More Fun things to do in Belfast

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    Exterior
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  • Peace wall, with murals
    Peace wall, with murals
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Belfast

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    Ulster Museum

    by RavensWing Updated Dec 6, 2015

    It was the perfect time to be inside the Ulster Museum, it was cloudy and threatening to rain. I'm not sure where I got my idea on the size of the Museum, for some reason I thought it was a small museum - not the case it is quite large. You could spend all day in the Museum - there are 5 floors of different exhibits.

    My favorite exhibit was the Silent Testimony by Colin Davidson (displayed from June 2015 - January 2016). It's a collection of 18 oil portraits Mr. Davidson has painted of people who's family member(s) died during The Troubles. Mr. Davidson manages to capture the pain and sadness of these 18 individual people on canvas. As I looked at the pictures and read their stories it really touched me. The exhibit area is quite silent - which I found allowed for better reflection about their stories.
    **As written about the exhibit**
    Colin Davidson
    Silent Testimony
    Silent Testimony reveals the stories of eighteen people who are connected by their individual experiences of loss through the Troubles - a turbulent 30 year period in Northern Ireland from the late 1960's and onward.
    ...
    Until now, Davidson who grew up in Belfast and studied Art at the University of Ulster, has not responded overtly to what he witnessed or personally experienced during The Troubles. Silent Testimony is a powerful response which reflects on how the conflict has had, and continues to have a profound impact on thousands of individuals - the injured, their families, the families of those who died and the whole community.

    Ulster Museum Ulster Museum Ulster Museum Ulster Museum Ulster Museum
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    ~ Odd Practices ~

    by RavensWing Written Nov 8, 2015

    After a long walk around the Ulster Museum we thought we might find a pub/bar for a quick drink and maybe a bite to eat. So we checked a few menus that were posted on the restaurants - to make sure there was something I recognized as food that I would eat.. We finally found Madison's Hotel so we step inside found the bar and waited, and waited - until the bartender decided to stop speaking with the group of customers (although I suspect they were friends by the conversation they were having). After waiting a while, he finally came over to take our drinks order. We asked if we could sit anywhere to order from the lunch menu. Not just anywhere but the 12ft x 12ft square raised above everyone. A waitress asked if we were going to eat, well not sure can we see the menu. Sorry you can only get the menu if your sitting up in the dining area. How very odd. You're going to take the time to seat me so I can glance over your menu to see if there is anything I wish to order. Save yourself some time and let me see the menu in advance. It was just a painful process to do anything but drink the cider I had waited a fairly long to even be able to order.

    Unless this becomes the last pub in Belfast, I still wouldn't' go back.

    Madison's Hotel, Belfast, UK Madison's Hotel, Belfast, UK Madison's Hotel, Belfast, UK
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    The (mostly) political murals.

    by Askla Written Oct 30, 2015

    What is the most well known thing about Belfast? Unfortunately the troublesome period called the Troubles, I would say. And from this period stems many of the murals that Belfast nowadays is so well known for. Most of them are of course of a political nature but many resent murals also have other messages.
    Most of the political murals are to be found in just a few streets like Falls Road or Shankill Road. But all in all there are more than 230 murals in Belfast.
    My photos were taken in and around Falls Road.

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    The Europa Hotel.

    by Askla Written Oct 30, 2015

    During the dark era called The Troubles, Europa Hotel was a place to avoid. It was the most bombed building in the world and was attacked no less than 28 times.
    The hotel was built on the site of the former Great Northern Railway station and was opened in 1971. It now belongs to the Hastings Hotels Group.

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    Queen's University.

    by Askla Written Oct 30, 2015

    Founded in 1845, Queen's University opened in 1849 when the first 90 students entered the new college building. Since then, the University estate has grown to more than 300 buildings, many being listed for their architectural importance. Today, Queen's University is one of the leading universities in the UK and Ireland, providing education underpinned by world-class research.

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    The Crown Liquor Saloon.

    by Askla Written Oct 30, 2015

    One of the most well known bars, or pubs, in Europe is the Crown Liquor Saloon, also known as the Crown Bar.
    The pub was originally opened as The Railway Tavern. It was bought by one Michael Flanagan, who's son Patrick renamed and renovated the pub in 1885. In 1978 the National Trust bought it, making it one of only two pubs owned by the National Trust. They have put on an extensive renovation work to restore the bar to its original Victorian state. The interior is, as an example, lit by gas lamps.

