Hear about travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland as the Amateur Traveler talks to Mary Jo Manzanares about her recent trip there. Mary Jo was really interested in learning more about the history of “the troubles” that she grew up seeing on the TV news. Her husband Tony was interested in learning more about the history of the Titanic in the recently opened Titanic Experience.
The Titanic was built at the H&W shipyards in Belfast where the Titanic Experience opened in the Spring of 2013. “It has both the components of flashy multimedia as well as some history that makes you stop and think that what we may only think about from the movie Titanic really was a key part of Belfast and of Ireland and the lives of people during that era. The experience could take anywhere from an hour to up to three hours if you wanted to read all the personal biographies.” It focuses on the larger story than just the one tragic voyage of the Titanic. “Thanks to wonderful technology it actually feels like you are on the ship.”
Mary Jo stayed in the Cathedral Quarter which has been revitalized with shops, boutiques, pubs, and nightlife.
To connect to the history of the troubles there are walking tours but Mary Jo did a black taxi tour. They met with their driver in advance who can customize the tour based on what you want to see. They wanted to see a lot of the political murals from both the protestant and catholic neighborhoods. Their guide Billy, a popular driver, kept them entertained while also educating them about the city.
Not that the country is all about its troubled history, as this Northern Ireland guide shows. Belfast’s downtown has been rejuvenated. Next to the classical City Hall building is also a large Ferris wheel like the London Eye.
They also enjoyed their visit to Belfast Castle, but more for the local walking trails than the visit to the castle itself which is an event facility. Mary Jo recommends taking the estate tour.
Andrea wrote: “One of the best things in Ottawa is the National Gallery! I never liked much of The Group of Seven (except Lawren Harris) until I saw the paintings in real life. Absolutely amazing and SO Canadian!”
My family and I are heading to the US from Australia very soon (December 9). My husband and I are window cleaners and have been listening to your podcasts while we work. We just wanted to let you know that we have enjoyed listening to them and have listened to some of them at least 3 times.
We have incorporated some of the things we have heard about into our trip. They have been very helpful and thank you for producing them.
Daniel and Jocinda