Travel Blog


Dublin Ireland

May 14th, 2013 ernie Posted in Ireland No Comments »

Temple Bar Dublin IrelandIf you have been to Dublin Ireland, then you already know how nice a place it is and how friendly the people are. I have been to Ireland three times, twice on business and once for a sports tournament.  I had the opportunity to visit many of the pubs in downtown Dublin as well as go out into the country side and visit a castle that dates back at least 500 years. We took a city tour and explored the castle as well. My week on vacation there was really great and I would recommend Dublin as a vacation any time for people who are interested in the history of the Irish.

Dublin Ireland – Visit Castles

One of the times that I went to Dublin Ireland, I was bused out to a castle just outside the city of Dublin. Nortel Networks took us to this castle for a dinner evening of entertainment and camaraderie with other customers. We walked into the Castle Main ball room where we were served beer and wine and liquor, and there were cocktail foods served as well. This room was as large as a two story home just on its own. The castle was really quite huge and in this particular room on one wall a set of antlers from a deer was mounted.

This set of antlers was at least 14 feet across and had been dug up from one of the peat moss bogs on the property. The room was so large that these antlers really did not look out of place which gives you some idea of the size of the antlers and the room itself. They were huge and added a rustic look to the room which was amazing and enjoyable at the same time.

The room we dined in was large enough to fit 50 people comfortably seated at 6 or 7 tables with room for a harpist to play during our dinner. One of the guests had brought his wife with him and they got up to waltz to one of the tunes. It was all quite entertaining and very nice. The meal was excellent although my thoughts were so engrossed on the surroundings, I really do not recall what we ate.

Explore the Castle

We were allowed to wander around a bit so myself and another guest went upstairs in the castle. The stair well was well lit, but very narrow and the steps which were built of stone were well worn from all the years of traffic up and down these stairs.  This was an even well worth attending and I am so glad that I was able to attend.

This was the first time I had ever been to a castle and I have no idea if it was typical or not, but it sure was an impressive building. Castles were built as a place for the king or for local lords to live. They were also places were the local people could live and work.

They provided all kinds of goods to the castle owners as taxes and in return received protection from marauding bandits and other lords who might attack them. It was a tough life back in those days, yet commerce and protection for one’s material items along with your life was in practice much as it is today.

We were bused back to Dublin later that evening after thoroughly enjoying this diversion from our day long meetings. Again if you ever have a chance to go to Dublin, it is highly recommended as a place to go.

More posts about Dublin and Belfast, click here.

 

 

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Cowboys of Belfast

December 15th, 2012 ernie Posted in Ireland No Comments »

Cowboys of BelfastThe Cowboys of Belfast is a nine-piece band that plays the music of Van Morrison. Born on St Patrick’s Day.  We are not followers of Van Morrison or the Belfast Cowboys, however they are apparently pretty good. they play at various venues around the nation entertaining crowds of people with the music of Van Morrison and other tunes. There are many followers of this band and also of the Van Morrison style of music around the world.

The band features several veterans of the Minneapolis music scene, including singer Terry Walsh and sax man Vic Volare. The Cowboys have become one of Minnesota’s most popular bands, playing monthly shows at Lee’s Liquor Lounge and Whiskey Junction, among others.

Cowboys of Belfast – Van Morrison

Van Morrison, was born George Ivan Morrison on 31 August 1945. He is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician. Some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks and Moondance and the live album It’s Too Late to Stop Now have been very popular on many of the record charts

Morrison as a teenager in the late 1950s, played a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish show bands. He rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B band Them, with whom he recorded the garage band classic “Gloria”.

Morrison continues to record and tour, producing albums and live performances that sell well and are generally warmly received, sometimes collaborating with other artists, such as Georgie Fame and The Chieftains. In 2008 he performed Astral Weeks live for the first time since 1968.

Morrison’s music includes “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)”, “Domino” and “Wild Night”. He also sings Astral Weeks and lesser-known works such as Veedon Fleece and Common One.

Cowboys of Belfast – Grammy Awards

Morrison has received six Grammy Awards, the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and appearing on several “Greatest Artists” lists.

