I spent some time over the past couple of days figuring out how I’m going to be spending my time in Belfast, the first stop on my Ireland trip for next summer. Surprise, surprise: I’m not going to have the time to do all the things I want to do. But I’m going to get to do a lot of them.
The first couple of days, while I’m feeling the crappiest from the flight over, I’m going to spend on the Hop On/Hop Off bus tour, seeing the city as a whole and stopping at all the interesting spots I didn’t make time to see last time. I’m going to take it easy, and keep in mind I have two whole days to do this, though if I find that’s too long, I’ve got the option of taking an afternoon to go see Belfast Castle and climb Cave Hill. But the Cave Hill walk is about three to four hours, so that – plus a lunch or dinner at Belfast Castle – will take the entire afternoon. We’ll see.
But the Hop On/Hop Off tour will take me to the Peace Wall and the murals on Shankhill Road and Falls Road, and to Crumlin Road Jail, and Stormont with the parliament buildings, and Queen’s University1, and probably several other places I don’t yet know that I want to see.
The company also offers a package deal – 48 hours of Hop On/Hop Off bus tour with a bus tour to the Giant’s Causeway (and Carrick a Rede, and the Glens of Antrim, and Dunluce Castle, and Carrickfergus Castle, and… you get the idea) for £30. That’s good for me, because it’ll give me another chance to see the Antrim coast, and maybe it won’t be raining the entire time2.
Aside from that, I want to take a day trip out the Marble Arch Caves, and maybe another one to Downpatrick, to see Down Cathedral and St. Patrick’s grave. I’m thinking I can do that the same day I head out for a nice walk to the Giant’s Circle, just outside of Belfast.
I also want to make sure I get to try The Barking Dog restaurant. It was recommended to me last time, but I couldn’t get a seat, so I’ll give it another try3 this time. And any other restaurants that get recommended.
So, with that stuff in mind, I’ve updated my itinerary. Have a look, if you’re so inclined.