"A trip down memory lane" Top 5 Page for this destination Belfast by planxty

Belfast Travel Guide: 1,132 reviews and 2,594 photos

Update April 2010.

Update 2015.

So where does the time go? I have just re-visited this page to update and add a couple of tips and I cannot believe how out of date this is. Ten years on and I still don't get back there as often as I should but I have had a couple of trips this last two years in company with VT member Lynne aka Ravenswing and Belfast just seems to be continually evolving. Bars I used to frequent have been closed down if not actually torn down and you now expect to be served in a bar by a Pole, Slovak, Lithuanian or whatever rather than the former skinhead and tattooed Belfast youth. There are so many foreign car registration plates it is unreal. The restaurant scene has changed beyond recognition and I walked past a place formerly owned by Paul Rankin, the doyen of Ulster cuisine, which is now up for sale (or lease if you have the money).

Certainly I appreciate that "all things must change" if I may quote from the late George Harrison here and Belfast really is now a vibrant and lively place much loved by travellers as part of the "peace dividend" but I can't help thinking it has lost a bit of the edge that made it what it was. I would certainly still recommend the traveller visits as there is much to see and do but it is, frankly, a very sanitised version of what it was.

Original tip.

If you read the paragraph below, you will understand my impressions of Belfast in 2005, not long after I joined VT. I still don't get back to Northern Ireland a lot and tend hardly to get to Belfast at all but I was there a couple of days ago, and if anything my impression is reinforced. Every time I come back, I recognise the city of my borth less and less. Familiar old bars have been tarted up and turned into gastropubs, old buildings have been torn down or gentrified, everything is renamed or perhaps I am just getting old.

There is no doubt, as part of the so-called "peace dividend" the old place has certainly become something of a tourist destination complete with a very good infrastructure including open-topped sightseeing buses. In the 70's the only open topped buses were the ones somebody had blown the roof off!

Still, it is now in a far better place than it was, and I'm glad to say the Belfast traditions of friendliness toward strangers and a ready, sometimes very black, humour have not gone the way of so much else. If you haven't been, you really should. Tell them I sent you!

I nearly didn't recognise it.

I spent my formative years in Belfast, back in the 70's. Without wishing to dwell at all on the situation it wasn't, perhaps, the happiest place on the planet.. I left in 1981 and lived in various other places in Northern Ireland, mostly in County Armagh, and did not really spend so much time there.

I have now been living in London for 17 years, and don't get home too much and, when I do, I don't tend to get to Belfast as my parents live in the country.

I returned to the old place in February 2005, just for a couple of days, and I could not believe how much it had changed. Obviously, any city will change over that period of time, but in the case of Belfast, the transformation was nothing short of remarkable. The "peace dividend" was very much in evidence, and the place is really buzzing again.

Due to another imminent trip, I won't be able to complete these pages for about six weeks now, but watch this space.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Vibrant night-life, friendly people, GREAT bars.
  • Cons:The weather's not that brilliant!
  • In a nutshell:The place I was born and raised.
  • Last visit to Belfast: Apr 2010
  • Intro Updated Nov 8, 2015
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Reviews (26)

Comments (5)

  • wabat's Profile Photo
    Dec 31, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Very much a trip down memory lane for me too. Must say since I left Belfast in later 80's I havnt ever thought of the Bot or the Egg .. Thank you for the memories.

  • FridgeMagnet's Profile Photo
    May 9, 2012 at 4:11 AM

    Some useful pub tips Fergy! I'm going to Belfast for a 3 days in July. Now I'm really getting adventurous!

  • mickeyboy07's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Great tips my friend will have to pay a visit soon

  • mantru's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2007 at 11:37 PM

    write something more about ireland its in my wishlist..i have read books on ireland my imagination was captured by trinity as well as ms tyalors books...

  • Dec 28, 2006 at 10:38 AM

    Hey Fergie! Its a long time since I was in this town but I think I should make a return visit one of these days - at least I know where all the good bars are now! :))

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