There are lots of web sites that provide much more detailed information about the cowboys of Belfast and the Van Morrison style of music. Many are fan favorites and many people enjoy this music all over the world. This style is not our favorite style of music, however he is much loved by many fans. Ireland is a beautiful country and many Irish return every year to their homeland to renew acquaintances, search for family history or just to experience some of the history that abounds in the country.  If you cannot make it to Ireland for what ever reason, why not listen to some of Ireland’s famous artists instead?

Please feel free to add your own comments about Van Morrison or the Cowboys of Belfast. I am sure our readers will welcome any and all comments. Please, no spam comments or links to unrelated sites. We always delete all spam comments if our spam filter let’s them through. We enjoy like minded sites as well and welcome comments about our pages that our readers will enjoy. Place links to this site and we will be pleased to link to your site, otherwise we will just erase the comment. We would rather have links back and forth to good quality sites to help our readers find more information about Van Morrison.

For more posts about the Irish and Ireland, click here.

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An Irish Story

September 21st, 2012 ernie Posted in Ireland 2 Comments »

Irish StoryAn Irish story is always fun to read and we thought this one would be interesting to many people, so we included it on our blog.  It is not based on real people, just something we heard from a friend and we thought our readers would enjoy it.  The email it arrive in claimed that it was based on a true story, but who really knows. These kinds of stories become urban legends that get embellished over time and just get better and better over time. People telling the story love to embellish the story so that it sounds better when it is being told. Sometimes there is an element of truth to the story, but most of it is so embellished that it does not compare to what really happened in the first place.  Hope you enjoy this one:

This story happened a while ago in Dublin , and even though it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it is apparently true. You be the judge of whether you think this story is true or not. Whether it is true or not, it is fun to read and imagine the looks on everyone’s faces if it were a true story.

An Irish Story

John Bradford, a Dublin University student, was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a very dark night and in the midst of a big storm.

The night was rolling on and no car went by. The storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him.

A Ride in the Storm

Suddenly, he saw a car slowly coming towards him and stopped.

John, desperate for shelter and without thinking about it, got into the car and closed the door…. Only to realize there was nobody behind the wheel and the engine wasn’t on. The car started moving slowly. John looked at the road ahead and saw a curve approaching. Scared, he started to pray, begging for his life. Then, just before the car hit the curve, a hand appeared out of nowhere through the window, and turned the wheel. John, paralyzed with terror, watched as the hand came through the window, but never touched or harmed him.

Rescued From Driver less Car

Shortly thereafter, John saw the lights of a pub appear down the road, so, gathering strength; he jumped out of the car and ran to it. Wet and out of breath, he rushed inside and started telling everybody about the horrible experience he had just had.

A silence enveloped the pub when everybody realized he was crying… And wasn’t drunk.

Feeling Foolish

Suddenly, the door opened, and two other people walked in from the dark and stormy night. They, like John, were also soaked and out of breath. Looking around, and seeing John Bradford sobbing at the bar, one said to the other….

Look Paddy….there’s that fooking idiot that got in the car while we were pushing it!!!!’

Well you can draw your own conclusions about whether this story is true or not. It is hard to believe that someone would be this foolish, but then you never know about people and how observant they are. Some just do not have any clue at all and could easily fall into this kind of situation. They get caught up in the moment and do not really think about their situation. Next thing you know they have fallen for a joke of some kind. There are lots of shows on TV that do this sort of thing all of the time and consumers fall for whatever situation is being portrayed. LOL

More posts about Dublin and Belfast, click here.

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Dissident Terrorists in North Belfast

May 21st, 2012 ernie Posted in Ireland 2 Comments »

Dissident Terrorists in North BelfastWe have written about terrorism in Belfast back in the 60’s and 70’s in the last two several posts. We thought we would provide an update on what is going on in Belfast to day. This information is drawn from various news articles from local newspapers in Belfast. This is about Dissident Terrorists in North Belfast. If you have more current information, let us know and leave a comment on this post.

It looks like there is still a small group of what are now called dissidents, formally called terrorists that are still trying to cause havoc. Recently these dissidents have tried planting bombs under cars belonging to the police timed to go off when the policeman started the car. Fortunately the bomb was detected prior to the bomb being set off. Fortunately there are less and less opportunities to take pictures such as the one above which was apparently taken during a national day of protest in Belfast.

