Start at the Linen Hall Library to travel in time from the Enlightenment’s United Irishmen to today’s award winning poet Sinead Morrissey; travel in place from Louis McNeice’s drawing room on the Malone Road to C S Lewis’s East Belfast (wardrobe optional) via Van the Man’s Cyprus Avenue. Poets and writers abound, stories still being told and written.
Cheap and tasty Mexcian fast food on Botanic Avenue. With excellent vegetarian and meat burritos, tacos (hard and soft) and salad bowls, nothing costs over £5 and is extremely filling and tasty. Be aware it can be very popular with the local students at peak times!
73 Botanic Avenue, Belfast, County Antrim
+44 (0)28 9031 5334
It's a funky and friendly place with really delicious food. Staff are genuinely interested in their customers and make you feel at home and provide excellent food. I had a really good steak from their great menu. Is tucked away down a little road called Wellington Street.
Ask any taxi driver to take you on a tour around, it should cost about £20 for the hour. They will show you the cemetery and the murals as well as other historic sights, giving you a real flavour of the city and a strong sense of it's very recent history. Was the best £20 that I've spent in ages. Some drivers are willing to do it, others not. Just ask!
Best to get a taxi outside the city hall, but anywhere will do.
When my husband and I go home to Belfast we always go to Maggie Mays for breakfast. My husband loves the bumper breakfast which consists of two eggs, beans, sausages, bacon chips, mushrooms, potato and soda bread at a cost of £6.00.
A bookshop on Botanic Avenue in Belfast. The bookshop deals in crime fiction and the staff are knowledgeable and friendly. However, the bookshop (and fictionalized owner) are also a central character in the books "mystery man", "the day of the Jack Russell" and "Dr Yes" by Colin Bateman.
I downloaded a guide to Belfast off the website www.mytourtalk.com onto my MP3 player. The website does walking and driving audio guides for Belfast and Northern Ireland. You get a map as well. I wasn't sure what to expect as we hadn't done an audio tour on our own before - but we spent a couple of hours listening to the player and following the map all around the centre of Belfast. We got to see the Titanic Quarter and Waterfront Hall before we had a beer in the Crown Bar and headed up towards the University of Queens and back along Dublin Road into the back of the City Hall. Would do this again as we got to see all the main areas in our own time and came away feeling we hadn't missed anything.
Newly opened, this cafe, bakery and deli is a welcome addition to the Queen's Quarter area of Belfast.
There is an instant glow of expectation when you step inside as the colours, comfy sofas, tables and chairs create a wonderfully warm ambience. Being new, the staff are welcoming, keen as mustard and seem genuinely pleased to see you. I popped in intending to have a quick sarnie but was tempted by the all day breakfast which was plentiful, filling, came with a large coffee and was a mere £4.95! The menu seems to have all sorts of light bites and more substantial dishes too.
I rather suspect this is going to become a firm favourite with the nearby university staff and students not to mention visitors to the newly opened Ulster Museum. My advice is to hurry in and sample the pleasures before too many other folk want in as well!
The French Village Cafe, Bakery & Deli,
Botanic Avenue at the juntion of Botanic and University Street.
(two mins walk up from Botanic station towards the University)
Google map: tinyurl.com/ye24ot8
Every Thursday night in the Empire Bar see the Rab McCullough blues band from 10.30pm to 1am. It's free admission and it's a consistently good night out in this historical bar which is in an old church. Also every Sunday night in the same place you can see Glen Haddock (classic rock and pop) from 10 to 12pm, which is always good and free. Rab McCullough plays an acoustic set in Madisons bar on Fridays from 7.30 to 9.30pm.
A 20 minute train journey from Belfast Botanic or Central station to Helens Bay station. When you leave the train at Helens Bay walk straight down the road for five minutes to the beach. Then turn left and walk for 90 minutes along the coastal path to Hollywood. It's a very pleasant walk if the weather is fine and you can finish up in the Dirty Duck pub (beside the sea) where they have better than average food and four real ales on tap (its unusual to have any in Northern Irish bars). The train station is a five minute walk from the pub.
The huge paint hall at the Harland & Wolff shipyard that built the Titanic is proving a versatile remnant of Belfast's industrial fame. It has attracted various Hollywood productions in its four massive 85-foot-high cells.
Five minutes from the city centre and the near-by George Best Belfast City Airport. Sightseeing open top buses depart frequently from Castle Place at the heart of Belfast City Centre.
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