Day Tour from Dublin to Belfast a great excursion

Visit Titanic and Belfast from Dublin

http://www.titanicdaytour.comJoin us on this unique day tour from Dublin, let us take you on a fascinating journey through Ireland’s past, explore Belfast’s remarkable industrial heritage, its troubles, and its remarkable rebirth.  We depart Dublin at 0800 am and return to Dublin at 1800 hrs. We have gaurenteed tickets for the World’s largest Titanic Experience, you will also have free time to explore Belfast city. The story starts in the first gallery with 1912 “boomtown Belfast” and takes you in a caged lift to the fourth floor for an atmospheric six-minute cart ride through the shipyards.                  The third gallery is based around a glass apex with a film projection re-creating the completed Titanic on the slipways outside. It launches into dry dock for fit out, with depictions of the first-, second- and third-class cabins in the next gallery.

The cave section is a journey through the bowels of the ship, projected on the walls. Gallery five is based on the ship’s maiden voyage and re-creates life on board. In the next gallery, the walls narrow and the temperature drops as we trace the timeline of the sinking from iceberg collision to final gasp of air on April 15. The British and American inquiries into the disaster follow in the next gallery.

The final two galleries are just as evocative, devoted to the legends of the ship, with touchscreen displays of Titanic folklore and a voyage to the Nova Scotia seabed where the wreck now lies, using film footage of an ocean dive in 1985. An Ocean Exploration Centre, developed with marine biologists, completes a memorable visit.

Visit Belfast’s Peace Wall

titanicdaytour.comOf the city’s 17 walls, West Belfast’s sections are the most visited. Once in the area it’s easy to determine which side of the divide you’re on: red, white and blue kerbstones, Loyalist murals and Union Jacks indicate you’re on the Shankill. If the kerbs are green, white and gold, the flag is Irish and the murals are Republican, you’re on the Falls. You can cross from one side to the other via access roads at Lanark Way and Northumberland Street. The best viewing section is on the Shankill side where visitors are encouraged to add their signatures to those of the Dalai Lama and former US President Clinton. Art panels showing the area’s political and cultural history have now been added to the wall along Cupar Way (off Lanark Way). Look out for the Orange Order, Battle of the Somme and modern-day international conflicts on this colourful stretch – with blank sections still there for those all-important ‘Give Peace A Chance’ daubs.

Shankill Road

http://www.belfastdaytour.comThe Shankill dates back to the Stone Age, making it the oldest settlement in Belfast. Shankill Road was named in 1831 after the Gaelic Sean Cill meaning Old Church. Today it is a bustling street with shops, cafes and the renowned Shankill Leisure Centre. Explore its Peace Walls and Unionist murals resplendent with Union Jacks and tributes to the Royal Family. One mural of note, beside the Rex Bar, depicts Unionist MP Edward Carson leading the signing of the 1912 Ulster Covenant opposing Irish Home Rule.

Falls Road

http://www.titanicdaytour.comBi-lingual street signs and fluttering Irish flags are the first things visitors often notice when they walk along the Falls. Many murals depict scenes from the Irish Famine or the Nationalist side of the modern political conflict. The most photographed of the latter is on the side of the Sinn Fein offices and features IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. The area is becoming known as the Gaeltacht Quarter.

The Presidential Trail

http://www.belfastdaytour.comMost people know of the huge Irish Famine migration of the mid 1800s, but few are aware that the first attempted emigration from Ireland to the ‘New World’ was by Ulster-Scots. From these migrants there came a distinguished Ulster-Scots Presidential Roll of Honour including five consecutive Presidents of Ulster-Scots descent from 1885-1909. In more recent times lineage has been traced linking Nixon, Carter, Bush Snr., Clinton and Bush Jr with our northern shores. On President Clinton’s historic visit to NI in Nov 1995 he declared, “I am proud to be of Ulster-Scots stock; I share these roots with millions and millions of Americans…” Other prominent Americans of Ulster-Scots descent include Alamo legend Davy Crockett, writer Mark Twain, actor James Stewart and spine-chilling poet Edgar Allen Poe. Who would have thought such a tiny corner of Europe would have had such an influential role in the formation and development of the USA? Uncover our American roots and spend time exploring some of the following related attractions.

