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    • Day4

      Myths and Legends

      June 5 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 52 °F

      Another packed day. Sunshine has prevailed all day, so we have been taking advantage of that. A drive through the Catholic neighborhood in Belfast. Saw the Sinn Fein headquarters and a tribute to Bobbie Sands before heading out of town. The Dark Hedges were impressive beech trees with winding branches, made famous in The Game of Thrones. Next was Carrick a Rede Rope bridge. Long hike down to the bridge and long line to wait to cross but worth it - one of our bucket list items. Weather was perfect so no excuse! Rounded out the afternoon with a hike at Giant’s Causeway. Crazy crowded but our driver, Pat, got us in the parking area. Several hundred people joined us, learning the legend of Finn MacCool. Pictures can’t capture the beauty. Ended the day at our next stop in Donegal. The Mill Park Hotel after a drive around Derry and a walk across the Peace Bridge.Read more

      Traveler

      Game of Thrones!!!! I’m dying right now.

      6/6/22Reply
      Traveler

      Did you do it?? I have dreamed of it and I might make it to the edge.

      6/6/22Reply
      Traveler

      Oh yeah. A bit of panic when a kid was shaking the bridge. But made it! Have to go back too….sometimes I had chosen to not think about

      6/6/22Reply
      Traveler

      Tell Finn MacCool I said 👋 another dream

      6/6/22Reply
       
    • Day91

      94ème étape ~ Belfast

      November 1 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      Après avoir découvert Belfast de nuit le soir d’Halloween (nous avons même eu droit à des feux d’artifices), nous l’avons visité de jour.
      Nous avons visité le fameux musée du Titanic. Il faut savoir que le mythique bateau y a été construit. Il a été mis à l’eau le 31 mai 1911 à 12h13. C’est aussi de Belfast qu’il a entamé ce qu’on attendait comme un prodigieux voyage. Malheureusement, tout le monde sait comment ça a fini…
      Le musée se visite en 2h. Il y a beaucoup de choses à voir et à découvrir.
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      Traveler

      Vous vous êtes pas maquillés🌚🦹🏼‍♂️😂😂😂

      11/1/22Reply
      Toietmoiegalvoyage

      Nos têtes naturelles suffisent 😂

      11/1/22Reply
      Barbara Zanutel

      🤣🤣🤣🤣

      11/2/22Reply
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    • Day41

      Belfast

      October 24, 2021 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

      Wir trödeln beim Frühstück und halten noch ein zwei Mal auf dem Weg wegen schöner Spots, und kommen dann erst gegen 14 Uhr an, machen aber das beste draus mit Spaziergang zur City Hall, einem kleinen Abstecher zur Einkaufsstraße und dann dem Titanic Museum, das leider schon geschlossen hat, als wir ankommen. Auf dem Weg am Wasser holen wir uns noch eine vegetarische Poutine bei so einem Food-Truck, sehr lecker!
      Es sieht ziemlich nach Regen aus, also laufen wir schnell zurück und flüchten in eine (überdachte😂) Rooftopbar mit toller Aussicht! Danach gehen wir was essen, wie sich rausstellt ins gleiche Restaurant wie Leo und ich damals, ganz in der Nähe unseres damaligen Hostels! Da kommen Erinnerungen hoch - aber noch mehr im The Points, dem Pub, an dem wir drei damals den legendären Abend erlebt haben. Chrissi und ich sitzen fast am selben Tisch, trinken Guiness und reden. Live Musik war heute leider schon um 16Uhr, so schade! Ich hätte Chrissi gerne auch erleben lassen, was wir damals erlebt haben, bin aber froh, dass ich den Laden doch gleich erkennen konnte und jetzt weiß, welcher Pub es ist ☺️
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    • Day94

      98ème étape ~ Belfast

      November 4 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

      Retour à Belfast suite à un changement de planning.
      Nous allons visiter le musée gratuit Ulster Museum.
      Ce n’était pas une visite très passionnante.
      Nous avons ensuite profité de notre dernière journée en lrlande pour boire un cidre et une guiness. 🍻Read more

      Traveler

      Santé🥃

      11/4/22Reply
      Traveler

      et voilà que vous quittez ce beau pays au climat très rude. faites bon voyage

      11/4/22Reply
      Toietmoiegalvoyage

      Pas sûr qu’il fasse meilleur en Écosse 😂

      11/5/22Reply
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    • Day87

      CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 22

      July 9 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      We woke up to another overcast day, but we wanted to make time to wander around the city. We didn't have a specific destination as we've learned that our unplanned excursions have made for the best trips.

      We observed area art sculptures, including a series of colorful elephant sculptures that are designed as a fundraiser to support children's hospice.

