I’ve been swithering for weeks about what to do during my week off at the start of August. Last night, I came down to two contenders: Northern Ireland or Bristol. I had rooms on my laptop screen for both and I had looked up transport for both. I had been thinking of Orkney and for the previous hour, I had been looking at prices of rooms across Scotland and England. Finally, Northern Ireland won. I managed to get three nights in Belfast for a rather reasonable sum. Chuck in a bus and ferry ticket and I have change out of £200. Result.
So, away the Saturday, back the following Tuesday. The route I am taking is one I took the very first time I went away myself, when I went to Dublin, by bus and ferry via Cairnryan. I enjoyed being able to chill out and take my time travelling. I sat on the ferry, right at the front and read and looked out at the North Channel. Thankfully, I’m only going as far as Belfast this time, as sitting for 8 hours then getting stuck in a traffic jam by the Liffey in Dublin just isn’t much fun.
I was last in Belfast about a year and a half ago but only for a few hours. There was time to go to the magnificent Linen Hall Library, which had an incredible collection of political posters from the Troubles. It’s right on Donegall Square, a great old-fashioned library which is undoubtedly. We also got to the Ulster Museum, which I liked on lots of levels, particularly the grown-up way it treat Northern Ireland’s more recent history as well as the science displays that managed not to lose me along the way. Both of those places are firmly on my list. I’ve been to the Titanic exhibition in Belfast before and I’m not fussed to see it again. No doubt other things will be added to the list between now and then.
One of the days will have to be a wee trip down to Dublin. I have written here before about that fine city and a wee look around the Chester Beatty Library and the Archaeology Museum would suit me down to the ground. Plus just being there with the different accents, buildings and the fabulous traffic lights is good enough. Never mind the drink and the things the majority of folk go to Dublin for, the culture and the traffic lights are where it’s at.
Apart from that, I also have a Sunday to use up and I am not sure how yet. I loved the Giant’s Causeway when I was there two years ago but I am not fussed about being back there again. I am curious to see Derry-Londonderry but will check ahead to make sure there won’t be any marches or anything going down.
At this stage, I am not planning too much. There’s still a month until I go plus I like to have a fair bit of flexibility about when I go away. I am looking forward just to going on the ferry. I haven’t thought about much else yet but there’s time yet. I will do a fair bit more research over the time plus I know at least a couple of people who know Belfast so no doubt I will get some suggestions. The Ulster Museum and Dublin are two certainties but everything else is up for grabs. We’ll see what happens.