L O V BELFAST
Belfast Fashion week 09, get the looks you need this season Your guide to this years ‘Out to Lunch Festival’, including; Theatre and Literature, Music and comdey lineups Its a ‘Winter Wonderland‘ your guide to Christmas in Belfast, with the top 5 things you must do this festive season in Belfast. LOVE BELFASTS guide to a Belfast city break on a budget complete with tourist board and city council information about Belfast City.
In this months LOVE BELFAST
HELLO Welcome to LOVE BELFAST, your complete guide to whats happening in your city, Wheter your visiting or a local, you’ll find LOVE BELFAST is the only guide you will ever need, In this months issue we get all Christmassy and let you know what all the fashion must haves are!
All the hottest looks from: B PURPLE REIGNS
Anything from cool blues to regal purples will reign this autumn. Seen in bags, belts shoes and dresses like this one modeled by Face of Ireland Jill Wallace. Its any easy colour to pull off, comming in various shades from lliac to mauve, ensuring that everyone will find a purple to suit their royal needs. So ditch the dulls this autumn and embrace the gorgeous colour.
With the fil Coco avant Channel refreshing our love for the French designer we will see key features from her collection appear throughout the lines in 2010. Kit yourself out with French detailed accesories like silk gloves, ballet pumps and silk scarves. Key pieces of clothes include black dresses with lace detail, box dresses and shoulder detailed jackets. Dont forget to add pears as they add instant elegance to any outfit and are easy to incorprate.
Donâ€™t you slightly yearn for the days of wrapping up with wolly hats a scarves to fight the cold air. Knit wear is making a massive statement this autumn, and where not suggesting you go all out like in our photo, but be prepared to see lots of knitted dresses, tops, skirts and the usual winter warmers hitting the highstreet in 2010
Belfast Fashion week 2009 Sensational Sequins
This seasonâ€™s trend is all about the razzle dazzle. An exciting explosion of nostalgic fashion memories from the 80â€™s, only this time we know how to sparkle with class. Sequins will be seen in everything from, hairbands,belts, shoes and dresses, so sparkle haters beware! You no longer have to wait till a saturday night to get your sparkle on, but neither do you want to be mistaken for a disco-ball so use your sparkle in small amounts!
Vrai ou Faux?
Always a chic winter staple, fur is once again dominating the catwalks and the highstreet. A wide sprectrum of styles is accompanying this trend including long winter coats and cropped jackets to wraps and dresses and even shoes and backs. Which ever style you choose make sure its a conscious decision-for many the idea of wearing real fur is quite duanting so faux fur is the best. Alternatively you can achieve your fur look for less by going to charity or vintage stores or even hand me downs from parents or grandparents.
Thigh High Flyers
Boots, and over the knee boots are back with a vengence. And those daring enough will find their boot tops creeping up higher and higher. However for those of you that are not that brave the highstreet will cater for you aswell, with a lovely
selection of boots or all occasions. Thigh-grazing power boots are a key element to your wardrope this year, buy them in, suede, and leater, but avoid patent.
Love Belfasts guide to: The Out To Lunch Arts Festival January 6-31 Cathedral Quater Belfast
Whatson theatre and literature Sticky Bivouac + Post Show Music Saturday January 16 The Black Box, 8.00pm
Feast your eyes and ears on the bizarre, unique and delicate world of Jeff Window aka Paul Currie, street clown and Foolosophist returning to Belfast after a triumphant (ie he’s still solvent) run at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Mining the same seam of comic insanity as a young Steve Martin, Andy Kaufman, Spike Milligan and The Mighty Boosh, Sticky Bivouac is an absurdist, high energy performance inspired by Music Hall, Perry Como, Ironing Boards and The Deer Hunter.
“His redoubtable range, talent and charisma shine through.” - The List “Inspired.” - Fringe Report Followed by: Cabaret folk rock with a contemporary theatrical twist! Katie and the Carnival not only present you with great, catchy songs, they also captivate their audience with an energetic live show ﬁlled with fun! Enchanting harmonies and heartfelt lyrics are the core of this exciting band’s being!
