City Tours, Belfast
I've heard nothing but praise for the rather unique tours offered by this company.
It is only really possible to understand the sectarian divides and history of North Belfast by talking to people who really know their stuff.
Belfast for a long time has operated (less rigidly now) a form of voluntary segregation.
The Protestant Shankill Rd and the Catholic Falls Rd were divided by a 'peace line' - which was in fact a whopping big wall between the two hard-line areas that faced each other.
The Shankhill is covered in Red white and blue, painted on just about everything - lamposts, kerbstones, houses, bus shelters together with an array of union jack flags and more sinister reference to paramilitary groups.
The Falls too, is covered in the Green white and gold of Irish republicanism in a similar way.
Both sides regularly reveal murals depicting aspects of the sectarian conflict, often on the gables of rows of houses.
I have explored both sides a couple of time, both cycling and driving and have never experienced a problem (at least during daylight hours). The Taxi tour would however be an excellent way of really getting to understand the complexities of the place.
This tour takes you on a journey (which lasts over an hour) around Belfast.
It includes; The City Hall, Albert Clock, The H&W Shipyard in the Titanic Quarter (where the Titanic was built), Shankill Road, Peace Line, Falls Road, Queens University, Opera House and many more.
Tour departs every half an hour (during high season i.e. Summer, 9.30am-4.30pm) every hour during low season (10am-4pm) and costs £9 per adult.
In Belfast as in other important cities in the world you can visit the most important parts of the town in a touristic bus with full commentaries about them. The Belfast city tour is available all year and visit the most remarkable places of the town. It last 1 and half hour.
TITANIC TOURS IS OWNED AND RUN BY SUSIE MILLAR.
SUSIE IS THE GREAT GRANDDAUGHTER OF HARLAND AND WOLFF WORKER AND TITANIC CREW MEMBER TOMMY MILLAR.
TOMMY WAS AN ASSISTANT DECK ENGINEER AND MET HIS DEATH AT THE AGE OF 33 ON THE MAIDEN VOYAGE OF TITANIC.
HIS DEATH LEFT TWO YOUNG SONS ORPHANED..
BEFORE SAILING AWAY ON TITANIC TOMMY GAVE BOTH HIS SONS TWO BRAND NEW PENNIES.. HE TOLD THEM "DONT SPEND THESE UNTIL I SEE YOU AGAIN"
HIS YOUNGER SON KEPT THEM ALL HIS LIFE AND PASSED THEM ON TO HIS SON WHO IN TURN GAVE THEM TO SUSIE.. SHE HAS THEM TO THIS DAY.
WHEN YOU ARE IN BELFAST THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS IN WHICH YOU CAN SEE THE PLACES THAT WERE MADE FAMOUS BY TITANIC.. THESE INCLUDE WALKING TOURS OR BUS TOURS.. ALL OF WHICH ARE FINE IF YOU WANT THE RUN OF THE MILL TOUR , BUT IF YOU WANT TO TAKE A TOUR WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS BOTH A LINK WITH TITANIC, AND HAS A GREAT STORY TO TELL, THEN TITANIC TOURS IS THE ONE FOR YOU. SUSIE CARES ABOUT TITANIC, AND THIS MORE THAN SHINES THROUGH IN THE WAY SHE CONDUCTS THE TOUR...ITS MORE THAN A JOB..ITS A PASSION.
SO IF YOU WANT TO LEARN ABOUT THE PEOPLE AND THE PLACES WITH LINKS TO TITANIC, AND DONT WANT TO BE PART OF A LARGE TOUR GROUP, THEN GO WITH TITANIC TOURS..
IT WILL BE TIME AND MONEY WELL SPENT.
ON OUR TITANIC TOUR WITH SUSIE, MY WIFE AND I WENT TO SEE..
THE HOME OF TITANIC CHIEF DESIGNER THOMAS ANDREWS.
TITANIC AND OLYMPIC SLIPWAYS.
DRAWING OFFICES .
THE THOMPSON DRY DOCK.
SS NOMADIC.. TENDER USED TO TAKE FIRST CLASS PASSENGERS OUT TO TITANIC.. THIS EXCLUSIVE PART OF THE TOUR CAN ONLY BE DONE WITH SUSIE AND TITANIC TOURS AS NOMADIC IS OFF LIMITS TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
YOUR LAST STOP WILL BE TO THE GROUNDS OF BELFAST CITY HALL TO SEE THE TITANIC MEMORIAL.
