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Beautiful Belfast by Ann Treacy
August 8, 2009, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Belfast

We have always enjoyed Belfast. Last time we were here in the dead of winter and saw a lot of the political side of Belfast. We toured the murals and politically charged neighborhoods. This time around we didn’t do any of that. What’s funny is that if this were our first visit to Belfast the girls would not know that such a side existed. It was strange to see how easily that could happen – strange in a good way I suppose. The short of it is we saw a very different city this time around.

Patrick did not spend the day with us. He rushed off to do research. In fact he left in a big scurry claiming that he couldn’t waste any time, leaving me to worry about checking out, bags, not having money and getting plans for the day. Turns out though he did have time for the 40 minute walk to the library. Humpf. We’re calling him Mr Importantpants after that.

So the rest of us started out our day with the Titanic Boat Tour. We took an actual boat tour of Lagan River, which runs through Belfast. We saw where the Titanic was built and learned all about it. The last thing we did in St Paul before they left was visit the Titanic exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum. I thought we’d probably make it to Belfast and everything would click more if we did both in the summer. I was amazed at how much Lily soaked up from the tour.

We learned that there were 3 boats related to the Titanic. The Olympia sailed before Titanic. It got a lot more press. So much so that often after the Titanic sank they often took pictures of the Olympia and just photo-shopped in the Titanic name. Some of the bad calls on the part of the Titanic: they iniitally had enough left boats for everyone but the owner thought that they obscured the view for the first class passengers and had half removed. They also saved money by not getting the lookout people binoculars. The Titanic actually was weeks behind schedule and should have sailed much earlier in the year when the ice would not have been so far south. We also learned that air-conditioning was invested in Belfast – along with a whole lot of other things.

After the boat we had a quick lunch. I had potato skins – which I have to say is an unusual choice for me – but it was clearly God speaking to me. It was chips of potato peels topped with bacon and melted cheese. Health on a plate. Mmmm.

We serendipitously ended up walking through the shopping district. I was really impressed with the pedestrian area in Belfast. First, it’s huge. Second, they have really nice shops. I didn’t get a very good picture but the Victoria Square Shopping Center is very cool with its glass domed ceiling/roof.

Then we headed to Belfast Castle, which was a little further out than I thought. (Correction it cost more than I planned to get there by taxi. Money wasn’t as much an issue as currency but if you don’t have the readies, that kind of distinction is academic.) There was an “adventure playground” that the girls told me was very OK. The gardens around the Castle were beautiful. And it is an amazing view of Belfast.

Our plan had been to take a taxi back to the city – but one never passed so we took a bus in from Belfast Castle. It’s always fun to get a glimpse of a city that way. The homes near the castle were beautiful. I’ll just say that the homes became more lived in the closer we got to town.

Eventually we got back, we got dinner and we got on a bus back to Dublin. (In fact I’m typing this up as we ride.)

We’ll get home just in time for my midnight conference call. The time difference doesn’t work so much against me – but I’ll be talking to new blogger so that’s always fun.


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