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Good for a Ferry home
Belfast in General
Belfast in General
Date: 24/06/00, updated on 14/11/03 (14 review reads)
Advantages: Friendly, quite cheap
Disadvantages: A bit tense, not much that you can't see in any big City.
Before you read this review, let me warn you - it's not one raving about how great the City is, and how you'll never want to leave. I imagine there are plenty of reviews on Dooyoo and elsewhere that will tell you all that. This is the impression I got from a visit to Belfast which left me feeling that there is much more to Ireland than the reknowned Capital City of the North.
When I visited Belfast one week in the summer of'99, I found it to be spooky. It was the week before one of the big marches in Derry, and on walking the town to experience the famous "craic", the place was deserted.
As well as the lack of partygoers on the streets, there was a general atmosphere of tension around the city. As I walked around, the people I was with kept pointing to buildings that had been the obejt of bomb threats or attacks. There was no getting away from the cultural friction.
Although the time of my visit was possibly not the best, as it was so close to the contentious orange marches, I can't believe that people in Belfast ever forget their awareness of the political state of affairs.
If you want to get in and about all those infamous street names and areas, without feeling too insecure, there's a "Black Taxi Tour" which takes you round all the dodgy areas, which is really worth while. Your hostel will know about this, and probably organise it for you. If you can find six people to fill a taxi, this will only cost you £5 each, which is well worth it for the two hour plus tour. Apart from that, the big sites are the places which have the highest bombing record.
The Crown Liquor Saloon is worth a visit to see it's ornately decorated interior and detailed exterior painting. It is one of the most famous pubs in Northern Ireland, and you'll realise it as soon as they tell you how much your drink is going to cost you. For live folk music try Kelly's Cellar - it's a great atmospher
e. Get there early for a seat and a pint of Guinness.
You will find that the people are really friendly - if you can find them. There are several cheap hostels in the centre of town which are friendly and adequate. Look out for flyers in the bus station, or take a "Let's Go," but avoid the tourist office, which will send you to the most expensive places.
Belfast has a great reputation, and the people that live here seem to like it. Maybe I missed something. It's worth a visit anyway, as there are a few places worth seeing, and the pubs have a good atmosphere. However, my best experience of Belfast was getting there via the surrounding countryside, and leaving it on the seacat.