We had a few days in Belfast, going across from Cairnryan in Scotland as foot passengers on the ferry. Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, and neither of us had been before so were looking forward to exploring. We LOVED it – the people are so friendly and there is loads to do, but as we only had three nights we just scratched the surface. We took advantage of a reasonably priced day-ticket and used the buses a lot to get round. The Waterstones is located on Fountain Street, which is one of the main shopping streets in the city, and which underwent restoration in 2019. We definitely want to go back to Belfast as there is so much more to see.
The Titanic Belfast is situated on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard which built the ship. It opened in March 2012, a few weeks before the centenary of the sinking of RMS Titanic, which killed more than 1500 people. The museum includes many interactive exhibits and even a ride! It really is an excellent museum and we spent ages here, reading the history and soaking in the atmosphere. After leaving we popped over to the Titanic Hotel for a drink, in the bar, which is in the drawing offices of the former headquarters of Harland & Wolff.
The Titanic Hotel and Drawing Room Bar
Shanklin Road, Falls Road and The Peace Wall
As Queen Elizabeth II had died shortly before our visit, we decided to head to the Shanklin Road to look at a mural painted for her platinum jubilee. The site was covered with flowers left by people wishing to pay their respects. From there we walked to the Peace Wall in Cupar Way. This is one of the many Peace Walls (also called Peace Lines) to exist in the city, which were built to segregate areas during The Troubles. These are due to be removed by 2023. From here we walked to the Falls Road to look at the Bobby Sands mural. There are several museums to The Troubles, looking at it from both sides, which we didn’t have time to visit, but would like to on a future trip.
Belfast City Hall
This is another place we wanted to visit, as normally the building is open for people to explore, but due to the Queen’s death the tours were suspended. We were able to go to the café, so we did see to get a little of this beautiful building, which took eight years to complete and opened in 1906. The stained-glass windows we saw are gorgeous (there are many listed on the Belfast City Government website, but obviously we didn’t get to see them all). The one included below is located in the north east corridor, and shows the Famine, but actually commemorates the people who died due to Typhus and Cholera between 1846 and 1848.
C S Lewis Square
Author C S Lewis, probably best known for the Narnia series of books, was born in Belfast in 1898, and there is a square dedicated to him in East Belfast. The photos below of sculptures by Irish artist Maurice Harron are, clockwise from top left are Aslan, Mr and Mrs Beaver, Maugrim, The White Witch and Mr Tumnus.
Below, clockwise from top left: 1. and 2. The Dark Horse and their mural courtyard. 3. Harland & Wolff’s cranes ‘Samson’ and ‘Goliath’. 4. and 5. St George’s Market.
Currently reading: The Infirmary by L J Ross