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


Tourism in Northern Ireland has a lot to offer and has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years. The natural splendours of the North Antrim Coast – Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle et al – take some beating in the scenery stakes. However, I probably won’t be the first to comment that some of the highlights of any trip to Belfast are based on the less obvious attractions of a ship that hit an iceberg and sunk and 30 odd years of civil unrest. If you look at a map of Belfast, you see division. I say that specifically in terms of the road geography. The M1 motorway sweeps in from one direction and the M2 from another. They are linked by what is known as the Westlink, which physically cuts off West ... read more
Botanic Gardens
Northumberland Street, West Belfast
Shankill Road, West Belfast

The Other Half had checked her step counter and decided I had walked her too far the previous day. It was not Barcelona mileage, but she reckoned that over 9 miles was pushing it a bit far on her dodgy foot. She insisted a bus day ticket was the order of the day. I checked the timetables. Buses early on a Sunday morning were best described as sparse, but we intercepted a 7 on the way into the city centre. I purchased our 2 all day tickets at £4 each. The plan was to link with one of the shiny new Glider buses that ferry folk across the city, with a view to arriving at the Titanic Experience around opening time. We were ahead of schedule and the G2 didn't start running until 9:30 am, but ... read more
Titanic Experience, Belfast
Titanic Experience, Belfast
Titanic Experience, Belfast

The last time I was in Northern Ireland was in 2001. I used to travel there at least half a dozen times a year on business and had done so for the previous 10 years. At the time, my work colleagues had tried to avoid any visits there and after my recruitment, it soon became "my area". We had grown up watching news of "The Troubles" and despite the heavy duty military presence and constant security alerts, I enjoyed pretty much every trip. I can recall everybody always telling me to be "careful" and the employer recommendation was to overnight away from Belfast. I soon dispensed with that idea. I was often in some form of perceived danger, but mostly through overdosing on Guinness. I thought I had seen all the good, the bad and the ... read more
Salmon of Knowledge, Belfast
Dee Street, Belfast
Scottish Provident Building, Belfast

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast September 24th 2018

So we arrived in Belfast this morning. After brekky we did a load of washing and then relaxed and read our books, being interrupted by the butler who was concerned about which shoes Tom was wearing to tonight’s formal dinner, and could he give them a clean, which he duly did. We had been given a choice of shore excursions but I was still grieving for the west coast ports we are missing out on and hadn’t been tempted by them. Tom wanted to go to the Titanic museum, whereas I didn’t like the idea of going to a sunken ship museum when I was on a cruise! So after an early lunch Tom went ashore on his excursion while I had a nap and did some sewing and reading. While he was out we received ... read more
I didn’t eat all of that!

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 30th 2018

Was able to sleep in a bit this morning, which was nice. I had booked a black cab tour and was being picked up at 10am. My driver, John, arrived on time and we set off in his black cab. The purpose of the tour today was to get a better understanding of what the people of Belfast call "The Troubles" and to visit some of the locations that have become synonymous with this period in their history. Our first stop was on Falls Rd to see the International Wall and John explained where all the angst began. We are commonly told it was a fight between Catholics and Protestants but the conflict was primarily political and nationalistic, fuelled by historical events. The Unionists/loyalists, who were mostly Protestants, wanted Northern Ireland to remain within the United ... read more
Various heros from the Nationalists
Not a boy band .....
Another mural that speaks against the British

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 29th 2018

I was collected from just around the corner from my hotel at 8:15 for the Game of Thrones tour. Here was me thinking I was lucky and was the only person in the tour! Not to be - this guy just drove me to the head office of Irish Tours so I could join up with the group - of 50 other people lol. Once everyone was on board, we were on our way. Our tour guide's name was Sharleen and she had been an extra in Season 6. She was a wildling that hadn't yet turned into a white walker so spent most of her time just lying on the ground haha. She did advise that it would be hard to meet someone in Belfast that wasn't somehow involved in Game of Thrones! The drive ... read more
The stairs Arya crawled up
Arya in Carnlough Harbour
The Stormlands leading to the cave

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 28th 2018

After breakfast I checked out of my hotel slightly prior to 9am and then walked for about 15 minutes to the train station. My train was departing at 9:30am so I had enough time to grab a coffee. The trip took 2 and 1/2 hours and I arrived in Dublin Heuston station at 11:55am. I then made my way out to the Luas (lightrail) for 25 minute trip to Dublin Connolly station. My train to Belfast wasn't departing until 1:20pm so I had time to have some lunch at the station. After lunch I decided to use the bathroom at the cafe but when I went to unlock the stall, I couldn't get the door to open. I tried turning the small knob many times but nothing happened. There was no where to grip either the ... read more
200+ years of history - gone
The big blue fish
Sister ship of the Titanic

We arrived early in the morning in Belfast, Northern Ireland (pronounced Norn Iron by the locals), a city with a turbulent past referred to by it’s people as “The Troubles.” The troubles were primarily from 1968-1998 when horrendous 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 a free and unified Ireland. There has been religious conflict between the Protestants and Catholics well before this time, but this is the period when armed conflict was escalated and a wall was built to keep Nationalists and Loyalists apart known as the “peace wall.” These walls divided communities and peoples many believe exacerbated the problems. Our incredible BnB host Walter (favorite host and accommodation ever, and Mom’s crush even with... read more
The Peace wall
Showing our respect
One of countless memorials

Ireland – Only for the Brave 4 2nd May 2018 Continuing the Grey Haired Nomads’ 2,200mile journey by motorhome, clockwise around Ireland The Giant's Causeway to Belfast Our overnight camp, only a few minutes from The Giant’s Causeway, gave us a fresh window of opportunity. Rising from our slumber at 06.05, we were showered, fed and ready to leave in watery sunshine by 07.00. By ten minutes past, we were kitted up in hats and waterproofs (rain was forecast for 9am), cameras charged, and through the arch at the side of the visitor centre before opening time. We could flash our National Trust membership cards in the car park later. Scattered cloud and an optimistic sun allowed for good light on the rocks and out across the crashing waves. This picture has been etched on our ... read more
The Giant's Causeway
Carrick-A-Rede bridge
Dark Hedges

Today was dominated by the "Political and Mural" black taxi tour. It was just Jane and I and the guide, Norman Reilly, born and bred Belfast, and who spent 11 months in prison as a 17 year old during the Protestant - IRA "war". It was totally enlightening, bringing back many memories of incidents and names of major protagonists we had seen on television and read in the newspapers when younger. Jane and I walked through the streets where the violence had raged and had claimed the lives of 1200 people in one square mile. Since the ceasing of hostilities a "Peace Wall" has been built separating Shankill Road and Falls Road (Protestant and Catholic areas). Come 7pm the gates are shut. The captions for the photos add to the story. After the tour we walked ... read more
The truth.
Typical mural depicting a memorial to a fallen "hero".
Jane representing women of the world.

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