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Monday, 14 April 2008

Beautiful Belfast

Sunday the 14th of April 2008.
Some of my family have been staying overnight and are on their way to Belfast to begin a holiday in Ireland.
They're going on Stena's fast ferry from Stranraer.I've got myself one of the Daily Records offer of a half price day return ticket,so i'll spend a couple of hours in Belfast with them till they head on.
I wont be adding too much dialogue to this blog.The pictures will speak for themselves.

Not a bad morning and we're soon on the ferry heading out of Loch Ryan and into the North Channel.

The trip over goes very smoothly,and coming into Belfast Loch the Harland and Wolfe dock cranes stand like giants watching us come in.

Once off the boat we head round to take a look at the Odyssey Pavilion

Maybe it's because it's Sunday it's fairly quiet in here.But what an impressive building.It's a few years since i spent any amount of time in Belfast,but already it feels like a different city to the one i remember.
Now we head out walking along the quay.

Belfast is a city growing and changing, there are tower cranes everywhere

The Royal Mail windows act like a hall of mirrors giving distorted images.

But still the graffiti artists are trying to get their message over.

Next we pass HMS Bangor in port.She's a minesweeper,having a break from operations before she has to go back to the middle east.
Some of the crew shouted down to the kids and gave each of them a poster sized photo of the boat,while i had a natter with one of them.

Now we head over the Lagan Lookout Bridge,with the kids loving it(all four of them ha-ha)
This riverside transformation has come about in a relatively short time.The Laganside Corporation was set up in 1989.Pay a visit to and watch the movie.It is truly amazing what they've achieved here.

Now heading away from the river,past the impressive Custom House.

Passed the Albert Memorial clock constructed back in the 19th Century between 1865 and 1870

The First Trust Bank from across the road.

A picture of me taking a picture of one cheeky imp.

And on to the shopping arcade.
At this point i was nearly ready to split for somewhere other than a shopping arcade.This was not on my Belfast agenda.
But what a brilliant surprise we discovered.

Victoria Square isn't just another shopping mall,it's a work of art.

At the top of this spiral staircase(there are also lifts up)is a glass dome with views over the city and the river,and apparently it's even better at night.

The Hilton Hotel,BT and a big wheel among other lovely views.

And what an adventure for the 'Weans'.
After all that excitement it's time to eat.

The Streat is a Belfast conception,and it'll be coming to a street near you if our experience is anything to go by.The food was beautiful and the catering for children is one of their top priorities.Have a look at if you dont believe me.

We're well fed and heading back to the riverside.There's the TGWU building.

Back at the river and we're in Thanksgiving Square......

...where a girl tries to copy the the girl on the globe scupture.This amazing work of art was the dream of a local Belfast woman Myrtle Smith.A quote from the designer of the sculpture Andy Scott reads 'I hope that the figure is adopted by the people of Belfast as a symbol of peace and reconciliation, and as a shining beacon of modernity and progress'....

...beautifully designed street lamps....

...Laganside aluminium sculpture...
....and it's time to part company with the family as they head off to drive along the beautiful Antrim coast road.

I'm heading back in the direction of the docks and the ferry.This has been only a small corner of Belfast,but i still cant get over the changes.Here's a distorted image of a tower crane seen in the reflection of an office blocks windows.

And now i get a view back to the dome at Victoria Square.

And views of Belfasts Art and University quarter.

Now alongside another tower crane i get a look at the 'Spire of Hope'

It is a 100-metre-high stainless steel needle which towers above St Anne's Cathedral in Donegall Street.More can be seen on this at
I've been looking on the net for actual night time pictures,when it should be lit up like a beacon.Perhaps they haven't got the lights rigged up yet.

Now i'm back at the docks and the Stena terminal.A bit footsore from walking on hard pavements.A cup of tea helps.

A busier return crossing,but comfortable enough.Time enough to go and take this picture of my ferry-and time enough to let the A75 ferry dash get well away from me before making my way home.
More visits to Belfast will be on the agenda.It's a great city.

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