Thursday January 14 The Black Box, 1.00pm & 8.00pm Jane Austen was a woman ahead of her time creating some of literature’s most celebrated characters and deﬁning her era, her sex and her class. She speaks for the yearning heart as much now as in her own day. But just how much have things really changed for women since then? In a bold revisiting using nothing but the words of Austen herself, the souls of Emma Woodhouse, Lizzy Bennet, Mrs Norris, Miss Bates and many more are brilliantly illuminated. Taken out of context (and in the absence of the men!) these women speak volumes for their sex and their standing constrained by the stringent societal code of their time. Lovers of Jane Austen or the uninitiated few will revel in appreciation of the queen of English of Literature distilled to her essence!Rebecca Vaughan’s solo debut was a fabulous hit at Edinburgh 2009 under the direction of Guy Masterson.
Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer Sunday January 17 The Black Box Café, 8.00pm
On a one-man mission to introduce Hip-Hop to the Queen’s English, Mr. B is delighted to present Chap- Hop. Having spent the best part of a decade bringing some manners back to popular culture, this dopest of fellows will entertain and amuse you with his ingenious stylings. Aiming to dazzle with dignity, Mr. B takes to the stage with his Banjolele and stiff upper lip to perform ditties of pipe-smoking, high society, Cricket and sexual misadventure, as well as some more well-known pieces from the world of Hip-Hop, re-worked in true Chap-Hop fashion.
“There has never been a rapper like Mr.B” - Sunday Times “Pure genius” - Tom Robinson, BBC 6Music “Sublime Genius” - The Chap
Friday January 15 The Black Box Café, 6.00pm
Grace Maxwell: Falling & Laughing The Restoration of Edwyn Collins. In February 2005, Edwyn Collins suffered two devastating brain haemorrhages. He then went on to contract MRSA as a result of an operation to his skull and spent six months in hospital. He had lost all movement in his right side and was suffering from aphasia - an inability to use or understand language. With the help of his partner Grace and their 18-year- old son Will, Edwyn fought back. Slowly, and with monumental effort, he began to teach his brain to read and speak all over again with some areas of his mind it was if he had been a slate wiped utterly clean. Through a long and arduous road of therapy he began to reinhabit his body until he could walk again. Grace’s story is an intimate and inspiring account of what you do to survive when your husband is all but taken away without warning by a stroke.
Tickets: £5.00 Tickets available from: the Belfast Welcome Centre on: 028 9024 6609
Out to Lunch music line-up
Bréag + Balkan Alien Sound Friday January 22 The Black Box, 8.00pm Bréag blend their Gaelic heritage with Eastern European, Reggae and Ska rhythms giving the listener (and inevitably the dancer) a unique musical experience. The band have shared stages with the infamous Jamaican reggae outﬁt The Wailers, Shane McGowan, Steel Pulse, Mano Negro, Alabama 3 and Kila.
new, unimagined possibilities and welding it to new musical forms...” - Irish Times Balkan Alien Sound specialise in the gypsy and folk music of Eastern Europe and the Balkan regions. They formed in 2007 due to an interest gained by travel and study of Klezmer music and the folk music of Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey. Upbeat rhythms and odd time signatures are a key part of the band’s live performance with fast and furious melodies demanding to be danced to as well as authentic vocals sung in regional styles.
“stretching the language to
Tickets: £12.00 Tickets also available from the Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 9024 6609
Open Arts Choir Wednesday January 27 The Black Box, 1.00pm
Niwel Tsumbu Thursday January 21 The Black Box, 8.00pm
The Open Arts Community Choir (OACC) is a choir for anyone aged 16 or over, regardless of disability, race, gender or past musical experience. It has been running for 9 years now, with 33 members, and an eclectic repertoire; from Gospel to Pop, and World to Cabaret. OACC have performed at numerous venues in the UK & Ireland, including the Belfast Waterfront Hall, Odyssey Arena, Liverpool’s DaDa Festival, and the International Eisteddfod in Wales. They made a huge impression on BBC1 last summer when they fought their way into the final 14 UK choirs in the hit TV show Last Choir Standing!
Over the last 50 years Central Africa has built itself an incredible reputation for giving birth to many of the World’s greatest guitarists, and Congolese Niwel Tsumbu is a fitting ambassador to carry that torch forward into the 21st Century. Raised on the traditional Soukous and Rhumba music of his homeland he began playing from an early age and went on to study both jazz and classical guitar - enrolling secretly in a classical music school where he also studied saxophone for a year. With influences from far and wide, his elegant and fluent guitar playing draws from Niwel’s past excursions with African rhythms, rumba, jazz, classical, flamenco and much more besides. Playing electric & acoustic guitars & singing mostly in his native ‘Lingala’, Niwel plays a range of music that stretches from contemporary versions of Congolese traditional music from the 30s & 40s to modern Jazz. Niwel’s love of the Spanish style of guitar playing beautifully exposing Congolese Rumba’s Latin roots!
