Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

Belfast, Northern Ireland ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 2019

Date: 5th July 2019

Travelled: 35 kilometres from Whiteabbey, County Antrim to Holywood in County Down

Visited: Carrickfergus Castle and Belfast

Stayed: Seapark car-park, Holywood. Free+B. N54.64771, W05.82560

Budget: 33 days @ โ‚ฌ76 per day

Once we settled in at Glen Park we enjoyed a quiet night. Last time I saw that many shisha was in Istanbul or perhaps it was Lakemba. Anyway itโ€™s another grey start but that has become the norm.

We try to follow local knowledge when we hear it. So we point the Hymer at Carrickfergus, itโ€™s only about 8 kms.

Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Map showing Carrickfergus Castle location.

The very nice lady we spoke to yesterday didnโ€™t mention the big crane parked in front of the Castle spoiling the view. This was the best I could do.

Pam requires a high level of supervision after 4 weeks in the Hymer.

Time to go, so we turn the Hymer for Belfast. Itโ€™s an easy 20 minutes and we park in this huge car-park off Middlepath Street in central Belfast. There is no overnight parking here but our day park only costs ยฃ5.60 which seemed reasonable.

Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Map of Belfast showing our parking spot

Our first stop is the Titanic Quarter. This is the Titanic Exhibition (rear entrance, rather than the front which had thousands of people standing there taking selfies). We have a look inside and decide the ยฃ15 pp is a bit rich.

Next door in dry dock is the Nomadic, last of the White Star Line ships and the only one still in existence. Itโ€™s much smaller than the Titanic but similar in style.

We cross the River Lagan into central Belfast.

This pub caught my interest but I wasnโ€™t allowed to give it the one pint over.

We have a Pizza Hut pizza of all things for lunch (first time in 20 years). Pam wasnโ€™t happy, but given we had walked for miles by this stage, she actually said โ€˜nice pizzaโ€™ as we walked out.

The LP recommends the TaxiTrax, Belfast Black Taxi Tour of Belfast. So we book a tour and Darren our driver arrives 15 minutes later.

For the next 90 minutes we get a guided view of the Catholic (Nationalist) Falls Road and Protestant (Unionist) Shankill Road areas. Darren was born on the Falls Road, votes for Sinn Fien but gives a balanced view of the wrongs on both sides.

We visit the various mural sites, murder hot spots and the wall that still divides these communities. A Belfast Taxi Tour costs ยฃ45 and we thought it well worth the money.

The wall was built following a series of riots in 1969, this section is 5kms in length. They still close and lock the 6 gates every night at 11pm and re-open them at 6am. We had no idea all this still goes on after so many years. Darren explains that tensions always rise as the 12th July (Orangemenโ€™s Day) approaches. The Orangemen start building huge bonfires all around Northern Ireland, but particularly so in Belfast adjoining the Nationalist areas.

Panorama of murals, the Falls Road

We sign the Peace Wall as our tour concludes.

Across the road from the Crown Liquor Saloon, the Hotel Europa. As Darren explained the most bombed hotel in Europe. It has been bombed 14 times during the troubles, so far.

We walk back to the Hymer discussing our day. Belfast has been a wonderful place to explore. We pay for our parking and drive about 8kms on to Holywood and park overlooking the Lough. Another day slides through to the keeper…

Michael and Pam

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