    Opening hours: Mon - Sat 11:30 - 23:00, Sun 12:30 - 22:00.

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    The statue of Kelvin.

    by Askla Written Oct 30, 2015

    Just inside the entrance to the Botanic Gardens from Stranmillis Road stands the statue of the Belfast born physicist Lord Kelvin. He is most well known for the Kelvin degrees starting from the absolute zero -273,15 degree Celsius.
    Kelvin was born on 26 June 1824 to the name William Thomson. He got the title Baron in 1892 in recognition of his achievements in thermodynamics. He did also important work in mathematical analysis of electricity and other scientific fields but was never given the Nobel Prize.
    He died on 17 December 1907.

    Related to:
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    The Tropical Ravine.

    by Askla Written Oct 30, 2015

    The Tropical Ravine contains some of the oldest seed plants around today, as well as banana and cinnamon trees, bromelia, tree ferns and orchids. It was built in 1889 by the park's head gardener, Charles McKimm, and his staff. It is all exhibited in a sunken glen and is unique within the British Isles.

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    The Palm House.

    by Askla Written Oct 30, 2015

    The Palm House contains a range of tropical plants, hanging baskets, seasonal displays and birds of paradise, and is one of the earliest examples in the world of a glasshouse made from curved iron and glass. The foundation stone was laid in 1839 and the two wings were completed in 1840 with a dome added in 1852 to make it possible to grow taller plants than originally planned.
    On show is, among other plants, a 400-year-old Xanthorrhoea. English names would be "grasstree" or "grass gum-tree".

    All tobacco plants.

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    The Botanic Gardens.

    by Askla Written Oct 30, 2015

    The Botanic Gardens was established in 1828 by the Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society. It continued as a private park for many years and before 1895 it was only open to the public on Sundays. Then it became a public park when the Belfast Corporation (present day's Belfast City Council) bought the gardens.
    Originally the site contained exotic tree species and impressive plant collections from the southern hemisphere, many of which can still be seen in the park. There is now also a rose garden, an alpine garden, flower beds and sculptures as well as a Palm House and the Tropical Ravine.

    The Palm House.

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    Ulster Museum.

    by Askla Written Oct 30, 2015

    If you are only going to visit one museum when you are in Belfast it should be the Ulster Museum. As they describe themselves on their homepage "Come face to face with dinosaurs, meet an Egyptian Mummy and see modern masterpieces with a visit to the Ulster Museum. As Northern Ireland’s treasure house of the past and present, the museum is home to a rich collection of art, history and natural sciences and free to all visitors. From Ireland to the South Pacific, ancient relics to hands on activities, the museum offers something for everyone from the simply curious to the enthusiast."

    Opening hours: Tue - Sun 10.00 - 17.00, Mon closed (except for Northern Ireland Bank Holidays)
    Entrance free of charge.

    A linen reeling frame.
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    St Mary's Parish

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Oct 18, 2015

    This church built in 1784 as the first Catholic church in Belfast. The church is famous for its paintings and stain glass and is open free of charge during the day except when there are masses ongoing.

    St Mary's Parish St Mary's Parish
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    • Architecture

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    Panoramic City Tour

    by starship Updated Sep 27, 2015

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the first things we did after arriving in Belfast was to embark on a panoramic city tour. As had previously been done in Dublin, Smartours had arranged for our group to have a local Belfast expert guide, "Billy," come aboard for a narrated tour and he gave us information and a brief history of the sights we were about to see --- this was meant to be an introduction tour alone. (We were to see much more on our second day in Belfast and in the time on our own. Beginning in the area of our hotel on Great Victoria and Howard Streets, we weaved through the somewhat narrow city streets where we were able to see, albeit at arm’s length, a good deal of the more noteworthy sights such as the Albert Memorial Clock, the Grand Opera House, Europa Hotel, Queen’s University, Crumlin Road Gaol, the Titanic Quarter, and much more.

    My husband and I looked forward to visiting the Shankhill Road and Falls Road areas -- the residential city estates (sections) of the Protestants and Catholics respectively; these neighborhoods, located side-by-side, are peaceful today for the most part though no doubt tensions still exist. However, the memorial wall murals here are most telling as are the still in-place walls, gates and barbed wire. I have to give some credit to our local guide who did try to sound fairly neutral during his remarks about these two areas and gave us facts, dates, and names of the more recognizable players involved during the time of “The Troubles.” Shankhill and Falls Roads will be covered more fully in a separate tip.

