Date: 28th May 2018
The Drive: We left Dublin at around 9 a.m and headed towards Belfast. It was an easy drive, just straight down the motorway! We stopped at Tesco to grab some road snacks and drinks. There is one toll road which was about 1.90 euros. Entering Belfast was easier than we expected, we were thinking it was going to be like Manchester or Birmingham. It turned out not to be that busy and an easy route in.
Where We Stayed: The Old Bank, Crumlin Road, we booked this through Booking.com and it set us back £55. The room was lovely and new with a comfy bed, desk area and en-suite. The location was great and was up the road from the jail and a 30 minute walk into the centre. We would recommend this hotel.
What We Explored
Titanic Belfast is the must do attraction while you are in Belfast. We arrived around 11 a.m after the two hour drive from Dublin. We parked over by the arena which was far cheaper than parking at the Titanic museum. It was a lovely day and it was sunny and warm. We decided to explore the Titanic first before it got really busy. First of all the building is spectacular in design. It is made to look like a ship and all four sides of the building are the same. We spent a lot of time outside just looking at the building, it was shining in the sun. It cost £18.50 for an adult ticket which we thought was rather steep, but then decided we would probably only ever visit once.
Once you’re in the museum you first learn about the industries in Belfast which led to building the Titanic. It shows how the harbour was developed and the company that was involved in building the Titanic. This is when I realised there was so much behind the ship rather than just it sunk. We were starting to look at the real history and not what is shows in the film. The shipyard ride was a good way in getting a true picture of what it was like to build the Titanic and how much work was involved.
Inside the Titanic was the next part of the museum where we looked at 1st, 2nd and 3rd class rooms. The difference was amazing and it was interesting that there were more 3rd class than 1st on the ship. Here is where you can see a plan of the whole ship and what each deck had.
We were then taken through the Titanic’s Maiden Voyage. You go through the journey from Belfast to Southampton to France to Ireland and then across to New York. I liked this section of the museum as it was fact heavy. Here you see how many people got off and on at each stop, how many letters were delivered at each stop. Then you are told about the day it set sail to New York…
Let’s be honest we are all in the museum to see this part, the sinking of the ship. This section you could feel the atmosphere change as you are listening to distress calls and survivors accounts of what happened. You learn about the people who have died and the exact timings of the sinking. This section gave me the same feeling as I got in the 9/11 museum in New York, it was chilling. I thought most of the museum would be about the sinking but it was actually quite nice to learn about what happened before.
You are then shown to a cinema to see beneath the ocean, where you can see the wreck at the bottom of the ocean. This was also rather chilling as you could see everyday objects such as shoes, dolls and hairbrushes. It was a great museum and we enjoyed exploring.
SS Nomadic was the next ship we explored. This was the Titanic’s tender boat and the last remaining White Star Ship in the world. This place is great for kids as you had sections where you could try uniforms and life jackets on. We liked the top deck where you could see the Titanic museum in the background. Make sure you visit here as it is included in your Titanic ticket.
Crumlin Road Goal were kind enough to gift tickets for a tour of the jail. This was great fun and was full of so much information. We arrived and met the tour guide at the start of the jail. We were firstly shown the room where all prisoners would be processed, we could not believe that prisoners were still using this room in 1995. Our tour guide was brilliant and full of sarcasm and jokes, he had us laughing all the way around.
We were then shown into a tunnel underground. The tunnel led to the court house across the road, it’s where the prisoners would walk between both buildings without being seen my the media or getting hurt. This tunnel was cold and damp and had a strange feeling inside. It was rather scary.
We then made our way into the main section of the jail where we could see all the different wings. This was really interesting, some of the wings had been used for filming films and TV programmes. We then had time to look in all the different rooms such as a cell, padded cell and the kitchen. We had a look at different forms of punishment throughout the years. The last part of this section was the execution room, this bit made us feel really uncomfortable… verging on dark tourism! We walked into a cell where a death row prisoner would stay the night before his/her execution. It was a large room as two prison guards would have to stay with the prisoner at all times. Joined to the room was the execution room fitted with a noose. On the wall were the names of the 17 prisoners who were executed at the jail and they were buried along the jail walls.
We really enjoyed our tour and the guide really made it. We learned a lot about the history of the jail and it was so realistic. It gave you an insight on what it would be like to be a prisoner and in particular a prisoner sentenced to death by execution. We would recommend this to others.
Crumlin Road Goal kindly gifted us tickets, all opinions are our own.
We then went to find the Salmon of Knowledge, the story is of a salmon eating nine hazelnuts that fell into the well of wisdom. It is said that by doing this the salmon gained all of the worlds knowledge and who ever ate the salmon would in turn have the same power.
Food and Drink
Spoon Street was a must stop for a frozen yogurt with a toppings bar. I love any ice cream place where you can load on your own toppings and sauces. It was super hot today too so this was much needed.
We googled somewhere to go for tea and came across Buba on Trip Advisor. This restaurant serves tapas style food and everything we tried was amazing. The staff were great and talked us through the menu and gave us recommendations. We tried the following and all were amazing – buba breads, baba ganoush, halloumi fries, falafel, bbq chicken flatbread and vegan borek. This place is great if your a vegan as they have their own menu.
Before going back to the hotel we stopped at the Harp Bar for a drink. We had a beer and gin and tonic. This bar had some great decoration and it was so full of signs you didn’t know where to go. It was dark wood and red in colour and looked amazing.
Steps According to Fitbit: 14, 912
Miles Walked Today According to Fitbit: 6.5
Total Miles Walked: 14.21
Up Next: Mike’s Birthday… walking a Llama
Important Question: YES! We fell in love with Belfast and would love to come back. There are so many cool little spots to see within the city and it has a really nice vibe. We would love to come back with some mates as the bars are so cool and chilled out. We will definitely be back. However we did feel the Titanic Belfast was a little steep in price.