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Trip Report A Night Time Intro To Belfast, Northern Ireland

Thanks to easyJet, going to Belfast is affordable and less than an hour away from Edinburgh. Another bonus I get from flying easyJet is the fact that it's Inflight magazine, Traveller has some travel tips about the city that will help me make the most of my brief visit.

An afternoon flight from Edinburgh to Belfast International Airport and with a rental car I am headed to an apartment in the City Center for dinner. Located next to the Belfast City Hall this is no ordinary apartment.

Arriving in the area, I am immediately impressed with the City Hall building which is nicely decorated for the Holiday Season.

Knowing a little about this city's history, I am in awe of it's night time beauty and peacefulness. On this first evening of the New Year only restaurants and pubs or bars are open and the streets are relatively quiet and mostly free of cars and pedestrians.

At 2 Donegall Square West I arrive at the place to see and be seen in Belfast. Sitting at a table with a view of City Hall, I am at “The Apartment”, claimed as Belfast's most stylish bar and restaurant. Although it is still early evening, judging by the atmosphere, food and crowd that is starting to gather here, I don't think the claim is too far off the mark.

The Apartment offers many of it's menu selections in two portion sizes which works well for me. This evening's special is a smoked fish seasoned with Indian spices served on top of a fresh and flavorful salad.

I follow this up with a small portion of Haddock Cakes served with a pea puree. Although a beer or glass of wine would be nice, with the cold weather outside, cups of warm tea make a nice compliment.

For me, no dinner is complete without desert. A Peanut Butter Parfait sandwiched with a homemade Chocolate Chip cookie graciously does the trick. The sliced parfait is so smooth and creamy with just the right of peanut butter flavor that even someone with peanut allergies might be tempted to take a stab at it.

My evening is off to a good start and I think it can only get better by touring around the city even if it is at night. It is a beautiful cold night to do so as some of the streets have a movie set shine to them that reflects the surrounding holiday decorations.

My first stop is at Albert Clock Tower, one of Belfast's most beloved landmarks built for Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert. Do you have Prince Albert in the can? Then let him out and tell him I have found his clock tower!

For the sin of that lame joke I need forgiveness so I head to St Ann's, Belfast City Cathedral then a brief visit to St Patrick's Cathedral, the patron Saint of Ireland.

Walking the streets I am surprised to come across an “Occupy Belfast” camp but in a way I happy to see a peaceful protest means for this city that has known so much strife. Although I imagine there is still more progress to be made, it is nice to have peace, especially this time of the year.

Facing St George's Church, I light a pipe as I learn a little about the building's history. A famous detective once had his coats made here and I find it not only interesting but quite elementary.

Over a pint of Guinness at The Glory Hole Bar, I just might solve the mystery for you. Yes indeed, quite elementary my dear chap.


Video:
http://youtu.be/CZFD7NOa9b0

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