28 June 2012

24 Hours in Belfast

So it's my birthday today. I didn't really do jack shit for my birthday except go shopping and make myself a birthday cake. I also listened to my 1 year old throw the mother of all tantrums in Mothercare because he wanted to take every single toy off the shelf in random toddler fashion and I wanted him to sit still in his stroller while he told me how pretty I am (it's my birthday after all). Lest you think I am the most pathetic birthday celebrator ever, my husband did give me a birthday trip to Belfast. A 24 hour trip to Belfast no less, which we arrived back from yesterday.

Belfast all came about as I, as always, wanted to go somewhere for my birthday. My first thought was Dublin. We needed somewhere that was both incredibly cheap and incredibly quick to get to from Liverpool and at 50 pounds round trip and a half hour long flight, Dublin fit the bill. It was looking at accommodations in Dublin that made me change my mind. Basically, if we didn't mind staying in a hostel with 4 other people in our room, we could have afforded to stay in Dublin. But since I'm neither 25 nor have a problem with noise when I try to sleep, Dublin was right out. Belfast hit our radar because it was still cheap to fly to, quick to get to, and neither Andy or I have ever been there. Not to mention, we have a couple friends from Belfast (who now currently live in CA) so it was easy to get suggestions on what to do and see when we were there.

Now, when you only have 24 hours in a place, you really have to prioritize what it is you all want to do. The most important thing, I feel, was seeing as many pubs as we could.

We went purely on recommendations when choosing our pubs. OK, there were some exceptions – like the hotel bar in the Premier Inn because I had an emergency toilet situation – and the rum bar because I liked the pirate on their sign - but otherwise, it was all places our friends told us to go. Some were good, some weren't, some were fantastic. I think hands down Kelly's Cellars was the favorite as noted that it was the first pub we went to and also the last. A note to Bernadette, the lovely young lady who was having her 2nd date with Stuart a whole year after having the first, hope it worked out for you – Stuart was pretty fit.

You'll like it here.

Worth going just for the architecture.

I may have stolen a Bushmills jug from here.  Maybe.

So many pubs, so little time.

In whiskey we trust.

That does bring up a thing about Belfast, the people there are super friendly. From the bus drivers to the bar patrons to the guy who sold me a bottle of water from Spur, everyone seemed really open to talking to strangers and get this, they even told us their names. Fuck, it was so nice to introduce myself, I think I seriously had forgotten how to do it at first.

Now, don't get me wrong, we did a few other things besides drink. We saw City Hall for example and we saw the Big Fish. I personally loved the Big Fish as it's becoming increasingly clear to me that I like seemingly pointless statues of over-sized animals...and poultry...and fish. Anyhow, I liked the Big Fish so much I gave it tongue.

City Hall

Yes, I know where that fish has been and I don't care.

The next morning was a bit brutal as far as the head situation went. Our flight was leaving at 2 PM so I wanted to cram some Belfast history in, if I could manage to open my burning eyeballs enough to do so. On yet another recommendation, we decided to do the Black Taxi Tour of Belfast. For 30 quid, a very knowledgeable taxi driver will take you around to the sights and give you a bit of history about The Troubles. While I thought the tour was fantastic and pretty neutral in regards to Catholic vs. Protestant, it was a lot to get your head around. Overwhelming, I believe is the word. Sad, is another. I'm posting some pictures from the tour very unbiasedly, as I do not support one side or another. I think what is amazing is the people of Belfast who live under these murals every day.

Andy and our tour guide.

So that was our 24 hours in Belfast. It went too quickly and there was so much more to see so I hope I can back one day. If nothing else, I really need to find out what happened with Bernadette and Stuart...and give more tongue to that lovely Big Fish.

 "Secret Lovers!  That's what we are!"


  1. Next time stay at the Fitzwilliam - it's divine!

    1. Looked it up, it looks very nice! However, the Ibis was just fine to pass out in...even if the TV didn't work and the fact that they are really stingy on towels. Plus, I didn't feel so guilty when I accidentally poured an entire bag of Tayto's on the floor.

  2. Ha ha, Moe - glad you enjoyed your time in Belfast and that you got to hook up with the Big Fish!

    1. Do you happen to have the Big Fish's number or email? I'd like to, you know, say "how you doin'?"

  3. I liked Belfast, but I found it to be...um....strange. I can't really put my finger on what it was exactly. We took the coach there from Dublin and as we arrived into the city, the first thing I noticed was that everything had a fence around it. Everything. And we only went into one pub that made us feel uncomfortable. I'm not sure if it was my American accent or my husband's Cork accent, but people were staring at us.

    1. I'm wondering where in Belfast you went. There was the big "Peace Wall" but otherwise I didn't see any others. But I think you are right in a way, Belfast did seem a bit strange to us too and I don't think either of us could say why.

  4. I don't mean walls (although there were those too), just fences. Lots of fences of all varieties (mainly like the one in the second picture from the bottom). We brought the coach into the main bus station and we were in the city centre the whole time.

  5. I did the same last year. Went there on the first flight early in the morning and came back on the last flight at 10PM. I found out that there was so much to do for a single day, so I went again last month for 3days.

    I live in Liverpool, and I find that Belfast was very similar to Liverpool. Not sure why, but I found them strikingly similar.

    Next time you go, I recommend getting on a tour of the north of NorthernIreland, especially the Giants Causeway. Very beautiful and makes me want to go again. I also recommend a Belfast Cycle Tour. Great guide and a brilliant way to get around the city.

    1. I'd like to go back sometime and visiting the north if not just to go to the Bushmill's Distillery tour. ;-)