Belfast – Northern Ireland

Belfast was the second leg of my trip to Ireland. I was really excited to go to Belfast as it is a city with a complicated history and I wanted to learn more about  ‘The Troubles’ and how the city overcame them to be a city on the rise. Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom, the currency used is the GBP (£).

Cost of my trip
I caught a coach from Dublin to Belfast  and it took approximately  2hrs 30mins at a cost of €17. Accommodation cost £45 for 3 nights and my return flight back to London cost £35.

Where I stayed

Global Village Hostel
The hostel was located in the university district of Belfast. The hostel is not centrally located but it is very easy to get to the centre with a local bus or it is a 20-30mins walk dependent on your speed. The hostel was very cool, clean and the staff really made you feel welcome. There is a real community spirit encouraged by the staff at the hostel and for £15 a night it was great value for money.

Global Village Hostel, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Global Village Hostel, Belfast, Northern Ireland (This is not my photograph)
Inside Global Village, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Inside Global Village, Belfast, Northern Ireland (This is not my photograph)

What I did

Ulster Museum
To learn about Belfast and Northern Ireland’s history the museum is a great place to start. The exhibition on ‘The Troubles’ is laid out in chronological order and it offers a great sense of what happened. Aside from the exhibition on ‘The Troubles’ there are other exhibition and collection on display and they are the most eclectic collection and display I have ever seen. Nevertheless it is still a great museum and there is no entrance fee.

Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Sculpture outside Ulster Museum, Northern Ireland
Sculpture outside Ulster Museum, Northern Ireland

Belfast Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens is also home to Ulster Museum  so you can visit both attractions on the same day. The beautiful domed conservatory is not very large but it is very interesting and a worthwhile visit, there is no entrance fee to the conservatory.

Belfast Botanical Gardens, Northern Ireland
Belfast Botanical Gardens, Northern Ireland
Belfast Botanical Garden Conservatory, Northern Ireland
Belfast Botanical Gardens, Northern Ireland
Inside Belfast Botanical Garden Conservatory, Northern Ireland
Inside Belfast Botanical Garden Conservatory, Northern Ireland
Inside Belfast Botanical Garden Conservatory, Northern Ireland
Inside Belfast Botanical Garden Conservatory, Northern Ireland

Christmas Market
A Christmas market was held on the grounds of the grand Belfast City Hall, an  iconic building in its own right brought to life by the dazzling lights and various booths and stalls selling everything to make the festive period extra special.

Belfast Christmas Market, Northern Ireland
Belfast Christmas Market, Northern Ireland
Belfast Christmas Market, Northern Ireland
Belfast Christmas Market, Northern Ireland
Belfast Christmas Market, Northern Ireland
Belfast Christmas Market, Northern Ireland
Belfast Christmas Market, Northern Ireland
Belfast Christmas Market, Northern Ireland

Giant’s Causeway Tour
The Giant’s Causeway  is an all day trip for £25, the trip includes a trip to Carrickfergus Castle, a walk along the legendary Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and culminates at the UNESCO Giant’s Causeway.  The drive to the various attractions goes along the gorgeous Antrim coast, offering beautiful and unspoilt views.

Carrickfergus Castle
The stop at the castle was very brief and we weren’t able to go inside but the views were worthwhile.

Carrickfergus Castle, Northern Ireland
Carrickfergus Castle, Northern Ireland
Carrickfergus Castle, Northern Ireland
Carrickfergus Castle, Northern Ireland
Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland
Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Walking on the bridge is not guaranteed as on days with high winds the bridge is closed, so I was very lucky the bridge was opened. There is a short and easy 1 kilometre hike from the car park to the place where you access the bridge, there is a small fee of £5 to cross the bridge. The views were really amazing and crossing the bridge was one of the best experiences of my life it was scary but exhilarating.

Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland
Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
Me at Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland
Me at Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland
View from Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland
View from Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland
View from Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland
View from Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland
Walking on Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
Walking on Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland

Giant’s Causeway
An amazing wonder of nature, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and a national nature reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant’s Causeway was named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. It was a truly unique sight and well worth the visit, I would like to visit again during summer time.

The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Me at The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
Me at The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Other sights and things of Belfast

View from Victoria Shopping Centre Viewing Platform, Belfast, Northern Ireland
View from Victoria Shopping Centre Viewing Platform, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Queen's University Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Queen’s University Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Queen's University at night, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Queen’s University at night, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast Dock, Northern Ireland
Belfast Dock, Northern Ireland
Queen's Bridge, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Queen’s Bridge, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Part of Belfaast Town Hall, Northern Ireland
Part of Belfaast Town Hall, Northern Ireland
The Crown, Belfast, Northern Ireland
The Crown, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Beacon of Hope, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Beacon of Hope, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Elmwood Presbyterian Church, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Elmwood Presbyterian Church, Belfast, Northern Ireland
The Albert Clock Tower, Belfast, Northern Ireland
The Albert Clock Tower, Belfast, Northern Ireland

My Review of the City
Belfast is a city that is relatively new as  a tourist destination but it is well worth a visit, I recommend going there before it becomes too commercial and things become very expensive.  Going out eating, drinking and all the activities I did were very reasonably priced,  I am sure this will change once the tourism industry becomes well and truly established.  I had a good time in the Belfast even though there isn’t much to do in the city but when coupled with a trip to Dublin like I did, you will be bound to have a fun filled trip.

If you’ve enjoyed my review or if you want any advice for your trip leave a comment and I will be sure to do my best to help you.
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