Belfast


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Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast
October 10th 2007
Published: October 16th 2007
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When we arrived at Belfast ferry terminal we were hoping we would have been able to find some information about accommodation we we hadn't been able to find anything for a reasonable price on the internet. Unfortunately we found nothing there. Our fallback was to walk into town to get to the visitor information centre which had an accommodation booking service.

When we left the ferry terminal building it looked like a long walk into town and we saw some taxis waiting out the front. As we waited a taxi driver approached us and offerred us a lift into the city for only £5. When he heard where we were going and what we were trying to do he offerred to find us something himself. He made a phone call and he ended up getting us a place in the student district for £50 pounds which was quite reasonable.

We really liked Belfast as a city as it was very easy to walk around and it seemed to have plenty of choice available in terms of restaurants and internet facilities. It also has an attractive shopping strip and a very impressive town hall building which takes up the main square.

We had originally been looking to hire a car in Belfast to travel around the whole of Ireland, but the cost to do this was phenominal. In particular there was a massive charge to cross the border into the Republic of Ireland. So instead we thought we'd try to hire a car for the day in Northern Ireland to go to the Causeway Coast and then catch a train down to Dublin.

As neither of us are proficient at driving manual cars we limited our search to autos which turned out to be a lot more expensive. Unfortunately none of the hire car companies had any cheap auto transmission cars available at short notice which put an end to our initial plans for car hire. However this turned out ot be a good thing as we had found a brochure to do a bus tour of the Causeway Coast which was a lot and was probably more fun as we had a good driver who gave us a lot of commentary of the sights.

We drove along the coast road stopping off at a number of small towns and clifftop view points along the way and visited the main attractions of the Rope Bridge and the Giants Causeway where we had time to go for long walks. This was a really good day as the coast was very beautiful and again we had very good weather.

The other thing that Kerrie wanted to do before we left Belfast was to visit the Catholic and Protestant areas of Belfast where there are large murals which depict images from past confrontations. We headed out to the Protestant area first along Shankill Road where we saw a number of these murals. There are also a lot of British flags in the area with a number of the murals affirming allegance to the Queen. The Belfast murals are far more impressive than the remains of the Berlin Wall, as the murals are very well maintained rather than just being graffiti.

After we left the Protestant area we caught another bus to the Catholic area along Falls Road. This area displayed a lot of the Republic of Ireland flags instead of British flags. We saw the headquarters of Sinn Fein in this area, but there weren't as many murals which related to the conflicts with the Protestants. Instead, there was one wall which had murals which stood up for a number of different causes including the Palastinians and the Basque Separatists. It even had a couple of murals dennouncing George W Bush.


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