Music in the parks offers awide range of music across the various parks in Belfast from June to September with a great finale in September.
2011 events can be seen here http://www.waterfront.co.uk/whatson/familyfestivalweekend.aspx
What about watching a game of ice hockey when the weathers bad? Why not pop down the odyssey arena at queens quay, grab some dinner in one of the restaurants or a drink at one of the bars, then into the arena for a fast paced game of ice hockey?
adult - £18
Massive sports and entertainment arena in Queens Quay a short walkable distance from the city center
Includes restaurants, bowling arcade, cinema, bars, clubs and the arena itself which holds 14,000 people and hosts concerts as well as the Belfast Giants Ice Hockey games.
For events check out www.odysseyarena.com
i haven't done this, basically because im sick of the whole politics of the place, but all visitors seem to want to take the mural tour around the protestant (shankill) and catholic (falls) areas to see the wall paintings. these people are actually really talented? why cant they get a proper job instead of being in terrorist organisations? worth a look, bring the camera.
Update 2011 - increasingly we're seeing murals which are moving away from the traditional segregated political rantings. There are quite a few peace murals and if you are on the bus tour and it is heading up to Stormont you will see a few good Titanic and football related murals on the Newtownards Road
The bus tour leaves from the city center - the sales reps hang out by the city hall, or you van take a black taxi ?(similar to the london black cabs) also outside the city hall
If you came straight from Dublin to Belfast, or just landed you could be forgiven for thinking that the common perception of Ireland is just a myth. The thatched cottages, the smell of turf, the old man with a cap sitting on a wall........well no, these placed do exist but they're off the beaten track.
If your time is limited and you still want the above flavour you must get to the Ulster Folk and Transport museum for a step back in time.
Folk museum : reflection on the past - old cottages perfectly re-assembled into a village, school, 'picture house' , church, shop etc. Beautiful old Northern Ireland comes to life. Great for a photo too....
The transport museum, located on the site, has a wide range of vintage and more recent transport from all eras.
Makes for a great day out!
£8 for an adult for access to both museums, £4.50 per child/concession. Family tickets available. Kids under 5 go free!
During the day you can take the glass elevator in the Victoria Square Shopping Mall to the top for some great 360 degree views over Belfast City.
From there you can see Cave Hill, Stormont Estate in the east, the cranes in the historic shipyard and the whole of Belfast laid out below you. Awesome!
Nothing beats a good game of rugby. And if you can't make it to a game either in the north or down in the Republic at the Aviva stadium, best bet is to head to a local bar.
The Garrick, situated near Victoria Square shopping mall in the city is the perfect spot for a Saturday afternoon pint, lunch and a good old game of rugby or football. Built in 1870, there is also traditional music on a wednesday night and sundays from 4pm
We watched all the S.A world cup here, as well as the 6 nations, and the atmosphere is always relaxed and uniquely northern irish.
They have great deals on food and of course beer, try their irish stew to round off the authentic experience.
Fixtures/games are available to view on the web, get in early to get a seat at this popular spot. You may see me there with a bottle of corona and a Springboks jersey!
The Belfast Wheel sits in the grounds of City Hall and provides passengers (if that’s the right word) with panoramic views of the city - well unless you have a fear of heights and have your eyes closed I suppose. Open daily from 10am to 9pm. Rides last around 13 minutes and cost £6 for adults and £4 for children. You can save 10% by booking online
A great day for the family - before heading to the ice bowl and something to eat (see other tips) adventure golf at dundonald ice bowl is great fun with some crazy settings here. Mini golf with a pirates theme
prices £5.50 £3.75 (under 11s) or £2.10 (under 2s) for 18 holes, anout double that for 36
Take a Walk in the Park, It's great to take a walk in the park, especially in Autumn.
You can enjoy a coffee in the Botanic Area, check out the University and walk through Botanic Gardens - which has lovely
Green houses. It is also home to the Ulster Museum. My favourite local park is Ormeau Park, further on up the Ormeau Road there are nice coffee shops too!
St. Malachy's Church is a Roman Catholic church of 1844, (with renovations from 1926). The exterior, even with its castellated appearance, does not prepare you for the elaborate fan vaulting inside - something you might expect in a major English church of a much earlier date.
St Anne's Cathedral isn't old....it was only started in 1899. But it's taken a long time to finish (as all UK cathedrals have done).
Inside, there's a rather lovely ceiling representing the Creation, made from 150, 000 little bits of glass. And a maze: the black line, representing sin, leading to a dead end.........and the white line, for goodness, leads to the altar and salvation.
The only person buried within the cathedral is Lord Edward Carson (1854-1935).
The stainless-steel spire (rather odd, I think) was added to the cathedral in 2007 and is called the 'Spire of Hope'. It pierces the structure through a glass platform, so you can see it from inside the church as well as from outside.
Something else which, strangely, has become a tourist must-see.
Peace lines were created in the 1970s in an attempt to keep communities apart. They are found in Belfast, Derry and other parts of the province, but the majority are in Belfast. They were only supposed to be temporary.....three decades on, it is clear that they are not. And, three decades on, there are more of them in Belfast than there were originally.
Peace lines could simply be a white line in the road, but in most cases they are a stronger barrier...fencing, or walls. Some have gates in them, sometimes manned by police, and still sometimes closed at night. My tour bus passed through one such gate.
Visitors are encouraged to write messages on some of the Belfast peace walls now. I think they are likely to stay where for a very long time.
....or 'the doll on the ball' (according to locals).
Actually, this rather impressive sculpture is 'Harmony' by Andy Scott. She stands in Thanksgiving Square, by the side of the River Lagan and Queen's Bridge, was funded by cross-community voluntary donations and was unveiled in 2005.
'The Statue of Harmony stands here on Thanksgiving Square on a globe that symbolises the oneness of mankind. It is a symbol of the light which can enrich our lives through peace, reconciliation and respect for diversity.'
The Falls and Shankhill road areas are increasingly famous for their murals (see my travelogue), but they exist in the city centre as well.
To visit the Falls/Shankhill you will need to take a tour (bus or taxi), or use the local buses and your feet.
But I found several murals near my hotel in Waring Street..the ones in the photos here. ...so it really is well worth keeping your eyes open as you wander around the city.
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