Belfast – the Titanic, Game of Thrones, and pub culture21.07.2016
The Titanic, once the biggest and most luxurious ship in the world, was built in Belfast, and a century later, filming of the popular TV series “Game of Thrones” began there. During the time in-between, the capital of Northern Ireland has had an eventful and varied history. Belfast has meanwhile become a trendy metropolis that is a great destination for visitors to explore on a weekend.
Although Belfast is the second biggest city on the Irish island after Dublin, you can still easily explore it on foot or by bicycle. Simply rent a bike from one of the 33 “belfast bikes” stations and set off on your tour of the city. But only, of course, after you have set yourself up for the day by going to, say, “Bert’s Bar” or the “Harlem Café” and enjoying a hearty and typically Irish breakfast – the “Ulster fry”, the regional variant of the full breakfast.
A good place to start your tour is at “City Hall”, right in the centre of Belfast. The impressive building with its neo-classical facade and high copper dome served as a model for several town halls in the British Empire. Visitors can learn about Belfast’s history in the multimedia exhibition and go on a free tour. Not far from here is the vibrant university district, where many restaurants and hotels are located.
The best way to come into contact with the locals is in one of the many characteristic pubs or trendy nightclubs. Probably the most famous pub in Belfast – if not in the whole of Northern Ireland or even on the whole of the Emerald Isle – is the “Crown Liquor Saloon”. The pub features a very atmospheric interior and unique furnishings. Almost on every corner of Belfast you will find one of the typical Irish pubs in which you can raise a glass of beer and toast each other’s health by saying “Sláinte”.
Titanic exhibition and “Game of Thrones” film locations
If you want to delve into the history of the famous “Titanic” ocean liner, you should visit the “Titanic Belfast” museum. The silvery, gleaming and architecturally fascinating building is situated in Belfast’s docks, right where construction of the famous ship began in 1909. The museum building’s design represents a ship’s bow. The exhibition deals with the construction of the ship as well as the history of linen production in Belfast. If you are interested and have the time, you can easily spend a whole afternoon visiting the exhibition.
For fans of the “Game of Thrones” fantasy television series, a bus tour of the filming locations is, of course, a must. Fascinating “Game of Thrones” locations are situated to the north and south of Belfast. They include a centuries-old avenue of beech trees in Ballymoney called the Dark Hedges and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway, which comprises 40,000 basalt columns that descend into the sea.
From 1 September 2016, the Irish low-fares airline Ryanair will be offering a new connection from Berlin to Belfast. The route will be served three times a week from Berlin Schönefeld – on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Ryanair flies to Belfast International Airport. The airport is around 25 kilometres to the west of Belfast’s city centre. You can reach it quickly and easily by taking a bus on Ulsterbus’s Airport Express line 300. The buses depart from the stop directly opposite the terminal exit. The journey to the city centre takes around 40 minutes. A taxi to the centre of Belfast costs around 31 British pounds.