There are all kinds of pictures like this one all over the internet showing some of the events that took place in Belfast when the riots etc were at their worst. Fortunately this is all behind them now and the Irish can get on with building a solid country without the fear that there has been for many years. If Ireland can recover from the recent economic down turn and get people back to work they will have less time for these kinds of activities. People with jobs are happier and have less time to plan bad things.

I was wondering what the difference was between a terrorist and a dissident. The definition is as follows:

Dissident Terrorists in North Belfast

The term Dissident Terrorists in North Belfast has become the primary term to describe Irish republicans who politically continue to oppose the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and reject the outcome of the referendums on it. These political parties also have paramilitary wings which espouse violent methods to achieve a United Ireland.
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Getting out of Belfast

May 7th, 2012 ernie Posted in Ireland 2 Comments »

Getting out of BelfastGetting out of Belfast. In our last three posts we talked about airport security in Dublin. Work conditions and also road side check points in the Belfast area, with guns leveled at you. The guards at the checkpoint interrogated you before they would let you go through.

Listening to my friend tell his story about how the guards that treated  him, his wife and his child were scary. Guns are being fired somewhere around this check point also added tension. Fortunately he and his family were ok and they made it safely away from that check point. This is one of the main reasons they decided on Getting out of Belfast. They wanted to leave the country all together.

Getting out of Belfast – Belfast too Dangerous for the Family

But this post is about how he decided it was time to get out of Belfast and emigrate to North America. Raising a family in the conditions that were prevalent in Belfast at the time was very difficult. Every time you left your home, you wondered if you would make it back. Would you be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or would someone mistake you for the opposite clan and you ended up dead.

My friend worked at the telephone company in Belfast. It was interesting about some of the stories that he told about his work there. Our previous post , Belfast Work conditions, talked about how he needed to have an armed escort every time he went outside the office to get supplies!

When you add up all of the issues that he and his family experienced, it is a wonder that he did not move his family sooner. They had an opportunity to emigrate to Alberta, Canada in the late 60’s. He got work for the local telephone company. They grabbed that and then ended up in Ontario later on in his career.

Making the decision was still a difficult one, since you are leaving family back in Northern Ireland. You are going to a new country were the customs and people are very different from what you are used to.
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Terrorists Continue Bombing in Belfast

April 21st, 2012 ernie Posted in Ireland 1 Comment »

Belfast IrelandTerrorists Continue Bombing in Belfast – This entire series of posts about bombing in Belfast started because of a chance conversation with a friend of mind. He had mentioned what it was like to try and raise a family in Belfast back in the 60’s and 70’s. My friend talked about why he left the country with his family for a new country. He was  looking for a new job at the same time.

There are several posts about his experiences during that time frame both about work as well as private life. We then starting looking at the news from Belfast. We were surprised to see that there is still a lot of incidents going on were there are riots, there are bombs placed etc. Some of these bombs explode causing a great deal of damage. While others are detected and dismantled before they have an opportunity to do any damage.

This came as a total surprise to the writer who was under the impression that the violence had all but disappeared after the good Friday accord in 1998!  Certainly all of the politicians at the time took credit for this accord ushering a new life into the region free of violence and bloodshed. Obviously this did not happen. There is still a number of individuals who are bent on causing violence, and destruction of property and life as well in Belfast. Another friend of ours emigrated from Belfast. They decided to not have any children because she did not want to bring them into such a violent world. More on what is going on today.

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Rory McIlroy – Ireland Tourism

April 7th, 2012 ernie Posted in Ireland 2 Comments »

Rory McIlroy - Ireland TourismWill Rory McIlroy, Ireland’s new golf sensation be influenced by all of the pressure that is going to be brought to bear on him? Now that he has achieved one of golf’s most prestigious awards. Winning against Tiger Woods in Florida last month has put him in golf’s royalty class. Now everyone is going to try and take advantage of him, his name and his image. Let’s face it this post is no different. That’s exactly what we are doing without putting pressure on him directly. We are writing about what we think will happened to him and not trying to take advantage of his time and money. He is in the big leagues now and will have to surround himself with high quality people that he can trust.

