By Kirsty Herrington
Following the success of last year’s charity walk in London, it was decided that this time, the team would travel to Belfast for the next fundraiser for SA-YES, taking in locations from Gillian’s projects The Fall and The Mighty Celt.
On Saturday 26th April, a group of eight ladies from Dublin, England, Germany and even Canada(!) gathered at Belfast’s City Hall to begin the sponsored walk. Thankfully the early morning rain soon gave way to sunshine – much better than the snowy conditions the team faced last year in London!
Our first stop was at the Titanic Memorial Gardens in the grounds of City Hall, which commemorates those who died in the disaster. Gillian attended the opening of this memorial on 15th April 2012 – the 100th anniversary of the sinking.
Next it was onto the underpass where Gillian and Jamie Dornan posed for promotional pictures for The Fall. Our route took us through the city centre when B – our resident Tiger! – paused to meet a fellow fundraiser and member of the animal kingdom!
After posing for our own photos in the underpass , we also left a lasting reminder of our day – at least until it gets repainted.
Our third stop was Berts Jazz Bar, which featured in series one of The Fall during scenes between Sarah Kay and Paul Spector, as well as Stella Gibson and Paula Reed-Smith. Unfortunately the bar was closed at the time of our visit, so we made our way onto the Big Fish, a sculpture made up of ceramic tiles telling the story of Belfast. Although the sculpture isn’t connected to Gillian’s shows, it’s apparently a must-see in Belfast, so we all took the time to pose with it!
Leaving the Big Fish behind, it was then just a short walk to Hill Street and Gordon Street, both of which featured in the promotional advert for The Fall with both Gillian and Jamie.
Our next stop was Upper Meadow Street, which made a brief but important appearance in series one of The Fall as it was the location where Stella first met – and propositioned – James Olsen in the first episode.
After pausing in a nearby park for lunch – and almost losing a few members to the playground – we continued to a mystery location, which is set to feature in series two of The Fall. We’re still not quite sure of the significance of the location provided by Gillian, but we’re looking forward to finding out!
Leaving the mystery location behind, we headed to our next stop, the Easter Rising mural featured in The Mighty Celt.
En route, B (dressed as a tiger remember?) had been attracting the attention of children – and dogs – throughout our walk, and it was on our way to the mural that a delightful resident decided to throw an egg in the direction of the walkers. Thankfully though, the culprit had a bad aim and the group escaped unscathed, although our pace did pick up a little!
Next it was onto Spector’s house from The Fall, before we visited the internet café featured in series one, where he went to collect information on his next victim.
In series one of The Fall, viewers saw Stella take to the water swimming laps. We visited one of the pools used during filming at the Holiday Inn – sadly it wasn’t the location of the dolphin featured in the episode, but we still went inside and took a few very quick (it was hot by the pool!) photographs.
The final few stops were all within a short distance of one another – first up was the Crown Liquor Saloon, which was a location in the Mighty Celt, before we continued to the Metropolitan College, which was used in series one of The Fall as the police station along with various rooftop scenes.
At last, we arrived at our final destination – the Hilton Belfast – which needs no explanation if you’re familiar with series one of The Fall. During our stop, we paid a quick visit to the outside of the infamous Room 203 – we didn’t go in, as apparently the room is now booked out until 2015!
We ended up walking just under eleven miles and had a great time and thankfully, great weather. Despite the egg incident and the dogs, we had a great time, even taking in “Murder Mile” (without realising it at the time) and survived to tell the tale!
Huge thanks has to go to both Cathy and Clare for organising the walk and tracking down the locations, and also thanks to Gillian for supplying us with a few extra places to visit! Finally, B, Catherine, Cathy, Clare, Kasia, Lena and Nicole – thank you for making it such a fun weekend, and see you at the next one! The team’s total amount of sponsorship currently sits at £1,820.60 and we’d like to thank everyone who has donated and supported us so far. If you’d like to contribute, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/teams/GAWalkBelfast – THANK YOU!