A Day in Belfast| Traveling the Emerald Isle- Seattle to Northern Ireland

Seattle to Ireland, we're traveling on our "Honeymoon Redo" from the Emerald City to the Emerald Isle! 

A couple of months ago, my husband and I took trip number two to Ireland. We've been once before, but after months of planning our wedding and leaving only hours after the big day, I came down with a severe viral infection... which held the worst two weeks of the six week infection while on honeymoon in Ireland. Yikes.

Therefore, we made it our mission to purchase tickets from Seattle to Ireland for "Operation Honeymoon Redo 1.0". After a year of saving and planning, we finally boarded our flight in Seattle via JetBlue for the first lag and then on to Aer Lingus in Boston for the second- alllllll of the way from the Emerald City to the Emerald Isle. We must like emeralds. (<-- True.) Upon landing in Dublin, we received our passport stamp, picked our bags and I laughed with an elderly woman that accidentally walked straight into the men's restroom and straight back out.... I helped her out and we pretended it never happened. The baggage claim cleared out faster than ever and left us a bit lost finding our rental car company. Fast forward through the dirty details of getting ripped off by Hertz (not here to complain... but boo on you Hertz), we were finally on our way to Belfast in our little blue Renault.  

We checked into our hotel in Queens Quarter, Belfast, Northern Ireland and crashed. The last thing we wanted to do was get up and go somewhere, but I'm so glad we did. We've learned that although jet lag is the worst, powering through it so that you can sleep when everyone else sleeps is the best (HARDEST) choice.  After accidentally ducking into a closed restaurant, they gladly made us later reservations and we headed to a pub they suggested around the corner for a pint.

The first four images seen are from the pub. We loved that they sent us to an authentic, everyday pub.. I was the only woman in the pub, save for the bartender. Since this is our second trip to Ireland, we've done the Guinness thing. Nothing against Guinness, but we really wanted to try more European and Irish beers on this trip. She poured us each a pint of Heverlee Lager- a Belgium beer that's light, refreshing and not overly fruity (which I prefer), and I'll say it was still one of my favorite lighter beers of the trip. The pub was crowded with a group of men, all regulars from what we could tell, watching a football match. I tried to be sneaky snapping my photos, not wanting to seem like an intrusive foreigner with my camera. I took my few images and put my camera away to enjoy my pint and being back in Northern Ireland! 

Finishing our pints, we strolled the short jaunt back to the Barking Dog Restaurant. I'll spare you all of the details because I have a whole TripAdvisor post here, but we LOVED our experience with this restaurant! I have to say, Belfast gets a bad rep (if you paid attention in school and know about the IRA- or maybe you didn't and want a refresher here) and even we didn't love it on our first visit, but we LOVE Belfast now. Here's the thing, if you just hit every tourist hot spot, you're probably not going to love everywhere you travel. Getting to know the people and visiting the underrated gems, is where you really fall in love with your travels. Our first visit to Belfast, we stopped at all of the big tourist attractions- this trip we purposefully tried to visit more amazing spots off of the beaten path. 

The next morning, we were craving a full Irish fry. When in Rome... Ireland. Seeing good reviews and REAL espressos, I knew I had to experience my first at Town Square Belfast. The walk from our hotel to Town Square was around 30 minutes long, but took routes past some gorgeous Queens Quarter buildings, including Queens University Belfast which dates back to 1849. Queens Quarter is a perfect showcase of the beautiful old Belfast architecture, ranging from Georgian and Victorian and boasting an artistic flair. From what I can tell, Queens Quarter seems to be in a bit of a revival with hip coffee shops, restaurants and businesses popping up in the past couple of years. Walking to breakfast is a perfect way to experience all of this. Town Square Belfast was pretty sleepy during our visit, and the friendliness was a little lacking, but the pork and leek sausage, buttery portobello mushroom and espressos made up for it. We even sampled the black pudding. Bellies full, we savored the gorgeous golden fall morning and headed back to our hotel to prepare for our day trek out of the city. 

Cell Phone Highlights in Belfast: 

I love blogging our trips and love scrap booking them even more! I always make sure to include cell phone pics, because as beautiful as the pro pics are, the call phone shots are usually full of blurry, fun, real life moments! When we got back from our day trip out of Belfast (I'll post more on that later) we met up with my cousin and her husband in downtown Belfast for a little nightlife! Peter is from the North, born and raised, and had so many interesting things to tell us of growing up in the North. He even drove us through the current loyalists neighborhood- meh, mildly sketchy, but we survived and it wasn't that bad! We grabbed dinner at Yardbird, which we loved because after all of the flying and airplane food, sometimes you just need some good basic rotisserie chicken, chips and corn.. and a beer, duh. Fun fact: Yardbird is located in one of the oldest buildings in Belfast. After dinner Peter and Maggie walked us around the area to check out some of the more known and old pubs. We had a pint in the Duke of York, a classic pub offering one of the largest whiskey selections in Ireland. I had a pint of Heverlee again, because I couldn't get enough of it the night before (seriously, one of the most refreshing beers). We also hit up the Harp Bar and chatted over another pint. I'm so glad we went out with Peter and Maggie and always love getting local low downs! 

Shameless Plug: My cousin, Maggie, also has a travel blog where you'll find tips with traveling with small children! Follow along at- 
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Brittingham Photography is located in Orting, Washington and specializes in natural High School Senior portraits. We also offer Britt Beauty Sessions (individual women's shoots), Lifestyle Newborn, Couples Sessions and Intimate Family Photos. Thank you for stopping by to read my little blog!

-Andrea Brittingham

Owner, Photographer
Orting, Washington Photographer

P.S. I had to drink a Magners Irish Cider as I typed this! :P