Making Money off of Rory McIlroy

Everyone from people who make t-shirts to the Irish Belfast tourism bureau will get in on the act. They will want his time and money.  People making money off t-shirts is one thing. They will use his image. The rights to his image to print thousands if not millions of t-shirts, coffee mugs, pens and on and on. Rory McIlroy can try to police this somewhat. He can try to claim royalty awards from people who use his image. But the real question is the impact on his time.

For Rory McIlroy to remain at the top of the golf game, he needs to practice and focus on the game of golf just the way he did before he became famous. Now there will be all sorts of demands on his time. From people who want to advance their cause, to use him for advertising from sponsors and so on. Can he maintain the focus he needs  to get the job done?

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Irish Golfer – Rory McIlroy

March 21st, 2012 ernie Posted in Ireland 1 Comment »

Irish Golfer - Rory McIlroyNorthern Ireland Irish Golfer  – Rory McIlroy has become a house hold name. He is recognized virtually around the world now that he has beaten Tiger Woods in Florida. We decided to include this story about him on this blog because it shows just how far Ireland has come, particularly Northern Ireland.  Thirty years ago, with Ireland tied up in the troubles, it is unlikely that a guy like Rory McIlroy would ever have had the opportunity let alone the chance to play golf.

He was able to maintain his concentration and his consistency throughout the event. He beat Tiger by two strokes over all. This was the best final round of golf Tiger has shot since his marriage troubles. He shot a 62 on the final round, but that was not enough to beat Rory McIlroy who shot a 69 on the final round. That is what we mean by being consistent throughout the match. This is tantamount to the level of concentration that he was able to show.

Irish Golfer – Rory McIlroy – In the Limelight

He now gets to bask in the notoriety of being famous in the United States as well as in Ireland. With the prize money he has received from this match and the endorsements that will be coming his way, Rory McIlroy will become a very rich man if he is not already. In fact one of his friends indicated that he already has a million dollars in his account and adding more all of the time. He is 22 years old. Will he have the strength to retain his control. Or will he fall by the way side like so many other famous people with a lot of money?

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Belfast Work Conditions

March 7th, 2012 ernie Posted in Ireland 2 Comments »

Belfast Work ConditionsWe have been writing about Belfast and how dangerous it was during what they call the ‘troubles”. We thought it would be a good idea to also talk about what it was like for people working in Belfast at the time. This is based on a true story from a friend of mine. He lived and worked in Belfast for the telephone company. This was prior to emigrating to North America to a safer location for his wife and children. Life has improved a great deal since they left Belfast in the 70’s. But it is still interesting to remember what it was like. This is his story.

Belfast Work Conditions – Armed Guards

From the companies perspective, they had a lot to protect. There was the equipment, there was the service to the community and of course there were the employees and the customers that would visit the premises every day. There were constant threats and several other businesses that were bombed in the neighborhood. So no one was taking any chances at all with any of the assets both human assets and well as non human assets. It was a risky time.

Before going out into an alley which was gated and protected to get cable supplies, the guards would first go out and confirm that everything was safe. Then under their watchful eye the employees who needed to pick up cable or other supplies, would go out to the alley and get what they needed. They minimized the amount of time being outside. Items were brought inside immediately. Imagine working under those conditions and also worrying about your family all of the time.
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West Belfast – Ireland

December 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in Ireland 1 Comment »

West BelfastBelfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It is also the largest city in Northern Ireland.  Compared to the United Kingdom, it is ranked 15th in size and it is smaller than Dublin in Southern Ireland.  Although the city has a population of  267,000, it lies in a metropolitan area of 641,000 people.  In the past industries such as tobacco, linen, rope making and ship building were the main industries.  Today it is an industrial and economic power house. It has recovered from the set backs caused by what is know as the “troubles” . This is Ireland today with many new business opportunities.

Violence has Declined

There was a great deal of violence, shootings and bombings during the period from 1969 until 1990. This caused industry as well as people to move away from Belfast. Over 1500 people were killed in the period from 1969 until 2001. However today it is returned to more economic strength. Especially with  the development of the waterfront area, Victoria Square and the Belfast City center.
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Dublin to Belfast

December 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in Ireland 2 Comments »

Dublin to BelfastBelfast, Northern Ireland’s capital city, is approximately 100 miles (167 Km), and a 2½ hour drive from the city of  Dublin. Unfortunately there are no direct flights connecting Dublin to Belfast as of Sept 2011, unless you want to fly via London and take half the day to get there. Fortunately there are alternatives which include; there’s a 24 hour bus service, take a train, or if you prefer total independence, you can hire a car, or drive your own rental car. Make sure you have an international drivers license if you do rent a car.