Edwyn Collins Friday January 15 The Black Box, 8.00pm
Bonobo DJ set + Chuck (Homespun Soundsystem) Saturday January 23 The Black Box, 9.00pm Late Bar until 1 am
Edwyn Collins helped deﬁne the Independent sound and ethos of the ‘80’s with Scottish post-punk visionaries Orange Juice, before going on to a successful career as both solo artist and producer of The Proclaimers and The Cribs, among others. Perhaps most famous for his single ‘Girl Like You’, Edwyn’s world was turned upside down by a near- fatal stroke in 2005. Slowly he has rebuilt his career. A BBC Scotland documentary, Edwyn Collins: Home Again, was broadcast in May 2008 and was narrated by Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos, one of the many current bands who cite Edwyn Collins and Orange Juice as an inspiration. Orange Juice reunited in October 2008 as they received a lifetime achievement award at the Tarten Clefs.
Winners: Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award, Q Legend Award 2009
Ninja Tunes, Bonobo aka Simon Green has come a long, long way since his chilled out beats ﬁrst captured the imagination ten years ago. Now an internationally acclaimed producer, DJ and musician extraordinaire, a fully evolved Bonobo ﬁnally rolls his magical musical zoo into Belfast. Bonobo’s DJ sets are now legendary for their dizzying, tricksy cocktail of hip hop, jazz, broken beats, Latin, funk, and soul, not to mention the occasional cheeky bit of psyche rock and drum and bass. More used these days to playing to huge, ecstatic audiences all over the globe, Out to Lunch is delighted to bring Bonobo’s thrilling brand of simian beats to the relative intimacy of the Black Box for one night only.
“sonic bells and whistles and a sprinkling of magic dust that seals the deal.” - Sidewalk
Out to Lunch comedy Robin Ince Wednesday January 6 The Black Box, 1.00pm & 8.00pm Robin Ince Versus the Moral Majority. Who was right – Orwell or Huxley? Angry tirades, then quiet musings covering everything from Schopenhauer to Natasha Kaplinsky. A brand new show from the man behind the award winning Book Club and Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People. As seen and heard on The News Quiz, Just A Minute, Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mark Thomas: The Manifesto and other such things.
“When someone writes the history of modern comedy, they should make room for Robin Ince” - The Guardian Winner: 3 Chortle Awards, Time Out Award and British Comedy Award Nominee for best live show
Karl Spain Thursday January 7 The Black Box, 1.00pm & 8.00pm Karl Spain’s comedy show is based on his life and loves and growing up in Ireland over the last thirty years. The main themes of his show include religion, love, sex, racism, dieting and being Irish. All the heavy stuff. He’s probably best known in Ireland for his TV series Karl Spain Wants A Woman which was a huge success in that he not only got huge ratings but he also found himself a woman. Apart from his own series he has also performed stand up on television all over the world. The U.S., the Middle East, Australia and even as far away as England.
“Future of Irish comedy is in safe hands” - Hot Press “achingly funny” - The Sunday Times
Andrew Maxwell Friday January 8 The Black Box, 1.00pm & 8.00pm Winner of numerous awards, in the past six months alone Andrew has performed a new show at the Edinburgh Festival, completed a UK tour and has appeared as a regular contributor on RTE’s The Panel, the BBC’s Have I got News For You and the Dave channel’s Argumental, cementing his reputation as one of the country’s most sought after comedians. Last Autumn, Andrew ﬁlmed one-off pilot Conﬂict Revolution for BBC Northern Ireland. It was released as a DVD alongside a live recording of his 2008 Edinburgh show and marks Andrew’s continued development and exploration of comedy as a way of crossing cultural, social and religious borders. Andrew continues to dominate the Live and Festival circuits. Notable appearances have included several sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival, The Amnesty / Channel Four Secret Policeman’s Ball (alongside Eddie Izzard, Chevy Chase and Dylan Moran), several sell-out withoutdoubt the runs in the main house of The strongest comedian on Soho Theatre, Kilkenny Cat the circuit right now.” Laughs Festival, Glastonbury and the Montreal Just for Laughs - The List Festival.