Harland & Wolff Cranes

http://www.titanicdaytour.comWherever you go in the city there’s no escaping Samson and Goliath, two giant, moveable yellow cranes looming over what was once the world’s biggest shipyard. These engineering heavyweights stand at 96m and 106m high, 140m wide and were built in 1969 and 1974 respectively. Despite the demise of Belfast’s shipbuilding industry, they have been preserved as historic monuments.

Belfast City Hall

Belfast city hallThis imposing Portland stone and copper-domed building was completed in 1906 as a symbol of Belfast’s new city status. Queen Victoria stands at the front, and the grounds are dotted with many more statues and monuments. In 1995 the building provided a dramatic backdrop when President Clinton switched on the city’s Christmas lights. Check out The Bobbin cafe, whose name reflects Belfast’s linen-making past, and No Mean City exhibition. And take a free 45min guided tour for a behind the scenes glimpse at this iconic building. So what are you waiting for this day tour from Dublin to Belfast has limited availability, don’t miss this unique opportunity book your seat now

Albert Memorial Clock

things to see BelfastWhile in Belfast on your Titanic Experience day tour from Dublin check out the Albert Memorial Clock situated at Queen’s Square in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This leaning clock tower was completed in 1869 and is one of the best known landmarks of Belfast. In 1865 a competition for the design of a memorial to Queen Victoria’s late Prince Consort, Prince Albert, was won by W. J. Barre, who had earlier designed Belfast’s Ulster Hall. Initially Barre was not awarded his prize and the contract was secretly given to Lanyon, Lynn, and Lanyon, who had come second. Following public outcry the contract was eventually awarded to Barre. The construction cost of £2,500 (2011: £181,000) was raised by public subscription.

Being situated close to the docks, the tower was once infamous for being frequented by prostitutes plying their trade with visiting sailors. However, in recent years regeneration has turned the surrounding Queen’s Square and Custom’s House Square into attractive, modern public spaces with trees, fountains and sculptures.

The sandstone memorial was constructed between 1865 and 1869 by Fitzpatrick Brothers builders and stands 113 feet tall in a mix of French and Italian Gothic styles. The base of the tower features flying buttresses with heraldic lions. A statue of the Prince in the robes of a Knight of the Garter stands on the western side of the tower and was sculpted by SF Lynn. A two tonne bell is housed in the tower and the clock was made by Francis Moore of High Street, Belfast.

As a result of being built on wooden piles on marshy, reclaimed land around the River Farset, the top of the tower leans four feet off the perpendicular. Due to this movement, some ornamental work on the belfry was removed in 1924 along with a stone canopy over the statue of the Prince.

In 1947, the film Odd Man Out was filmed partly in Belfast, with the Albert Clock as a central location, although neither the town nor the clock is explicitly identified.

St George’s Market Belfast established 1604

Belfast city marketsThere has been a Friday market on the St. George’s site since 1604. The present St. George’s Market, built 1890-1896, is one of Belfast’s oldest attractions. As well as being home to some of the finest fresh produce, with customers travelling near and far to sample the delights of Friday and Saturday markets, it has become one of the City’s most popular places to visit. Since its £4.5m refurbishment in 1997, this charming Victorian building offers one of the most vibrant and colourful destinations that Belfast has to offer. St. George’s Market has just been voted one of the top 5 UK markets in 2006 by the National Association of British Market Authorities.

The Friday Variety Market opens at 6.00am until 1.00pm. This is a hugely vibrant retail experience of 248 market stalls selling diverse wares from Atlantic Shark to zips, antiques to fresh fruit. The fish section alone contains 23 fish stalls and holds the reputation for being the leading retail fish market in Ireland. It is this eclectic mix that attracts thousands of people along each week to probably the best market in Northern Ireland. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement as you barter with the friendly local stall holders for a bargain.

The City Food & Garden Market takes place in St George’s every Saturday from 9.00am to 3.00pm. Enjoy the best food tastes and smells brought by local producers, including beef from Armagh, award winning Irish Farmhouse Cheeses, free range eggs from Limavady, venison, pheasant in season and local organic vegetables from Culdrum Farm and Millbrook Farm.

