Vespa World Days Belfast
June 14th – 17th 2018

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Tourism   ... around Belfast

Black taxi tours

Why not enjoy an escorted tour of Greater Belfast's historical sites in one of Belfast famous Black Cabs and journey back in time to explore the many places of interest. You simply choose what you want to see which may include some or all of the following:

  • Peace Line and Political Murals—see Belfast's version of the Berlin Wall ie the infamous Belfast Peaceline, a wall built to keep Nationalists and Loyalist apart and in the process divided the communities.
  • Crumlin Road Gaol and Courthouse—these Victorian buildings played a major part in the conflict in Ireland for over 160 years, convicting, imprisoning and even executing many of those in the war. These buildings have witnessed the uncovering of many ruthless killings and bombings and have seen many escape attempts.
  • The City Hall—built during 1896-1906 by Alfred Brumwell Thomas, it is the home of Belfast City Council. This magnificent Edwardian "wedding cake" was built to reflect Belfast's City status which was granted by Queen Victoria in 1888. The Dome is 53 metrres (173 feet) high. Above the door it says "Hibernia encouraging and promoting the Commerce and Arts of the city". You may go inside to find out about guided tours and to pick up leaflets explaining the statues in the surrounding gardens.
  • Albert Memorial Clock—located in Victoria Street and built by WJ Barrie in 1865, the tower leans 1.25 metres (4 feet) off the vertical, the Clock's unsteadiness is due the the fact that it was built on land reclaimed from the river. The tower is 35 metres (113 feet) high and centres around Prince Albert, Victoria's consort. Crowned lions holding shields and floral decoration surround the clock itself.
  • Crown Liquor Saloon—the Crown on Great Victoria Street was built 1839-1840 and is owned by the National Trust. Drinkers of the city know well it's opulent marble, brilliant Italian tile work, fine glass engraving, embossed ceiling and cosy booths bedecked with gryphons and lions. Panels in the restaurant on the first floor were meant for the Britannic, the sister ship of the Titanic.
  • Other places of interest—Titanic Building and Belfast Shipyard (Samson & Goliath); Queens University Belfast; Parliament Buildings, Stormont; St. Annes Cathedral; Grand Opera House; The Big Fish—there really is so much to explore!

Full details at: Belfast Black Taxi web site.

Walking tours

Belfast City Walking Tours brings a range of interesting guided walking tours. Get an insight into the Belfast of the past and learn about the people who lived and worked along the banks of the three rivers on which the city of Belfast was developed around.

Tours can also be arranged to start from a day, time and location of your choice. Tours available all year round and include:

  • The Historic Walking Tour—brings the past to LIFE! Take a walk through the heart of Belfast. Get an insight into Belfast from the 1600s to the present day. Learn about the people who lived and worked in this great city. See Belfast in a new and fascinating way. This informative and enjoyable tour takes you into the oldest section of the city. This is not 'a one tour fits all' and your guide will modify the contents to suit the interests of those taking part. In addition to seeing the Belfast City Hall, Ulster Hall, Albert Clock, St Anne's Cathedral, you will also see many local 'gems' like the murals of famous Northern Irish people and much more. Tour duration – Approximately 2 hours
  • The Blackstaff Way—dealing with Victorian Belfast, its people and industries including the linen trade, the new King William 111 mural at Sandy Road, famous people including Lord Kelvin. Hear the fascinating story behind sculptures located in Great Victoria Street.
  • The Farset Way—is the oldest part of Belfast of which contains the Albert Memorial Clock is a 25metre clock tower at the river end of High Street. It has a 1/1.5m tilt from the vertical, gaining it the nickname of Belfast's Leaning Tower. Learn about the development of Belfast from a crossing place at the mouth of the River Farset to the creation of a major city within the British Empire and up to the present day.
  • The Victorian Way—the Belfast Botanic Gardens are situated between Queen's University and the River Lagan. Their long and interesting history began during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when there was a substantial upsurge of interest in botany, horticulture and gardening, and consequently the formation of 'Botanic Gardens' became very fashionable. Such gardens had already been established in Dublin and in Cork when the 'Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society' was formed in 1827. In 1828 a 14 acre site was purchased outside the town at the junction of the Malone and Stranmillis Roads. This area was rendered suitable for the cultivation of botanical science and a botanical museum opened in the grounds.

Full details at: WalkNI Belfast web site.

Musical tours

Explore Belfast's proud musical heritage with a dedicated exhibition and guided bus tour.

Did you know that rock superstars Led Zeppelin gave their classic Stairway to Heaven its first live performance at the Ulster Hall in Belfast in 1971?

Or that a cancelled concert in the same city by The Clash in 1977 provoked a riot which inspired Stiff Little Fingers to write the anthem 'Alternative Ulster'?

Facts like these and much more besides are available to music fans and tourists at the Belfast Music Exhibition in the city's Oh Yeah Music Centre on Gordon Street.

From Van Morrison's Astral Weeks to the recording of The Undertones' Teenage Kicks and, most recently, the rise to international fame of rock band Snow Patrol, Belfast and the surrounding area has a musical history to be proud of and this is celebrated in the exhibition.

The exhibition consists of four elements including a series of storyboards plotting the history of Northern Ireland music from folk to Snow Patrol and audio visual displays showing the likes of Them, The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers and Ruby Murray.

A 'Legends' series of wall displays will hail the great achievers in Northern Ireland music while exhibition cases will showcase some unique rock and roll memorabilia, including the Fender guitar that Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol used to write 'Run' and 'Chasing Cars', a sequined jacket that Henry McCullough wore on tour with Paul McCartney and Wings, and a vintage street sign of Cyprus Avenue, made famous in a Van Morrison song.

Enjoy a guided bus tour through the heart of a great rock and roll city, which starts off at the bished Ulster Hall and includes Van Morrison's childhood home and the site of the old Wizard Studios where the legendary 'Teenage Kicks' was recorded for just £200. The tour finishes with a visit to the Belfast Music Exhibition.

Full details at the: Discover Ireland web site.