Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, it is also being the second largest city of Ireland. In the 19th century Belfast was famous around the world for its production of linen, however by 1888, it was a centre for tobacco-processing, rope-making and ship building. One of the most famous ship building yard’s Harland and Wolff, where The Titanic was built is in Belfast. On a previous occasion we had the pleasure of a visit to The Titanic, which was very impressive. The family were educated about the history of The Titanic, on how it was built in the shipyard and what happened after it set sail on its disastrous voyage in 1912.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, the ‘Troubles’ began and Belfast became a very dangerous city to visit. The Europa Hotel had been bombed several times, but years later we stayed there and it was very safe. Belfast at present is a city of calm and is free from the violence of previous years, with economic growth, increased higher education and a port with commercial and industrial docks housing the Harland and Wolff shipyard.
On Alfred Street, we stayed at the Premier Inn for three nights, a base that allowed us the freedom to explore not only Belfast but also the other tourist attractions on the outskirts. This hotel really appealed to us with extremely comfortable beds, WIFI, breakfast included and just a small step away from the shops and the city tours. We slept well as the doors were soundproof and there was quietness in the corridors. The breakfasts were adequate, enough to fuel ourselves until lunch time.
Besides a spot of shopping we visited The Giants Causeway, approximately an hour and fifteen minutes from our hotel. Off the coast of Antrim, this fabulous World Heritage site, literally took my breath away. A home to beautiful plants and animals, and a place where Finn McCool forged this land around sixty million years ago. We drove to a certain point and then took the feeder bus up to the Heritage Centre. As we walked through the centre and out to the Giant’s Causeway, it was a sight to behold. It felt like we were taking a journey through time as we walked along the stepping stones and the cliff edges with the waves crashing against the rocks. Half a million tourists flock to the Giant’s Causeway every year and it’s easy to see the appeal of this majestic coastal tourist sight.
After a full day outdoors exploring, we were exhausted and slept well in our comfortable beds, so the next day decided to take a Belfast Sightseeing bus tour. We stopped at many places, but some of the most memorable were Stormont Estate (Parliament Buildings), Northern Ireland’s main government buildings, Falls Road and Shankill Road. The long drive up to Stormont House was beautiful as it was surrounded by woods and parkland. The Falls and Shankill Roads are separated by peace lines, the Falls is a Republican community whilst the Shankill is a loyalist community. Other places of interest visited included the Titantic, Belfast City Hall and Queens University.
Belfast is a great city to visit, with so many places of interest and with only an approximately two hour drive from Dublin airport, it is a must see.
For more information on the city tours log on to www.belfastcitysightseeing.com/belfast-city-sightseeing-tour
For more information on the giants causeway log on to www.giantscausewayofficialguide.com
For more information on accommodation log on to www.premierinn.com