Monday, August 09, 2010

Belfast At Last

There were a couple of things we wanted to see in Belfast.  We have driven through on the M2 and M3, as well as right through downtown to get to Mount Stewart.  After these experiences, as well as the visit to Derry where parking was a problem, we decided to go on a Sunday.  Less crowds, less cars, more parking.
After finding our parking lot, we walked the mile to the botanic gardens and Ulster Museum.  On the way we passed Queens College, the oldest college in Ireland, north or south.  Beautiful buildings and campus, with alot construction going behind the older buildings.

The Botanic Gardens are famous for their greenhouses.  One was originally built in 1839!  Wow!  The other was built by the workers in the gardens, so the visitors walk around on a cat walk looking down into the gardens.  It was beautiful.  All it needed was an alligator and some colorful birds, as well as a few frogs croaking!

The Ulster Museum building is a wonderful mix of old and new architecture.  The inside is airy and light. The displays are well done with good information on what you are seeing.  We were greeted by a docent who suggested we start at the top and work our way down, as that's how it was set up.  So we did.  Up to the 5th floor where all the art is, then down through time starting with nature, geology, man coming after the ice age until we hit the last gallery, which tried to tell the story of The Troubles, which began in 1969 and finally ended in 1996.  While they tried to have an even hand, using statistics, it still didn't feel right.  We didn't linger.

Two displays really caught out attention.  One was a hedgehog, stuffed, which we were allowed to touch.  Cute little critter, the spines feel alot like porcupine quills.  The second was an Irish Wolfhound who was the grand champion in the 1930's.  Although a different color, with shorter hair, he looked a lot like our Shiva!

They do grow beautiful flowers in Belfast!  The entire area surrounding the museum was in bloom, or at least growing gorgeous trees.

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