Wandering in Belfast – part 1

Every time I come to Northern Ireland I can’t miss a visit to Belfast, its main city.

Belfast is alternative, modern, young, full of art and of nightlife. Belfast is even the city in which most of the fights and disorder we hear about have place, but you would never say it, and even if you find yourself in the middle of troubles (as it happened to me) the city keeps that calm attitude of those used to these things and to move on. The people in clubs or museums seem very far from those happenings and the city is full of tourists and good people going around the centre. There’s a musical scene to make jealous a lot of other big cities and the atmosphere is very open and alternative.

It’s for these motivation that when I come here I’m always pleased to lose myself at least once in the streets of this big city. Even this time I continued the tradition (who paid attention already know since of the article on Bookfinders cafè and bookshop), so I woke up Stevie and we departed early, inventing directly while on the train an itinerary for our visit (I know that wanting to write on the blog I would have to be better organized, but anyway the title is “Bohemian Wanderer”, not “The organized tourist”: I like to go around places as I’m living there, not to run from a place to another to see everything without getting the taste of anything). We got off in Belfast Central, one of the main stations of the city.

1. welcome to belfast copyThe choice was not casual: one of the first places we wanted to see is St George’s Market

2. st georges market belfastl…which has on the sign a writing saying “your weekend market“: during other days it’s closed. Oh well, we’ll try again 🙂

Then we went towards Art Trail (there are three but we always confuse them and we can never find all the artworks part of them): it’s an artistic path which spreads on the shores of Lagan, the river in the middle of Belfast.

The first work we found is “Sheep on the Road“, a group of bronze sculptures by the artist Deborah Brown:

It seems that the artist got inspiration for the artwork from her childhood, and initially it was in another street of Belfast; in 1999 the group of sculptures was moved to where actually you can find it because in the past here there was a sheep market.

So here we are on the shores of Lagan river, just before it goes into the Ocean:

Just a bit further we find another artwork, gigantic indeed:

8. ring of thanksgivinglIt’s the “Beacon of Hope“, sculpture by the artist Andy Scott, high almost 20 mt. Oddities: it’s inspired to the Thanksgiving Square in Dallas and it has various names given by the people, my favourite is “The thing with the ring”.

We cross Queen’s Bridge and we continue our walk on the river:

13. here belfastl

…and we arrive at the “Big Fish” or “Salmon of Knowledge“, the 10 mt fish made of ceramic tiles, everyone with the representation of a piece of Belfast’s history. This work is by the artist John Kindness.

As you can glimpse in the photo above, not far from the “Big Fish” there’s a clock tower: it’s  the Albert Memorial Clock, built in 1869 in memory of Prince Albert.

After arriving here we got a bit lost: it started to rain and, searching for shelter, we suddenly found ourselves in Cathedral Quarter, a zone of Belfast which is being requalified in last years. Here we found a passage with a marvellous wall painting which pointed to a halley and…

20. duke of york2l…obviously we went there!

It’s a little street where you can find many pubs, between them the famous “The Duke of York“, in a very typical ambient: I hope to come back at night, when the bars are open it has to be awesome!

23. duke of yorklAll the zone, other than to be decorated with wall plaques and flowers, is painted with beautiful murales.

murales black boxl

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" - Oscar Wilde
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” – Oscar Wilde

Here stops the first part of our walk around the beautiful Belfast. Soon I’ll publish a new post to show you the other marvels we found in our wanderings 🙂

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