The Discoverer
The Discoverer
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Edition 77   |   4‌:‌5‌0 r‌ea‌d t‌im‌e
Belfast | @somewhereinbelfast
In the two decades since the end of a turbulent era aptly named “The Troubles,” Belfast has reinvented itself. Some parts of the city may still be divided along political lines, but when you visit you’ll encounter some of the friendliest and most genuine smiles found anywhere in the world as locals serve up coffee and pints. An onslaught of hip hotels, modern cuisine and intriguing attractions have helped Belfast to refute its previous reputation and attract travelers to explore this gateway to Northern Ireland.
Fun Fact:
Belfast is the birthplace of several notable figures, including C.S. Lewis – whose fictional Narnia was inspired by the surrounding countryside – and singer Van Morrison.
April – June & December
Spring in Belfast is unbelievably colorful, with bright blossoming flowers dotting green meadows and longer, sunnier days illuminating the city. Prices and crowds are reasonable this time of year, before the summer crowds flock in. We would be remiss, however, if we didn’t mention Belfast’s magical Decembers. Between the Belfast Christmas market, powdery snow and twinkling lights, Ireland was made for Christmas season. So if you prefer a hot mug of Glühwein and some yuletide cheer, check out Belfast in December.
#northernireland | @sashaferg
It's a Long Story
For 30 years, Belfast was characterized by sharp political upheaval and violence. The Troubles were a complex era, and while the violence has ceased, many of those resentments continue today. You can’t visit without taking the time to educate yourself on this moment in history. Several companies in the city offer Black Taxi tours, where a driver/tour guide will drive you through key regions, such as the politically-charged murals of the Peace Walls and the former prison, Crumlin Road Gaol. Go with an open mind and learn more about the turbulent history of Northern Ireland.
Titanic Quarter | @soebart
My Heart Will Go On
The infamously tragic ocean liner RMS Titanic was built in Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard, and today an extraordinary museum commemorates the tragedy. Located where the ship was built and launched in 1912, the museum is not only architecturally stunning, but its interactive experience is a definite highlight of Belfast. After touring the museum, visit the SS Nomadic, a restored White Star vessel sitting in the dock. Walk the decks and experience the ship before getting on your own boat and touring the harbor. Also keep an eye out for Belfast’s two free-standing shipbuilding cranes, dubbed Samson and Goliath, which have become icons of the city.
Bittles Bar | @mikelacey15
That Pub Life
Belfast’s social scene has flourished in the past several years, boasting incredible shops, cafes and Michelin-starred restaurants. But its heart will always be in its pub scene. Slip into old joints like Bittles Bar and The Crown Liquor Saloon, grab a pint of Guinness and listen to live music every weekend. For a dose of retail therapy, explore the shops along Wellington Street or the high-end Victoria Square Shopping Center. Finally, make sure to peruse the stalls at St. George’s Market for some of the best local produce and handicrafts in Northern Ireland.
Cavehill Country Park | @mattxhunter
Fairytales and Giants
Northern Ireland is a basket of natural scenery, some of which you might recognize. The surrounding landscape has served as the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’s Narnia and filming locations for Game of Thrones. Drive the hour north to the UNESCO-recognized Giant’s Causeway, a spectacular seaside collection of black basalt columns. Stick around the city and hike Black Mountain or explore Cave Hill Country Park’s cliffside trails. For a longer tour, hop in the car and drive the A2 to Derry, stopping off at castle ruins and stunning viewpoints along the way.
Josh's Discovery
"For me I find that there are some amazing sights to see in Belfast, especially if you’re looking for some older architectural buildings such as the town hall, Albert memorial clock and all the Cathedral Quarter, which is full of amazing restaurants and bars. I have lived in Belfast for a number of years now and one thing that always excites me is to see a new place or business open up its doors as it gives everybody a new experience in Belfast to enjoy."
The Muddlers Club Belfast | @belfastbites
Don’t even think about leaving Ireland without chowing down on some of the classic Irish fare. Belfast is especially known for a breakfast dish called the Ulster fry – a fancy way of saying a full breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, sausage and potato or soda bread. You can find this hearty meal all over, but Bright’s is a local favorite that serves up everything you could ask for. When dinner rolls around you can’t go wrong with The Muddlers Club, which serves up tasty food in a trendy environment. There are also several Michelin-starred restaurants to try, like OX and Noble, two establishments that won’t treat you wrong. Of course, if you want something quick and easy stopping off at a pub for chips or grabbing a slice at Pizza Punks is always a good choice.
The Merchant Hotel | @wrookieschu
Fluff Your Pillows
Ask locals around Belfast for a good spot to rest at night and you’ll probably be pointed to The Merchant. Complete with a spa, rooftop jacuzzi and a swinging jazz bar, this Victorian-style hotel is just the ticket for a traveler looking for some style. Golf fans should try Rayanne House, an elegant guesthouse that’s within walking distance to the famed Holywood golf club. If you like history and a little adventure, explore Europa Hotel, known for a while as “the most bombed hotel in Europe,” though that reputation is fortunately well outdated.
Belfast Cathedral | @robertttt97
Get Social
"Belfast is a great city to socialise in, there are great social hubs of buzzing activity such as the Cathedral quarter and Shaftsbury square. In these areas, there are really cool bars such as Lavery's, the Spaniard and Bootleggers." – @panfiftyfive
By the Coast
"The Northern Irish coast is only 1.5 hours from the city. It has breathtaking ocean views and a UNESCO heritage area called Giant`s Causeway. It consists of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. It's a must-see in Northern Ireland!" – @marigadzhet
The Discoverer
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