The city of Belfast is known for its music scene and culture, with clubs playing a huge part in the nightlife. As well as having so much to offer on the social front- Belfast’s Northern Irish pub food has been internationally renowned since 18th century when it became popular among tourists passing through.
Belfast is a city filled with music, laughter and a distinctive buzz. It has been the birthplace of some of the world’s most famous bands such as U2 and Snow Patrol. Belfast also boasts an impressive list of live music venues that are perfect for all tastes.
This is a city that should not be overlooked. (Photos courtesy of Getty Images/Europa Hotel/Édaein O’ Connell)
Belfast is a vibrant city full of music, laughing, tales, fantastic cuisine, amazing drink, and an unique energy.
For a long time, though, it was recognized for its darkness rather than its brightness.
After the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, I grew up in the Republic of Ireland and learned about Belfast. Belfast was attempting to establish its footing, and for a long period, although it worked to achieve unity, it was regretfully never at the top of tourism lists.
Even writing this makes me feel silly since I had never crossed the border from the south until I was 27. There was no explanation for the omission other than the fact that the chance never came up throughout the years.
So when the opportunity to travel arose, I jumped at it with both feet.
Things had changed, and Belfast had changed as well.
The iconic Europa Hotel, which was celebrating its 50th birthday, was my weekend home. When you enter through the doors of what was once regarded as Europe’s and the world’s most bombed hotel, you can’t help but feel like you’re going into a history book. During the Troubles, it was bombed 33 times, yet each time it resurfaced stronger and more resolute than before – much like the city itself.
The hotel embraces its history with humour and steel, rather than avoiding it. A remarkable exhibit at the main doors displays the hotel’s history and mentions all of the celebrities who have visited it throughout the years, from Lady Gaga to Bill Clinton.
In addition, the Europa has finished the first phase of a major restoration of its guest rooms.
All feature individual air conditioning, controlled window shades, modern bathrooms, and updated decor in green tones with marble and gold accents.
The Europa Hotel’s rooms (photo by Édaein O’ Connell)
Each also has some of the nicest pillows on the island of Ireland.
In terms of location, the hotel is in the centre of the city. Nothing is more frustrating on a city holiday than feeling cut off from the action, although you are right in the middle of it.
It goes without saying that the city is steeped in history, yet it’s easy to overlook exactly how much there is.
The Titanic Experience is a must-see for everyone interested in the Titanic. The Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast constructed the ill-fated passenger liner, and the dock area serves as a reminder of both its grandeur and grief. Guests may take guided and self-directed tours of nine interactive galleries as part of the experience.
Outside the Titanic Experience, an Instagram moment (Photo courtesy of Édaein O’ Connell)
With permission granted for the renovation of the historic Pump-House structure into a new whiskey distillery and tourist attraction, the region around the shipyard will soon be home to its own Titanic distillery.
For foodies, Belfast is a hidden jewel of cuisine and boisterous refreshments. In the Northern Irish city, walking food and drink doors have grown more popular, and I had the pleasure of accompanying Taste and Tour on a flavor adventure.
The trip takes guests to the finest local restaurants, pubs, cafés, and the famed Victorian St. George’s market, where they may sample everything from hot chocolate to cheese, as well as gimlets and beer. It’s also a terrific opportunity to explore and see the city, thanks to Caroline Wilson and her staff.
Belfast’s lovely dockyard (photo: Édaein O’ Connell)
To really appreciate Belfast, though, you must see it from every viewpoint. While the city is a busy metropolis, it is also a story of two cultures and identities merging in the future. One of the best ways to comprehend this is to enlist the help of a Blue Badge tour guide, and guide Dee Morgan is an expert.
It opens your eyes to Belfast’s history, present, and future, from the mansions of C.S Lewis and Van Morrison to the barriers that exist between the Falls Road and Shankill Road. Murals strewn over the city eloquently illustrate this. The artworks served as a representation of communities and a platform for people to express their opinions.
Banana Block, a new living museum, bar, cuisine, and events complex in east Belfast, was one of the tour’s stops. The structure, which is located in Portview Trade Centre, is unique in local history.
The museum’s ‘banana’ link stretches back to 1911, when William Richardson, an east Belfast man, became one of the first individuals to plant bananas in the British Isles.
The weekend market is not to be missed. (Photo courtesy of Édaein O’ Connell)
Workers from both sides of the divided town marched together during the Mill Strikes of 1932, but the only neutral, non-sectarian song they knew was Louis Prima’s ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas.’
The creators of Banana’s Block claim that these movements, as well as ongoing socioeconomic transformation in the neighborhood, inspired the idea.
A city full of wit and enchantment (Photo courtesy of Édaein O’ Connell)
The block is now a hotbed of mushroom growers, record collectors, cheese makers, and other creative types.
Belfast city has a thriving nightlife scene. The Europa hotel is close to many outstanding pubs, including the Crown Liquor Saloon and Robinson’s. The Garrick is claimed to have the finest pint of Guinness in the city.
Additional Information: Travel
Book a seat at James St for a genuine dining experience, where the ambiance is fantastic and the cuisine is even better.
The cuisine on James Street is an adventure (photo: Édaein O’ Connell)
Belfast is a thriving metropolis with its own distinct identity and a persistent quest for expansion and change. All of this makes it an excellent weekend vacation location.
Things can only get better now that Kenneth Branagh’s award-winning picture has arrived in theaters.
It may have been my first crossing of the border, but it will undoubtedly not be my last.
Click here to learn more about Belfast and all it has to offer.
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