Don’t Forget About Belfast

Joel Chulsid, writer for Travel Lady Magazine, writes about That Other Irish City – Belfast. When people travel to Northern Ireland, they are more likely to travel to Dublin. Belfast did have its share of violent turmoil in the past, but today Belfast is “peaceful, quiet, and welcoming.” This article has many links in case you’d like to start planning your own Belfast getaway.

“During my visit, the city was quite cool, but not cold, mostly overcast, with occasional sun or a shower, actually a welcome change from the steamy U.S. summer. That’s why Ireland is so amazingly green, and yes, there are palm trees to be seen throughout Belfast and the countryside.

Belfast is compact, and has several neighborhoods, or quarters, and they are easy to explore. I walked everywhere or took public buses, which were quite easy to navigate. A local bus ran about $2.00 a ride. In the Central City, as downtown is referred, there are pedestrian shopping streets, and a few blocks away, the beautiful Grand Opera House, right down the street from the Hotel Europa, which used to have the distinction of being the most bombed hotel in the world, but it was overtaken some time ago by one in Sarajevo. The Europa hasn’t been bombed in a while, so don’t worry, but you can buy souvenir books or postcards that illustrate those days gone by. Nearby is the famous Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast’s most famous historical pub, and you can stop in for a pint or a pub lunch.

By far, the most impressive building in the Central City is the City Hall, and tours are offered at certain times of the day. Constructed in 1903, it’s quite a dramatic place, designed in Classical Renaissance style. The interior woodwork was done by the same people who did it for the Titanic. Speaking of the Titanic, Belfast is where the ship was built, back in 1906 by Harland & Wolff. It took the next few years to outfit the ship, and it was launched in 1912. There is an interesting exhibit on the ship at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, along with trolleys, old railroad cars, and the like. The dock area, where Harland & Wolf is located, is being redeveloped as the “Titanic Quarter” complete with a mockup of the ship, but also condominiums, shops, and hotels. There are also Titanic boat rides in the harbor, to see where the ship was launched.”