Dublin to Belfast – By bus…

The Belfast to Dublin route is well serviced by bus, and there’s a joint cross-border bus service provided by Bus Éireann, the Republic of Ireland’s bus service, and Ulsterbus for the Belfast to Dublin Airport or Dublin City route. Ulsterbus is operated by Translink, and is a division of Translink, Northern Ireland’s public transport operator, and the route to Dublin is operated by the Goldline Express. The departure point for bus travel from Belfast to Dublin is the Europa Bus Centre during the day and from Glengall Street at night. The Europa is a combined train/bus station, and is just a short distance from the Grand Opera House, and close to the Europa Hotel.

There’s an hourly service, day and night, from Belfast to Dublin Busaras or Dublin Airport, operated by Goldline Express or Bus Eireann. This is a pleasant journey where you can enjoy the fine scenery of the North East of Ireland. The trip takes about a 2½ hours
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Hotels in Belfast

November 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in Ireland 1 Comment »

Hotels in BelfastHotels in Belfast & Accommodation:

As befitting a major European destination, a full range of accommodation options are available in Belfast.  We cannot confirm that all of these hotels etc are in fact still in business, so please check each one out separately. Confirm they are open and have the type of  accommodations that you are looking for. Location is also important as well if you want to be near the city center for example or close to one part of the city vs. another. Location is also important from a safety perspective. In any large city, there are areas that are typically better than others. Especially if you like going out for a walk or are dining out in the evenings.

Visitors can chose from cozy, family run bed and breakfast establishments, a variety of self catering options and luxury five star hotels to suit every taste, set of requirements and budget. Check out their web sites and also review comments about each of these locations to make sure that they are at the level in terms of luxury that you are looking for. Comments about each location are important. Check the hotels web site, but also check independent travel sites for comments. Sometimes these will be a little more objective about the location you are interested in. You can also enjoy a little bit of history by picking one of the older historic hotels.

Hotels in Belfast – Dublin

Having stayed in similar hotels in Dublin, we are confident that the accommodations in Belfast will be equally cozy and meet all of your needs. I gained almost 10 pounds in two weeks from all of the fabulous restaurants and pastries that they offer. There were numerous coffee shops with all kinds of pastries to try and it was really difficult to resist them. We enjoyed our time in Dublin Ireland very much and are quite sure that Belfast, Ireland offers the same opportunities to tourists.

There are lots of things to see in Belfast. We have always found that checking with the concierge is a good idea to find out what the best sites to visit are and how much things will cost. If there is a city tour, take the tour and make note of those places that you may wish to return to when you have more time on your own.  City tours are also very good since you will learn about local places and some of the history that abounds almost everywhere. These countries go back many hundreds of years and there is always lots to learn. Tourists can also find out when various venues are open and when there are discounts on entry fees etc.

Hotels in Belfast – List of Hotels

Here is our current list of hotels in Belfast , Ireland.

  • Ravenhill Guest House
  • The Crescent Townhouse
  • Europa Hotel
  • The Malone Lodge Hotel
  • Tara Lodge
  • The Park Avenue Hotel
  • The Stormont Hotel
  • The Chimney Corner Hotel
  • Culloden Hotel
  • Days Hotel
  • Jurys Inn Belfast
  • Ramada Belfast
  • Parkview Lodge
  • Ten Square

These hotels may change over time due to the economy as well as due to sales and acquisitions. Please check directly with the hotel before making any final plans for your trip. You may also want to confirm the location of the hotel to make sure that it is in the area that you prefer. A final check of past reviews would also be a smart thing to do to confirm that other guests were satisfied with the level of service at the hotel you are planning to stay at.

For more posts about Ireland including both Belfast and Dublin, click here.

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Waterfront Hall – Belfast

November 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in Ireland 1 Comment »

Waterfront Hall - BelfastHistory and background

Belfast Waterfront opened for business in 1997 and has played a key role in Belfast’s economic and social development since then. Many jobs were created as part of this development as well as ongoing operation. The city is now recognized as a major European destination for conferencing, culture and business investment. This is the premiere facility in the city with many shows, restaurants and bars coming to the area as a result. This entire area is an example of what can happen when a city follows a revitalization of its core downtown area. It takes commitment by city leaders as well as consumers to make these types of things a success, and the Irish certainly have demonstrated this commitment.

