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They do still exist, especially around what is now called 'the Cathedral quarter'.
Narrow alleyways, some still cobbled, lead between high buildings....warehouses, offices......
Take yourself back to the end of the 1800s and beginning of the 1900s, when the port was a thriving place.......imagine the seamen and the hawkers, the drunks and the beggars, the loose women and the ragged poor desperate to get across the sea and away from the island of Ireland.......the smells of fish, beer, unwashed bodies, urine, sewage......the noise of clattering hooves and iron-bound wooden wheels, the cries of streetsellers......
You can still find places to take you back, if you look........
Written Aug 6, 2010
C.S. Lewis is the author of the Narnia books.....'The Lion, the witch and the Wardrobe' etc etc.
Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898, and spent part of his childhood there, moving to a house on the outskirts of the city (Little Lea) when he was 7.
The statue ..'The Searcher'....shows the hero of 'The Magician's Nephew', Professor Digory Kirke, entering the wardrobe which leads to Narnia. It was created by Ross Wilson, a local artist, and was unveiled on the centenary of Lewis' birth.
You'll find it outside Holywood Arches library on Holywood Road, in East Belfast.
Written Aug 6, 2010
I'm afraid that my photos don't do justice to this mosaic sculpture located in the Europa Bus Station. It is entitled 'Waterfall of Souvenirs' and it was created by the Belfast born John Kindness.
If you wander out to the riverside, to Donegal Quay, you'll find another of his works of art- 'Big Fish', which is covered in delft blue tiles. This was completed in 1999
John Kindness was born in Belfast in 1951, but now lives in Dublin. He studied at Belfast College of Art.
This new bus centre opened in 1989, and the sculpture was commissioned and completed in 1991. It was funded by Translink and the Arts Council of Belfast.
The sculpture is 5 metres high and depicts a waterfall/avalanche of ceramic mosaics that show aspects of Irish memorabilia. It shows the places linked by the Ulsterbus service (from this terminus)
The artist wanted to encapsulate a community feel, and asked for donations of ceramic souvenirs from the Ulster region. These were then broken down and sorted, and many were used in this work of art. Ulster Fries, Guinness (Although this is from Dublin), Whisky, shamrocks, The Giants Causeway, public buildings, cathedrals, churches, beauty spots, wildlife etc are all portrayed. Some pieces were made from scratch.
I really liked this sculpture.
Updated Oct 15, 2009
Stepping outside the Europa bus station, I came across this bronze statue of two women. Since returning home, I have found out that it is a piece by Louise Walsh.
It was originally commissioned by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, then this was taken over by Glenbank Estates Limited, due to a disagreement over the interpretation of the planned theme.
Apparently, the original plan was to remember Amelia Street (which was known as a 'Red Light Area') and to feature 2 women as cartoon figures.
Louise Walsh objected to this, on the grounds that it was offensive to portray women this way. She suggested that instead, the figures should represent the struggles of women, faced with being underpaid in their employment or being unpaid for housework.
Look at the statues and you'll see they have household articles, cash registers, telephones and a shopping basket attached, to represent these aspects of womens life, both as paid and unpaid workers.
The statues depict strong women, not downtrodden, but battlers!
Belfast owes a debt to their female citizens who toiled in the linen factories, making it the largest and most famous linen industry worldwide. Other Belfast women toiled in the factories, Shipyards, shops, offices and hospitals etc.
In more modern times-'The Troubles' were a time of high unemployment, again the women of Belfast were heroic in continuing their struggle to earn money to support their families, and put food on the table.
Written Oct 9, 2009
Within the Cave Hill Country Park and in the grounds of Belfast Castle you will find a circular Cat Garden which is nicely laid out with a pond in the middle. The name refers to a legend attached to the castle that says it’s residents will only have good fortune provided a white cat lives there. This legend is commemorated in the Cat Garden where there are apparently nine references to cats, some obvious and some hidden. Personally I only spotted seven and if you want to see them have a look at my Cat Garden travelogue.
Updated Jun 1, 2008
A quick trip from the city centre will take you to the Cregagh Estate, an area not renowned for much. However here you will find the Home of George Best, the greatest footballer in the worl ever. There is a mural in dedication to George and gives you a chance to experience the rel side to Belfast in a local area. If you do make the trip head to the Rossetta Bar on the South of the estate, here youl see any football match thats on , you can play pool and foods bigger and cheaper then the city centre.
Why not take a trip around east belfast? The cregagh road, newtownards road and belmont road are all littered with shops restaurants and of course, bars and clubs! Get the 6A metro bus from the city centre to reach the cregagh.
Updated Dec 19, 2006
Belfast has a great cycle path which runs from Lisburn through the city centre and along the South East coast of Antrim for around 20 miles. The network was voted the best urban cycle path in the United Kingdom in 2006. Should you not have your own bike then hire one at Hazelbank park, some 4 miles along the north foreshore.
Join the cycle path in Belfast City Centre at the Queen Elizabeth bridge which crosses the Lagan near Musgrave Street. Proceed in an easterly direction past the Seacat terminal through Clarendon dock. Have a look at the dry dock and enjoy views across the lagan towards the Odyssey and the Titanic quarter. Have a pint (of water) in Pat's bar and then head along Duncrue Street / Dargan Crescent. This will take you to the North Shore cycle path. Bring your camera for some great shots of the local bird life and Cavehill. Continue along the picturesque path until you come to Whiteabbey and onwards to Jordanstown University.
For the more adventurous travel another 4 miles to Carrickfergus and its castle. Some 5 miles past this you can continue to Whitehead. There is a magnificent coastal path here which you should really experience.
Updated Jun 5, 2006
This park is just outside Bangor on the south side of Belfast Lough. There are some great walks around the park or you could take the coastal path back to Bangor. There is ample car parking and several picnic areas that are popular at weekends with most folk bringing their own BBQ. There is a cafe and visitors centre with toilet facilities. I used to enjoy heading here with a good book to relax and enjoy the view across the sea to Scotland.
Written Dec 11, 2005
Phone: 028 9185 3621
On a slightly more serious note Belvoir (Pronounced 'Beaver') Forest is one of Belfast?s best kept secret. Just 6 km from the City Centre Belvoir Park forest is a working forest within a city. It is ideally placed to offer city dwellers and those from further a field a vibrant forest teaming with wildlife and many fine tree specimens within easy reach of Belfast's outer ring. It covers 94 hectares and runs along the south bank of the River Lagan.
There are a number of historic sites to be found within the forest, for example the Norman motte dates back to the 12th century and the ruined graveyard was recorded in 14th century documents. The estate itself was enclosed by the Hill's, a plantation family, around the 1740's. They built a house where the car park is now and the existing buildings, which date from the same era, were farm buildings belonging to the estate. The Ice House, built into the side of the motte also dates from this time.
All in all a great way to spend an afternoon, especially if you are blessed with a glint of sunshine.
Officially the last wolf in Ireland was shot in 1786. Rumors still abound however. Visit the part at dusk, close your eyes, strain your ears and sometimes in the distance...
Updated Mar 21, 2004
Strange but true.
The north Antrim coast has some of the best beaches in Europe, with a total of 6 having Blue Flag status.
Here our intrepid explorer Maaaarii is found braving the elements on Portstewart strand. One of our finest examples. She assures me that the woman swimming is from Latvia. Apparently they are even more insane than Estonians :-)
You may also notice that Maaaari had to change after the unfortunate incident at the Bushmills Distillery
Updated Jan 24, 2004
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