“On fantastic form,
Kevin McAleer Saturday January 9 The Black Box, 2.00pm & 8.00pm Return of the Mac…..the enigmatic Kevin Mc Aleer has decided to reform and for one night (and day) only will perform his classic comedy show Turn it On at the Black Box on Saturday January 9th. Regarded as one of the most inﬂuential comedians on the alternative comedy circuit this is a rare opportunity to see the master at work as he revives the man from Nighthawks that made him a household name. It’s twenty years since the Tyrone man lit up the screens of RTE2 with his pyschedelic folk tales of Kojak, Dana, Gary Glitter, the Woman and the Washing Powder, Closedown, and dozens of other cultural icons too nameless to mention. The TV sketches caught the imagination of the whole country, and led to several mind-bending national tours, and a best-selling EMI video in glorious VHS called Turn it On.
Lunchtime Show: £5.00 + Lunch Evening Show: £8.00 Tickets also available from the Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 9024 6609
It’s a Winter wonderland Top 5 festive treats in Belfast
(2) Belfast Christmas Continental Market
By go Ireland travel blog
(1) Christmas Lights Switch-on 2009 Viewed by many as the signal that the Christmas season has officially kicked off, the Belfast Christmas Lights Switch-on will bring throngs of shoppers and families to Belfast City Hall on Tuesday 18th November at 7.30pm. Various celebrities and world figures have flicked the switch on the Christmas lights over the years including former US President Bill Clinton in 1995 while recent years have seen members of the pop music industry perform the ever important task. As yet, we haven't found out who will be taking to the podium for 2009 but the night promises to be jam packed with amusement and music to keep the large crowds entertained at City Hall while a special preview of the Christmas Continental Market can be enjoyed from 8.30pm until 10pm.
(5) Christmas Music Performances The Waterfront Hall also stages what promises to be a magical performance of the music from the animated film "The Snowman". There will be two shows on Saturday 6th December 2009, one at 2.30pm and one at 5pm – the conductor will be Christopher Bell. Inspired by the children's book by Raymond Briggs, young and old are sure to enjoy this classical feast of music and in particular the Christmas favourite "Walking In The Air". So settle down as you join The Boy and The Snowman as they embark on their journey through that eventful Christmas Eve night bumping into a few familiar faces along the way! And why not round off a day of fun and learning at the interactive W5 by attending "The Nutcracker And The King Of Mice" which runs from Friday 5th December 2008 until Sunday 4th January 2009. Here the classic tale is retold with an enchanting version so be sure to come along and enjoy the strains of the "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy" as Clara and The Nutcracker travel to far off lands of magic.
The grounds of Belfast City Hall remain at the centre of the city's Christmas celebrations as the Christmas Continental Market opens for business on Wednesday 19th November until Saturday 20th December 20089 Opening times of the market are Monday to Wednesday from 10am to 8pm, Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 10 pm while Sunday's hours are from 1pm to 6pm. Actually, if you go along to the Christmas Lights Switch-on (see above) on Tuesday 18th November you can get a sneak preview of what's on offer so you can suss out a few market stalls in advance! Each year the Christmas Continental Market attracts a vast array of stalls that sell everything from traditionally produced crafts, decorations and of course some mouth watering foods and warming beverages. This is a great a place to spot out a unique Christmas gift and even if you're not shopping, we recommend you spend just a few hours wandering around the market to soak up that festive feeling.
(4) Christmas Pantomimes
(3) St. George's Christmas Craft Fair Another Christmas market that you should check out is St. George's Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday 6th December and Sunday 7th December 2009. Opening hours on the Saturday are from 9am to 5pm while Sunday is from 10am to 5pm. St. George's Market is located on Lower May Street and is a bustling fruit, vegetable, meat and fish market (along with loads of other local produce) during the year but on these dates a whole host of Christmas craft stalls will peddle their wares to festive gift-seekers who can enjoy the live entertainment that is being laid on.
If you fancy catching a bit of Christmas entertainment in Belfast this year you will be spoilt for choice. Popular local favourite May McFettridge brings her unique comedy style to the Grand Opera House pantomime production of "Mother Goose" from Saturday 29th November 2009 to Saturday 17th January 2010. And just across town at the Waterfront Hall, the much-loved panto figure Dan Gordon leads the cast of "Robin Hood" in a rousing pantomime that runs from Saturday 29th November 2009 until Saturday 10th January 2010. Come along and join in the fun and help Robin Hood, Maid Marion and the Girlz from the Wood stop the evil Sheriff Of Snottingham.
