Immersive solar system trail opening in Northern Ireland

Guests at the 10 km (six miles) trail will be able to travel the solar system without having to leave Northern Ireland.

A brand new immersive solar system trail is set to open in Northern Ireland next year, bringing the complexities of space right down to earth.

The incredible 10 km (six miles) trail will take visitors on a journey through the solar system without leaving planet earth or even the north of Ireland.

Northern Irish artist and author Oliver Jeffers designed the trail called ‘Our Place in Space’, and excited visitor need not wait much longer to attend.

Part of a U.K.-wide initiative – celebrating creativity

The trail will make its first appearance in Derry.

The immersive solar system trail opening in Northern Ireland next year is part of a U.K.-wide initiative known as Unboxed Festival.

The aim of Unboxed is celebrating creativity. The festival will run from March to October 2022, featuring ten spectacular projects in different locations across the U.K.

It will bring together some of the U.K.’s brightest talents in science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths. Thus, hoping to boost tourism and support local economies following the COVID-19 pandemic.

What to expect from the solar system trail opening in Northern Ireland – discover outer space on earth

Immersive solar system trail coming to Northern Ireland.

Our Place in Space is an immersive sculpture trail. It will be accompanied by an app and educational events programme to teach visitors more about the solar system.

The trail will incorporate various 13 ft (4 m) high sculptures. It will feature scale models of the sun and each of the planets in our solar system.

The trail will make its first appearance on the shore of Lough Foyle in County Derry in April. Here, it will remain for two months before moving on to a different location.

Unboxed festival has planned the trail and four other events for Northern Ireland in 2022.

A collaborative effort – bringing together Northern Irish talent

Stephen Smartt and Oliver Jeffers are behind the project.

The immersive solar system trail opening in Northern Ireland is a collaborative effort of Northern Irish talent.

Artist Oliver Jeffers worked with Belfast Nerve Centre and scientist Professor Stephen Smartt of Queen’s University Belfast to develop the concept.

Speaking to BBC News NI, Smartt said that working alongside Jeffers has been “different and exciting”.

He said, “We all have our problems – some are big, some are small – on this planet. But we want to try to give people a cosmic perspective of what it means and what the earth’s place is in our solar system and broader universe.

“We’re going to create a trail. You can walk it, you can run it, you can cycle it. The idea is to get people outside to try to convey the size and scale of the solar system.”

A shift in perspective – on a cosmic scale

Solar system trail coming to Northern Ireland next year.

While he was originally from Northern Ireland, Jeffers relocated to New York, where he has lived for 15 years.

Speaking to BBC News NI about the upcoming project, he revealed how the move shifted his perspective.

“Coming from Northern Ireland, we’re all too well versed in the idea that we divide ourselves into us and them. In reality, there is only us, there’s only people.

“I have lived in New York for 15 years. When I started trying to explain to New Yorkers that the top part of Ireland actually was a different country, I realised that nobody knew or cared about that problem.

“Suddenly looking at it from the perspective of across an ocean, it changes how you see things and think about things.”

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.

Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Send this to a friend