24 hours in Belfast

by Shereece Spain
Stripes Europe

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Admittedly, my first introduction to the existence of Belfast was courtesy of “Sons of Anarchy,” then along came “Game of Thrones.” I figured there had to be more to this city than a motorcycle club charter or home of Winterfell’s castle and the “Iron Islands.” So while in Europe, it became a bucket list destination to experience this amazing ancient city firsthand versus through the television.

While in Dublin for my birthday, we decided to take a day trip to Belfast. Is it possible to soak up everything in such a short time? Well, no! However, I’ll share my experience to help you make the most of your time.

We found that Air Coach was the quickest way to get from one city to the other (less than 2 hours). We didn’t have long, so getting there quickly was the priority. We arrived at the Belfast Europa Bus Centre in the heart of the city. There we purchased our  Belfast Visitor’s Passes. They can be used for bus, restaurant and attraction discounts. We started at the farthest point and worked our way back, so we caught the 57 Translink bus and headed to the first stop. For those that want a greener mode of transportation, check out Belfast Bikes. They have various locations throughout the city to rent bikes.

Crumlin Road Gaol Prison

For centuries, this prison held all kinds of prisoners, including women and children. Had we been touring the city without kids, we would have toured this facility in the evening during one of their haunted tours. However, the tales the guides tell during the approximately 1 hour 30 minute tour will still give you goosebumps.

St. Anne’s Cathedral

One should never skip over checking out a city’s ancient cathedrals. St. Anne’s is a sight to behold. It is one of the few cathedrals in the world that holds a seat for two bishops because it actually serves two separate dioceses.

Mourne Seafood Bar

Being this close to the coast, you can’t pass up the opportunity for fresh seafood (unless you’re not allergic). Since fish and crustaceans have specific seasons, there menu changes throughout the year, therefore, you know you’re getting a fresh catch! Look forward to traditional fish and chips, a hearty soup and seasonal oysters. For those that aren’t fans of mouthwatering sea creatures, there is a beef, pork or vegetarian options as well.  

St. George’s Market and Carroll’s Gifts

St. George’s Market is a renowned, award-winning market best known for amazing produce, fresh flowers, pottery, jewelry and other handcrafted wares. You’ll also be entertained with local musicians while you shop. They’re only open Friday through Sunday.

Carroll’s Gifts is one of the largest souvenir locations; however, there are excellent places throughout the city. It was perfect for the obligatory shot glass for my collection, but it’s awesome for aran knitwear and Irish linens, which Belfast has been famous for since the 1800s.

If you have time for more retail therapy, check out CastleCourt Shopping Centre and Victoria Square.

Simply Fish & Chips

Since none of us had fish and chips for lunch, we headed over to Simply Fish & Chips for dinner. The golden brown fried cod is absolutely delicious. The hardest choice to make was how to top your chips. Plain, curry, gravy, garlic, taco - the list goes on and on! Easiest solution is for everyone to order something different so you don’t feel like you missed too much.

Bright’s Restaurant

After a good night’s sleep, you’ll want to start the day with a proper breakfast. Bright’s Restaurant is Belfast’s “Best Breakfast.” You have to taste it for yourself to believe it! Order one of the Breakfast Frys since it’s the perfect way to get a real taste of an Irish breakfast.

Titanic Museum

©️Krzysztof Nahlik | 123rf.com

The best way to cap off your short trip to Belfast is the Titanic Museum. The record-setting RMS Titanic was constructed in this waterport city. You’ll get a chance to learn how the dream became a reality.

As you travel to this fantastic city, keep this Irish saying close  …

“May you have the hindsight to know where you've been

the foresight to know where you're going

and the insight to know when you're going too far.”

You may only have 24 hours to spend in Belfast, but you’ll have memories to last you a lifetime.


  • If you also want to do any of the Game of Thrones tours, plan to stay more than 24 hours.
  • Bring pounds, not euros, with you. Cards are accepted at many tourist locations but cash is a must.
  • Belfast is located in Northern Ireland. That does not mean the northern part of Ireland, but the country Northern Ireland, which is part of Britain. Yeah, I messed that up too.

Check back tomorrow for day seven of our Countdown to Summer!  

ENTER TO WIN a Fuji Film Instax Mini 9 Instant camera in smokey white to document your sightseeing expeditions.

Today's article is sponsored by:


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