Christmas 2009 in Belfast Christmas in Belfast is always magical. The high-pitched parties, and glamorous lunches and dinners that are usually held during Christmas holidays in Belfast, is a true testimony to the fact that Christmas in Belfast is fun, exciting and indeed magical. If you would be spending your Christmas holidays in Belfast this winter, I am certain that you would definitely have fun and a nice time all the way. Belfast is a great holiday and travel destination for several reasons. One of such reasons is because, cost effective and budget hotel accommodations abound all around the city. This year, the Christmas holiday in Belfast promises to be more exciting and fun packed than it had ever been. Stating from mid November, Christmas decorations would begin to litter the streets, in anticipation of a fun filled Christmas celebration. If you would be spending your Christmas holidays in Belfast this season, I can assure you that there would be many fun things to do, amongst them are Christmas parties. The city of Belfast would witness some of the most exclusive and glamorous parties in the UK this winter. Like every other city in Europe, the inhabitants of Belfast are all ready gearing up for some of the parties that would be going down this Christmas holiday. Amongst the parties that would be held in Belfast this Christmas holiday, the Hilton Christmas party promises to be the most exciting. The Hilton night disco party would be held at the lagan riverbank area of Belfast. There would be a lot of food and booze for those who care for. The Hilton night disco party this year promises to be very grandeurs and exciting. The jokes of this year’s Hilton disco party would be on those who would fail to attend while holidaying in Belfast this Christmas holiday.
For more details on Christmas in Belfast please contact: +44 (0) 28 9024 6609
Else where in the North
This month we travel to Fermanagh By Maeve McKenna
‘Wheel Ruts of the Past’ is described by its author Willie Brown as being “Some memories of a small farmer spanning almost eighty years.” This description I believe is very modest as the book takes in so much more, it is a mix of reminiscences, in the main part factual but also dealing with various superstitions and beliefs illustrated by a selection of photographs that paint a fascinating picture of rural life in Fermanagh. To Willie Brown farming is something very close to his heart, growing up on a farm in Irvinestown and taking over the family farm from his father, his story is truly fascinating and in his retirement has decided to put pen to paper and record his experience of life, in order to share with others and indeed future generations in the hope that old traditions, sayings and ways will not be lost. Willie paints a vivid picture of farming life, the book opens with the ‘Hungary Thirties’ and a detailed description of how turf was cut and immediately the setting of the book is firmly set, rural Fermanagh. Many of the entries in the book deals with the death of neighbours, family and friends of the Brown family, these people are sometimes just mentioned in passing, but others really do star in the Willie’s memories and it is a fitting tribute that he has mentioned them in the book in such a loving way. Running over 194 pages the books is not only made up of Willie’s memories and the stories of others, but also photos of a bygone era, and many poems and songs from various authors that help to illustrate his thinking and experiences . It is appropriate, given his love of poetry that Willie has included this section, it is even more fitting that some of pieces of poetry are presented in the book such as the poem ‘Nostalgia’, “In everyone there comes a longing ere life is over for us here, To see again the scenes of childhood, to look once more things so dear; Like Goldsmith’s hare, though death await her, though hounds pursue and horns betray, We long for where we once did treasure, we yearn to live again youth’s day.” All in the entire book is a great collection of stories, and I especially enjoyed the entries about Cures, superstitions and old sayings, many of which I had never heard of before. Willie’s stories are insightful, personal and enjoyable. I think it is a great achievement that he has been able to put together such a wonderful book, with the help of many friends and sponsors, who Willie is eternally grateful to. The book ‘Wheel Ruts of the past’ is being launched in the Bawnacre centre in Irvinestown on Friday 18t September at 8pm, refreshments will be served and you will also be able to meet Willie Brown and buy the book. All proceeds of the book will be going to Willie’s chosen charities.
