A Two Day Trip To Belfast

Four facts about the Irish:
1. They’re
very good looking 
2. They’re really friendly 
3. Their accent is incredibly
4. They’re very good looking

These aren’t of course the reasons for a visit to Belfast, but they sure
made our trip easier. Easier for the eye anyway. Enough about gorgeous men with
piercing blue eyes, ruffled dark hair and of course the typical
beard/moustache/facial hair combo, this trip was about all things Titanic. Much
to the amazement of most locals we chatted to who where shocked to discover
we’d flown over seas (The Irish Sea) just to visit such exhibition, this was
somewhere my best friend and I had always wanted to experience.
Admittedly we are Titanic film geeks – yes we do have quote
offs, assign characters to our friends, repeatedly watch the DVD, extras and
listen to the soundtrack – BUT the history of the fate of the luxurious liner
is without doubt fascinating. Watching documentaries of wreck dives, interviews
and the discovery of new artefacts whenever they hit the press were of course a
must, but visiting the world’s largest Titanic exhibition at the home
of the Titanic was even more important. Booking the trip for Lauren’s birthday,
I could barely contain my excitement when it was presented to her in August
this year in a card baring our faces as of course star-crossed lovers Rose and
Here’s a little more about how the trip was arranged, where
we stayed, how we got about and what we got up to:
Flying from Southend Airport
couldn’t have been simpler. Carrying a small hand luggage bag (crammed full to
the brim with necessities of course…) we boarded the plane swiftly without the
hours of hanging around at a busy London
Once we arrived, travel across the city from Belfast
International Airport was easy peasy and we caught a coach directly into Belfast for
£10.50 return, after seeking help from a friendly guy at the info desk with a
pretty accent (this was the first Irish accent we had heard on the trip so of
course we fell head over heels). After arriving at the coach station in the
city centre, a short cab ride took us directing to hotel in the Titanic
Quarter, costing us no more than £7.
As recommended on the Titanic Belfast
website, the Premier Inn, situated just a stone’s throw away from the museum,
was our choice. Rooms were a reasonable price for the night and staff couldn’t have
been more helpful. Arriving a little early at around 10am (check in is 2pm), we
caught our breath, had a caffeine boost and waited in hope that we might be
able to check in early. To our amazement the helpful staff offered us a double
room instead of a twin, as one had become available earlier. Not fussed by this
slight change, we took the room so we could dump our bags and head off to
explore. Opening the hotel room door, we were shocked to see a huge family
sized room complete with a queen-sized bed and two singles! This was perfect as
admittedly, neither of us are exactly the tidiest girls! Although we didn’t
book breakfast, the smell of sizzling sausages, warm butter and a hot
cappuccino had us wishing we had – that buffet selection was second to none!
Titanic Belfast:
The museum itself is a must for anyone not only fascinated
by the Titanic, but for those with a general interest in history. For those
thinking it focuses heavily on Rose and Jack’s forbidden love and scenes that
resemble a blockbuster movie, you couldn’t be more wrong. Every element of the
ship’s journey, from is birth at Belfast, to wreck dives today, is covered in
extreme detail, complete with interactive screens, tangible artefacts,
recreations of living conditions and even video footage of the wreck itself.
The exhibition begins with a background behind Belfast in the 1900s, and
how the ideas of building the luxurious liner began. An interactive ‘ride’ gave
us an idea of how working in the shipyards would have been, showing the huge
pressure workers would have been under to complete repetitive tasks such as riveting,
along with providing detailed descriptions of some of the ship’s staff who worked
on the Titanic.
Once on board the ship, an interactive tour on a wide screen
showed familiar shots and video footage of what some of the most well known
areas of Titanic would have looked like. The impressive wooden staircase, the
first class lounge, the captain’s wheel and even the pumps  beneath deck were shown creating huge puffs of
steam, which gave the allusion of reality. At this point a glimpse into some of
the passengers’ lives was shown, including first class passenger Margaret
Brown. Many will know a little about Mollie Brown as told in James Cameron’s
blockbuster. You can also spot some of the White Star Line artefacts and both
descriptions and replica creations of what living conditions would have been
like for all aboard the ship, including a detailed plan of where each passenger
was allowed to visit whilst staying on the Titanic.
Rightfully a solemn, yet reflective atmosphere is recreated
when learning of the sinking of the ship. You can barely hear a pin drop as you
learn of the exact timings of what occurred on that fatal night. In the pitch
bluey black you can just make out the movements the Titanic made as she sank,
appearing on a wide screen, slowed down to look so gentle as she plummeted to
her death, whilst a man with a calm voice relays the events as everyone
watches in silence. Learning of who and how many survived will always seem
unfair, but some stories tell tales of bravery and hope in even the darkest of
The aftermath of the sinking is examined in many ways.
Visitors can sit to watch a 10-15 minute video footage of divers exploring the
wreck. You come across mundane objects which instead of course provide extreme
interest of who’s they could be and why they were found in a certain place.
Below, visitors can use interactive screens to discover the vast reality of how
far the destruction went and the extent of the debris field, which even now I
find hard to comprehend.
Finishing the day with a complimentary cup of tea and
biscuit, we reflected on all the history we had absorbed. A trip to the gift
shop was of course a must, but as much as I find all aspects of the Titanic
fascinating, I found it hard to purchase anything. Of course I felt I had to
come away with something to mark my visit, but buying merchandise painted with memories
of a disaster, did seem strange. There were a wide selection of books however
which looked very intriguing and had I had room in my hand luggage, I probably
would have bought a good selection to take home.

