I didn’t know what to expect from Belfast. I knew it would feel different to Dublin, but I didn’t know how. I’ll admit I don’t know a whole lot about the relationship between Ireland and Northern Ireland, nor was I that aware of Belfast’s past.
The biggest difference was Belfast is far less touristy that Dublin. Fewer gift shops selling tin whistles, fewer leprechauns, more locals in Irish pubs. The biggest tourist attraction is Titanic Belfast, which we were apprehensive about. It was surprisingly good, showcasing Belfast at the time of the ship’s construction and explaining the importance of the ship building industry at the time. Obviously, they there was plenty of information about the ship’s fate, and in those galleries the focus shifted from Belfast to Southhampton, Nova Scotia and New York.
Next, we set off to the Crown Liquor Saloon, a beautiful Victorian pub. I’d definitely recommend stopping here, it’s a very pretty building with large stain glass windows and ornate carvings.
The next day, we walked to Falls Road, to see the political murals. Neither Danielle nor I knew all that much about the troubles and the hunger strikes, so it was very poignant to learn about them by seeing the garden of remembrance and the memorials.
When we got back into the city centre, we made a beeline for St George’s Market. The market was an amazing mix of food and crafts, so we ate lunch there and spent a long time admiring all the local art and craft stalls.
Our final destination was Raw Food Rebellion, a new little vegan cafe. I had black bean tacos and Danielle had a chickpea Caesar salad, with cashew cheese. What a way to finish off the weekend.