Hello again! The days are flying by so fast; I can’t believe I’ve already been in Ireland two whole weeks! This week, I wanted to relive my adventures from the weekend, which was spent (partially) in Belfast.
A little background for you: Belfast is in Northern Ireland, which is technically a completely different country from Ireland! They’re still part of the United Kingdom, which means they’re still a territory of England. They even use the Great British Pound (GBP) up there, much to my dismay (as I’ve only got Euros).
My roommate Zoe and I got up early (is 9am early?) on Saturday to make the two hour trek up north in order to see the unfamiliar city. Things got off to a bumpy start as we had an issue booking our train and then subsequently almost missed said train, but we made it just in time. Unfortunately, there was an issue with the line and we had to get off about halfway through the journey to catch a bus to the city.
After the hiccups and starts and stops, we did make it to Belfast around the time we were meant to on the train. We quickly caught a bus into town, heading to city center. From there we decided to take one of Belfast’s famous Black Cab Tours that take you around much of West Belfast and teach you the history of the area, including the conflicts that still exist even today.
Our cabbie was absolutely fab as he showed us around the entirety of West Belfast, even taking us to the Peace Wall that was built to separate the Protestants and Catholics and still stands today. We left our mark as well, signing our names to the wall as tradition calls for.
From there we made our way to the Crumlin Road Gaol (Jail) where we caught the last tour of the day. To say this place was haunting is an understatement. A lot of prisoners, both Republican and Loyalist, had been kept in the jail, and there were certainly feelings of disparity throughout. I won’t go into too much detail as it is all a bit depressing, but if you ever find yourself in Belfast, skip the Titanic Museum and head for the jail—it’s most certainly historically fascinating.
We then had a lovely dinner at a small cafe called Allotment, where we sheltered ourselves from the cold and had absolutely brilliant meals and desserts. The whole day had been very chilly and snowy up to that point, so we only got the feeling back in our legs and feet toward the end of our dinner.
Ending the quick trip, we caught the bus and transferred to the train again, getting back into Dublin quite late (around 11pm or so). While both time constraints and weather prevented us from exploring the city more, the tour we had was incredible and definitely something I’d recommend to all. After an incredibly tiring day and a solid night’s sleep, I can safely say that Belfast is a city I’d love to visit again if I can.
Stay tuned for next week, when I’ll (hopefully) be discussing a new adventure! If I don’t end up anywhere far, I’ll talk about the near: Dublin city and all it has to offer.