The pub we went to is the pub in town, clearly filled with locals. In fact, when one of them (holding a beer in each hand) asked me a question twice and I did nothing but stare at him blankly because I couldn't understand his accent at all! (I still have no idea what he actually said to me.) It is so interesting how some accents in Northern Ireland sound like a completely different language.
Here is a bit of a dictionary for anyone who may be journeying to Northern Ireland in the near future:
- Aye (pronounced "I") = Yes
- Bake = face / mouth
- Craic (pronounced "crack") = fun, a good time
- Dead on = alright, no problem, good
- Mucker = friend, mate
- Wee = small (used ALL the time)
- Keep her country = keep things simple, don't overcomplicate matters
Highlights of Belfast, Northern Ireland
One of the best gourmet food stores I have come across, Sawers is in the heart of Belfast and features a variety of packaged and prepared food. They have a lot of local goods like jams and chutneys, but they also have specialty goods from around the world, including some I have enjoyed on this trip (e.g. Turkish delights, paella ingredients and kits, my favorite Turkish apple tea, etc.)!
This is a great place to stop off to get some snacks, buy gifts or just poke around.
The famous Titanic was built in Belfast, so this is the city with the largest and most elaborate dedication to the ship. The museum is relatively new, nine-gallery exhibition that covers the ins and outs of the Titanic, its creation, its passengers, and more.
The museum clearly took a lot of thought, time and money to build, but it falls a bit short in certain areas. For an entire museum dedicated to the Titanic, there are surprisingly few actual artifacts or photographs of the ship. Also, the 'ride' is an extremely poor attempt at showcasing how the ship was built. The 'factory' sounds in the background overpower the explanations in the speakers overheard, so it is impossible to know what you are looking at. I definitely recommend going even with the above in mind. There is a lot to see in the nine different galleries, but there's a great museum cafeteria for a snack when you are done!
The Crown Liquor Saloon is one of the most notable pubs in Northern Ireland. It has a long history of being a public house and was officially renovated and renamed in 1885. The pub is known for its intricate Victorian design including stained glass, individual private booths and mosaics.
While the service left much to be desired, the clientele, decor and clover atop my Guinness made this pub a must-see! Plus, it is across the street from the train station so it couldn't be more convenient to travelers.