Exploring Belfast

We headed out this morning without a firm plan in mind. Walk around a bit, eat something and then figure things out. As it turned out, we had two tour companies on the street corner competing for our business just as we were looking for a pub. We took their info and while we were having lunch, looked over the pamphlets for the Hop On, Hop Off. In the end, we went with the company that had a double decker bus with a closed top as it was beginning to rain. We rode the bus while we listened to a comedic narrative from our host. As much as we wanted to stay on the bus and listen to his stories, we got off to explore the Titanic Museum. Until now, I was not aware that the Titanic had been built in the Belfast shipyards. The museum is located on the original build site of the Titanic. It provides a brief history of the industrialization of Belfast and the evolution of ship building in the yards. From there we were taken on an actual ride in a motorized trolley through a series of historic construction areas on the Titanic. Once off the trolley we saw a reconstruction of a first class suite and a 3-D interactive display showing the finished ship from the engine rooms through to the command centre at the top.  The museum is very well done and worth a look if you are ever in Belfast.

We left the museum and jumped back on the bus to explore the rest of the city. Unfortunately, we had a different tour guide and we both agreed that he must have been drunk. We had a very hard time understanding him and finally decided it wasn’t just the accent. Sometimes he was just mumbling and at other times we are sure that he fell asleep. We couldn’t really do much else but laugh but the rest of the tour was definitely a waste of money.

We got off the bus and headed for home. On the way we passed a small pub that had some live music coming from inside. We couldn’t just pass on by and spent the next 45 minutes listening to a young man playing some James Taylor, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd and other well known songs. He was very talented and we enjoyed it immensely. We spoke to him after his set and he will be in Ontario for a few weeks in July doing some work with the daughter of one of the ladies of the band Leahy. He is looking forward to coming to Canada and we assured him that the weather will be nice and warm for him. It was a great way to end the day.

Tomorrow we head out on a Game of Thrones tour. We certainly hope that we do not get the same tour guide!!!

The Europa Hotel.  The most most bombed hotel in Europe.


We dropped in at Whites Tavern.  The oldest Pub in Belfast.


A couple of iconic places in Belfast.  The Grand Opera House and the Crown Liquor Saloon which apparently was a Church at one time.


The leaning tower of Belfast.  It is about four feet off center.


The little Pub we visited on the way back to our flat.




The Peace Walls.

The Belfast Peace Walls are a series barriers that were erected to separate Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods in Northern Ireland. They are located in areas in Belfast, Derry, Portadown and elsewhere. The purpose of the peace lines was to minimize the violent interactions between Catholics (most of whom are nationalists who self-identify as Irish) and Protestants (most of whom are unionists who self-identify as British).

The Belfast Peace Walls range in length from a few hundred yards to over three miles. They may be made of iron, brick, and/or steel and are up to 25 feet high. Some of the walls actually have gates allowing passage during daylight hours but they remain closed during the night.

I was able to get a conversation going with the bartender at White’s Tavern and he told me that thankfully there is, for the most part, peace in Belfast but there is still a lot of tension.  Hopefully they can work it out someday in a peaceful manner



2 thoughts on “Exploring Belfast

  1. Nettie

    Greetings…what a coincidence..am currently reading “Say Nothing” ..A true story of murder and memory in northern Ireland, by Patrick Radden Keefe…it’s non-fiction..so you were in Belfast where most of the “troubles” took place..sad to hear there are still tensions there..will it ever be resolved I wonder…


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