      We were in search of lattes (yes, addicted) and we landed at a breakfast spot with sensory overload wall placards including a promotion for Maine Lobsters. While walking I approached a young man who was wearing a University of Washington sweatshirt, and I asked him if he was from Seattle. I think I startled him a bit as he was struggling with my accent, and I struggled a bit with his. He finally figured out that I was asking him about his sweatshirt, and that we had lived in Seattle. He remarked that he bought the sweatshirt for four quid and that it was easily worth 20£ now as a collector's item. He recommended that I try selling them here if I had any to spare. I guess I should think about retirement supplemental income schemes.

      As we continued our walk in the city, we briefly wandered through St. George's Market, the last covered Victorian Market in Belfast. It reminded us of a hybrid of Maine's Craft fairs and Seattle's Pike Place Market sans enthusiasm.

      In our continued walk in the city, we found City Hall, a grandiose structure with a statue of a dour Queen Victoria statue to greet us. We learned that City Hall was open and free to the public and we only had to provide surnames. The receptionist did not ask for mine, apparently Carroll was sufficient for double admission. He is from nobility after all.

      We first noticed several beautiful stained glass windows with accompanying descriptions. One panel that through me a bit was a memorial to families whose deceased loved ones' organs were stolen without their knowledge. I'm relieved to say that there were nothing in that specific window portraying livers, brains or Frankenstein.

      After we passed the windows, we moved through a series of sixteen exhibition rooms that portrayed various aspects of Belfast's history. The rooms varied from displaying the Belfast Charter, to Freedom of the City Awards to people ranging from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Thomas Ismay (Titantic builder) to Van Morrison. Bill Clinton and George Mitchell were recognized in their support for the Good Friday Agreements that brought an ostensible end to the lengthy civil war between the IRA and Unionists.

      There were portrayals of games children played in the mid-60's; I would have been about their age. I enjoyed panels recognizing specific idioms attributed to the people of Belfast. Some of my favorites include:

      "Would you not have a titter of wit?" (to a stupid person)

      "Who ate the sugar of your bun?" (to a grumpy person)

      "Her head's full of sweetie mice." (to an ungrounded person living in fantasy land)

      The one notable absence in the museum was the absence of reference to "The Troubles" with the exception of a brightly lit "Reflection Room with quotations of local people's experience. There was no reference or use of the phrase "The Troubles". For me, it would be like going to the Holocaust Museum with only the sanctuary and no other references to the atrocities of the time. The quotes were moving, but I did wonder if it's still too painful to talk about. Perhaps I'm over projecting, but it feels like the efforts of some politicians making the effort to block the history of white supremacy in the U.S.
      Having said that, I did appreciate the exhibits.

      We have noticed the existence of rainbow and Progress flags around the city. It was heartening to see these displays, particularly in establishments and businesses that were not GLBT owned.

      In the early afternoon we ventured to Crumlin Road Gaol, a Victorian era prison that operated for one hundred and fifty years. The prison tour reminded me a bit of touring Alcatraz, particularly with the escape stories.The displays and tour guides information were interesting. At one time the prison housed men, women and children. Our guide told us about the heightened difficulties of housing IRA and UFF prisoners at the and time that other prisoners during the period of The Troubles were described laughably as "Decent Ordinary Criminals".

      We enjoyed the tour and we caught an Uber back to our flat. We enjoyed a conversation with our host Kevin. We did enjoy a brief apoearance of the sun before it drifted back behind the clouds. Later this evening we went to get a pizza and we dropped by a small neighborhood gay bar for a drink. A curious experience the that we have had here is bartenders cut off making cocktails well before closing time. You can still order beer or wine, but no mixed drinks. It makes you wonder if Guiness corporation has lobbied for such a rule.

      We enjoyed a walk back to our flat, and we realized that tonight is our last Saturday night in Europe. As I get ready to sleep, I'm listening to very chatty seagulls. I think one is boasting about perching on a very not amused Queen Victoria's head. She did look like someone ate the sugar off her bun.
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    • Day86

      CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-IRELAND Day 21

      July 8 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Today was a travel day to Belfast as we start to wind down our European journey with eight nights to go.

      Rather than taking a direct route, we decided to check out a few of the many Game of Thrones film locations. While we enjoyed the series, I think we were equally drawn to the unusual features and beauty of the locations.

      We passed by Binevagh, a beautiful mountain on the edge of County Derry. We had been in the area the day before, and it was fun to get another look at the mountain. This site was filmed as the mountain where Daenrys is rescued by her dragon and taken to his lair. Visitors can travel to the top of the mountain although we just appreciated it from the base.

      We passed by the beautiful Downhill Strand, a beautiful beach that we first saw yesterday franed from above through the window ruins of Downhill Dumesne. Melisandre burned the old gods on Dragonstone here.

