My bus from Dublin Airport to Belfast arrived in the evening and other than talking a short walk around my Airbnb and enjoying the bathtub I didn´t do much on that evening. I spent two nights in a beautiful Victorian Building in the Queen´s Quarter – a lovely residential area named after the Queen´s University and only a 20 minute walk away from the city centre.
Queen´s University (The Lanyon Building) – not only a beautiful building but also the oldest University of Northern Ireland, opened in 1849 with roots going back to 1810.
And right behind the university lies the Botanic Garden and another stunning greenhouse.
Victoria Square and a little statue in front of the (closed) St. George´s market. One can find a lot of Victoria and Albert in Belfast, even my room at the Airbnb was called “Victoria & Albert Suite”.
Murals are everywhere, absolutely everywhere! And on the right: The Albert Memorial Clock, situated on the Queen´s Square. Completed in 1869 it is Belfast “Leaning Tower” – as it was constructed on wooden piles on marshy land around the River Farset, the top of the tower leans about 1 metre.
After my Titanic Boat Tour, walking around the Titanic Quarter and a short bus ride to the Peace Wall (this will be the next post) I strolled back to Victoria Square and on top of the Victoria Square Shopping Center with it´s 360° view over the city. Can you spot the Albert Memorial Clock?
Getting lost in the little alleys around the square and ending up in Cathedral Quarter, a recently redeveloped area of Belfast with lots of contemporary restaurants, bars and hotels and St. Anne´s Cathedral (Belfast Cathedral). The foundation was laid in 1899 and several additions built over the years. The most recent one a 40-metre stainless steel spire was installed on top of the cathedral in 2007 and called the “Spire of Hope”. Illuminated at night it represents the hope for peace and is part of the redevelopment of the Cathedral Quarter. The biggest Celtic Cross is one side of the cathedral.
Belfast City Hall is located on Donegal Square. In 1888 Queen Victoria awarded “city status” to Belfast and the planning for the City Hall began. Construction started in 1898 and was finished in 1906.
During “the Troubles” Hotel Europa on Great Victoria Street was the most bombed hotel in the world after having suffered 36 bomb attacks (and more than 40 that didn´t detonate). Today it is a four-star hotel and was completely refurbished.
One of the most know pubs or former Victorian “gin palace” is the Crown Liquor Saloon on Great Victoria Street, also known as Crown Bar.
Opened by Felix O’Hanlon as The Railway Tavern, the pub was then bought by Michael Flanagan. Flanagan’s son Patrick renamed and renovated the pub in 1885.
The Crown owes its elaborate tiling, stained glass and woodwork to the Italian craftsmen whom Flanagan persuaded to work on the pub after hours. These craftsmen were brought to Ireland to work on the many new churches being built in Belfast at the time. It was this high standard of work that gave the Crown the reputation of being one of the finest Victorian Gin Palaces of its time. (Crown Liquor Saloon)