The first out of the country trip for this year was the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland. I’ve wanted to go to this city since last year but I was working when my friends went for a short trip. The reason mainly is because I really wanted to go for a Game of Thrones tour. I’m such a dork, I know. This trip was planned when Date and I were still on our city break in Scotland last December. I was hoping that the weather would at least be a bit better than London but apparently there was a heavy snow days before we arrived.
We flew for about 45 minutes and arrived there around 9am. The commute to the city from the airport is easy as there are buses that go to and from that place. From the airport, it takes about 30 minutes to the bus terminal in the city.
The sun was out but there were drizzles. Snow capped mountains came into view as we travel to the city. I can barely hide my excitement as the bus was showing clips of places of Game of Thrones tour.
We stayed in Travelodge which is near to almost everywhere. As usual, breakfast before anything. We had unlimited breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant.
Almost all the places we wanted to see were just walking distances. One famous landmark that’s nearest and we always passed by is the Belfast City Hall. You’ll never miss to see this building as it is facing the high street and sits in the center of the town.
It looks like any ordinary old building during the day but come evening time and it glows so beautifully like in some kind of fairytale.
I was always in awe and can’t help myself taking pictures every night we walked past it.
The high street was just around the corner too but we didn’t do our shopping until the last day. What’s unique about their shopping mall called the Victoria Square is the observatory on the top level that is a dome shape made of glass and has a panoramic view of the city and beyond.
At night, the glass has a mirror effect and its roof is dotted with lights that look like stars in the night.
We went back the next day hoping we can capture sunset but unfortunately, it was gloomy and cloudy. The sky just went grey and then darkness 🌃.
Waiting for the sunset be like 😶
The Spirit of Belfast sculpture near Victoria Square entrance
On the opposite way of the town but also a walking distance from the mall, is the Albert Memorial Clock at the Queen’s Square. It was built as a memorial landmark to Queen Victoria’s late husband, Prince Albert in 1869.
Few meters from it is the Big Fish sculpture or the ‘Salmon of Knowledge’ which was made to celebrate the regeneration of River Lagan. The history of Belfast are printed on the tiles that made up the fish’s scales. I’ve read somewhere that if you kiss the fish you will gain more knowledge 😙🐟🙉.
It faces the Lagan Weir Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge that connects Donegall Quay to Queen’s Quay.
The public art at Thanksgiving Square that looks like a girl holding a ring is called the Beacon of Hope. It was made as an icon at the public place to give thanks to. It symbolizes hope and oneness as a community.
Once you’re on the other side of the bridge and walk all the way to the left, you will reach Queen’s Land where Titanic Belfast is located (I’ll write a separate post for that) 🙂.
Titanic Belfast Museum that looks like an iceberg and the sister ship, SS Nomadic
I have a funny story in this place. We were almost got jailed because of Samson and Goliath.
These are the iconic cranes of Belfast Harbour that have been operated since the 1960s. They were named after the Biblical figures. Anyways, Game of Thrones was shooting some scenes on the days that we were in the city. One of the locations was the studios behind Titanic (thanks to the person who told me that *winks*). The set, part of the castle of Winterfell was on this compound. Probably they put it there to be brought in one of the studios. Honestly, we didn’t know it was there.
If you look closely, only the top part, the rampart (if that’s what it’s called) can be seen and the back side was facing the street. You wouldn’t even notice something was there unless you were outside and stop at the entrance. So I was taking pictures here and there and a police car stopped in front of us and asked for my phone to see the pictures I’ve taken. He said that we could get prosecuted or fined if there is any that indicates about the GOT. I explained to him that I was only looking for the entrance to the cranes so I can take better photos of them because it was one of the suggested places on “what to see” in Belfast (half-heartedly though, I really wanted to see some actors and know what’s going on shhh.). He’s nice and said that if any securities come up to us again, to say he’s okayed it. We went back to the city center anyways 😅.
One thing I noticed as we got off the bus at the terminal were the street art murals. You can see them in almost every corner. There is a cab tour for this but we didn’t go. This one in particular is in a small alley at Commercial Court.
Then we walked our way to Crumlin Road Gaol. On the way, we passed by three churches.
- Belfast Cathedral
- The interior of the small prayer room of the cathedral, the middle picture is the ceiling.
There is an entrance fee before getting inside the proper church area. Since we didn’t pay because we were just passing by, they only allowed us to get inside the prayer room.
- St. Patrick’s Church
This church has free entrance but you can leave something in the donation box. The interior is beautiful. The church was open but no one was there so I suppose after prayer you look around by yourself.
- Carlisle Memorial Church.
It was around 20min walk to reach the famous prison. Across the road of the prison, you will see the old and vandalized Crumlin Road Courthouse. You can see that the scales were missing. It was getting dusk so it looked even creepier. It looked so haunted. I can’t look at it longer coz I felt like someone would stare back at me from one of the broken windows.
This building was auctioned for £1 because the government couldn’t just give it away and the previous plan was to make this into a hotel. I don’t think I could stay especially on Halloween. After all the history, the judgement and probably the hatred and fear of dead convicts towards this building, I can’t even imagine waking up in the morning and someone’s waving hello from the other side! Talking about scaring myself at this very moment
And this is the Crumlin Road Gaol. Ready to get in prison on my next post.