Hola everyone! It’s our last week before crazy finals month. My Trinity friends and I have been living in the computing labs these past few weeks (in an attempt to study, but sometimes we get distracted and end up looking at nerdy computer science memes and other things instead). However, one can’t study forever, so for one of my friend‘s birthdays we took a day trip to Belfast.
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. Even though it is the same island, Ireland is split between the Republic of Ireland (part of the EU and where I live) and Northern Ireland (part of the UK and no longer part of the EU). Even though it was only a two hour train ride away, the currency is different (pounds, not euros), and my friends said that the set-up and buildings are very English. They also don’t speak Irish there, so the signs are only in English. They do have a very strong Northern Irish accent though, which can be a bit hard to understand. Belfast is also known to be a very quiet city, which I noticed shortly after we got there. The city just wasn’t that noisy, and when we went into buildings everything was oddly quiet. It wasn’t really that extreme, but enough for one to notice. We were also very fortunate with the weather, because it was supposed to rain all day. It did rain on us a couple times, but when it wasn’t raining it was nice and sunny.
There were nine of us in total, and we got the morning train so we would have lots of time to spend in Belfast. The train ride was fun; I got to see more of the countryside, and I still marvel at how green the grass is. Since my friends are obsessed with the card game Uno, I brought it and we played a couple times on the train to pass the time. Once we got to Belfast, we first went to St. George’s Market, which is an indoor market that had a bunch of different stalls for food, homemade products, and other vendor things. A lot of the food stalls had samples, so I tried an oyster for the first time. It was a bit slimy, but not bad. They had hot sauce and lemon to put on it. For lunch one of my friends and I went to the Spanish stall and got some paella, patatas bravas, calamari, and a couple other things, and it was all so delicious!
After the market we walked passed the capital building and Titanic memorial garden. The building was impressive, as most capital buildings are, and since it’s spring the gardens were very pretty. There was also a mini parade put on by the scouts for St. George’s Day. Since the Titanic was built in Belfast, there are a lot of memorials to the construction of the ship and to the disaster. (Belfast also has a really cool Titanic museum but sadly it was too expensive and long to fit in our itinerary). Afterwards we walked to see the Big Fish (aka the Salmon of Knowledge), which is a fish statue on Donegall Quay. We spent a lot of time taking pictures around the water and other statues they have around the quay.
Later we walked a ways to the C.S. Lewis square, which is a plaza with a bunch of statues of Lewis’ Narnia characters. The walk to the plaza was also fun because we got to see more of the city. Lots of shops were closed because it was Sunday, but there was a lot of art on the buildings and colourful murals. Lots of murals for the Titanic and the IRA (Irish Republican Army), which is a terrorist group that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland.
That evening we went to a Mediterranean restaurant, and the food was absolutely delicious! Grilled Halloumi cheese is definitely going to be eaten again. Afterwards we went to a pub to kill the remaining time until our bus back to Dublin. There was live music, and some older couples were dancing, which made for a fun and lively atmosphere. Overall it was a really fun trip, and I had been wanting to go to Belfast this year, so I’m glad I got to mark it off the list. There’s so much more we want to do before I leave at the end of May, but with exams coming we’ll see how much stuff we can fit in!