Blogs from Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Europe


Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 13th 2022

Ireland the North 2. Belfast Short run today from Larne to Belfast. Cycled past the roundabout in Larne with a large golden crown as a centrepiece. A very sharp and not so short hill out of Glynn made us breath a bit heavily, and someone behind me sounding as if it was their very last breath ever. A bit of undulation in cow country lead us to a very welcome long descent to the A2 at ’Eden’ by the Kilroot power station. A brew was taken at the clock tower cafe in Carrickfergus before moving on to Belfast. Bill made a visit to the recently refurbished Norman Carrickfergus Castle which has been besieged by the Scots, English, Irish and French over the centuries. Belfast was approached using a very pleasant cycleway for several miles to the ... read more
Carrickfergus tank
Carrickfergus castle

From Overland Ireland Tours: “Introduction – Sure, have you never heard of an Irish half hour? It can stretch out for days and 10 is what you’ve got to experience this guided ‘road trip’ along the Antrim Coast, through The Wild Atlantic Way. From ancient Newgrange, it’s full tilt ahead to The Titanic Experience in Belfast, an award-winning interactive adventure about the most tragic ship in the world. We’ll walk in the footsteps of Fionn McCool at The Giant’s Causeway, where a volcanic eruption forged this Wonder of the World some 60 million years ago and look! Is that Jon Snow in the ‘dark hedges’? We’ll be heading to the iconic beech trees to find out. From Derry; the last walled city to be built in Europe, to sinking oyster and champagne shots in Ardara in ... read more
Monasterboice High Cross and Round Tower - Drogheda, Ireland
Monasterboice High Cross and Round Tower - Drogheda, Ireland
On the Road to Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Ireland the North 1. Banbridge We had a first today. I had a puncture just going south out of Belfast on the cycleway which hugs the river. I felt the rim touching the ground and knew the worst had happened, especially the rear wheel, which meant removing all my bags and dropping the chain etc. Luckily it was not raining and the job took less than 15 minutes before we were on our way again. The puncture was caused by a tiny piece of glass which had worked its way into the tyre. Luckily I found it and managed to work it back out. Our route was a cycleway for the next 23km, which was very pleasant riding since there were no hills and no traffic, unless you call loads of runners, walkers and the odd ... read more
The Peace sculpture
Canoeing on the river Lagan

Ireland the North 1 Belfast On the road again at 8.30 with an overcast sky, a strong westerly wind and occasional drizzle. Just past Ballygally we saw some cormorants basking on a rock, unlike some other miscreants taking an early morning dip in the bay, maybe as penance for some wrongdoing. This appeared just as crazy as the Bungee Jumpers on the Belfast Quay. The riding was pretty average for most of the way but this was because I jibbed at the steep hill out of Glynn and went around the coast via the A2. The section to Larne was good and the wind was mostly behind us. The Carrickfergus leg was more difficult as we headed into the wind but a cycleway took us away from much of the traffic, especially after the town where ... read more
Early morning bathers. Ballygally.
The Orange flag

For me, it was a day of tears as well as laughter. We HOHO’d it again today. Walking to the bus stop along the Falls Rd, we passed many murals remembering those that died in the Troubles or shouting out against Government, police and the British army. The tour guide on the bus spoke very eloquently, informatively and objectively about the history of the Troubles. I certainly learnt a lot! I think we both did. I remember watching TV news in the 70s and 80s, hearing the names of places and the names of some of the people, but at the time not really having an insight into what it must have been like living in the situation. I know I still don’t have a good insight, but certainly more than I did, now I’ve visited ... read more

Now a full week in to our trip, we really needed rest so we slept until 10:00. This was a good day to choose to sleep in as it was a full day of walking tour with no tickets or timed entry. After we did get up and ready for the day we took a cab to the Crown Liquor Saloon, perhaps the most famous pub in Belfast. The Crown is actually owned by the National Trust of UK (official conservation organization), it is across the street from the Europa Hotel (the most bombed hotel in the world). The first floor is your standard pub setting, but there are “confessional boxes,” booth built in the style of a confessional with a door so you have total privacy This was our spot for lunch, so we headed ... read more
Chicken, Leek & ham Pie
Beef & Stout Pie
Europa Hotel

Another early day, up at 5 to get ready to catch the train at 7:35. We were going to walk, but decided we just have to much luggage to make the easy. A very quick taxi to the train station. We had the first train out for the day, so it was already in the station. We boarded on time and first class on the Enterprise was 100 times more comfortable the on the train to Holyhead. They had just recently started food service again, and while it was not inclusive of the ticket price it was prices fairly. Seats are reserved and include your name above your seat so there is no confusion. The train of course left on schedule. It was a very beautiful journey; my pictures do not do it justice. Some of ... read more
City Hall
Grumlin Goal
Cell Block C

Dear Blog Readers, The last time Mum and I were having a holiday together was the well-rehearsed Manchester to Vienna trip that she'd been doing whilst I was working there. We were chatting over my birthday weekend about our next trip and there was a deal on British Airways for a return flight to Belfast and a 5-night stay at the Hampton Hilton hotel with breakfast for £594 - bargain! Our recent trip to the cinema to see the brilliant movie of the same name only made us more intrigued to learn more about the city and its history. Mum's trip to Heathrow was anything but easy with the tube strikes meaning by the end of the day she'd traveled on most conceivable modes of transport. Our flight was slightly delayed but went very quickly, felt ... read more

Botanic Gardens was our first stop on a beautiful summer’s day in Belfast. Close to the park was The Ulster Museum, designed in Classical Revival style and built in 1924-1929. The Brutalist extension was designed by Francis Pym and built in 1966-1972. The Botanic Gardens were established in 1828 by the Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society, in response to public interest in horticulture and botany. Originally known as the Belfast Botanic Garden, the site contained exotic tree species and impressive plant collections from the southern hemisphere, many of which can still be seen in the park. The Palm House is one of the earliest examples of a glasshouse made from curved iron and glass. It shows how advances in glasshouse technology allowed horticulturists to grow exotic plant species during the Victorian period. Due to current Covid ... read more

BELFAST - In the 1800s, industry in Belfast was booming. Among shipbuilding and the production of rope and tobacco, the city paved the way in the world’s linen industry. By the end of the 19th Century Belfast was known as the world’s linen capital and was nicknamed Linenopolis. Belfast was the birthplace of the RMS Titanic, the world’ most famous ship which, when it was constructed in the early 1900s, was longer than the height of the world’s tallest building at 882 feet and six inches in length. Weighing 46,328 tonnes, Titanic was to be the largest manmade moveable object the world had ever seen. Housed in a listed Victorian linen building, Linen Hall Library has an incredible 232 years of history. Founded in 1788, it’s the oldest library in Belfast and famous for its Irish ... read more

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