Hey Everyone! Welcome back to my website and today we are heading to Northern Ireland to explore the great city of Belfast and Antrim. Belfast is the capital city in Northern Ireland and it is the largest city in Northern Ireland. I love this city after visiting, it has so much charm, history and character to it. Leaving the city of Belfast if this is not your thing, Antrim will take you through a real rural, outdoor adventure. There is so much to see and do while you are visiting so it is a perfect location for a weekend getaway.
Belfast is approximately 4 hours from Co. Clare. We decided to head up to Belfast one evening after work. By doing this we did arrive late at approximately 11pm but this works out better rather than spending half a day getting there and then having to try and go sight-seeing. Get a good night sleep and be ready for exploring the following day.
I stayed in the Jury’s Inn Hotel and this hotel is located in the city centre. It is very close to the shopping streets, there is parking facilities behind the hotel and it is a great base point. This hotel is directly in front of a Hop-on Hop-off bus stop which is ideal.
Things To Do;
The best way to get around Belfast city to see the best locations and to learn about the history of the city whilst doing so, is by getting the Hop-on Hop-off bus tour. There are 23 different locations that you can stop and get off at and usually your ticket is valid for 12-24 hours so you can take your time sight seeing. The first location that I decided to stop at was of course, the Titanic Experience.
I would definitely recommend saving a few hours to spend here because the visitor centre is very big and there is a lot to do and see. There are different tickets you can get but we did it all. I did the ‘Titanic Experience’ and also the ‘Discovery Tour’ that is because I was Titanic obsessed when I was younger!! With this we were able to see the many different areas that were associated with the Titanic; the building of the ship, life-like rooms on the ship, the sailing day and so much more. As I mentioned in my Cork Post, I have visited the Titanic experience in Cobh too. Each attraction showcase different aspects of the tragic Titanic event and they are just as good as each other in my opinion (that is if you are a Titanic fanatic like me). You are also able to walk around the grounds where you will see the indentations where the Titanic stood throughout its construction. It is here where you will realise the true enormity of the ship. Have a wander down to the SS Nomadic ship that is docked outside this visitor centre while you are there.
Back on the bus and you will be brought through the well known areas which are full of culture and history. Freedom Corner, Falls Road, Shankill Road and the Peace Wall, all tell different stories through the use of murals, territory markings and signage. It is very interesting to see and in my opinion I think it is the most important thing to do if you are ever visiting Belfast. You can almost imagine the history coming to life in front of you as you are being guided through these streets, being told the distressing stories behind ‘The Troubles’.
Leaving the bus tour, Cavehill is another great attraction within Belfast. Belfast Castle and Zoo is located here but besides these location just walking around the park itself is enough to do here. Undoubtedly, Cavehill is the most fantastic place to view the entire city as Cavehill is sitting 368 meters above sea level. Great spot to get that perfect insta!
Before leaving Belfast City, I recommend having a wander around the streets. The buildings themselves are Victorian style with modern day retail shops inside, the area has a very pristine vibe. All in all, I will definitely return to Belfast.
From here, just an hour and a half drive up to County Antrim will lead you to the amazing Giant’s Causeway. There are different bus tours that you can get from Belfast but driving at your own leisure always feels like you have a lot more freedom. There are many different stories linked to the formation of the many different hexagonal shapes, some scientific and some old tales both really interesting. I took an audio guide and listened to information as I walked around the ‘World Heritage Site’. An adult ticket is £11. I love visiting natural sites like this around Ireland so I was in my element. Wear warm clothes as it was freezing!!
Points of Interest that I missed;
Rope Bridge, I actually visited this location but the bridge wasn’t open as the weather conditions weren’t good. This was really disappointing so I would be sure to check the weather and check in to see if they are open before you go. This is a bridge that connects the mainland to a tiny island only accessible by a 20 meter rope bridge! Not something for the faint hearted!
The Dark Hedges, although I have yet to watch the hugely famous Game of Thrones I am dying to see this location. This is mainly because there are endless photo opportunities here but I am sure it will be all because of the series once I have watched it haha!
For those of you that are interested in Golf, the home to a stage of the 148th Open. The Royal Portrush Golf club is said to be one of the ‘World’s finest link courses’.
That’s it from me today, I hope you enjoyed reading this and it gets you thinking about taking a bit of a break away for yourself! We all need from time to time! If you have any questions be sure to ask me!