In addition to these local delicacies, there is also a fusion of tempting continental and speciality foods from around the world. Included are such delights as wild boar, cured meats, venison, Spanish tapas, Caribbean foods, Mexican and Slavonic foods, continental coffees and teas, Italian olive oils with traditional French Crepes and extraordinary French pastries to mention just a few. Added to this plethora of tempting foods the Saturday market also encompasses flower stalls ensuring this Saturday market is a kaleidoscope of colour.

St. Georges City Food & Garden Market is more than just a shopping experience. Customers can sample the produce, relax with a coffee and a newspaper against a backdrop of live jazz or flamenco music. This market is a real Saturday treat and a great outing for all the family.

**In a survey published by The Guardian newspaper’s travel section in January 2010, St. George’s Market came sixth in the UK ‘top ten’.**

Belfast West Belfast and the Murals

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 Belfast West Belfast And The Murals

  • The Mural Symbols Of West Belfast.
  • PROTESTANT MURALS. Blue, White, and Red: The colors of the British flag; often painted on curbs and signposts to demarcate Unionist murals and neighborhoods. The Red Hand: The crest of Ulster Province, the central symbol of the Ulster flag, which includes a red cross on a white background, used by Unionists to emphasize the separation of Ulster from the Republic. Symbolizes the hand of the first Norse King, which he supposedly cut off and threw on a Northern beach to establish his primacy. (The crest also appears on Catholic murals which depict the 4 ancient provinces—evidence of the overlap in heritage.) King Billy/William of Orange: Sometimes depicted on a white horse, crossing the Boyne to defeat the Catholic King James II at the 1690 Battle of the Boyne. Ironically, his campaign was funded by the Pope, who opposed James’ creation of the Church of England. The Orange Order was later founded in his honor. The Apprentice Boys: A group of young men who shut the gates of Derry to keep out the troops of James II, beginning the great siege of 1689. They have become Protestant folk heroes, inspiring a sect of the Orange order in their name. The slogan “No Surrender,” also from the siege, has been appropriated by radical Unionists, most notably Rev. Ian Paisley. Lundy: The Derry leader who advocated surrender during the siege; now a term for anyone who wants to give in to Catholic demands. Scottish Flag: Blue with a white cross; recalls the Scottish-Presbyterian roots of many Protestants whose ancestors were part of the Ulster Plantation (see Cromwell).
  • CATHOLIC MURALS. Orange and Green: Colors of the Irish Republic’s flag; often painted on curbs, mailboxes, and signposts in Republican neighborhoods. The Irish Volunteers: Republican tie to the earlier (nonsectarian) Nationalists. Saoirse: Irish for “Freedom”; the most common term found on murals. Éireann go bráth: (erin-go-BRAH) “Ireland forever”; a popular IRA slogan. Tiocfaidh ár lá: (CHOCK-ee-ar-LA) “Our day will come.” Slan Abhaile: (Slawn ah-WAH-lya) “Safe home”; directed at the primarily Protestant RUC police force. Phoenix: Symbolizes united Ireland rising from the ashes of British persecution. Lug: Celtic god, seen as the protector of the “native Irish” (Catholics). Green Ribbon: IRA symbol for “free our POWs.” Bulldog: Britain. Bowler Hats: A symbol for Orangemen.

West Belfast has historically been at the heart of political tensions in the North. The Catholic area (centered on Falls Road) and the Protestant neighborhood (centered on the Shankill) are separated by the peace line, a grim, gray wall with a number of gates that close at nightfall. Along the wall, abandoned buildings and barricaded homes testify to a tumultuous history and an uneasy future. One bit of the peace line, near Lanark Way, connecting the Falls and Springfield roads, contains peace paintings and signatures—left mostly by tourists—promoting hope for a brighter future. The Falls and Shankill exude both the raw sentiment that drives the Northern Irish conflict and the casual calm with which those closest to the Troubles approach daily life. West Belfast is not a tourist site in the traditional sense, though the walls and houses along the area’s streets display political murals which speak to Belfast’s religious and political divide. These murals are the city’s most striking and popular attraction.

