Scottish Maritime Museum and Irvine Harbourside, North Ayrshire

Thursday 30th November – Sunday 3rd December


One of the highlights of illumination : Harbour Festival of Light, the illumination Light Trail will be a riot of sound and light this year with the world’s first Illumaphonium, a fabulous shimmering, music making interactive sculpture for all to enjoy.

Visitors to the free illumination Light Trail, which will twinkle from 4pm to 10pm throughout the festival, Thursday 30 November to Sunday 3 December, will have fun making music on the Illumaphonium, which is a first of its kind.


Fiona Greer, Curator of Art at the Scottish Maritime Museum, explains:

“The Illumaphonium is a wonderful addition to this year’s sparkling illumination Light Trail. As visitors run their hands over the three metre high music-making sculpture, over 100 shimmering illuminated chime bars will sing in response. Ever changing patterns of light and sound will spread out like waves over the giant instrument’s surface. We’re expecting the Illumaphonium to be one of the big hits of this year’s Light Trail.”

The magical musical sculpture, created by musician and inventor Michael Davis, will be located opposite Harbour Arts Centre. 

The IIlumaphonium is not the only sparkling new addition to the illumination Light Trail.

Other new highlights of the illumination Light Trail, which will shine at the Scottish Maritime Museum, along Linthouse Vennel and across the Harbourside to MV Kyles, will include a stunning, interactive light sculpture by light artists Squidsoup and the three metre high Maquettes of the world’s largest equine sculptures, Andy Scott’s shimmering steel Kelpies.

‘On the Tide’, Squidsoup’s mesmerising light installation of sparkling ‘kelp’ will snake from the Harbourside out onto the River Irvine. Visitors will be able to interact with the 1,000 multi-coloured beads via their phone or tablet. 

The Kelpie Maquettes, which will be lit up beside Puffers and illumination Food and Craft Fair on the Harbourside, are a tenth of the size of the towering Kelpies, which mark the gateway into The Helix and Forth & Clyde Canal in Falkirk and Grangemouth. 

Visitors will also discover brightly lit historic vessels including the Museum’s beautiful George Wyllie inspired paper boat, sparkling skiffs with Scottish Coastal Rowing  (on Saturday 2nd December) and the beautifully restored 1960s cutter boat, Murray McDavid. 

Businesses and maritime engineering along the Harbourside will be bathed in colour and, once again, the Scottish Maritime Museum is working with Irvine Housing Association on a Glow Your Window competition for local Harbourside residents. 

illumination : Harbour Festival of Light will begin on St Andrew’s Day with a free firework display over Irvine Harbour.

Other highllghts of the four day winter adventure include the jaw-dropping illumination Light, Fire & Aerial Art Spectacular at the Museum (ticketed); illumiBike Clan Stunt shows on Friday 1 December, the magical community Lantern Parade on Saturday 2nd December; Murray McDavid whisky tastings and entertainment aboard the Murray McDavid cutter boat with ‘Whisky Bard’ Robin Laing; food and craft fair, funfair and more. 

illumination Harbour Festival of Light has, once again, received support as part of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals events programme. 

The festival, which also celebrates the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, has also been made possible through support from North Ayrshire Council, BAE Systems, Caledonian MacBrayne, Booth 

Welsh and in-kind sponsorship from NPL Estates and Confida.

illumination Harbour Festival of Light takes place at the Scottish Maritime Museum and across Irvine Harbourside from St Andrew’s Day (Thursday 30 November) to Sunday 3 December

illumination Light, Fire and Aerial Art Spectacular tickets can be purchased via 

For more information, visit



Issued on behalf of the Scottish Maritime Museum by

Joanna Harrison, Mobile: 07884 187404.



Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine and Dumbarton

  • Established in 1983, the Scottish Maritime Museum is a nationally recognised as the principal resource for material relating to Scottish Maritime history, in particular shipbuilding and marine engineering. 
  • The Scottish Maritime Museum is based on the Harbourside in Irvine, North Ayrshire, with a second display in Dumbarton.
  • The buildings and sites which the Scottish Maritime Museum occupies are part of the collection themselves: The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine is housed within the Linthouse, the A listed former Engine Shop of Alexander Stephen and Sons which was built in 1872 and salvaged and relocated from their derelict Linthouse shipyard in Govan during 1991.
  • The Scottish Maritime Museum in Dumbarton is located on the site of the former innovative William Denny Shipyard and features the world’s first commercial ship model experiment tank, the Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank.

St Andrew’s Day

  • St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. A Galilean fisherman, he became an apostle of Jesus, and was known for being strong, sociable and fair, encouraging people to share what they had with those in need.
  • Originally St Andrew’s Day was a way for homesick Scots to get together and celebrate their shared ancestral roots. The official national day began in America on 30 November 1729 to offer support to Scottish migrants in distress.
  • Today St Andrew’s Day presents a powerful opportunity for Scots to keep the spirit of St Andrew alive, by coming together and helping others within their community.
  • There are many ways to get involved and celebrate Scotland’s cultural strengths and core values this St Andrew’s Day. A wide range of events will take place across Scotland from Friday 17th November until 3rd December and full details of these and ways to support local communities will be shared on from early November.
  • Wherever you are in the world, you can join Scotland in celebrating St Andrew’s Day – from the United States and Canada to Australia, from Beijing to Bangladesh. Those who want to learn more about the traditional celebrations are encouraged to visit
  • The Scotland’s Winter Festivals event fund is managed by EventScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.

2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology began on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017.  It builds on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017.