48 Hours In Belfast, Ireland

Kelly's Cellars Belfast Ireland

Belfast, Ireland, has certainly had its share of dark days, but these days things are looking much brighter for the city. My family and I recently returned from a 48 hour holiday and found it to be very interesting. This wasn’t a posh weekend getaway by any means, but it was definitely worth the trip.  There was so much that we just didn’t have time to do but since we’re not far I know we’ll end up going back again.

If you’re going to be visiting Ireland, be sure to add Belfast to your itinerary. There is plenty of history and good food to be found and the people are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet.  I have never in my life had taxi and Uber drivers as friendly as those in Belfast.  Even the Titanic Conspiracy Theorist who drove us to the airport on our way back to London was friendly, albeit a bit odd.

I found Belfast to be easy to navigate but much of it is spread out, so you’ll likely need to use some sort of transportation to get around.  The city has public transport but we relied on taxi cabs and Uber.  There is also a Hop On-Hop Off bus that will take you around the city – the tour lasts about an hour and a half.

Things To Do And Sights To See In Belfast, Ireland

The Salmon of Knowledge

Salmon of knowledge Belfast Ireland

If you’re strolling along the River Lagan you’ll definitely run into The Salmon of Knowledge on Donegal Quay near the Lagan Lookout.  The big, blue, fish made of mosaic tiles was created by artist John Kindness and installed in 1999 to commemorate the revitalization of the river.  Previously, the river had been polluted and a massive effort was undertaken to clean it up.

belfast ireland salmon of knowledge

Each tile depicts something about Belfast’s history.

Mural Hunting

murals belfast ireland

You could spend hours just wandering around looking at the murals.  They are everywhere in Belfast.

murals belfast ireland

murals belfast ireland

Most of the murals are cultural or religious in illustration.

murals belfast ireland

Even Queen Elizabeth managed to get a mural for her diamond jubilee in 2012!

The Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus

I’ll always recommend wandering around on foot as the best way to get to know a city but I also think HOHO busses have their place.  I tend to view them as a good way to get the general lay of the land when I first arrive in a city, if they’re available.  They are also useful in cities that are not easily walkable.  Not every city has them, and they’re not always impressive, but I find they’re useful for seeing what a city has to offer and then making my sightseeing plan in places where I’m kind of undecided.  But this tour was surprisingly good, probably because it had a live guide rather than an audio guide.  Our guide was named David, and he was cheeky and hilarious.  We used this company and we were happy with it.

The Titanic Belfast

titanic experience belfast ireland

Before I started researching this trip, I had no idea that the Titanic was built in Belfast.  I was so excited to find out that it was though because I have always found its history to be so interesting.  I’ve seen many documentaries over the years and I’m not sure why I don’t remember any of them mentioning Belfast. I’m sure they did, I clearly wasn’t paying enough attention!

The Titanic Belfast museum was fantastic, and was my favorite part about this holiday.  It’s built in the shape of a star to represent White Star, the company that owned the ship.  There was so much to see and it was quite interactive.  Great for adults and children who have some knowledge of the ship.

Botanic Gardens

botanic garden belfast ireland

Belfast has a lovely botanic garden with a palm house, rose garden and tropical ravine that make for a nice place to stop to and relax for awhile.

botanic garden belfast ireland

There is no cost to enter and it is a perfect spot for a picnic.

Queens University

Queens University Belfast Ireland

Located directly next to the Botanic Garden, Queens University has a lovely campus that’s nice to wander through.  There are many famous Irish citizens that were educated there but Liam Neeson was the only one that I recogizned!

The Peace Wall

Peace Wall Belfast Ireland

Its definitely worth taking the trip to see the peace wall.

Peace Wall Belfast Ireland

It’s actually a wall that was originally constructed as a barrier to separate the Catholics from the Protestants but now there are murals and signatures on it from people all over the world.

Peace Wall Belfast Ireland

It kind of reminded me of a much, much longer version of the Lennon wall in Prague.

Eating and Drinking In Belfast, Ireland

National Grande Café

National Grande Cafe Belfast Ireland

We stopped at National Grande Café on our first morning in Belfast as we were wandering about for something to keep us going until lunch.

National Grande Cafe Belfast Ireland

It’s a great spot for an excellent coffee and light breakfast.

Home

Home Restaurant Belfast Ireland

When we entered Home, it was kind of an off time and the place wasn’t empty.

Home Restaurant Belfast Ireland

We took that as a good sign.

Home Restaurant Belfast Ireland

We all ended up having the lamb shoulder.  It was served with potato gnocchi, cabbage, salsify and was topped with a salsa verde.  The portions were very satisfying and it was absolutely delicious.

Town Square

Town Square Belfast Ireland

Not overly hungry as we had a larger lunch later in the day we ended up just coming to Town Square for dessert.

Town Square Belfast Ireland

Town Square Belfast Ireland

Both the chocolate chip skillet and Bounty cheesecake were so good.

Town Square Belfast Ireland

Town Square Belfast Ireland

For those who don’t know what Bounty is, its coconut covered in chocolate (for my American readers…it’s the same as an Almond Joy without the almond.  Not Mounds because this is enrobed in milk chocolate.  Not that you were even wondering!)

Kelly’s Cellars

Kelly's Cellars Belfast Ireland

Kelly’s Cellars is one of the oldest pubs in Belfast.

Kelly's Cellars Belfast Ireland

We popped by for a pint and sat outside to take in the gorgeous weather that we had while on holiday.

The Crown

The Crown Belfast Ireland

The Crown is definitely one of the if not the prettiest pub I have ever visited.

The Crown Belfast Ireland

Believe it or not its actually listed as a National Trust property.  It’s the most famous pub in Belfast.

The outside has lovely tilework and the inside is like stepping back in time in the best of ways.

Tea at The Titanic Museum

This was a fun tea.  No need to dress up to attend, either.

Its a nice, relaxed way to end the day at the museum.

Tea at Titanic Belfast

The sandwiches, scones and pastries were fine but what I really enjoyed was the gazpacho, vegetable samosas and feta, pea and mint tartlettes that were included.  They were flavorful and really shined.

Final Thoughts

Our two days in Belfast went by really quickly.  It definitely has a different vibe than Dublin but its absolutely worth visiting.  One thing to note if you’re going to visit is that many places are closed on Sundays.  And most restaurants don’t open until 1:00. I thought London opened late on Sundays but Belfast has us beat!

Have you visited Ireland?  I’m looking for other suggestions for places to visit.  Tell me about your favorite areas and let me know what I shouldn’t miss in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!  Cheers!

22 thoughts on “48 Hours In Belfast, Ireland

  1. Your comments and photos on this city are so interesting. I probably would not have made a special trip to Belfast and that would have been unfortunate. This city seems to have a lot to offer any tourist. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I am glad you had a good time.

    1. It was a great time! There was so much to do. You never know where you’ll end up! Maybe you’ll go to Belfast…

  2. My friend Judy is in Ireland and just posted about the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus, including pics of Harry and Megan, who are apparently there now. (I think in Dublin). Sending her the link to this, and will try to tag you so you can see her pics.

    1. Please do!!! They are in Dublin. I should have stopped there instead of heading back to london.

    2. Please do!!! They are in Dublin. I should have went there instead of heading back to London!

  3. I’ve always wanted to visit Belfast, particularly the Titanic! I’d never looked into anything else to do there though, thanks for the post!

    1. It’s worth considering a trip if you’re going to be in Ireland. There’s a good bit to do there. I’d like to go back to see Giants’s Causeway.

  4. This place worth visiting only for street art! The places have good food and look so home-like.

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