Nic Freeman

Sharing the wonders of travel & everyday adventures

Wide angle: a photo walk through Belfast, Northern Ireland

The complex character of Belfast is hard to pick. The iconic yellow Harland and Wolff cranes and sprawling harbour flag the city’s shipping roots. The regal city hall marks the influence of the English crown. The barbed wire, corrugated tin and concrete fences show this city has seen The Troubles. And the store-lined boulevards and art-donned cafes say Belfast knows how to do modern.

As our first encounter with Northern Ireland, the chameleon city of Belfast greeted us warmly and showed us a good time. Our first day was spent wandering the inner city and West Belfast. Our second day happened to be St Patrick’s Day, and therefore  we appropriately spent it in pubs throughout the city.

Here are some of the shots I took while walking Belfast.

Inner city Belfast, Northern Ireland, UkWest Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK Peace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKCafe modern Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKWest Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK Peace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKWest Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKBar Victoria Sqaure Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKPeace Walls graffiti West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKP1210554P1210556Houses - West Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKSt Patrick's Day -  Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKSt Patrick's Day -  Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKSt Patrick's Day -  Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKCity Hall - St Patrick's Day -  Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKSt Patrick's Day -  Belfast, Northern Ireland, UKSt Patrick's Day -  Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Tips for travelling Belfast:

Camping options for Belfast do exist, although they are a little way from the city. We stayed at Jordanstown Loughshore Park, a city-run, automated site that can be booked online. With the passwords sent to you after booking, all you need to do is make sure you ask for a wi-fi code before the end of a business day as there are no attendants during winter and the phone support is only open business hours Mon-Fri. It was a nice spot in a popular park by the water and you could catch the (infrequent) bus or train to the city centre.

Know your key city streets. We found it was a little hard to stumble upon a good pub, cute cafe, etc. in Belfast, simply as the shops dominate the city centre. In the end, here is what we came up with:

  • Donegall Place is the main street in the city, where you can find major stores. This leads straight up from the impressive City Hall in the middle of the city (you can’t miss it). Signs along this street will also point you towards the Belfast Welcome Centre, a very well stocked, helpful place to start.
  • There are a few great pubs and bars around Victoria Square, all with warm a traditional feel and modern patrons.
  • There are some cute little cafes in Rosemary Street, juts off Donegall Place.

Make time to see the Peace Walls in West Belfast. Towering over West Belfast homes, these walls of concrete and steel were built during The Troubles (from 1971 onwards) to keep the Belfast communities segregated and secure. While they were once in a place of violence and tension, they now solemnly stand, painted with reconciliation messages, as a colourful reminder of the how different modern Belfast is from its past. For the best look at the murals, go to Cupar Way, off Lanark Street in West Belfast. Having Panda van to get us there was so convenient, as it is quite a walk from the city and we were there in rain. The mural section stretches about 300 metres, so if you can, park at the end of the street and take a stroll.

Don’t be afraid to park in the city. Fresh off the boat from Scotland, we drove into the city centre and easily found a street pay and display park only a few blocks from the main street, which made it easy to wander and orientate. The city is pretty easy to drive, with the few one-way systems quite large and clearly marked.

 

Stay tuned for next time –  I’ll take you along Northern Ireland’s gorgeous Causeway Coastal Route from Belfast to Derry. 



A big cheers to Wicked Campers UK for the awesome van (Panda) and for making this trip possible. Every day offers more delights!

Wicked-Camper-logo-for-sponsored-bloCheck out Wicked Campers online for hire info, travel stories and more:

Website Twitter facebook & Wicked Blog

12 comments on “Wide angle: a photo walk through Belfast, Northern Ireland

  1. Tim Shey
    March 29, 2012

    I remember taking a train from Dublin to Belfast back in 1981; I visited a hunger striker’s funeral in West Belfast. I was wearing U.S. Army jungle boots at the time and, as I walked from the funeral (there were tons of people), this one kid saw my boots and remarked, “Must be will the IRA.”

    Earlier that year, I attended the Francis Hughes hunger striker funeral in Northern Ireland. It was quite an experience for a 21-year-old. Here is some of the story:

    “May 1981: Northern Ireland and Bob Jamieson of NBC News”

    http://tim-shey.blogspot.com/2010/08/may-1981-northern-ireland-and-bob.html

    • Nic Freeman
      March 29, 2012

      Hey Tim, thanks so much for sharing that. What a thing to experience! As I was standing in Belfast looking at the walls I was trying to imagine what it would have been like there in the 70s and 80s. So different from today.

  2. Shannon.Kennedy
    March 29, 2012

    Ah! Home sweet home.

    It’s interesting to see what caught your attention in Belfast. Very different from the things I noticed living there.

    • Nic Freeman
      March 29, 2012

      Hey Shannon, that’s so interesting to hear. I always wonder how my outsider perspective is different to that of locals. What do you notice about your city? I’d love to know.

      • Shannon.Kennedy
        March 30, 2012

        Coincidentally I have a post going up tomorrow with a few photos from Belfast :)

      • Shannon.Kennedy
        March 30, 2012

        I also have to admit I moved from Belfast in June – I’m no longer there :(

  3. Andrew Petcher
    March 29, 2012

    Good post – gritty pictures. I visited Belfast for a work conference in 2003 and liked it so much went back a few weeks later.

    • Nic Freeman
      March 29, 2012

      Thanks Anndrew. I loved the gritty streets of Belfast – the seemed to simultaneously suit and contradict the warm people of Belfast.

  4. Worldly Winds
    April 1, 2012

    Brilliant pictures, my Father was from this neck of the woods. It is good to see some familiar places. The last time I was there was in 1978. As a young teenager it felt pretty intimidating.
    Thank you so much for sharing your pictures and experiences :)

    • Nic Freeman
      April 2, 2012

      Hey WW – always glad to share. I imagine it would have felt entirely different in ’78. Although we didn’t see that many other tourists (likely due to the winter season), it now feels quite safe, despite the walls and derelict building. And the people are honest, blunt and cheery.

  5. Pingback: Reflections: A 2012 Travel Photo Essay | NicFreeman

  6. Pingback: Wicked Campers UK Series: 2012 | Nic Freeman: Portfolio

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on March 29, 2012 by in Art, City snapshot, Culture, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , .

Say hello!

I love hearing from you, so please share your thoughts! www.facebook.com/nicfreemantravel www.twitter.com/nicfreeman_ www.mail@nicfreeman.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

All material on this site is the property of Nic Freeman unless otherwise referenced.

Please email mail@nicfreeman.com to duplicate or purchase content, or to hire me to produce copy to suit your publication.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,975 other followers

%d bloggers like this: