The 'Big Fish' sculpture, of a salmon, stands by the river Lagan in the centre of Belfast, It is made of smaller "Delft type" blue and white ceramic tiles, decorated with texts and images covering the history of Belfast. The ?Bigfish? also contains a time capsule storing information/images/poetry on the City.
The artist was a local man, John Kindness and the piece is some 10m long.
There are two boat tours run by the Lagan Boat Company depending on which day it is. On Friday to Monday you can take the Titanic Tour around the Harland and Wolff shipyards where the Titanic was built. Exactly why they would want to bring attention to the fact that they built that most famous of vessels that sank on it’s maiden voyage I have no idea, but they do. The other tour runs Tuesday to Thursday and is a 75 minute trip up the Lagan River to Stranmillis Pool and back.
Both tours are accompanied by a commentary and you’ll also get to see the two massive yellow cranes in the shipyard that are affectionately known as Samson and Goliath.
Sailings are at 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm and cost £10 for adults and £8 concessions (May 08). Family tickets and joint tickets with the City Bus Tour are also available.
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
Better known as W5, Who what when where why, provides a unique experience as well as fantastic fun for visitors of all ages. In addition to permanent exhibits, W5 also presents a changing programme of large and small scale temporary exhibitions and events. They also have a daily programme of live science demonstrations and shows throughout the day.
W5’s location at Odyssey, the Northern Ireland Millennium Landmark Project, provides spectacular views of Belfast and the River Lagan and is only a short walk from Belfast City Centre.
Belfast grew up and flourished as a port due to its position at the mouth of Belfast lough.
Due to the Ards peninsula (a 50 km long protective finger like protrusion that curves around the lough) acting as a protective wall, the waters are beautifully clean and are a haven for exotic sea life.
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
The giants causeway is a great place to visit and the easiest way to do this is with an organised coach tour. The trip also takes in Bushmills Distillery which is the oldest in the world.
If you are driving then I would recommend driving up the Antrim coast which has some stunning scenery (some scarry hiils too, so not for the faint hearted). Stop off in Ballycastle for a coffee before moving onto the Causeway. Dunluce Castle can also be taken in (see Portrush page). Once done at the Causeway head onto Portrush for a top night out.
The Cave Hill Country Park is open every day from dawn until dusk and is free to enter and there are a number of entrances. There are three marked walks around the park, firstly the Castle Trail of about 30 minutes that takes in both the maze and the castle. Then there is the Estate Trail which should take around an hour and finally the more challenging Cave Hill Trail that goes up past the caves and old iron mines to McArt’s Fort and will take around 2 and a half hours. I have to admit I opted for the easy one but still got some good views. The park is also home to two nature reserves, a castle, a maze and the zoological gardens.
The building was one of the finest commercial buildings of its day. Finished in 1860, there a dramatic group of sculptures at the apex of the façade, depicting Brittania, Justice, and Commerce. Groups of tall urns stand on the corners. The broad, impressive steps were the death of 80 year old director, Robert Grimshaw, when he fell down them in 1867. Sculptures around the huge dome inside symbolise Science, Poetry, Sculpture and Music.
The building has been derelict for some years, but has recently been sold, and may become a luxury hotel.
This is a good example of an old building being put to good modern use. Taken over by tesco the supermarket chain, the building still displays much of its achitectural integrity, both inside and out.
The little golden figures under the sky-blue dome, which arches over the fruit and veg., just have to be seen to be believed.
The Scottish Provident Building, completed in 1902, has four panels on the building centre which show printing, ropemaking, shipbuilding and spinning, industries that made Belfast great. Figures above the maindoor are thought to be a widow with her two children. On the Wellington place side are carved heads representing England, India, Canada, Sudan, Ireland and Scotland.
Another fine Belfast building, it is one of Belfast's crowning architectural achievements. It was designed by Samuel Ferris Lynn in the Italian Renaissance style and was completed in 1856.
You?ll see figures of Neptune with his anchor and dolphin, Mercury with a sheaf of corn at his feet; Brittania with her trident and royal shield; and winged figures representing Manufacture, Peace, Commerce and Industry. The writer Anthony Trollope worked in the Post Office here until his departure from Ireland in 1859. In the 19th century, orators carried forth outside.
In the past the riverside of Belfast was a smelly place when the tide was out. To couneract this a weir was build in 1994. The visitor centre and lookout was built ar the same time, and now provides views of the regenerated waterfront, and information and history of the city
Belfast Castle sits in the grounds of the Cave Hill Country Park which can be reached by any of the No.1 bus routes (1a, 1b etc.) from the city centre in around 15 minutes. If you ask for the castle you’ll be dropped at the bottom of a road called Innisfayle Park and there is a steep 5 minute walk up to the entrance to the park. Then either turn right and take the marked Castle Trail or follow the driveway which is a bit longer but not as steep. It’s not a large sprawling castle like some, more of a mansion really, but it is quite attractive with a sweeping stone staircase leading down to the gardens. The gardens are well kept with a nice herb garden and the themed Cat Garden (see Off the Beaten Path tip for more details of the Cat Garden).
Open daily - free admission
Around Belfast, and in particular the Falls and Shankill Road areas, there are to be found many political murals, mostly painted on the side of houses. This is not your usual street graphiti as some of them are stunning works of art which must have taken ages to create,
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