Belfast City Hall - located in Donegall Square, in the heart of the city, faces North, dividing the commercial and business areas of the Belfast. This beautiful piece of architecture was completed in 1906. City Hall in Durban, South Africa is almost an exact replica, with Port of Liverpool also a close match. (Just Google them and see for yourself!)
It was my first visit to City Hall and have to say I was extremely impressed with the structure - both inside and outside. Christmas was nearly upon us and the shopping fever and madness had begun. The Christmas Markets had started and were in full swing. I took some family time and spent 3 nights in the city with my sister, niece, brother and some friends. We enjoyed some great food and wine, dazzling Christmas lights, sightseeing and soooo much shopping. My niece Chloe was not happy until she had spent every last penny of her fund - in her words - 'Sterling no good to me back in Wexford' !
So with all that going on there wasn't too much time for shooting photos. But I did manage to sneek out on my own one evening and get few pics at City Hall. It was about 4.30pm and sun was setting. The commuter chaos was about to kick in...
The Christmas Markets were great. Full of hustle and bustle and beautifully decorated. Plenty of stands for Christmas gifts from hats and scarves to novelty plaques. Not to mention the millions of Santas and Snowmen ! And food galore .... even a Kangaroo Burger !
It didn't take long for darkness to set in and the true beauty of City Hall and its lights came to life
The next day - and before the next instalment of shopping started we took trip to Crumlin Gaol. One of the most interesting and informative - not to mention grim - tours I have experienced. History spilled out of every corner as the tour guide brought us underground into the tunnel beneath Crumlin Road used to bring prisoners from the Gaol to the old Courthouse. A trip to the Governor's Office and then into the Cell Block where over approx 150 years 17 executions took place. It's not for the faint hearted. But I highly recommend this tour. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and brought the whole experience of life (and death) in the gaol to the fore. So make sure to take in this experience next time and peer into the dark history of Northern Ireland's most infamous prison. Oh and if you're bit peckish afterwards Cuff's Restaurant on site is very tasty.
Next stop - Titanic Museum & SS Nomadic. Another great trip. The whole experience from start to finish is excellent. The mural outside is a great piece of art and depicts the dock workers.
Recommend the White Star Pass which gives access to Titanic Museum and SS Nomadic. Museum is well done and very informative and interactive. The building itself is the first thing you notice on arrival and the architecture is stunning.
We were lucky we got there early and no queues so it was pleasure to wander around. We particularly enjoyed the ride around the dock yard. And the simulated experience of being on the ship was excellent - have your sea legs ready !
So after a morning of sightseeing young Chloe was having withdrawal symptoms .... the cash was burning a hole in her pocket...So back to the shops and into Victoria Shopping Centre. And back to City Hall to the markets.
Few more days of shopping and eating and we were then ready to hit the road back down South.... one more stop off to The Quays in Newry to offload the last of the Sterling. Chloe was well and truly shopped out..... as were we. Great few days and quality family time.