    The one negative attribute of this tour for me was that there was no real effort to stop and let us take photos, or if we did it was literally only a matter of seconds in some cases. However, our own tour guide/driver made a point of driving around some parts of the city again before we left Belfast and even added an extra site or two that weren’t covered by our Belfast guide. This panoramic tour was included in our overall trip so I have no idea of the cost; however, I would not recommend a panoramic tour of the city necessarily unless you have impaired mobility and if so, then this type of tour is a good option.

    For a more lengthy visit to particular sights, you may want to try the Hop On/Hop Off Belfast Bus (http://www.hop-on-hop-off-bus.com/belfast-hop-on-hop-off-tour_16589) which includes a comprehensive list of 21 sites/stops in Belfast. Tickets can be purchased online so please check for current prices and information. The departure point is Castle Place but you may board the bus with your paid voucher at any stop. The ticket is valid for 48 hours after first use and the full loop is approximately a little over an hour and a half. Check the website for current prices & information.

    Some of the sights Belfast is most well known for are its Shankhill Road & Falls Road Murals, Walls & Gates which still are prominent reminders of the past.

    Belfast City Hall stained-glass window Plaque at Grand Opera House Sampson & Goliath cranes @ Harland & Wolff Statue of Edward Carson at Stormont

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    Europa Hotel ~ Time Line of History

    by starship Updated Sep 27, 2015

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    The Hotel Europa Belfast is one of the city’s best known hotels. Designed by architects Sydney Kaye, Eric Firkin & Partners it opened its doors in July, 1971. It was built on the site of the former Great Northern Railway station -- unfortunately another piece of significant architecture which met its demise to make way for the new.

    Hotel Europa is certain to be remembered for far more than its first class accommodations and service. No doubt it will be remembered far longer as the “Most bombed hotel in Europe,” if not in the world. It was alternatively known as the "Hardboard Hotel.” During the time of “The Troubles,” the hotel accommodated and became a hang-out for much of the international media who were covering the events of the day. This fact was not wasted on the IRA, which used the hotel as a stage to gain a world-wide audience. The hotel survived approximately 30 bombings by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). Having sustained its last major bombing in 1993, the hotel was purchased for only £4.4m by Hastings Hotels. 'Bloody but unbowed,' the Europa subsequently underwent a major restoration and refurbishment. It re-opened its doors in February, 1994.

    We wanted to visit this hotel for its significance in Belfast's recent history and we were warmly welcomed by the hotel staff to do so. After having a look at the lobby and bar area, we were pointed toward an ascending, spiral gallery where a time-line display of the hotel's history was captured in photos. It was quite fascinating and gave us a better understanding of what occurred during those tumultuous times but also in good times. We followed the gallery from beginning to end.

    I regret not staying to enjoy the hotel's Piano Lounge on the second floor where afternoon tea is served, or evening cocktails. The Piano Lounge hours are 8am til late; live piano music on Fridays & Saturdays from 7 - 10pm.

    Even if you're not staying in one of the 200+ rooms of the Europa, the hotel has the Lobby Bar, and Causerie Restaurant, as well as hosts several shows & special events during the year which might draw you in.

    The Hotel Europa was definitely well worth the visit!

    The Hotel Europa Happier times ~ The Poppets The hotel in the 1980's The 1993 boming of the Hotel Europa

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    ~ Tim Hortons Invades Belfast ~

    by RavensWing Updated Sep 22, 2015

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    **UPDATE Sept 2015**
    It seems Tim Hortons has retreated back to Canada. We noticed today on our walk that Tim Hortons is no longer available at this location



    We were headed towards the train station so we could head to the Transport and Folk Museum. Still groggy from waking up I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted a Tim Hortons sign. I was so shocked to see one that I just had to go in and get one.

    Turns out it's a mini Tim Hortons. It's the self serve machine with all the choices - latte, coffee, etc. Right beside it is a small glass case that holds a variety of donuts.

    I grabbed my coffee and donuts, paid for it and went outside to enjoy my Timmy's coffee.

    I will say that it didn't quite taste like the Timmy's I'm used too. But I would still get another one.

    Tim Hortons Coffee and Donuts Come in for a coffee!
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Belfast Hotels

See all 118 Hotels in Belfast
  • Europa Hotel Belfast

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