This is the entrance of the St. George Market. I have a feeling this will be one of my favorite places in Belfast.
Yesterday was such a productive day! In the morning four of my friends and I went to St. George’s Market, got a cell phone, then I went to Ikea with a QUB group, took a tour of the city via a ghost tour, and explored some pubs!
I kept hearing so many good things about the St. Georges Market and I was more than delighted to get a group together that did not mind waking up at 10 am on a Saturday to go check it out. The St. George’s Market is close to City Centre and is about a 30-40 minute walk from Elms Village. There has been a market on the site since 1604 and the overhead structure was added in 1890. It is the only market that has survived with the Victorian red brick covering. The red bricks remind me of the QUC campus! It is located near the River Lagan and it was nice to hear some seagulls as we walked up.
The outside of the building has two different engravings: Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus, which is Belfast’s motto that means, “For so much what shall we give in return?” There is also, “Lámh Dearg na hÉireann,” meaning, “Red Hand of Ireland.” Inside is incredible! There are booths lined up all around with meat, home grown produce, handmade paintings, jewelry, huge cupcakes, and all sorts of goods. Families are everywhere and it is easy to see this is a place that locals come often. We grabbed some lunch and sat in the center area where we were serenaded by local musicians. As we were looking around, we found a side room that had a bunch of the history. It was interesting to learn that the Market was used as an
Almost everything you can buy is homemade and home grown. I wish I could bring it all home with me!
emergency mortuary after the 1941 Easter Tuesday German bombings in World War II. The bombings were later called the Belfast Blitz. It was not until 1990 that the Market was renovated and it is now owned by the Belfast City Council.
The business hours for the market are:
- Fridays (6 am-2 pm) it has a variety of food, produce, meat and fish, antiques, books, clothes, and a few crafts.
- Saturdays (9 am-3 pm) it has mostly local foods, produce, meat and fish, cheese, coffee, and other treats.
- Sundays (10 am-4 pm) it has some produce, and meat and fish stands, but is mostly local arts and crafts.
A fair trade booth at St. George's Market. I bought my claddagh ring here!
For some more information HERE is a YouTube video that I found on the Belfast City Council website:
On the way home from the Market, Joseph, Christina and I stopped in City Centre to buy cell phones. One of the biggest lessons I have learned so far is the value and the privilege of communication. Unlike home, there is not Wi-Fi everywhere so my iPhone is useless most of the time and so far I have had to plan ahead when to meet up with people since I could not text or call someone to make plans. Most of the phones sold in the UK are unlocked so you can use them with any network, which is awesome, because we were able to shop around to find the cheapest phone. My phone for the rest of my time in Belfast is a little £9 phone that does not even have a camera. What I thought was a camera is a little flash light! I don’t mind though, because it is only going to be used until June. Joseph, Christina, and I ended up choosing to go with the O2 network, because of the monthly international plan. Each month I will add or as it is called “top-up” £15, which gives me unlimited calls and text to anyone on the O2 network, £5 to use to text and call people outside the network, and an international plan. With the international plan, I choose three international numbers that I can call and I have 3,000 minutes to use to call them. In addition, I am given a separate USA number so that anyone from the states can call me and it will charge them as if they are calling Miami. I know my mom, my family, my friends, and I will love being able to call each other as if I were still home.
Later that afternoon QUB took us on a trip to Ikea. I didn’t really need anything, because I had
This was one of our tour guides. Both women were dressed up for the occasion. This was when she was telling us about Jack the Ripper.
bought a large towel, washcloths, and hangers
at Primark, but it was nice to go to meet more people, eat a cheap late lunch, and I did find some bag clips that will be perfect for storing food.
That night the international student group met up for a Ghost Tour through the city. I have been on many ghost tours up and down the East Coast at home, but this was my first international one! The tour itself was not very good, because the group was way too big (over 60 people); however, I did learn some historical stories about the city and learned my way around. The first story concerned the original Belfast Castle, which was in the current City Centre. Sadly the castle burned and two of the owner’s daughters were killed in the fire. The only signs of the castle left are the names of the streets around the area.
City Centre is filled with little alley ways with pubs and shops in between. Another story involved Whites Tavern, which is the oldest pub in Belfast that opened in 1630. Apparently there is a ghost that takes your order, but then disappears. Our most entertaining stop was in front of St. Anne’s
All of the Americans got such a kick out of this! I never expected to see anything about occupy in Belfast. I felt bad for our tour guides, because it took some effort to get us to pay attention to them and not the occupy group.
Cathedral in the Cathedral Quarter. It was not that the story was bad or anything, but it is hard to compete with what was going on behind us…Occupy Belfast!!! There were about 10-15 tents set up, with signs, and a fire going. I had no clue that “occupy” events were set up outside of the states.
After finishing the ghost tour, about 20 of us grouped together for a mini pub crawl. It was hilarious trying to retrace our steps, but we managed to navigate ourselves back to Whites, Kelly’s Cellars, and Maddens, which are awesome traditional Irish pubs! Whites and Kelly’s are really tiny. We were only able to grab a pint and stand around. I didn’t mind much, since I could look around easier. My favorite of the three was Maddens. It looks just as small as the others, but it was a little bit bigger with second story that included more seating and another bar. We walked up these old wooden stairs and there was a little band playing traditional music in the corner. I asked one of the bartenders about the musicians. He said that they were just local people that showed up to play and at other times the pub brought people in. It was fascinating to sit talking with people I had known for about 48 hours, sip on a pint of beer I had never tried (Harp), listen to music I had
This is part of the group in Maddens. From left to right is Hailey, Laura, and me. I loved Maddens for its music, the drinks, and the atmosphere. It was a place filled with history and a great place to make friends.
never heard, yet I felt very comfortable and at home in this place. I don’t want to think about how hard it will be to leave come June.
Hope everyone is doing well at home.