Fermanagh Black Bacon
by Declan Bogue, Fermanagh Herald, 1st March 2000
The Buttermarket The Buttermarket Craft & Design Courtyard comprises of sixteen art and craft units, a coffee shop and a gift shop, housed in the restored early 19th century dairy market. The Buttermarket's unique position in the heart of Enniskillen makes it the central focus for the thriving craft industry in Fermanagh. The buildings have been beautifully renovated and house such diverse crafts as pottery, fly-tying, ceramics, handmade jewellery, textiles, picture framing and original art. Soak up the relaxed atmosphere of the Buttermarket surrounded by a feast of contemporary and inspirational gifts, from the shops, studios and galleries of some of Ireland's top crafts people and artists. Treat yourself to some homemade Fayre at Rebecca's Coffee Shop and browse through the treasure house of gifts in Boston Quay. We are open 10am - 5pm, Monday - Saturday all year round.
Enniskillen butcher Pat O'Doherty is currently enjoying the celebrity afforded to him after collecting the highest accolade - 'The Supreme Award' - in the seventh Ballygowan Irish Food Writers Guild Food Award. A family business based in Enniskillen since his father James took it over in 1957, O'Doherty's Butchers have received numerous awards for its sausages, and is famed for its Aberdeen Angus beef, venison and game. It is worth remembering, however, that in todays age of supermarkets gobbling up the smaller specialised family businesses such as these, it takes initiative and customer care to keep ahead of the game. By developing and pioneering 'Fermanagh Black Bacon™', Pat keeps his trade steady, and gains his acclaim. As a respected family butcher, Pat set out to reverse trends and recreate the bacon of yesteryear.
It starts, as all good bacon should, with the careful selection of pigs. Working closely with the farmers he knows, they increase the production of breeds such as saddlebacks, which are renowned for producing excellent bacon. The pork is cured using ancient methods and natural ingredients, dry cured and allowed to season naturally until it reaches maturity. It is not injected with water or phosphates and does not ooze white phosphate residue as it cooks, ensuring an excellent texture and flavour. Black Bacon™, a slight variation on their standard dry-cured product, is made to a secret recipe that makes it look and taste different. It can be bought with or without rind, in the piece or as rashers, and as fat, medium or lean bacon. Speaking about the awards, Pat said: "It was a great achievement even to be nominated for the award, I mean, the first thing I even knew about it was six months ago, when the judging panel arrived for a tasting session.
It took about three or four judging sessions before they whittled the contestants down to the last few. The results were announced last Wednesday in St Stephen's Green, Dublin, and I was very pleased to be recognised. "Basically I'm indebted to everyone who works in the place, it was a real team effort. Fermanagh Black Bacon™ has been six years in development, from consulting farmers to developing our own flavouring for it. We like to deep our produce local to this part of the world also, it is a community we're in, so you have to support your local farmer. Really it's great to see that there are farmers out there developing pork, that we can work alongside". O'Doherty Butchers are located in Belmore Street, Enniskillen, but Fermanagh Black Bacon™ travels further than this. It can be bought at a number of independent butchers, (North and South) and by mail-order nation-wide.
Love Belfasts guide to: A B In 2007 the prestigious ‘Lonely Planet’ travel guide listed Belfast as one of its top ten ‘Cities on the Rise’. Hundreds of thousands of people are now taking advantage of the many low-cost direct flights to Belfast from the UK, Europe and even the US and Canada. When they get here they find a city transformed by millions of pounds of investment in visitor attractions, clubs, pubs, restaurants and hotels. They find something else too. A city where you don’t need to break the budget to have the time of your life. A true ‘People’s City’, Belfast grew quickly, from an oversized village in the 18th century to a thriving city of 450,000 by the time RMS Titanic was launched in 1911. In that time, it had become one of the world’s leading ports, one of its greatest shipbuilders and was famous for its linen, tobacco and rope-making industries. Much of Belfast’s most impressive architecture dates from these vibrant Victorian and Edwardian eras. The ready wit and warmth for which Belfast people are famous is one of the city’s most distinct features and a great attraction for visitors today. This guide will help you enjoy Belfast to the utmost without stretching your budget, whether it’s getting around, finding good value accommodation, sightseeing, enjoying our thriving arts, cultural and entertainment scenes, shopping, eating or drinking. We hope this guide will add to your enjoyment of Belfast.
