Another UK bank holiday weekend spent on a city break abroad. This time it was visiting Belfast and getting to experience Northern Island. Let’s just say I quickly fell in love, and have added it to the “I could retire here list”. Between the gorgeous scenery, fresh air and friendly people, it was a happy two days spent.
My first day was a nice orientation around Belfast, visiting the St.George Market for great food and live entertainment, strolling along the Titantic Quarter, Cathedral Quarter and City Hall area, to see the pretty buildings, sights and just enjoy a very relaxed pace of life in a city with a troubled history. However despite that, I felt warmth still shining through from all the friendly faces and fun activities going on.
My second day was spent on a Game of Thrones Filming Location tour! The tour was with McCombs which I highly reccomend. It was such a good day driving along the Causeway Coast and getting to see quite a few locations, as well as the Giant’s Causeway. Our tour guide had many stories to tell about the cast and crew, and many fun legends about Northern Ireland, with some history thrown in there as well. The locations we visited were: Cushendun Caves, (Melissandre’s Shadow Baby), Castle Black & Ice Wall (more of a drive by), Ballintoy Harbour (Pike Harbour), Larrybane Quarry ( Renly’s Camp) and the Dark Hedges (King’s Road). We also made a stop to the Giant’s Causeway which was always something I wanted to see!
Seeing all the locations was pretty surreal, and was neat to add that on after my Dubrovnik GoT tour. I also fell madly in love with the coastline, very much similar to my reaction to the Isle of Skye. Simply breathtaking and soul stunning. I was a bit underwhelmed by the Giant’s Causeway at first (I had built it up pretty high), however the more time I spent there, the more attached I became and it really was beautiful in a wild lonely kind of way.
I stayed at the Vagabond Hostel location in the university area, and it was a great choice! The hostel is ran by very friendly staff, I quite literally made myself at home among the cozy chill out area, wooden stove included. My only issue was that the mattress quality in my room was terrible, not a good sleep. However I only slept one night, as my second night, I decided to stay up all night as I had to leave before 4am to catch a bus to the airport anyway. Note: as much fun as a Star Wars marathon is after midnight, all nighters are no longer an option for me.
My favourite part about my weekend in Belfast was getting to see two friends from my tour in the Balkans! The best part of travel is all the connections you make. I loved getting to catch up over dinner with Sara and Sean and reminisce about our time in the Balkans. It brok up my solo time nicely and is a great way to remember Belfast.
I could happily return to Northern Ireland any day, and I hope that I get the chance. That coastline <3.
– xoxo Veronica