illumination: Harbour Festival of Light


Scottish Maritime Museum and Irvine Harbourside, North Ayrshire

Thursday 30th November – Sunday 3rd December


Irvine’s magical Lantern Parade, one of the highlights of illumination : Harbour Festival of Light, returns at 6pm on Saturday 2nd December and, this year, the twinkling procession snaking along the Harbourside will be led by a giant Loch Ness monster! 

Over 5,000 visitors came out to watch last year’s illumination Lantern Parade. Once again festival organiser the Scottish Maritime Museum is working with Ayrshire Youth Arts Network to create a memorable parade with even more colour, sparkle and community participation.

This year’s theme is Scottish folklore and mythology so visitors should expect lots of unicorns, Willow the Wisp faeries, dragon wings and, with a nod to the visiting Kelpie Maquettes, which will be part of the illumination Light Trail, lots of kelpie lanterns. 

Recently named Britain’s top supernatural phenomena in a nationwide poll, ‘Nessie’ will take pride of place. Spanning some four metres, he will be held aloft by six parade participants. 

The Scottish Maritime Museum and Ayrshire Youth Arts are running a series of drop-in, lantern-making workshops so everyone can make their own lantern for the parade. The next fun, informal sessions will take place at the Scottish Maritime Museum, between 11.00am – 2.00pm on Saturday 18th and 25th November.


illumination : Harbourside Lanterns

As well as the illumination Lantern Parade, Ayrshire Youth Arts is calling for everyone to upcycle a plastic bottle into a magical lantern. The glittering lanterns will then line the Harbourside during illumination.

Keep an eye on the Scottish Maritime Museum and Ayrshire Youth Arts Facebook and Twitter pages for more information or email [email protected]


illumination : Creative Arts & Heritage Project 

The Scottish Maritime Museum and Ayrshire Youth Arts are also working with Irvine Historical Society and members of the public on an imaginative project, which will bring to life local maritime and industrial heritage in a creative and ‘illuminating’ way. 

Drop-in heritage sessions, which will include creative writing, printmaking, painting and digital art, will run at the Scottish Maritime Museum, between 2.00pm – 5.00pm on Saturday 18th and 25th November.

A display weaving together historic facts, memories captured through oral history sessions and artwork will then go on display across the Harbourside during illumination.

The heritage project is open to residents of the Harbourside and surrounding areas. For more information, email [email protected]


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

“Once again Ayrshire Youth Arts has come up with another fabulous theme for the illumination Lantern Parade, which was such a hit with the community and visitors to Irvine last year. We encourage everyone to take part in the parade or one of the supporting projects or simply come along at 6pm on Saturday 1st December and watch. It really is an un-missable evening on Irvine Harbourside.”


Laura Frood, Co-ordinator of Ayrshire Youth Arts Network, adds:

“The Lantern Parade is such a fabulous way to get involved with our community and have fun helping light up the Harbourside during illumination. This year, with the Harbourside Lanterns and Creative Arts and Heritage projects we’ve created even more ways to get involved. Fire your imagination and help make this year’s magical parade one to remember!” 

As well as the Lantern Parade, other illumination : Harbour Festival of Light highlights include the Light, Fire & Aerial Art Spectacular at the Museum (ticketed), the free Light Trail across the Harbourside, free fire work displays beginning with the opening display on St Andrew’s Day (Thursday 30 November), food and craft fair, whisky tastings, skiff racing, Clan Stunt bike shows, funfair and more.

‘Nessie’ has been created through an Ayrshire Youth Arts and Impact Arts Cashback to the Future community project working with aftercare groups across Ayrshire over the summer months.

For the full festival programme and tickets, 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.