After having already travelled the Republic of Ireland on two round trips in the west and southwest, I now wanted to leave for the north of the green island. My first destination: Belfast. But what you must have seen in Belfast?
After my stay in this exciting city I have a few suggestions.
5 places you must have seen in Belfast
- Titanic Museum
- St. Georges Market
- Palm House
- Belfast City Hall
- Murals and Peace Wall
For a long time the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland was on my travel list. Since I am interested in the political events, the cities of Belfast and Bilbao in Spain probably made it to my travel list for this reason.
After all, these two cities were more often on the news in the weddings of IRA and ETA. But for some time now it has become quieter in these two cities. Therefore I make on my Northern Ireland round trip also a city trip to Belfast. Let’s go.
1| Titanic Museum
Several times I saw the impressive movie “Titanic” with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in the leading roles. But until my trip to Northern Ireland I wasn’t even aware where the famous ship was built. Well, what can I say? It was built in a shipyard in Belfast.
The shipyard no longer exists. But where the Titanic was launched from, there is now a museum. Of course it has the Titanic as its central theme. But also the time of the Titanic is illuminated more closely.
Even from the outside, the Titanic Museum is a real eye-catcher. Even if you are not interested in the history of the Titanic, you should take a little walk to the museum and at least look at it from the outside.
In the museum itself everything around the Titanic is prepared on different levels. As the museum is quite new, a lot is conveyed here in a multimedia way – and there is also a virtual tour through the docks.
The SS Nomadic is located outside the Titanic Museum in the historic Hamilton Dock. It is the last remaining ship of the White Star Line worldwide. Meanwhile it has been restored and you can have a look at the ship in its old glory.
Length of stay:
- Titanic: Up to 2 hours
- SS Nomadic: 30 minutes
2| St. George’s Market
Right after breakfast I made my way to St. George’s Market. But you don’t have to have breakfast before visiting this market hall. In the market hall there are many different stalls with numerous delicacies.
So you’d better start visiting St. George’s Market on an empty stomach. The market hall in Belfast is already exciting from the outside. Inside there are numerous stalls and booths, which offer the visitor a lot of things for sale.
But especially the culinary is not neglected in the market hall. Besides vegetables and fruit there are also crêpes, paella, pizza, oysters and a very special burger: The Belfast Bap.
Although I ate well, I couldn’t resist. The long queue in front of the market stall attracted my attention. When I saw what was interesting there combined at the stand, my decision was made: I have to try it!
Duration of stay at St. George’s Market: at least 1 hour
3| The Palm House in the Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden of Belfast is another exciting sight to visit. Especially in sunny weather, this filigree 19th century building shines from afar.
During my visit in May, the flower beds in front of the palm house also bloomed. A beautiful sight offers itself to me. First I sat down on one of the benches and just took a look.
In the palm house there are plants from all over the world to marvel at. You shouldn’t miss that either. But the absolute highlight remains in my opinion the palm house from the outside.
If the weather is good, there is also an ice cream cart in the Botanical Garden. Buy yourself an ice cream and let it go well. Numerous benches or the meadow invite you to stay here.
Duration of stay:
- Palm house: 15 minutes
- Botanical garden: open end
4| Belfast City Hall
The monumental building is located in the middle of the city – like a town hall should be. But this is really an impressive town hall. At first I thought that with this size and splendour the Parliament for Northern Ireland is also at home here.
But the Parliament Building of Northern Ireland is located at the gates of Belfast, so the City Hall only contains the Town Hall. However, there is also an extensive exhibition about the city’s history.
The exhibition is free of charge and is anything but a museum of local history. Here the history of the city is illuminated in a modern way.
Many aspects come together here: Titanic, the Northern Ireland conflict, but also the new, modern Belfast.
Last but not least, you get to know the famous sons and daughters of the city. Did you know that Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey), Kenneth Branagh (Kurt Wallander), Gary Moore (Thin Lizzy) and C. S. Lewis (C. S. Lewis) are the most famous people in Belfast? S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) were born here?!
Hence my travel tip for Belfast: Absolutely visit. Admission is free. An audio guide in German costs three pounds.
Guided tour of Belfast City Hall
Another highlight of the Belfast City Hall is the free guided tour, which takes place several times a day. A guide will tell you a lot about the building, the history of the city and current politics.
The guided tour also takes you to areas that are otherwise not open to the public. For example the parliament hall and the magnificent hall “The Great Hall”.
Illuminated City Hall
Maybe you are also a lucky guy and are in Belfast on one of the days when the town hall is illuminated. During my stay in Belfast I was lucky to be there on May Day.
On this day the City Hall is illuminated in red. But on other days the building also shines in other colours. Here you can find an overview, when and in which colour the building is illuminated.
Length of stay
- Exhibition and public area: 1 hour
- Guided tour: 1 hour
5| Murals and the Peace Wall
Let’s get to the last highlight you should have seen in Belfast. Well, it’s not really a highlight.
The colorful murals, which are located for example in Davis Street, are beautiful to look at. But of course they have a tragic background.
They impressively show the separation that existed and still exists between the denominations in Northern Ireland. This is particularly evident in the Peace Wall. The Murals in Davis Street and the Peace Wall are located outside the city centre.
Therefore a Black Cab Tour is a good choice here. I set off on my eBike and was suddenly in a part of town where I couldn’t get out because metal fences surrounded me everywhere.
At that moment the oppressive feeling that the people living here must have every day became clear to me. A separation of the individual population groups by fences and walls, so that it remains peaceful.
In particular the Peace Wall and the gates connected to it make clear that even today a separation still exists. The gates still close daily at 9 pm and are unfortunately not yet silent witnesses of past times.
- Bicycle ride to the Murals on Davis Street: approx. 10 minutes
- Continue by bike to the Peace Wall: 5 minutes
What must you have seen in Belfast?
I really enjoyed my stay in Belfast. Besides these five places there is much more to discover in Belfast. The conflict, which is still there, is not noticeable as a tourist.
During my visit in Belfast, I particularly liked the widespread street art. Many motives deal with the conflict between the two denominations. But meanwhile there are many other motives as well.
In the evening a walk through the Cathedral quarter is worthwhile. With its many pubs and restaurants it is the trendy district in Belfast.