Waterfront Hall – Belfast – What They Offer

They advertise that they are an  award-winning, purpose-built conference, arts and entertainment center offering a variety of facilities including:

  • Main Auditorium
  • Studio
  • 14 meeting rooms
  • gallery space
  • gift shop
  • restaurant
  • two bars.

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Europa Hotel – Belfast

October 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in Ireland 1 Comment »

Europa Hotel - BelfastLocation – The Europa Hotel in Belfast

One big reason to check-in to The Europa is, without doubt, is the location – right in the middle of Belfast’s “Golden Mile”. Located near the Grand Opera House and the historic Crown Bar, the National Trust’s only public house property, beckons from just across the road. And then you’ve got shops, several award-winning restaurants, high-end entertainment and the business district – all within walking distance.

Parking

As with most City Centre hotels, there is no on-site car parking available. Your hotel concierge can help you with finding local parking and rates that you should expect to pay. As with all large cities, parking at hotels and in downtown areas can be expensive. Some people will only rent a car after having spent a few days touring on foot.

Europa Hotel – Belfast Rooms

Thick duvets and fluffy pillows scream comfort and luxury. While Ralph Lauren fabrics and Zoffany wall coverings stamp designer authority all over the décor. The bathrooms are exquisite with glass, chrome and ceramic finishes . The hotel advertises superior sound proofing in every room to ensure that every guest is guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
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Growing up in Belfast

October 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in Ireland 1 Comment »

Growing up in BelfastThe childhood of someone growing up in Belfast, Ireland during the 70’s and 80’s was  very different than other kids around the world. If you  grew up in west Belfast, you heard the sound of bombs and gunshots which was a normal everyday experience. With people being killed daily and British soldiers patrolling the streets; life on the streets just wasn’t the same as we experience it today in North America. Sure there are some areas in our larger cities that are bad, but not as bad as what the Irish had to put up with during those years.

This was a difficult time for the Irish as it had been for many years prior to that. An entire generation Growing up in Belfast was affected by the issues that took place during the 70’s and 80’s. It will be another generation before it is really historical and not present in the minds of the Irish.

Growing up in Belfast – Weekend Activities

The weekend activities for young men in those days was very different than what young people know today. Instead of thinking about going out to socialize or play games the majority of local youths would go out to riot. With either people from the other side of the political of the other side, or with the British soldiers and/or RUC (royal Ulster constabulary). This was the popular thing to do at that time. It was a very violent and difficult society to live in.

During the 1970s and 80s Belfast was like a war-zone. Belfast’s troubled history has seen many tragedies and atrocities. One positive thing that has come out of these bad times and helps everyone to remember what happened in the past is the murals that now dot the city.  These atrocities are illustrated in the many murals dotted all over Belfast. They are painted on the sides of houses, on walls of building and anywhere paintings are allowed in public.
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Belfast’s Violent Troubles are in the Past

September 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in Ireland 1 Comment »

Belfast's Violent TroublesGrowing up in Belfast in the 70s,80s and 90s was an adventure of a kind experienced nowhere else in the free world. The weekend activities for youths in those days were very different to that of today and of many other locations around the world. Instead of thinking about going out to socialize or play games. Many local youths would go out to riot; with either people from the other side of the political  spectrum or with the British soldiers and/or RUC (royal Ulster constabulary). This was a violent time for Ireland.

Violent time In Northern Ireland

During the 1970s and 80s Belfast was like a war-zone, and Belfast’s troubled history has seen many tragedies and atrocities. These atrocities are illustrated in the many murals dotted all over Belfast, painted on the sides of houses. A good friend of ours left Ireland because of this reason. In fact they decided not to have children, because they did not want to bring up a child in the midst of this violence.