Paddywagon Tours Run by the owners of the Belfast Palace Hostel, these excellent value three and six-day tours of Ireland leave from Belfast, and There are many great value tours of Belfast, ranging from stay at hostels throughout Ireland. They also organise tours of bus and boat, to foot and black taxi. For a full list and more Belfast. Call Belfast (Paddy’s) Palace Hostel on 028 9033 3367 information on all tours contact the Belfast Welcome Centre, or visit www.paddywagontours.com. 47 Donegall Square (tel: 028 9024 6609 or visit Belfast Safari www.gotobelfast.com). Here is just a small selection: A not-for-profit organisation, Belfast Safaris was set up to Behind the Scenes Tours give visitors a unique insight into local Belfast communities. Get beneath the skin of some of Belfast’s most iconic buildings For instance, their Meet the People tour includes a chance to (for free or very little), such as St Anne’s Cathedral, the Grand chat with locals about life in Belfast. You can also follow in the Opera House, Belfast Waterfront Hall and the Linen Hall Library. footsteps of ‘Belfast Boy’ George Best, track Belfast’s famous Literary Walking Tours maritime history and much more. Call 028 9031 0610 or visit Discover locations and writers associated with Belfast’s thriving www.belfastsafaris.com for details. literary scene, past and present, ending with a free pint of Political Tours Guinness at the Kitchen Bar, all for just £5, every Monday Explore the political history of west Belfast on tours led by evening at 5pm. Republican ex-prisoners. If booked ahead large group tours Historical Pub Tours and tours of the Shankill area by Loyalist ex-prisoners can be Leaving on Thursday at 7pm and Saturday at 4pm from the arranged. Pre-booking essential for all tours. Contact Coiste Crown Dining Room, upstairs from the famous Crown Liquor (10 Beechmount Avenue, tel: 028 9020 0770. Web: www.coiste. Saloon in Great Victoria Street, this is the best introduction to ie/politicaltours) for details. Belfast’s atmospheric traditional pubs you could want. The Student Tips two-hour tour takes in at least six pubs. There is a £1 reduction When you want to find out the best places to go with the least per person for groups of 12 or more. Groups can also arrange expensive prices, ask a student. That’s what we did. So here specially tailored tours at other times too, subject to availability. are some suggestions from students at Queen’s Unive Call 028 9268 3665 or visit www.belfastpubtours.com for more information. Tours are from May to October inclusive. Walking Tours Easy-to-follow self-guided tour brochures of the Queen’s Quarter, Gaeltacht Quarter and Cathedral Quarter are available at the Belfast Welcome Centre. You can also enjoy expert
Accommodation / Transport Belfast Welcome Centre Whatever kind of accommodation you are after, you should make your first port of call the one-stop visitor information centre, the Belfast Welcome Centre at 47 Donegall Place (tel: 028 9024 6609 or visit www.gotobelfast.com). They can advise and book on your behalf. Hotel Tips Check online for special offers, such as weekend rates and combined dinner and room rates (most hotels have their own websites). Unlike many other countries, hotels in Northern Ireland do include breakfast in their rates. Many hotels cater to the budget market. Belfast’s famous bed and breakfasts offer a friendly and modestly priced alternative to hotels and all the facilities you need. Belfast also has several modern, well-equipped hostels, largely around the city centre and Queen’s Quarter, where you can stay for a small fee in a dormitory room (they have single and double rooms too). The Queen’s University and Stranmillis University College student complex offers great value accommodation during the summer (enquire at the Belfast Welcome Centre) and self-catering options are also worth exploring. International names, boutique one-offs and gloriously homely guest houses and B&Bs are plumping their collective pillows ready for your weary wee head. Budgeting weekenders and grungy backpackers are equally spoiled for choice, while long-stay execs and large groups can opt for showroom-style self-catering apartments. Get here quick before word gets out... you’ve never had it so good. Make sure you search online for the best deals, if your a student , hostels are your best option, and you get to meet lots of new people aswell. However we would recommend a stay at Belfasts most famous hotel, the Europa, if not now then at some stage in your life.
