Ravenhill Rugby Pitch!
During my trip to Belfast in 1999, we were lucky enough to have tickets to the Rugby World Cup at Ravenhill Stadium. We enjoyed Australia vs. Romania this evening, and it was very lopsided toward the Aussies.
This was a small intimate stadium, and it seemed similar to a high school football match, even though the eventual champion Aussies were the best in the World at the time.
Wonderful venue, I would highly recommend checking a match out if the home team, Ulster is playing. Just your loud voices!
Go for the Craic
Whites Tavern is Belfast’s oldest pub dating back to 1630, as it proudly proclaims on it’s outside wall. It has a rather more modern exterior but whilst it might not look like Belfast’s oldest tavern I found it one of the friendliest with the famous Irish “craic“ well in evidence. An impromptu guitar session was going on outside on my first visit and a young lady insisted, despite my protestations, on buying my pint because she had jumped in front of me at the bar (I could drink all night for free in London on that basis). On my second visit it was quieter as it was during the afternoon but I got chatting to a guy about local pubs and Belfast in general and we could easily have ended up sharing a few beers if I hadn’t had other plans.
Skye opened its doors a few years agao and offered a "pound a drink" night on a Thursday, although this policy is now gone, it still seems to attract a decent crowd. The crowd is young, and the music is cheesy. There is also a strong Hip Hop influence on the club, with belfast African population descending on Skye in strong numbers. If you like baggy t-shirts from TK Maxx, enjoy pop-hop and are looking to pick up young confused teenagers, this is the place for you. Not my cup of tea. Young - Timberland boots/ stripy jumpers and/or African-American type dress ie XXXL
Belfast is dotted with parks - each with a different feel. From the Victorian- style Botanic Park near Queens University to the Waterworks in the working-class north of the city you will see Belfast citizens at rest and play.
This red brick former bank is now home to the Primark shop.
I think the red and white barriers were put up to stop me going on a shopping frenzy at Primarni!!! Well even though I could have picked up some mega bargains here-I was on a strict budget... so I resisted!
The bank was known as The Bank of the Four Johns. Why? Because its 4 founders were all called John!
It was built between 1899-1900 by W H Lynn (who also created Belfasts Central Library) and constructed over 5 stories, with a red sandstone exterior. Its name comes from Cunninghams Bank, which was founded on this site in 1787 and closed in 1798 due to an economic disaster.
By the early 1900's the bank again fell on hard times and closed, with the building then became the home for a short time to one Reverend Dr. William Dickson, who was the Bishop of Down & Connor.
By 1805 the building was converted into a shop. I'm not sure of what type of shop-nor am I sure if it was profitable-The area in front of this store being the place where criminals were executed! - a practice that went on until 1816. (The last public executions in Belfast (of this period and type) took place here- being 3 weavers, who had a grievance with Francis Johnston-their employer, over their wages, which led them to attack his home).
By 1840 this area was known as Castle Place.
In 1853, the building then became a wholesale drapers store. The founders being William Robertson, Henry Hawkins, J C Ledlie, and Robert Ferguson. These were all established businessmen, so the company soon expanded and flourished as a commercial department store.
By 1900, a refurbishment had taken place. The store operated as a shop on 2 floors (Large windows were installed in these lower floors, with the design by W H Lynn) the upper floors were used as a wholesale Warehouse.
The next stage of the buildings history was when the House of Fraser group bought out the company, which was subsequently taken over by Boots (the chemists) until 1975.
The reason that Boots moved out, was that on the 9th April 3 bombs exploded in the building, with extensive damage being caused to the structure.
It wasn't until 1979 that the building was refurbished, then a year and a half later Primark took over from where Boots left off.