The final part of our Irish city guide series features Belfast. A city rich in cultural and historical experiences - from the shipyards where the Titanic was built to the current art scene that is enveloping the city, there really is something for everyone. All you need is a quick staycation to be introduced to the sights, sounds and tastes of Belfast.
Voted the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2016, it’s easy to see why once you’ve visited - the building is structurally amazing but it’s the immersive Titanic experience inside that is the true showpiece. The attention to detail – from the journey of building the famous ocean liner to its maiden voyage, the work that went into every aspect of the ship and the passengers’ stories – is present in the thorough retelling of the ship’s history and fate. If you have younger children who may not want to take the time to read all the exhibition has to offer, the museum offers a clever scavenger hunt that allows them to find certain objects placed throughout the museum, giving parents a chance to see everything as well. And let’s not forget the ride that takes you through the Belfast shipyards. It’s a sensory experience the likes of which you won’t see in another museum.
St. George’s Market
The oldest covered market in Ireland and has been housed in the red brick Victorian building since 1890. On Saturdays, it features the City Food & Garden Market, offering a huge range of specialty, local and continental foods. There are options like wild boar, venison, edible seaweed, cured meats, cheeses, fresh fish, delicious French pastries and lots of breads to try. You’re sure to find a tasty nibble or two to power you up for the rest of your day in Belfast. In addition to the food, there are handmade crafts, cards, pottery and metal work available.
Black Taxi Tour
Understanding the history behind Belfast’s political turmoil can be difficult by foot and that’s where the Black Taxi Tour comes into its own. A quick drive around Belfast to the many important murals depicting heroes and victims of the Troubles, all while learning about the many political intricacies that are best explained by someone who has lived through it all. On this tour, travel around the Shankill Road district and see the famous peace wall for yourself. This is an incredibly educational tour, and one that comes highly recommended, a word to parents with young children though, it’s a serious sombre one and may not be suitable for all ears.
The Cathedral Quarter
End your staycation in Belfast, rambling around this vibrant part of the city. Whether you’re looking for tasty restaurants or a slice of the nightlife, you can find it on all corners of these pedestrian streets. You’ll see fantastic architecture, hear live music in the quaint alleyways and get your fill of people-watching while roaming around.
Belfast is a city brimming with entertainment and educational possibilities. Located less than a two-hour drive from Dublin, it really is the perfect destination for a quick stay-cation for all the family.
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