      One of the sites that we were most interested in seeing was the Dark Hedge. The Dark Hedges is an avenue of large mature beech trees, which were planted around 1775 by James Stuart to frame an avenue to his home, Gracehill House. Originally there were about one hundred and fifty trees and about ninety still stand today. The tunnel image created by the trees is quite eerie and beautiful. I would have loved to have seem then with sunlight effects and in the evening.

      In GOT, the Dark Hedges were used as the "Kingsroad", the fictional road that traverses across the land of Westeros, from Kings Landing in the south to “The Wall” in the north.

      We learned that artists had created doors from the wood of fallen trees depicting GOT scenes. The doors are distributed around different pubs and other locales. One of the doors was supposed to be at the nearby gold course, but it had instead been moved to a nearby closed hotel, and not open to the public. I hope to see one of the doors as they are quite intricate. I joked that the area industry had failed to "HODOR"; a single utterance of a GOT character who could only say that as we later learned meant "Hold the door".

      Our final GOT destination was to Cushendum Caves, where Melisandre the witch gave birth to her "shadow baby" in an area portrayed as the Stormlands. It took us a few minutes to figure out the location of the caves which were located around the corner from two closed hotels. The caves were a little tricky to get down to over an eroded path, but it was worth seeing them. Someone has created a humorous Iron Throne out of a dilapidated armchair with swords protruding from the back. It conglomerate stone and erosion of the formations of the cave were spectacular. It must have been interesting to film here.

      We made our way to Belfast, and we were greeted by Kevin who is hosting us in his apartment for the next three nights. We are located about two miles outside of the center of the city. Belfast has about 350,000 people and it serves as the capital of Northern Ireland. It's the birthplace of C S. Lewis author of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" in his "Chronicles of Narnia" and its shipyards built the Titanic. It's also been the site of severe sectarian strife and violence in the early 1920's and also in during "The Troubles". In my early teens, I remember news about the viokence in Belfast, but I didn't really understand it. We are hoping to learn more about the city in our time here.

      After a nap, we made our way to C.S. Lewis Square to see a community concert. Enroute, we noticed many murals depicting fierce Protestant sentiment, not unlike the Catholic murals in Derry.

      We watched a community performance of a local fife and drum group, the Gertrude Star Flute Band; local choir and guest performers who are famous artists from the area. This performance was sponsored by an East Belfast Community organization.

      When we bought tickets for the performance, it was with little background about it. We thought that it would be interesting to see a community show, and we had listened to Spotify tracks of the featured performers, Matt McGinn and Duke Special. Matt reminded us of Pete Seeger as well of a community performance of sea shanties in coastal Maine where he joined the local community singers and dancers. Duke Special has a beautiful voice, and it was fun to hear him sing.

      The similarity of the coastal Maine performance and this one was the strong sense of community pride. But here there is also a sense of palpable anger, resentment and worry about losing a sense of identity. There was also an incongruous selection of songs: some held onto the grievances and loss of the past while others proposed peace and kindness. There were also a few that were very sentimental about returning to Belfast. And there were references to the 12th of July that we didn't understand until we looked it up.

      The 12th celebrates the victory of the Protestant King William of Orange over the Catholic King James in 1688. The day remains a holiday in Northern Ireland and is alternately known as Orangeman's Day. Over time, the day was often marked by violence, particularly during "The Troubles". In my research, it appears that there are some efforts to draw tourists with parades and family-friendly pageants.

      Our take on the evening in this one snapshot is that there is a very strongly held sectarian pride, and that battle remains to hold onto identity. Some still seem to be fighting a war of the 17th century. This is just how we're making sense of it as witnesses. And it's a point of reflection back home about our own schism and comparative narratives.
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      Traveler

      Although our acquaintance has been brief, I’m really going to miss reading these updates!

      7/9/22Reply
      Traveler

      We will just have to find other ways to stay in touch, friend. I'm glad that you are enjoying them. I've never kept a journal before.

      7/9/22Reply
       
    • Day11

      First Day In Belfast

      July 4 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      Today was explore Belfast day. And we figured the best thing to do was do one of those hop on hop off bus tours. So we stopped at a local grocer, got some muffins and chocolate milk, and headed down to city hall to catch our double decker tour bus. We decided to do the whole tour right of the bat (90 minutes long) and then use it for transportation when we want to get somewhere. The tour was great and the weather was great so we got to hang out on the open air top. The bus hits all the major sights including the university where they were having their grad. At the end of our tour we hoped on another bus and headed over to the titanic experience. It is so well done and everything is meaningful down to the benches outside that look like the distress signal the ship sent out. So so cool. I recommend using the audio guides as it gives you so much information.

