Belfast once famous for The Troubles , decades of bitter conflict, is now a peaceful city fast becoming a destination city in Europe. This past year a record-breaking 185,000 cruise passengers and crew called at Belfast. Soon the Disney Cruise line will begin berthing in Belfast so those numbers will continue to grow.
There are many reasons why a visit to Belfast should be considered. This blog will cover just a few.
My mother and I chose Belfast for a short get away as the city offers so many sights and is just a short flight from England. We were also enticed by the idea of a visit to the iconic Titanic Museum.
We were not disappointed by our choice and more than pleasantly surprised at the pure , genuine friendliness of the people of Belfast.
Once a city in turmoil and fear, the tenacity and courage of the people of Belfast paid off. This town is now truly a place to visit and explore in peace.....................some would argue a beacon of hope.
Meet The Big Fish, also known as The Salmon of Knowledge, it is a printed ceramic mosaic sculpture by John Kindness.
The outer skin of the fish is a cladding of ceramic tiles decorated with texts and images relating to the history of Belfast. Each scale tells a story of Belfast. The Big Fish contains a time capsule storing information, images, and poetry on the City.
Be sure to stop by and get a selfie!
Belfast has so much to offer it is tough to decide on where to begin. The fact that we only had 4 days helped us prioritize. I would also say that I grew up in the UK during the time of The Troubles and I did not want to relive some of the horrific memories of the past so this played a role also. Our goal was to visit and enjoy the city reborn to peace, this helped us determine our itinerary. If you are a history buff and keen on the history of Northern Ireland, then Belfast is a must stop.
Here are some of the highlights of our trip. This blog will focus on a day in the city center of Belfast. We began our day walking up from the Titanic Quarter to the Cathedral Quarter. Along the way there are some stunning sites including the infamous Titanic Museum, The Big Fish and much more! Take a walk with us……..
Belfast’s Titanic Quarter is one of the world’s largest urban-waterfront regeneration projects; it is a great option if you stay in Belfast. There are plenty of Airbnb selections or stay at the beautiful Titanic Hotel. In this area of the city of course you will find the infamous Titanic Museum, SSE Arena, Harbor Museum and the daunting H&W Samson and Goliath Cranes. The walk into town is a pleasant 15 -20 minutes over the Logan river. Once you find yourself in front of The Big Fish stop for a selfie and then turn toward the city and you will see The Albert Memorial Clock. A short walk from there will bring you to the Cathedral Quater.
This area was once the literary heart of the city. Today the Belfast Central Library building and the headquarters of local newspapers the Belfast Telegraph and The Irish News, are still in operation today.
Here you will also find The Metropolitan Arts Center, The MAC and close behind The MAC the beautiful; St. Anne’s Cathedral. We visited both in a morning.
We visited during the MAC International 2018. This exhibit choses artistes from over 800 global entries. Some of you may have noticed when I visit a city, I try to seek out the local contemporary art gallery. I am certainly no expert, but I do find contemporary art to be thought provoking in that the audience can play an active role in constructing meaning of the piece. This exhibit allowed just that.
From art exhibit to street art. Another one of my favorite things to do is photograph street art. Belfast is an up and coming tourist town and there is plenty of street art to be seen.
Street art is known to increase tourist population. It also tells a story about a culture without saying one word.
St. Anne's Cathedral
St. Anne’s Cathedral is a must see if you are in Belfast. The cathedral is quite beautiful and steeped in history. Stop by and spend some time wandering this beautiful place of worship.
From Anglican to Catholic
After spending some time immersed in the history of St. Anne’s we headed to another stunning place of worship, St. Malachy’s Catholic Church. We made it in time for the 1pm daily Mass. Whether you are catholic or not this church is worth a visit as it has such unusual beauty and it’s stunning vaulted ceiling is quite unique.
Next Stop - City Hall
Just around the corner from St. Malachy’s you will find Belfast City Hall. If you are in Belfast, I highly recommend a stop here. It’s a vibrant working city hall that offers visitors an amazing free exhibit of the history of the city, beautiful architecture as well as guided tours and a very good café. We were passing through and ended up staying a few hours as there really is that much to see. Oh, we got a sneak peek of someone’s wedding too.
After such a day of sight seeing we opted for one more stop at the legendary Whites Tavern. This is purported to be the oldest pub in Belfast. It’s definitely old and definitely worth a visit. Indulge in a nice smooth Guinness of course……………
One last thing if you are in Belfast be sure to eat a good old Irish breakfast at Grannie Annie’s. It is a small Irish chain restaurant, but the breakfast was well worth a mention here. We of course had to visit and send pictures to my children and they call my mother Granny Anne………………..
In the words of James Nesbitt-Belfast is a city which, while not forgetting its past, is living comfortably with its present and looking forward to its future.
Expolring our world one trip at a time...............................