In America, we name them: Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. In Ireland. Just. Bank holidays. Or Bank Hols if you want to sound super cool.
We took the bus out Friday night and back on Monday to get to Belfast. Getting out of Dublin was not our most shining moment. Matt forget his passport. I bought “same day return” tickets instead of “open return” tickets. But we made it.
We walked from the bus stop to our AirBnB and decided we will only be renting “Whole Place” AirBnB’s from now on. But that’s neither here nor there. We went to get Indian food (but it was bad. So bad). Checked out some nightlife and settled in for the weekend.
Belfast is small. But the city itself is more spacious than Dublin. The roads are wider. And in general it just feels like there is more space. Also, it is the UK. So they sell proper refreshers for 44p. Oh yea. And since its the UK, the use the pound (or “pound sterling.”).
On Saturday I took an Uber over to Sixt to rent a car for the day. The chap working the counter had zero problems asking me who I was voting for in the upcoming US Presidential elections. People in Europe are super interested and do not shy away from this uncomfortable topic. When we went to Galway, Sixt in Dun Laoghaire hooked me up with a BMW 1 series. This time….Kia Picanto. So tiny. So European. Whatever. Off we were to the northern coast of Northern Ireland.
We drove the coastline, stopped for lunch, and made it to Bushmills for a distillery tour and tasting (they don’t let you take pictures during the tour though). From there, we realized it was later than we planned and everything ends at 6:00pm. So we backtracked to Carrick-a-Rede Bridge before heading to Giant’s Causeway. Both stops are amazing. Highly recommend. Just give yourselves a little more time than we did.
On the drive back we swung through “The Dark Hedges” that I will always call “The Deathly Hallows.” These were neat, even in the dark. But I took no pictures because I was driving. Apparently there is heaps more Game of Thrones things to see up in this area too. Maybe when Cristi comes to visit.
Back to Belfast, returned the car (amid many many many fireworks) off to a late dinner at Kitch…oh yea. It was Halloween weekend. Much costumes. Lots of crowds. And lots of fireworks. And a bar called Filthy McNasty’s (which I thought was Nasty McDirty’s and had to carefully google to re-find).
Any who. On Sunday we were going to take a Black Taxi tour but signals got crossed, and they were booked up so we re-booked for Monday. This turned out to be a good thing, because we got to go to St. George’s Market (which is only open Friday-Sunday). OMG. The street food. Street meat. Deliciousness. If you are in Belfast. You must eat here on Sunday. (I kind of assume Friday or Saturday would be fine, but apparently the market is different each of the days. With Friday being “Variety Market” and Saturday being “City Food and Craft Market” and Sunday being called simply “Sunday Market.”) I love a good market. And this was tops. Very similar to the Victoria Market in Melbourne. Matt had a savory crepe, I had a burrito was paella rice and spicy chicken. Both were yum. Mine was better.
Next we went to the Titanic Museum. The museum was crowded and there was a line snaking through the lobby which is not a very pleasant welcome to the museum. No worries I bought our tickets in advance. Nope. In the queue you go. Ugh. The museum as a piece of architecture is great.
The museum is neat, but definitely struggles to fill some space, with some panels basically repeating previous ones. It’s definitely neat. Probably not a must do. HOWEVER. Sunday afternoon tea was amazing! Within the museum they have a recreation of the dining room of the titanic, complete with replica staircase. And the staff (all bajillion of them) go out of their way to make you feel important. We were served so many treats and cakes and adorable sandwiches. And prosecco. What’s not to love.
From there we wanted to do something Halloween-y that was not the fireworks and carnival happening behind the Titanic museum because literally every child in Belfast was there. We ended up at The Black Box theatre where they had decorated the inside to look like creepy Blair Witch camping and set up tents and bean bags. They were showing Halloween movies all day. We went to see “Cabin in the Woods.” It was a super rad way to see a movie and would definitely do something like that again.
Monday was our taxi tour. This was fascinating. And humbling. Highly recommend. Also the documentary on Netflix “The Art of Conflict.”