These massive paintings are today a major Belfast attraction for tourists. In the past, however, they were a way for the residents of Belfast’s troubled areas to get their points across. Or make a plea or demand that the rest of world could see through the power of the media.
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George Best Airport Belfast

September 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in Ireland 2 Comments »

George Best Airport BelfastGeorge Best Airport Belfast city airport was renamed in commemoration of the legendary footballer George Best. George Best was one of  Belfast’s most famous sports heroes. He was said to be the best footballer in the world by many players and sports commentators. He played for Manchester United in his prime, and was part of  the best Man Utd side ever. Best played in the 60s. His skill on the football pitch led to his stardom off the pitch – a stardom that was said  to be his downfall unfortunately for him. He loved all of the benefits of being a star foot baller.

George Loved Life

George loved his flamboyant lifestyle a bit too much and became an alcoholic, which ended his footballing career at an early age. George’s alcoholism damaged his liver and  lead to his death. In 2002 his liver gave up, and he received a liver transplant that enabled him to live a few more years. This scare really was not enough to make him stop drinking unfortunately.

But with his incessant drinking which he never stopped after his transplant,  even a liver transplant couldn’t keep him alive for longer than a few years. It is a shame that someone with this much potential threw away his life-like this. Someone famous like this could have done so much good for his country and his team. But he just could not stay away from alcohol for whatever reason. Unfortunately this occurs far too often and many people just cannot explain why they let happen to them. perhaps in Georges’s case it was the pressure of being a major league soccer star.
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What to do in Belfast Ireland

August 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in Ireland 1 Comment »

Belfast IrelandWhat To Do In Belfast, Ireland

Belfast is the second largest city in Northern Ireland, with Dublin in southern Ireland being the largest, and with a population of over 200,000 it is filled with the charm of an old town shipping port along a thriving metropolis. Belfast began centuries ago as a shipping passage through the Irish Sea, protected on one side by Ireland and the other by England and Europe. Ireland is a beautiful country and carries a great deal of charm for many people with Irish blood in them. In fact the Irish have spread all over the world and regularly go back to Ireland to renew their roots and memories. Ireland holds a great deal of nostalgia for many people.

There was a time when there were a lot of problems in Belfast due to political disagreements and long time feuds that caused a lot of death as well as destruction. With the agreements that Tony Blair’s government was able to put in place, today it is quickly gaining the reputation as being the place to go for “a break”, even more than Glasgow or London!

Once you get here, either by boat or plane, you have lots of choices of what to see and do while in Belfast.

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Belfast, Ireland

August 12th, 2011 ernie Posted in Ireland 1 Comment »

Belfast, IrelandBelfast, Ireland Guide, Including Belfast Hotels

Nestled in a valley and bordered to the east by the Irish Sea, the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast, is a vibrant and lively Celtic city.  Situated on the River Lagan, the pedestrian-friendly city enjoys a focal point in Donegal Square. The architecturally stunning City Hall dominates the skyline. Elsewhere Victorian and Edwardian architecture can be enjoyed by visitors on foot. This is truly a beautiful historic city to visit.

Places of interest:

Belfast’s glorious seafaring history and place at the forefront of the industrial revolution is evident in the largest shipyard in Great Britain, where the Titanic was built. The city’s name is derived from the Irish “beal feirste” which means “at the mouth of the sandpit”. Nightlife, arts, festivals, dining and shopping are all in abundance in the city. The sea front in particular is now friendly to pedestrians. Visitors can enjoy the best of Irish culture in street musicians and theater against the backdrop of the Irish Sea.

Belfast Castle

Standing 120 meters above sea level, Belfast Castle offers breathtaking and panoramic views of the city, bay and surrounding areas. Belfast Castle was the ancestral home of the Chichester, later Donegall, family. They were descendants of Arthur Chichester who owned the land that was to become the city in the 1600s. The history of the castle, and city, are celebrated in the Cave Hill Visitor Center in the castle grounds.

Ulster Museum, set over 8000 square meters of grounds, is likely to take up a full day. It is extensive and fascinating with its archaeology, ethnography, art, history and natural sciences exhibits. The collections portray and celebrate the history, culture, artistic, scientific and industrial achievements. In short, the story of the Irish people from their ancient roots up until modern day. The museum houses both permanent and temporary collections. They have regular, creatively planned tours are offered to distil some of the wonders of the museum into palatable chunks.

For stunning hiberno-romanesque architecture, the Belfast Cathedral is worth a visit. The exciting, interactive and interpretive St. Patrick Center tells the story of Ireland’s patron saint, in his own words.

The Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park and City of Belfast International Rose Garden are in the southern outskirts of Belfast. They feature an International Rose Exhibition, as well as gardens, walks, a children’s playground and live music concerts. The Linen Hall Library was established in 1788. It boasts a collection of over 20,000 volumes of Irish literature and an enviable Robert Burns collection.

Belfast, Ireland – Things to do:

Belfast will never leave tourists wondering how to entertain themselves! Plenty of things to do and see exist in Belfast.

  • The world class Belfast Zoo features plenty of don’t-miss attractions, including the monkey park, reptile house and children’s playground.
  • Walking Tours of Belfast include The Old Town, Titanic Trail and the City Centre Walk.
  • The oldest covered market in Ireland, St George’s Market offers a range of fish and specialty foods that are unrivaled in Europe.
  • The world’s largest dry dock, Harland and Wolfe, is where the Titanic was built and its famous cranes, Samson and Goliath, can be seen from all over the city.
  • At the The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum a fascinating insight into the history and the daily lives of Ulster people can be found.
  • The Home Front Heritage Center features collections that portray the Belfast experience of the Second World War, and is also home to the museum of the Royal Ulster Rifles.
  • W5 is a world renowned innovative and interactive center of science and technology exploration, with activities, exhibits and demonstrations to expand and intrigue minds of all ages.

Belfast, Ireland – Food & Drink:

If it is excellent food the tourist seeks, they won’t have to look far in Belfast.

  • Traditional pub fare in a historical atmosphere is to be found at Belfast’s most famous pub, the Crown Liquor Saloon in the heart of the historical district.
  • Altos was rated number one by Yahoo travel for stylish and contemporary cuisine, serving cutting-edge Mediterranean food and featuring an extensive wine list and specialty coffee choices.
  • The Gypsy Queen Vegetarian Restaurant is on of Europe’s premier vegetarian dining destinations. All dishes are GMO approved, and organic wherever possible.
  • For the cuisine enthusiast, Deane’s Restaurant is a high end, luxurious dining experience, featuring dishes created by one of Ireland’s top chefs.
  • Live music pubs are a staple of Belfast nightlife, including the Duke of York, Morrisons and at the docks, Pat’s Bar Princes.

Belfast Hotels & Accommodation:

As befitting a major European destination, a full range of accommodation options are available in Belfast. Visitors can chose from cozy, family run bed and breakfast establishments. Also a variety of self catering options and luxury five star hotels to suit every taste, set of requirements and budget.

  • Ravenhill Guest House
  • The Crescent Townhouse
  • Europa Hotel
  • The Malone Lodge Hotel
  • Tara Lodge
  • The Park Avenue Hotel
  • The Stormont Hotel
  • The Chimney Corner Hotel
  • Culloden Hotel
  • Days Hotel
  • Jurys Inn Belfast
  • Ramada Belfast
  • Parkview Lodge
  • Ten Square

Entertainment

Nightlife is one of Belfast’s main attractions, with revelers enjoying everything from world class dance clubs to traditional pubs. The Potthouse, opened in November 2004 was built on the site of Belfast’s first pottery factory. It comprises The Potthouse Bar & Grill, Sugar Nighclub, which plays Top 40, House and classic Disco, and the Soap Bar guestroom. The Fly and The Grill Room and Bar are also notable

Belfast nightspots.

The Movie House Cinema on the Golden Mile offers the latest cinema releases. This includes the art house and independent films, and Ireland’s only 3D and 2D large format cinema, the SheridanIMAX is located on Queen’s Quay. Fantastic shopping is available in the city center Donegall Place and the Waterfront Concert Hall hosts concerts and music tours from all over the world.

Belfast enjoys an enviable position at the forefront of Hibernian culture, scenery and history. The city has an ideal and unique combination of Celtic culture and British industrial influence.  Belfast is an ideal seaside destination for family friendly events, educational and historical attractions. Nightlife that is second to none throughout Europe. In common with much of the British Isles, Belfast experiences a temperate and often wet climate. It  is protected by the surrounding mountains of Divis Mountain, Black Mountain and Cave Hill.

For more posts about Ireland including Belfast and Dublin, click here.

 

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