United Kingdom
Belfast City Centre

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85 travelers at this place

  • Day10

    Belfast

    September 12, 2016 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    It didn't occur to us how Belfast in Northern Ireland was a city with such recent history that is still evident in everyday life. Northern Ireland which is its own country is full of modern day religious/political tension dividing the city of Belfast between the Protestants who support British rule and the Catholics who support the traditional Irish culture. We took a black cab taxi tour to the various parts of town and saw murals that depicted the history and even saw the gates that are still closed every night between the two parts of town. The craziest thing for us was to learn that not many people are religious anymore but still practice this hatred for each other. Almost 90% of schools there are still segregated in 2016!

    Our favorite quote from our taxi driver was "these Protestants are more British than the Brits!" He did a great job giving us insight into the traditions still held including the annual bonfires by the Protestants which are quite massive and held right in the center of town and showed us the steel walls put up to divide the two sides which now a days has messages of peace and love written on it from tourists, as well as dents from rocks and burn marks from molotov cocktails. We got to leave our little mark as well!
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  • Day22

    Day 20 Belfast, Ireland

    August 21, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Really interesting day today. We arrived in Belfast quite early and wanted to go to the Titanic Centre which is (unsurprisingly) in Belfast’s Titanic quarter and was back at the turn of the last century, the world centre of shipbuilding. The centre itself stands on the site of the slipway that launched many ships including the Titanic.

    It is a huge building and the number one tourist destination in Ireland (or Europe if you believe their publicity). We left the ship early to try and beat the masses arriving just after it opened at 8.30. That proved a good decision as when we left about 11 am it was getting pretty packed. It’s very well done and well worth a couple of hours of your time if you are ever here (see some of the photos). There is also a smaller White Star Line Ship, the Normadic, in one of the adjacent slipways that you can walk through, although we didn’t take up that part of the tour as we only had one day in Belfast and many things to do.

    We had been hoping to speak to one of the curators as we had been given copies of letters written by the Titanic’s Quartermaster in the aftermath of the sinking to have looked at with a view to donating the originals (owned by a friend of Christine’s who is his grand daughter). However they were all off site, so the best we could do was get the email address of one of the lead curators and put Dee in direct touch with her.

    After a quick trip back to the ship to drop off the enormous amount of shopping and souvenirs that had been purchased (Christine is mad for the Titanic) we took a couple of hour trip with the taxi driver that had dropped us back there into the Shankhill/Falls Road area of Belfast. Like many drivers in Belfast he specialises in providing independent tours of the area to see and learn about the areas and people that shaped this very divided city.

    He grew up and still lives in Shankhill but nevertheless gave us a rounded overview of both the Protestant (Shankhill) and Catholic (Falls Road) perspectives of the history and key events that still dominate the areas today. It is pretty confronting to see and learn about the atrocities that have been committed by both sides in pursuit of their particular view of how Ireland/Northern Ireland should exist.

    After that we were dropped into the centre of Belfast and that co-incided with the weather packing in. It had been mild and overcast to that point but from about 1 pm it started to rain and get colder and that got progressively worse as the day wore on. After a walk through through the centre of the city we went to the nearby Robinsons Pub for a drink and lunch. Reputationally it is the site of the most bombed pub (it’s actually two pubs joined together) in Belfast and that’s saying something considering the amount of trouble that city has seen over the years.

    We bumped into Dave and Lesley two friends from the ship at the pub (surprising as we were the only non locals there) and had lunch with them before walking to take a look at the Belfast City Hall which is a really impressive building with lots of stained glass marking various Belfast events and information about the many famous people that were born in or lived in the city. By now it was about 3.30, raining and pretty cold so we decided to call it a day and head back to the ship on the double decker buses they had put on to ferry us from the port to the ship and back.