THE WHOLE TOUR IS CONDUCTED IN THE COMFORT OF A LUXURY 5 SEATER MERCEDES MPV
ALWAYS A GOOD WAY OF GETTING YOUR BEARINGS IN A CITY IS TO DO THE CITY BUS TOUR.
THAT WAY YOU SEE A LOT OF WHAT A CITY HAS TO OFFER, THEN AFTER THE TOUR YOU CAN GO BACK YOURSELF AND SPEND A BIT LONGER LOOKING AROUND THE PLACES YOU LIKED THE MOST, WELL THE BELFAST CITY SIGHTSEEING TOUR IS NO DIFFERENT.
THIS HOP ON HOP OFF SERVICE STARTS FROM CASTLE PLACE IN THE CENTRE OF THE CITY AND TAKES IN SUCH SIGHTS AS..THE CITY CENTRE..TITANIC QUARTER..CATHEDRAL QUARTER..POLITICAL DISTRICTS SUCH AS THE SHANKILL ROAD AND FALLS ROAD, AND NOT FORGETTING THE NOW BUZZING NIGHTLIFE AREAS OF THE CITY.
IN HIGH SEASON -MAY-SEPT. TOURS START AT 9.30-5PM
LOW SEASON TOURS START AT 10AM.
TOURS LAST ABOUT 45 MINS.
PRICES 11 POUNDS FOR ADULTS
5 POUNDS FOR CHILDREN.
KIDS AGED 1-3 FREE.
A short visit for us, so, an ideal way to see many of the city sights. The usual hop on and off around the city and tickets are valid for 24 hours, cost (6/09) £12.50 for adults. Interesting commentary throughout.
Take a coat it's chilly upstairs even in mid summer!
when you visit any place with not a great deal of time and your not driving your self .
Then doing a few tours may seem a little touristy but they are also a great way of seeing things that you would either miss or waist alot of time finding.
For the above mentioned reason I did 2 different tours.
1st Tour was a belfast city tour which cost 7.50 a person and last 2 hours .
it takes in the murals of belfast and you get a personal verbal tour from the driver about what they all mean ect the tour also goes to belfast castle ,falls rd,shankill area.
the tour is well worth it .
Here is a pic of the bus which I took for the sole reason of showing my vt friends .
I'm not normally interested in open top bus tours but I would highly recommend it for Belfast especially if you only have a day to visit the city. There are several different companies that do tours and I think they mostly follow the same route, our tour picked us as we were approached by someone selling tickets, he dropped the price to £10 instead of £12.50. The ticket is good for 48 hours and is good on two different bus routes.
It's billed as a hop on hop off bus but we stayed on the bus for the whole 90 minute tour which had live commentary and hit almost all of the out of the way spots that we wouldn't have seen on foot-the Titanic Quarter, Stormont, Shankill Road, the Belfast peace wall and the Falls.
Titanic walking tours start at the Odessey arena (11pm seems to ring a bell). As the name suggests it is a walk around the old dockyard where the titanice was built. First port of call was the drawing rooms where the great (or not so great) ship was designed. It is in a state of disrepair as it has been left vacant for years but there is a feeling of nostalgia walking throught the place.
Then it was onto the slipways where the ship was built and launched for that fateful voyage. It's hard to imagine the ship as the land is just a flat piece of concrete now. All that survives is the lauching blocks.
Finally a visit to the dry dock where titanic was fitted out, it is here looking into the dock you can truely appreciatre how big the ship was.
The guides are knowledgable and were fun to listen to, add to that a nice sunny day and it was well worth the money for a 3 hour tour.
At the VT meeting in Belfast back in March 04, part of the day's activities included a City Sightseeing tour, which was fantastic. The tour guide had a wickedly dark sense of humour (very Belfast), and was very funny.
It was about ?7 for the tour.
You are taken to the Murals on both Republican and Loyalist parts of town, Crumlin rd, Harland & Wolf, the Odyssey, Botanics & Queens, City Hall, Albert Clock and more.
This pic is basically of the side of Gabsblack's head down by the Harland and Wolf shipyard.
These row houses (called parlour houses) were built for workers who moved to this area for jobs, mostly worked in the Harland & Wolff shipyard where Titanic was built.