Date of Trip: May 2006
After hanging out in Dublin for six days I decided it was time to head up north to check out Belfast and beyond. I compared the bus and train prices and schedules and decided to take the bus since it was half the price of the train (14 Euro roundtrip. Great deal!) and only took a half hour longer. After a pleasant two and a half hour ride, we arrived at the bus/train station in Belfast. The main bus station is just behind the famous Europa Hotel and across from the famous Crown Liquor Saloon. Both places are “must see” locations on the main street.
I checked in to the Jury’s hotel about a block away from the train station and immediately booked a “Black Cab Tour” for the coming afternoon, as well as a Giants Causeway Day Tour for the following day. The Black Cab Tour was a great way to learn about the history and current situation between the Catholics and Protestants. (They have a Web site, which you can see by clicking here.)
That night I went to the Crown Saloon for dinner and had a very pleasant meal and pint of Bass. The hotel is nice, but a bit pricey. If you want to use the internet, then don’t forget to buy a internet code card from the front desk before going up to your room. Also, don’t forget that Northern Ireland uses the Pound instead of Euro.
The next morning I jumped on a “Mini-Coach Tour,” which took us to the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Bushmills Distillery, Giant’s Causeway, and DUnluce Castle. This was a wonderful tour and a great way to see some of the gorgeous Northern Ireland coastline. A little “insiders info” is that the guide will ask for volunteers at the end of the tour — if you volunteer you get to be a taste tester. The only downside to this tour was that we got back to Belfast almost two hours later than scheduled, but other than that I would suggest this tour to everyone.
After getting back to Belfast, I got on the last bust to Dublin (9pm) and was back at my B&B by midnight. Good trip!