    Photos show... The Titanic Slipway (with our ship in the background...); the main staircase of the ship as depicted in a virtual walk through; a replica Titanic lifeboat; the Titanic Centre; the Normadic; a Protestant memorial wall; our driver and me looking at the exterior of a Shankill house; one of the 47 walls that still separate the Protestant and Catholic areas; Robinsons Pub, downtown Belfast; Belfast city hall
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  • Day22

    Belfast Stadtrundgang

    June 28, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Nach unserer Food Tour wollen wir die Stadt noch etwas erkunden. Wir schlendern durch die Straßen. Eine kleine Gasse erregt unsere Aufmerksamkeit und landen in einem Pub. Das Wetter ist schön und es gibt freie Plätze, bei zwei Damen, mit denen wir uns sehr nett unterhalten. Wir rappeln uns auf und gehen zur City Hall, ein Megabau. Wir schauen uns innen etwas um, aber das Wetter ist viel zu schön draußen.
    Unser nächstes Ziel ist Pablos Burger. Die waren so toll, da mussten wir noch einen probieren und dazu einen Belfast Mule - mega!
    Dann steuern wir den Commercial Court an und trauen unseren Augen und Ohren nicht: die gesamte Gasse ist voller Leute. Ein Musiker spielt und alle singen lautstark mit. Hardy holt uns einen Drink (alle in Plastikbechern) und wir setzen uns dazu und schauen uns den Spaß an.
    Danach machen wir uns auf den Weg zum Hotel und landen noch im My India.
    Uns hat Belfast sehr beeindruckt. Vielleicht lag es am Sonnenschein oder dem letzten Schultag, aber die Leute waren sehr nett und feierten ausgelassen.
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  • Day58

    Day trip to Belfast

    August 26, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌫 13 °C

    Today we hopped the train from Newry to Belfast. In Belfast we caught the Hop-on Hop-off bus tour around the city. It was rainy and wet, but we made the best of it. At one of our stops the boys signed the 'Peace Wall' which was erected in the mid-70s to segregate Protestants from Catholics. After the tour we visited White's Tavern, the oldest tavern in Belfast for some lunch. Back in Newry we visited Ashling and Stephen’s house for some evening fun.Read more

  • Day13

    Belfast, Northern Ireland

    September 1, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Today we went on the Hop On Hop off Bus tour of Belfast, it was wonderful to hear the Northern Irish Brogue and their craic about Belfast. Things like their famous 24 hour Tesco store that advertises it's open 24 hours a day but shuts at 9.00pm every night.

    An important part of Belfast is the Queen's Island area that has the twin yellow shipbuilding gantry cranes, Samson and Goliath, which are prominent on the city skyline. This shipyard is where Titanic was built. Although ships are no longer built here the yards are still used for the maintenance of ships and the building of the giant wind turbines that are dotted throughout the country. Also situated on Queen's Island is the studio for Game of Thrones.

    We continued onto Stormont Parliament Building which is the seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly. To camouflage the building during World War II, the building's stone was painted with supposedly removable "paint" made of bitumen and cow manure. However, after the war, removing the paint proved an enormous difficulty and still stains the stone. Now they say there is shit both inside and outside the building. Some more Irish craic.

    We toured both the Unionist and the Republican sides of the city. Belfast you have come a long way in working towards peace but still to see the physical divide of a Peace Wall that is closed off at night and on weekends is saddening. The Peace Wall is used to minimise inter-communal violence between Catholics (most of whom are nationalists who self-identify as Irish) and Protestants (most of whom are unionists who self-identify as British). One mural in particular speaks of what, I hope, will be the future. The mural is based on the poem No More and is designed to send a message to those who wish to continue violence that the next generation wants no part of it.
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  • Day38

    Politics and a dinsoaur

    October 11, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Today was mostly about politics and the conflict in Northern Ireland. I started out with a black taxi tour. It was educational, interesting, eye opening and sobering. My driver Kevin was 9 when the Troubles started and he’s lived in Belfast all his life.
    His insight was interesting and I saw much more than I did yesterday on the hop on hop off bus. He took me to the IRA museum. That was sobering, especially to think that this happened during my lifetime.
    One thing that did make me laugh was one of the rules at the Armagh Women’s prison.
    “Letters may not be smuggled in or out of the prison unless permission has been given beforehand”
    I saw rubber and plastic bullets that were used, they are huge. I had just assumed they were normal bullet sized.
    Part of the peace wall is covered in messages and graffiti. Bill Clinton was the first to write on the wall. I also wrote a message.

    At the end of the tour Kevin dropped me off at the City Hall. They have a comprehensive exhibition on the history of Belfast. Again it was interesting.

