I’ve always had a driving desire to go to Belfast. Not entirely sure as to what brought that on, yet it was well meant and executed perfectly.
My dear friend Maddie traveled to Dublin on the evening of March 11th and landed early on March 12th. We met at the Airport and took the coach to Belfast. It was a relatively quick journey, and when we arrived we were both hungry, so before check in we found a brunch place just near the bus stop on Glengall St. What we came across was Harlem Cafe. I ordered the Irish breakfast and Maddie got the veggie breakfast, both were great.
Our Airbnb was actually in the skyscraper building along the water near the Titanic Museum. It was a good location and had a sweet view.
Belfast is a great little city. Easy to walk around, just like Dublin, which I liked a bunch. We popped into a 17th century tavern/pub called White’s Tavern. Here we only got 2 ciders, but the bartender was funny and I enjoyed my experience very much. I was excited for dinner specifically that night. A few days before I did extensive research on the best restaurants in Belfast. I was craving some Asian cuisine, one of my all time favorite food types, and stumbled upon YuGo. It is pretty much an Asian fusion, tapas restaurant and it was GREAT. Firstly, the interior design was really inviting and super cool to be apart of. The atmosphere was perfect. It was full but not too busy, as our food and drinks came out quickly. I ordered a margarita (one of the best I’ve had in a while), and the Korean Fried Chicken bun, Charred Corn, & Massaman Curry. Everything was exactly how I had hoped. Definitely recommend if you grow a bit tired of some traditional Irish food. That night we went to a popular pub called Fibber Magee. The bartender was telling us that a lot of the Game of Thrones cast drinks there when they are in Belfast filming. At first I thought he was joking, those Irish love to fool us Americans, but actually he was proven to be right the next day on my GoT tour.
Listen, I don’t even watch the show. Yes, I’ve seen a few important episodes here and there, so don’t cast me out completely. However, being a fan or not, it doesn’t matter. Our tour guide was Sharleen, and she was a very humorous Northern Irish gal. Maddie does watch GoT, which was nice because she was able to explain aspects of the show to me that I didn’t understand; although, during the tour an iPad was passed around showing scenes of what occurred at each destination which was very helpful for us few that were not as informed. But even if you are with a GoT fan or have an iPad with downloaded scenes, the tour itself brought us to such gem locations in NI that I would recommend it to anyone. Giant’s Causeway was also a stop along the way, even though it is not in the series. The only downfall is that I do wish we could have spent more time here. It was a very interesting and beautiful place to be. If you really want to spend a few hours at the Causeway to hike and go to the neighboring pub, I would recommend taking a separate tour. Overall though, the experience was great. Plus, we got extremely lucky with the weather. The day was mid-60s and sunny. Perfect Irish conditions for a day touring film scenes and a Causeway.
check out this goat’s vest!!!!
Later that evening, back in Belfast city, we got dinner at an Italian food place called Coppi Restaurant. I’m not entirely sure as to what I had ordered.. something with the parmesan fries, but regardless it was good. They do have a decent vegan menu too. Following Coppi, Maddie and I went back to the Airbnb to get an early night’s sleep. That morning it was pouring. We took a taxi to Established Coffee for breakfast. Excellent food and drinks I must say. Then, before retuning to Dublin, we stopped by the Titanic Museum. I had heard a lot about this museum. There was a lot of hype around it, and while it definitely was really cool and I did learn a lot, I think I had put my expectations a little too high for it. But that is not me saying that you shouldn’t go. Every museum experience is different for everyone, and I do still think it is a Northern Ireland must see. The first room goes into detail of Belfast’s industrial history and the makings of the ship, which was very informative. Not something you learned in school. Also, you get a student discount for admission (many places in Ireland have student discounts by the way, so if you come and have an ID, definitely utilize it).
After that, we returned to Dublin and I showed Maddie around my new host city. Her visit was a great 4 days that really stood out to me when I think about my study abroad experience thus far.
In conclusion, go to Belfast even if no prior desire has existed, just go anyway if you get the chance.
P.S. I would like to add that it is best to go on the weekends, even if it is busier, because St. George’s Market is open. Unfortunately, I was there from Monday to Wednesday so it was closed. Hopefully I can come back to see it/eat some foodies at one of its many stands!