Day 7: After staying up until 6am the night before for New Year’s, it was a little rough waking up and hitting the road at 10am. But with a four hour drive ahead of us, we wanted to make it on the road at a decent hour to make it to Belfast before dark. This was the dreariest drive the whole trip since it rained consistently the whole way. To top it off, by the time we got to our hotel in Belfast, we were exhausted and starving. Not the best combination for the scenario in which we were about to walk into.
We booked our hotel in Belfast based on one of our travel books. It also received excellent reviews on Trip Advisor so we thought we would be walking into a cozy, warm hotel. Wrong! First, the area in which the hotel was located was sketch. There was graffiti all over and it had the look of being worn and dirty. Second, our hotel was dirty. The walls were dirty, I didn’t want to sit on the bed and in order to turn the light on for longer than 3 minutes, we needed to place a hotel key in the slot. My cousin best described is a Motel 6 from the 1980s.
This was the first and only time on the trip when I thought, I want to go home. I’m sure it was a combination of a lack of sleep, a lack of food and the depressing weather, but we needed to get out. After 15 minutes in the room, in which we booked a room at another hotel in the city, we grabbed our bags and left. Since we had already checked in, we needed to pay for the night but we didn’t care. We just wanted to get out! Our next hotel, Ten Square, was great! We checked in, ate dinner and went to bed early. Belfast, was not off to a great start and we were hoping the following day would be much better.
Belfast definitely redeemed itself!
Day 8: We started the next morning with a tour of the Crumlin Road Jail. A Victorian-era jail that was only just closed in 1996, this jail had an underground tunnel that ran from the jail to the court house across the street. The court house across the street is now dilapidated and falling apart but we were able to go in the tunnel. Erie… This tour was great albeit slightly terrifying!
The second tour we took was a Black Taxi Cab Tour. This was probably the highlight of the trip! It was AMAZING! The tour is a cab ride through the Protestant and Catholic sides of the city. Ireland gained it’s independence in the 1920s but the rift between the Protestant and Catholics still exists today. Although there is a period of peace, there is a gate in the city that still closes every night at 10pm between the two sides. This tour also takes you to the famous murals of each side and the memorial gardens. I am not giving this tour justice but it was incredible! The history geek in me really came out and I even bought a book about the troubles to read on the plane.
After the tour, we went to the Titanic Museum. The Titanic was built in Belfast and museum goes through the history of the building, the history of Belfast, the timeline of the ship and it’s sinking and it even follows certain passengers throughout the exhibits. The museum was incredibly crowded but it’s an amazing history of the Titanic!
We ended our last night in Belfast having dinner with Naiomi’s cousin and her family that she hasn’t seen in 24 years! At the end of the day, and at the end of the trip, Belfast turned out to be one of the highlights. If you are ever in Ireland, don’t miss out on Belfast!
Monday is the last installment of my Ireland trip. Check back for pics of Dublin and a trip wrap up!