Food glorious food: 
Of course no weekend away would be
complete without good food. Once arriving at Titanic Belfast we were quick to
stop off at the museum’s restaurant, Bistro 401. Tucking into a large piece of
salmon, served with creamy mash and chives, with even more potatoes and roasted
vegetables, I was pretty much full for the day!
For our evening meal, Premier Inn recommended Coppi, an
Italian restaurant in St. Anne’s Square, just a short cab ride from our hotel.
This couldn’t have been a better choice. I tucked into a small pizza, whilst Lauren
enjoyed a duck ravioli concoction which she raved about for the rest of the weekend.
To accompany, we opted for a cocktail of course, which consisted of vodka,
elderflower, lemon and cucumber, and was probably the best cocktail I’ve ever
Drinking and dancing: 
As much as we told ourselves we were
only having a few drinks, this was never going to happen. After our cocktail,
we went to a local pub, shared a bottle of wine and got a bit giggly. On
leaving the pub we heard the sounds of a charming man, belting his heart out
with guitar in hand. His name (I later found out) was Owen McGarry and boy was
he talented. In fact his appearance in the outdoor area of the club, known as
Ollie’s, enticed us inside (even at a shocking £10 entry price) and we danced the
night away on broken glass (quite literally – apparently the Irish bars don’t
give out plastic glasses and bottles). We ended the night chatting to some
locals who said we sounded weird and talked too fast, then fell into our beds
at 4am after chatting and scoffing cookies.
St. George’s Market:
Sunday, our final day, arrived hangover
free (shock horror), so although tired, we took advantage of feeling fresh, got
up early (ish) and headed to St. George’s Market. Just a 20 minute walk or £4
in a cab, this market sells pretty much everything from soft fudge, to fresh
veg, spicy chutneys, unusual jewellery, pretty paintings and collections of
antiques. Exhausted from our day, we returned to the hotel for another caffeine
boost, a cheeky nap in the bar area (ssh!) and collected our bags for the
journey home.

Some Instagram photos from the weekend:
(L-R) Dining at Titanic Belfast Bistro 401, Pizza and cocktails at Coppi, Our candlelit dinner, A snapshot of Owen McGarry outside Ollie’s.
Here’s a quote from Lauren which kind of sums up the
Lauren: “I’ve decided I want to marry someone with an Irish
accent, with dark hair, blue eyes and a beard.”
Loriley: “So you want to marry someone Irish?”

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