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


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

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast October 3rd 2019

We arrived late at night in Belfast, a city made famous because of it's turbulent past referred to by it’s people as “The Troubles.” Dennis had visited Belfast in the mid 90's and didn't have a chance to stay because of a car bombing that had occurred that day that scared off his travel companions, so he looked forward to finally returning. The troubles were primarily from 1968-1998 when bombings and assassinations occurred between the Protestant “Loyalists,” who were supportive of a British controlled Northern Ireland, and the Catholic IRA “Republicans,” who were supportive of an independent and unified Ireland. There had been religious conflict between the Protestants and Catholics well before this time, but this is the period when armed conflict escalated and British troops were deployed to Northern Ireland and over 300 miles of ... read more
Loyalist neighborhood in Derry
Dunluce castle.

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 29th 2019

Up at 6:45. Another terrific buffet breakfast at the hotel. The hotel breakfasts are mostly in line with similar offerings around the world, but there are a few different things. "Black and white pudding" consists of hard salty cakes, some black, some white; not a favourite. "Scuffins" are a cross between scones and muffins, and they are delicious. The bread is fabulous. At the porridge station proudly stands a bottle of Bushmill's for garnishing your cereal. How civilized. We board the coach for a city tour of Belfast and meet our new driver, David. (Darius was assigned to another tour.) Our first stop is Belfast City Hall. This turns out to be the grandest, most opulent city hall I have ever seen. Built in 1906 to celebrate the city's new prosperity stemming from the industrial revolution, ... read more
Looking down the grand staircase
Stained-glass window
Mayor for a day!

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 28th 2019

We're up at what the Irish call "half seven"; i.e., 7:30. Excellent buffet breakfast at the hotel, then on to the coach. (Tony is very insistent that we are riding on a coach, not a bus.) We met our driver, Darius, briefly yesterday. He's Polish and seems to enjoy our ability to carry out simple conversations in Polish. We head north, paralleling the Irish coast, although the sea is not often in sight. It's about 20ºC and overcast but the forecasted rain has happily not materialized. The Irish countryside is beautiful, a patchwork quilt of various shades of green that mark the boundaries between farms, crops, and mountainous areas. The rolling hills in the distance are reminiscent of the Gatineau. Stucco and brick houses predominant. Many of the homes boast lovingly planned and maintained gardens. Tony ... read more
Exhibit in D'Arcy McGee Museum
Irish countryside
Cemetery where St. Patrick is buried with town in distance

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 20th 2019

We hopped a train from Dublin with an Irishman named David and headed north today. What a gloriously, delicious day it was, Again we were pretty lucky, because like a ding-dong I had purchased the tickets with the intention of trying to get the right weather day to do this tour. Duh, there is no right weather day in Ireland, it rains, the sun shines, it rains, and the glorious sun shines. So, I prompted Kerry to get on with it and we grabbed a taxi and headed to the train station at 6:15 a.m. 😳 only to find out when we met David, our tour guide, that I had made the reservation for the following day...yep. Luckily, David was able to squeeze us in with new friends, Kaylynn and her daughter Samma (Samantha) from Utah, ... read more
Carrickfergus Castle and King Kerry :)
Carrickfergus Castle
The Causeway.

On a visit to Belfast, we visited the Titanic Building and the Titanic Studios Belfast where Game of thrones series segments are produced. Also shown the World Residence cruise ship and HMS Caroline. We are expecting 150 cruise ships into Belfast port this year.... read more

Je prendrai l'avion pour la ville. Je visiterai la ville et la mairie. Je visiterai le musée titanique. Je visiterai la première place d'une attaque de l'IRA.... read more
 Musée Titanique

“It takes a great deal of courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it.” - Oscar Wilde We started the day sleeping in until 8:30 (!), followed by a delicious breakfast at the Bullitt Hotel restaurant. I has the veggie Irish (poached eggs, grilled halloumi cheese, mushrooms, potatoes, grilled peppers, tomato chutney, and sourdough toast), and Susan had the full Irish (poached eggs, mushrooms, sausages, bacon, black pudding, white pudding, and sourdough toast). Yumm. Well fortified for the day, we headed to the Ulster Museum, a nice smallish museum near Queen’s University. We visited the exhibit on the Troubles, which was well done, then explored the history floor, which encompassed Irish history from the Bronze Age to modern times, which was very informative. I enjoyed the small Egyptian exhibit, ... read more
Susan’s full Irish
Ulster Museum - GOT woven throne
Ulster Museum - the GOT dragons

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