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Belfast, A Diamond in the Rough

Who knew that Belfast could be so great? It was the guys’ idea to go to Belfast and Kate and I agreed reluctantly. It greatly exceeded all of my expectations. We checked into the Tara Lodge, a great hotel that I highly recommend, and had enough afternoon sunlight to take a nice walk through the Botanical Gardens. Kate and literally took some time to stop and smell the roses (sorry I know that was uber cheesy).

After a quick shower we went to dinner and then stopped at The Crown Bar for a pint. The Crown has survived as the city’s gem since 1826. With intricate hand carved woodworking and tin ceilings throughout, it is stunning and the perfect stop after dinner. Next we wandered into The John Hewitt where we mixed with the locals and had a few more pints. Everyone was so friendly and loved to see American tourists in their city that has struggled for so long.

The next morning we took a Black Taxi tour where a driver took us around the city to see and explain the political murals, peace line and strife that Belfast and Northern Ireland has been through. It was haunting to see so many places where people passionately died. It seems that for now, the Nationalists and Loyalists have found a way to agree to disagree peacefully and that relief was evident in everyone we talked to.

It’s back in the car and off to Dublin. Belfast was so good to us and seeing the city and meeting the people truly touched us all.

p.s. Sorry I’m three days behind in posting, what can I say, they have REALLY GREAT pubs here!

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