Those traveling to these sectarian neighborhoods often take black taxis, or open top tour buses transporting passengers along their set routes. Some black taxis and black cabs can also be booked for tours of the Falls or Shankill.

New murals in the Falls and Shankill are constantly produced. The Falls. This Catholic and Republican neighborhood is larger than Shankill, following Castle St. west from the city center. As Castle St. continues across A12/Westlink, it becomes Divis Street. A high-rise apartment building marks Divis Tower, an ill-fated housing development built by optimistic social planners in the 1960s. The project soon became an IRA stronghold and saw some of the worst of Belfast’s Troubles in the 1970s. The British Army still occupies the top floors.

Continuing west, Divis St. turns into Falls Road. The Sinn Féin office is easily spotted: one side of it is covered with an enormous portrait of Bobby Sands (see The Troubles) and an advertisement for the Sinn Féin newspaper, An Phoblacht. Continuing down Falls Rd. reveals a number of murals, most of which are on side streets. In the past both the Falls and the Shankill contained many representations of paramilitaries (the IRA in the Falls, UVF and UDA in the Shankill) with armed men in balaclavas; this and commemorative murals were the main subjects in the past, but both communities have focused on historical and cultural representations for the newest murals, even replacing many older works. The newest Falls murals recall the ancient Celtic heritage of myths and legends, and depict The Great Hunger, the phrase Northern Catholics use to refer to the Famine. Earlier militant murals certainly still exist including a few that depict the Republican armed struggle.

Falls Rd. soon splits into Andersonstown Road and Glen Road, one of the few urban areas with a predominately Irish-speaking population. On the left are the Celtic crosses of Milltown Cemetery, the resting place of many fallen Republicans. Inside the entrance, a memorial to Republican casualties is bordered by a low, green fence on the right; the grave of Bobby Sands lies here. Nearby, Bombay Street was the first street to be burned down during the Troubles. Another mile along Andersontown Rd. lies a housing project that was formerly a wealthy Catholic neighborhood—and more murals. The Springfield Rd. Police Service of Northern Ireland station, previously named the RUC station, was the most attacked police station in Ireland and the UK. It was recently demolished, perhaps as a sacrifice to the peace process. Its defenses were formidable, and the Andersonstown Barracks, at the corner of Glen and Andersonstown Rd., are still heavily fortified.

Shankill. The Shankill Rd. begins at the Westlink and turns into Woodvale Rd. as it crosses Cambrai St. The Woodvale Rd. intersects the Crumlin Road at the Ardoyne roundabout and can be taken back into the city center. The Shankill Memorial Garden honors 10 people who died in a bomb attack on Fizzel’s Fish Shop in October 1993; the garden is on the Shankill Rd., facing Berlin St. On the Shankill Rd., farther toward the city center, is a mural of James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States (1857-1861), who was a descendant of Ulster Scots (known in the US as the “Scots-Irish”). Other cultural murals depict the 50th Jubilee of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1952 and the death of the Queen Mother in 2002. These are at the beginning of the Shankill near the Rex Bar. Historical murals include a memorial to the UVF who fought at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 during WWI also near the Rex Bar. In the Shankill Estate, some murals represent Cromwell suppressing the 1741 Rebellion against the Protestant plantation owners. The densely decorated Orange Hall sits on the left at Brookmount St. McClean’s Wallpaper; on the right was where Fizzel’s Fish Shop stood before being demolished. Through the estate, Crumlin Rd. heads back to the city center, passing an army base, the courthouse, and the jail.

Sandy Row And Newtownards Road. This area’s Protestant population is growing steadily, partly due to the redevelopment of the Sandy Row area, and also because many working-class residents are leaving the Shankill. This stretch is a turn off Donegall Rd. at Shaftesbury Sq. An orange arch topped with King William once marked its start. Nearby murals show the Red Hand of Ulster, a bulldog, and William crossing the Boyne. East Belfast is a secure and growing Protestant enclave, but as in other areas use caution when traveling in this area around Marching Season. A number of murals line Newtownards Rd. One mural depicts the economic importance of the shipyard to the city’s industrial history. On the Ballymacart road, which runs parallel to Newtownards Rd., is a mural of local son C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.