|Titanic attraction: Belfast|
|Posted on Sat 28 Oct 2006 (118810 reads)|
Belfast is now a modern city with extensive transport possibilities: 2 airports, train connections to Dublin and locally, extensive road network and affordable cabs. Accommodation is affordable with all leading Hotels at service, although the Motels and Hostels are hard to find, they offer at least half the price of that of Hotels so it is advisable to try out, advanced bookings in the order of 2 weeks is advised for both the accommodation and travel from Europe, If you are coming from other parts of the world you should make sure to visit Dublin and the UK also.
Belfast photo section on Titanic.com
During the summer of 2006, Titanic.com went to Belfast to find out the Belfast experience. Most of the places visited and photographed have historic importance so lets start:
At the turn of the century Ireland was transforming into an industrial powerhouse, at its height, Northern Ireland was producing cars, ships, locomotives in the hundreds of thousands and selling them locally, European main continent and last but not least: Britain.
When compared to its counterparts elsewhere in Europe, These industrial powerhouses were operated mainly by pioneers and they were respected by society for creating jobs. They were were often asked to captain the governmental offices of importance to the country as a gratitude from the people for supporting employment at a large scale.
One of these pioneers was William James Pirrie, the chairman of the Harland & Wolff's organization. His intelligence and leadership is recognized throughout Belfast with a statue of him erected in close proximity of the City Hall.
In the ship building industry sector, Harland and Wolff was by far the largest ship building company in Ireland if not Europe, at that time, its largest customer in order value was White Star from Southampton, The operators of Titanic and other ships.
Many of the remnants of the Harland and Wolff era are located in the harbor area of Belfast currently called the Titanic Quarter, The most prominent of them being the Harland and Wolff Head Quarters, the Thomson Docks and the Samson & Goliath cranes
Currently the area is being redeveloped into luxurious housing and much of the historic yard buildings are now demolished. Flattened out to make way for the new developments, many critics call it a shame for Belfast but the developers have made sure that the most important objects are preserved, including the Harland and Wolff head quarters and drawing office and the Thomson docks.
To visit the harbor it is best to plan a full day and go by foot rather than the sightseeing bus because it will be so fast you wouldn't even remember what ever passed by, Make sure to take some drinking water with you and beware of rain because the weather can turn around quite quick. Begin at The Lagan, a large cinema complex shopping mall and walk your way into the harbor.
An alternative way to get a good view of the harbor and all of the remnants is to get up to Cave hill on a sunny day. It is advisable to go by cab up to the Belfast Castle and walk up the hill, you might need 1-2 bottles of water and a rain coat if you suspect rain, the trip will take about 3 hours. The Cave hill trail or as locals call it the Devill's cliff¯ due to a devil's face structure in one of the rocks on the cliff, is accessible from the Belfast Castle or the Belfast zoo, You will have to look for a small walkway up the hill, any local person could help you if you are not able to find it. Once you make your way up you should follow the Cave hill trail sign characterized by the green arrow.
The Cave hill is strongly advised for a full panoramic view of the Belfast bay and harbor and the sea,
It is a perfect moment for taking photos especially better lenses found on professional equipment. The Cave hill itself is also home to the Belfast Castle but admission is only on invitation or if you have booked so don't bother to walk up there, It is known for its legendary setting though.
The details how to get up to the cliff will be left out as the walkways are well maintained it is straight forward with a little sense of geographic positioning so this will not be a spoiler.
Much of the afternoon and night life could be best spent in the city of Belfast, poised as a warm city at night. Besides that, there are a few historic places worth visiting or walking by starting at the Belfast City hall hosting a myriad of statues and some times a free exhibition at the side like the Belfast City Hall Remembers, although unsure until when it lasts so please checkout the city website at http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/
From the Belfast City hall, which is quite centralized one could walk on to the Royal courts of justice, the most important court in Northern Ireland housed in a rather beautiful historic building, Walking out from the city to the Lagan river side will bring you to the famous Titanic Tours operated by the Lagan boat company. Further up, the Customs house has a historical architecture feature similar to that of the Royal courts of justice.
The Train service could take you out of the city stopping at Cultra halt at which the leading Northern Ireland museum, The Ulster Folk and Transport museum is situated just on top within 100 foot steps. Hosted by friendly people where photographing is fully allowed, the museum emboldens the Northern Ireland History at its best. The Museum is categorized into the Folk Museum and the Transport Museum, Although the pictures are not posted yet, it is surely worth a visit or until the photos!. However, the museum is so large that it requires more than a single day for most visitors to see everything!.
Further more, Belfast is a host to Botany gardens, Theaters and cinemas not found else where. So make sure to plan your trip for at least 4 days to make the full out of it.
Thanks for following the Titanic attractions series and see you in the next.
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