Belfast has an inexpensive and efficient public transport system and there are a number of ways to make it even cheaper. The Metro bus service, operated by Translink, will take you to virtually all locations in the city and its suburbs for surprisingly little outlay. Smartlink cards and travel cards all help you save money and can be bought and topped up at the Metro Kiosk in Donegall Square West (by City Hall) or in shops displaying a ‘Smartlink Agent’ sign. A Metro Day ticket can be purchased on board any Metro service and allows you to travel on any Metro route throughout the day (starting after 10am), while travel cards can be purchased for a week or a month. You can buy Smartlink passes for both Metro and Ulsterbus (which will take you throughout Northern Ireland) which offer substantial savings if you are planning more than a few journeys and make travelling by bus much easier. Translink also run regular promotional fares, so check out their website for the latest offers. For information on Translink services contact 028 9066 6630 or visit www.translink.co.uk Cabbing with the locals The black cabs of Belfast are now almost as famous around the world as those of London (where many of them began life) but for a very different reason. Thanks to the unique shared-fare system of the West Belfast Taxi Association (WBTA), you can travel from the city centre to the end of the Falls Road for just over a pound, enjoying a real insight into local life at the same time. WBTA offers transport to north Belfast and seven areas in west Belfast, with inexpensive adult fares for all their routes. The cabs start from Castle Junction in the city centre (where WBTA have their offices) but you can hail or leave a cab anywhere along the route, which includes many places of interest.
Belfast break on a budget Music
An Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich 216 Falls Road, tel: 028 9096 4180. Web: www.culturlann.com. Great traditional Irish music sessions on Friday evenings and Saturday lunchtimes take place in the café/restaurant here. Auntie Annie’s Porterhouse 44 Dublin Road, tel: 028 9032 5968. Web: www.the-limelight.co.uk Often has free acoustic music in the downstairs bar. Good value local and visiting rock bands too. Black Box 18 – 22 Hill St, tel: 028 9024 4400. Web: www.blackboxbelfast.com This dedicated performance space in the Cathedral Quarter presents all kinds of live music plus comedy, drama and more at prices that won’t break the bank. Errigle Inn 312 – 320 Ormeau Road, tel: 028 9064 1410 Web: www.errigle.com This multi-faceted pub is home to the Real Music Club, one of the most important promoters of acoustic music in Northern Ireland, having worked with everyone from Roger McGuinn and Steve Earle to Janis Ian. A great place to see local talent too. Check out their website on www.realmusicclub.com The Front Page 110 Donegall Street, tel: 028 9032 4924 Web: www.thefrontpagebar.com. A hub of alternative music and homegrown talent. Katy Daly’s 17 Ormeau Avenue, tel: 028 9032 5968 Web: www.the-limelight.co.uk Free live music and good cheap pub grub at lunchtime. Kelly’s Cellars 30-32 Bank St, tel: 028 9024 6058. Web: www.kellyscellars.com There are free Irish traditional sessions each day of the week except Mondays at the oldest continually run pub in Belfast. Sessions start at 9.30pm weekdays and between 5pm and 6pm weekends.
Fresh Garbage 24 Rosemary Street, tel: 028 9024 2350 A Mecca for Goths, hippies, punks and other with all kinds of wellpriced alternative clothes, posters, T-shirts and jewellery. Liberty Blue 19-21 Lombard Street, tel: 028 9043 7745 Funky and affordable independent boutique with great range of dresses. Some vintage clothes and jewellery too. Oxfam Fair Trade Shop 16, Rosemary Street, tel: 028 9024 7168 Ethical shopping on a budget with great gift ideas. Rusty Zip 28 Botanic Ave, tel: 9024 9700 A great place to find unusual clothes, with lots of second hand retro clothes and an emphasis on 70s fashion. Tip Lot of High Street shops offer student discounts, usually 10 per cent, if you present a valid student card.
Old Museum Arts Centre (OMAC) 7 College Square North, tel: 028 9023 3332. www.oldmuseumartscentre.org. Cutting-edge drama, comedy and arts-related events that won’t cost a fortune. Whiterock Theatre Whiterock Road, tel: 028 9020 2222 The home of Dubbeljoint, the theatre company that spawned ‘Stones in his Pockets’ and which helped pioneer Belfast’s famous community theatre.
Student areas, such as Botanic Avenue and Bradbury Place, are filled with good value restaurants. Try Maggie Mays for filling meals at under a fiver, the famous Ulster Fry at The Other Place (before 11am) and Belfast’s best, and most famous, traditional fish and chips, Longs in the city centre. The Bonateee Bar in the Queen’s Student’s Union Building has good value food, such as pizzas. There are authentic Chinese restaurants in Donegall Pass too. Belfast’s bakeries are famous for delicious, filling buns, Belfast Baps, soda, potato bread and wheaten breads and much more.
Backbeat Haymarket Arcade, off Royal Avenue, tel: 028 9033 3131 A centre for alternative, indie and dance music, Backbeat sell second hand records, while many local bands release records through them.