Ireland day 0897. Wednesday 13 March 2024- Belfast Arrival *

Ireland day 0897. Wednesday 13 March 2024- Belfast Arrival
Today’s summary Drove up to Belfast for a two-night stay to have a more in-depth look round than we have managed previously.   A quick journey up from Malahide then an interesting visit to the Belfast Botanic Gardens, the Museum of Ulster and Queen’s University.   Staying in the Merchant hotel (very nice) and then dinner in the hotel Great Room restaurant
Today’s weather Showery rain until mid-afternoon then a bit drier and brighter later.   Light westerly wind.   Appx 10c
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The blue line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Belfast Botanics Museum and Queens

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

Something a bit different for the next couple of days. We’re spending some time in the North, having a good look round the much-transformed city of Belfast. I’ve been up here a couple of times lately – but without much time on either occasion to have a thorough investigation.

My first visits were in the 1980s and 90s and it’s wonderful seeing how the city has completely changed, with the disappearance of the army presence and the gun-turrets. I’m sure there’s still a lot further to go – and we will probably see more evidence of this over the rest of our stay – but on the surface at least, things are greatly improved.

After a quick drive up from Malahide, we found parking near Queen’s University and headed straight for the Botanic Gardens. As regular readers will know, I have a soft spot for these gardens as they usually have heated greenhouses where you can pretend to be somewhere warm and sunny. Belfast was no exception and the Botanics were lovely.

By this stage we were gasping for a cup of tea and eventually managed to find one in the sports centre of Queen’s University. Suitably refreshed, we decided to go and have a look at the University itself, which is nearby. But en route, we passed the Ulster Museum and couldn’t resist dropping in to have a look.

The museum was extremely impressive. It manages to combine an art gallery, a natural history museum and a record of the Troubles into a coherent and well-curated whole. It feels very accessible and nicely done. Lots of money has been spent on it but in my view it’s money well spent.

Eventually, by the end of the afternoon, we made it to Queens University. I had been there in the late 1980s but never since and I couldn’t really remember anything about it. But today, as with much that we saw this afternoon, we were impressed. It seemed clean, well presented, and felt like it had a friendly academic atmosphere. (It’s some way below Trinity in Dublin though, in terms of the global university rankings – so some catching up to do!).

By this stage it was time to check into our hotel (The Merchant – very nice) and get ready for dinner in the Great Room restaurant. So now we’re settled into our room and enjoying a pre-prandial cup of tea (we know how to live) then we’re going to head on down to the restaurant for dinner and to start planning tomorrow’s activities. Lots to look forward to!

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

The beautiful curvilinear greenhouse.   Very similar in design to that in the Dublin Botanics Tree fairy spotted inside the Tropical Ravine .   The Ravine is a feature pretty much unique to the Belfast Botanics.   It was maintained at a steady 28.8c, which was just about comfortably warm for me
A bit of Game-Of-Thrones-ey fantasy in the Ulster Museum Skeletal and reconstructed Giant Deer side-by-side in this diorama.   Really helped bring this gigantic creature to life
The impressive red brick and sandstone frontage of Queen’s University Inside one of the university courtyards
Soaking up those 28 degrees and storing them for later use
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 5134 m
Max elevation: 20 m
Min elevation: 5 m
Total climbing: 63 m
Total descent: -63 m
Total time: 03:20:08
Download file: Belfast-Botanics-Museum-and-Queens-compressed-corrected.gpx

You can read earlier and later days’ blogs below

Previous day’s blog
Next day’s blog
Ireland home page

 Save as PDF