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Published: August 23rd 2019
August 20, 2019 – Belfast, Northern Ireland – Weather: 61°F/16°C, sunny with clear skies in am, cloudy with scattered showers in pm, wind 10 mph, humidity 66°
Belfast, which today is Northern Ireland’s largest city, has occupied this area since the Bronze Age. The community remained a relatively small throughout the middle ages until the 17th
century when it began to blossom into an industrial center in the 19th
centuries. Today the city continues to be an industrial hub with tentacles in the high-tech area.
Belfast holds a special place in modern history as the “birthplace” of the ill-fated RMS Titanic which was designed and built in the Harland & Wolff shipyards, along with her sisters Olympic and Britannic. Today the shipyard is quiet excect for the throngs of tourists who make their way to the Titanic Experience, a museum dedicated to the ship and overlooking the slipway where she was built.
Today we arrived in Belfast to a new cruise terminal which has only been in operation for a month and were met by David and Hilary, a couple who live here and who were our tour guides for the day. David’s cousin is
a close friend of ours back in Canada.
Our first destination for today was Hillsborough Castle which serves as the Queen’s residence whenever she is in Northern Ireland. The public rooms are open for viewing and we had a guided tour of them. The castle is surrounded by large well maintained gardens.
Our next destination was the Lisburn Linen Centre. We had expressed an interest in seeing it as one of Brooke’s ancestors had been an Irish linen weaver. The centre has a museum where presenters demonstrate how linen thread is created and woven into useable products. The centre also has a research wing where one can investigate the Irish linen industry throughout history.
After a packed morning we then headed off to the Titanic Quarter for lunch and our afternoon visit to the museum dedicated to the ship. Located on the grounds where the Titanic and her sisters were built the museum soars over your head in the shape of the Titanic’s bow. Eight years ago, when we visited Belfast, the building was just nearing completion and one of the original buildings nearby was slated for restoration. On this visit we found that building, which had
originally been the Drafting Rooms, have been incorporated into a new hotel and the two drafting rooms themselves are now used as a restaurant/bar and conference room.
After lunch we strolled across the adjoining plaza to the museum and spent two hours wending our way through the midweek tourist crowds to read and view the exhibits. Lots of multimedia displays combined with scores of written panels combined with a very interesting gondola ride through the recreated construction site.
True to their word David and Hilary provided us with an outstanding day out with a rich view of some of historical aspects of their city and got us back to the ship before All Aboard at 4:30.
Tonight we were entertained by the StepOne Dance Company who performed a modern dance sequence which employed strong sound and light projects and was entitled “Humanity”.
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