From historic buildings and sites, charming pubs and the Titanic Quarter, Belfast is well-worth the visit. I took the train from Dublin on Irish Rail and returned to Dublin Airport by an express bus, Aircoach, which made getting to and from Belfast extremely easy to do. My recent finds include:
St. George’s Market: This is a fun, local market, from Friday to Sunday, featuring local produce, baked goods, crafts, art and more. 12-20 E. Bridge St.
The Harp Bar: Located in the heart of downtown Belfast is a great pub decorated in red velvet fabrics, antique furnishings and mirrors and displays of rare Belfast whiskey. The building was the headquarters of The Old Bushmills Distillery Company, therefore I had to try a taste!!
Kelly’s Cellars: Built in 1720, this is Belfast’s oldest traditional Irish pub. It is well worth a visit. 30-32 Bank St. Traditional music performances are held throughout the week so check the website for the schedule.
Aether and Echo: A former Victorian pub is now a hip bar/restaurant offering the best in food, libations and music. Local friends recommended it. 1-3 Lower Garfield St.
Fibber McGees: At 38 to 40 Great Victoria St., this venue in the back of Robinsons Bar, is the perfect spot to hear traditional Irish music. Robinsons, founded in 1895, has four venues under one roof.
Crown Liquor Saloon: Next to Robinsons, at 46 Great Victoria St., is the Crown Liquor Saloon which dates back to 1826 and is owned by the National Trust. Its original interior is not to be missed.
Black Taxi Tours: Make sure to do one of these tours to learn about the history of the unrest between the Catholics and Protestants. You will visit the political murals on the Falls Road and the Shankill Road, the Peace Wall and see several memorials and murals dedicated to the fallen.
Titanic Experience: One of the highlights of Belfast is the Titanic Belfast. Here through nine galleries you can learn about the rise of Belfast as a shipbuilding powerhouse, to the building of the Titanic, the launch, the voyage and the tragic aftermath. I loved the virtual tour of the ship and seeing the photos taken of the ship’s wreckage as photographed in 2004. It is well worth the visit. You can also see the Nomadic, the original tender used to ferry passengers to the ship. You can also book a Sunday afternoon tea.
I needed an extra day to visit the famed Giant’s Causeway, but ran of time. The Giant’s Causeway is a large grouping of unique volcanic rock formations along the Atlantic coast. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a Visitors Center run by The National Trust. Here you can enjoy local or afternoon tea. Tours can be booked online.
You can take a day trip or stay overnight at The Bushmills Inn. 9 Dunluce Rd. in Bushmills.
On my list for next time is to take the tour of the Old Bushmills Distillery which has been there since 1784. 2 Distillery Rd. I enjoyed tasting their 6 year old Single Malt Irish Whiskey in Belfast. It is a short walk from the Inn.
The Belfast City Hall is a lovely building from 1906. Walk the grounds or take a tour if you have time. Donegall Square.