      After that emotional experience, we caught the bus and headed back into downtown Belfast looking for lunch. We ended up at Grannie Annie's.

      By then it was late afternoon and we decided to head over to the Victoria Square Mall. It is a glass dome thing that has great free views of the city. While there, the kids saw a movie theatre and wanted to go see a movie. So we sent 3 of them to Jurassic World while Jen, Evan and I continued our Belfast wanderings. We finally got to the top viewing platform of the mall, kissed the "Salmon of Knowledge", visited Tim Hortons, walked around city hall and just meandered wherever our hearts took us. Then it was back to the mall to get the kids and head back to our place.

      All in all, it was a great day. Tomorrow we are off to the Giants Causeway so better get to bed.

      And... just to keep things consistent, I will close off with the step counter. We clocked in at 17,723 steps. So a more laid back day. We will try and do better tomorrow.
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      Traveler

      looks amazing!! great step count!!

      7/4/22Reply
       
    • Day11

      Belfast 2. Teil und The King

      September 13 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      Heute früh ging es direkt in die City von Belfast. Unser heutiger Besuch stand da schon im Gegensatz zum gestern gesehenen und erlebten.
      Aber auch heute hatten wir wieder einige sehr nette Begegnungen.
      Zunächst wunderten wir uns allerdings über sehr viel Polizei und einige Absperrungen.
      Grund war der Besuch des Königs…
      Nach einem spontanen und sehr leckeren Frühstück haben wir den Vormittag dann zum Sightseeing und natürlich shoppen genutzt.
      Wie des öfteren in der vergangenen Woche haben wir spontan die richtige Entscheidung getroffen und uns an eine Absperrung gestellt, an der glücklicherweise nicht zu viele Leute standen.
      Kurz darauf fuhr Charles mit Camilla an uns vorbei und haben nett 👋🏽
      Anschließend haben wir uns in der Belfast City Hall in ein Kondolenzbuch für die Queen eingetragen.
      Auf dem Weg zur Fähre mussten wir natürlich noch einen Stopp in einem Tesco Supermarkt einlegen.
      Da wir schnell einen Account angelegt hatten, haben wir auch ordentlich gespart.
      Nach einer kurzen Nacht erreichen wir dann morgen Früh Liverpool.
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      Traveler

      Schon sensationell erlebnisreich eure Tour!👏👏👏 Und jetzt habt ihr auch noch den King gesehen 🤴!!! Werdet wohl noch Wochen brauchen, die tollen Erlebnisse zu verarbeiten!!! Die Bilder machen auf jeden Fall Lust, eure Route zu kopieren😉

      9/14/22Reply
       
    • Day10

      On to Belfast

      July 3 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Today was a travel day. And our most complicated travel day. The trick was trying to get to Dublin to catch the train to Belfast that would get us here early enough in the day to get to our place and go out of we wanted to. In order to do that, we started by taking a bus from Killarney at 9:30 to Cork. We had about an hour to walk from the bus station to the train station and print off our tickets. No real rush but when you are dealing with so many firsts, you don't know what to expect. But we made our train and enjoyed a nice ride across the country to Dublin. When we got there, that is when things got tricky. We arrived at the Heuston station where we had 30 minutes to catch a train that was outside the station that world take us to the Connoly station. From there we had 10 minutes to find and board our train to Belfast. We got lucky and caught an earlier train to Connolly which gave us more time to find our Belfast train. And we needed it.

      Once we managed to find our train, it turns out our seats weren't our seats. They were given to someone else. And it appears that this happened to a bunch of people. The conductor guy just said to make our way down to the dining car and when the train starts, just go find some empty seats. So on our way we were seeing enough empty seats that we figured we would be fine. And in the end it turned out fine. The kids got to sit together and we were right behind them. So... we were good. It is still weird though.

      Anyway, we arrived in Belfast around 6:30pm. By the time we walked to our place and got settled, we were tired so we ordered food again and just relaxed for the evening. Tomorrow we are doing a hop on hop off bus tour and hopefully do the titanic museum. Weather is supposed to be good so cross your fingers.

      Ok. Off to bed. Check ya later.

      p.s. For those who care I only had a measly 12,025 steps today. Feels like I was slacking off...
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      Traveler

      door fail ha ha... the others were better 😊🤣

      7/3/22Reply
      Traveler

      wow!!! that's a confusing trip.... good thing you're amazing at figuring things out! Hope tomorrow is amazing

      7/3/22Reply
       
    • Day22

      Day 20 Belfast, Ireland

      August 21, 2019 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 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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      Traveler

      I would have enjoyed going to the Titanic Centre like Christine too !!

      8/26/19Reply
       

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    City of Belfast, Belfast, BFS

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