Wednesday, August 27, 2014


We got to spend an entire day in and around Belfast on our Ireland trip. All I knew of Belfast beforehand was that it had a significant industrial history. But I found the city to be much more than that.

Europa Hotel
We stayed at the four-star Europa Hotel, which hosted President Bill Clinton during his visits to Belfast in 1995 and 1998.  According to Wikipedia, it's known as the "most bombed hotel in the world" after having suffered 28 bomb attacks during the Troubles.

Northern Ireland Parliament Building
Our driving tour of the city included a stop at the Northern Ireland Parliament Building.  The Canadian government gave light fixtures for the drive leading to the building as a gift when it opened, which I was delighted to see included moose heads.

Belfast City Hall
The grounds of Belfast City Hall are well suited for picnics, strolls and apparently naps.

Belfast City Hall
The inside of the building is also impressive.  I wish I'd asked while I was there what this statue was and why it's surrounded by all those tiny coats of arms, because I've been unsuccessful trying to find out online.

Scottish Provident Building
I was surprised to learn that the impressive Scottish Provident Building is an office complex.  But I suppose it's better than if the late Victorian structure had been torn down and replaced by something more modern.  It's probably a pretty cool place to work.

Titanic Belfast
Speaking of modern, Titanic Belfast is just that.  Its impressive exterior is matched by really enjoyable and informative exhibits on the inside.  The whole experience brings the vessel's construction and doomed maiden voyage to life incredibly well.

Titanic Belfast
The building is located 100 meters in front of where Titanic's hull was constructed and launched; to its right is the drawing office where she was designed and to the left is the Victoria Channel from where she first set sail.  I spent a fair amount of time in this spot waiting for a gull to fly into the shot.

Crown Bar, Belfast
Right across from our hotel is the Crown Liquor Saloon, regarded as an outstanding example of a Victorian "gin palace."  I followed this rainbow to a pint of Guinness rather than a pot of gold.  And I found it interesting that the guy on the corner was so focused on what was in front of him that he may have missed the great show taking place behind him.  There's a lesson in there somewhere.

I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Belfast, and have a much richer appreciation for everything the city has to offer!

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