For our first ever trip to Ireland we opted to go to Belfast. A double treat as it was also the weekend that MTV Titanic Sounds Concert was taking place, and also the launch of the brand new sparkly Titantic Museum.
We set out from Glasgow International airport on an Easyjet flight to Belfast International Airport. Forty five minutes later and we had landed. The taxi ride to the Hilton hotel in the city centre took twenty minutes. We checked in and decided to find somewhere to eat. We managed to get a reservation at Coco, a fabulous restaurant, five minutes walk from the hotel. The staff did everything they could to ensure that we had a brilliant lunch. They give us such a warm welcome, that we have a hard time leaving. The food was scrumptious and we were hoping that this was a sign of things to come.
After lunch we were collected by Ken from Black Cab Tour Company. Except the Cab was red not black. My sister was very pleased as red is her favourite colour! Ken was a brilliant tour guide, very informative and quite witty as well. He drove us round the sights of Belfast and gave us a brief history on each point of interest.
After the tour we went on a wee wander around the city centre, everything is more or less within walking distance. Belfast is a dynamic capital city and has many emerging distinctive quarters. It's pretty easy to get around, and there's no fear of getting lost.
We headed back to the hotel for a wee bit of respite, before getting ready for dinner. First evening in Belfast and we decided to dine in the Great Room at the Merchant Hotel. The hotel is very central and there was a great Friday night buzz in the city centre, luckily the weather was great, and there were many people dining al fresco.
After dinner, despite the fact that we would have liked to head to one of the local bars for a night cap we decided to head back to the hotel and hit the hay.
Today we had a very early start as we had booked a visit to the SS Nomadic. The SS Nomadic is moored in Hamilton Dock, right next to the new Titantic Museum. The vessel transferred first and second class passengers from the Titanic to the shore. After 100 years the ship returned to Belfast and restoration work is well underway. The tour gave a great insight into the ship's eventful history.
After the tour, we stopped off for a spot of lunch. Then hit the shops for some retail therapy. In the evening we headed out to The Oh Yeah Music Centre.
The Centre is a former bonded whiskey warehouse in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast's cultural district. It features a performance space, a drop-in area, office units, and a privately-run recording studio and exhibition space. We were entertained by some local bands and singers showcasing their material. Great start to our evening, as next stop was MTV Titantic Sounds, live at Titantic Belfast. The concert was staged against the stunning backdrop of the Slipways. Rizzle Kicks, Katy B, Pixie Lott, Olly Murs and Sean Paul were just some of the acts that spent the evening entertaining us. It was a fabulous night and there was a great buzz, and brilliant atmosphere. This was all part of the city's Titantic Festival to mark the centenary of the historic ship's launch.
Our last day in Belfast, so we headed out on a tour of Titantic's Dock & Pump House. This is the shipyard where the Titantic came to live. Titantic is remembered for the dramatic story of her sinking in 1912, she was the most innovative, the most luxurious, the most awe-inspiring thing ever created by the hand of man. So it was interesting to visit the birthplace of the Titantic, at the dock you can still see the remnants of engineering brilliance that brought the Titantic into being. Inside the pump-house, the engineering achievement of the Edwardian age is almost perfectly preserved. The massive pumps and gargantuan hydraulic accumulator are amongst the artefacts that were used to build the Titanic. You are transported into the past, with the sights, sounds and smells that pull you right back into history. It was quite a moving experience, listening to the guide filling us in all the history of the Titanic, and what it meant to the people involved.
The tour came to an end and so did our stay in Belfast. We loved every minute, the people are so welcoming, their banter is brill, and Belfast is a great place to visit.
Titantic Musuem Exterior
Titanic's Dock & Pumphouse