the town's workers in the summer evenings and was open to all who paid a penny to be ferried across the river". A large greenhouse with a botanical collection was once located on the island and there was also a zoo and numerous bathing boxes. After the river channel between the island and the mainland was filled in, Queen's Island became the focus of the shipbuilding industry. The photograph was taken in the autumn of 2003 when a funfair came to Queen's Island, occupying land that had been used for shipbuilding. The 'island' reverted briefly to pleasure rather than work.