    From there I went to the Ulster Museum. They have “Dippy”the diplodocus carnegii dinosaur on display at the moment. He used to be in the foyer of the natural history museum so while I missed him in London I saw him here. To be honest I’m not that excited by dinosaurs but the rest of the exhibition that looked at the various differences in animal species in Ireland and the UK.
    They also had a special exhibition on the events of 1968.

    From the museum I caught the hop on hop off bus again. I wanted to hear what they had to say again. This time the tour guide was an older guy compared to the younger woman yesterday. They seemed to have quite different perspectives. He was not that optimistic about the removal of the peace walls. The guide yesterday tended to view it more as history, which to her it probably was.
    The bus was the last one of the day so I finished up in the city. I took a walk to find Vistoria Square, a shopping centre with a dome on top that gives views of the city.
    From there I got some dinner and headed back to the hotel. My phone battery was very low so I tried to find my way back using the street signs but was having no luck. Fortunately my battery lasted until I got back here.
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  • Day133

    Day 133: Across the Sea

    June 28, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Exciting times - leaving the mainland UK for the first time on our trip (aside from Anglesey and Orkney I guess). Packed up and left our flat at the usual time, and started driving south. We actually didn't have much to do today either other than drive about two hours south of Glasgow to Cairnryan, where the ferry stop was.

    We basically just drove in one hit, minus a brief stop to pick up a couple of takeaway sandwiches for lunch which we ate in the car. Arrived at the ferry wharf well in advance of our sailing (departure time was 3:30pm, last call at 3pm, we arrived at 1pm). Took up our spot in the queue and then just sat around waiting outside the terminal building as Schnitzel wasn't allowed in.

    Finally we boarded, found our car space and headed upstairs. Schnitzel came too but had to stay in his carrier, thankfully he's fairly happy doing that. Boat was very large, carrying probably 50-60 trucks as well as lots of cars, caravans and foot traffic. Passenger decks very comfortable, with armchairs, tables, a restaurant, cafes, TVs, a couple of Playstations and of course a spa centre! We just grabbed a table near the window and settled in.

    The crossing was mercifully brief and uneventful - about 2.5 hours and you'd barely even notice the boat was moving. No rolling or pitching up and down thankfully! Arrived right on time into Belfast at 6pm, where we fumbled our way across the city (confusing maze of streets!!) to our accommodation. We're staying in a large terraced house along with the owner and a couple of other people. They weren't home so we let ourselves in with the keys from a lockbox nearby. Even though we've done it a bunch of times now, it still feels really strange to let yourself into a total stranger's house!

    Went out to grab some dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant. We're staying just near the uni so there's loads of cheap and tasty places nearby. Lots of food fairly cheap, especially considering it's a city, though the medium-heat sauce was pretty mild by my reckoning. Back home to bed for an early night, as I think it's going to be a busy one tomorrow!
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  • Day52

    Ships and Walls, Prisons and Castles

    August 24, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Snapshot
    Where - Belfast, Capital of Northern Ireland
    Weather - fine
    Steps - 12700 or 8km and 11 floors

    We did not know very much about Belfast but after our visit we found out some rather surprising things. We knew the Titanic was built in Belfast and consequently they built a whole exhibition around it which really draws in the crowds. It is a rather impressive building and the display was quite good.

    We took a Black Taxi tour around the Belfast murals. We were aware of the "troubles " that existed in Northern Ireland and particularly Belfast in the past but did not realise that there still exists a wall that separates the Loyalists (those that support the British flag - Protestant), from the Catholics , and the gates are locked every day at 7.30pm (3.30pm on Sunday). It is this wall that has murals on it that are ever changing depending on what they want to emphasise at the time. For example there is a mural depicting Civil Rights leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.
    The troubles still exist, although not in the sense of the IRA (Catholics) killing Loyalists (Protestants) and vice versa; but more in gangs and drug related problems.

    The next day we visited Crumlin Road Gaol which was still in operation up until about 20 years ago and it was a very interesting tour about what it would have been like to be imprisoned here. When it went out of service as a prison, it was reopened as a tourist attraction by some former inmates (one of whom was the First Minister - like a Premier).

    We had time to look around the gardens of Belfast Castle before catching the ferry back to Scotland and onto the southern area of the UK.
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Belfast City Centre

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