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Back in December, a friend asked me about where I am in Irelandisland, and for some recommendations of things to do in my area. Since first moving to Belfast in September 2012, I’ve not snapped many photos of the city in a super touristy capacity, so when my friend made her request, I spent a day or two carrying around a camera and playing tourist.

But first, a few little facts about this wee city:

  • Belfast is the capital and the largest city of Northern Ireland, and has a population of 580,000 in the metropolitan area (thank you, Wikipedia);
  • The name “Belfast” comes from the Irish “Béal Feirste”, which means “sandy ford at river mouth”, and the city is a major port;
  • Although Northern Ireland is physically located on the island of Ireland, it is politically (though I use that term warily) part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and uses the UK international dialling code as well as the Pound Sterling;
  • That being said, the rest of the UK sometimes forgets about Northern Ireland, and many services/shops/etc in Great Britain (consisting of England, Scotland, and Wales) don’t have branches or even deliver to Northern Ireland;
  • Northern Ireland became such in 1921, when the island of Ireland was partitioned between Northern and Southern Ireland;
  • The “South”/Republic of Ireland is a different country, with a different currency (the Euro), and different official languages (Irish and English). And although locals sometimes refer to Ireland as “the South”, there are parts of Ireland that extend to the north of the Ireland, such as County Donegal (it can all get a little confusing);
  • When things get confusing, drink Guinness;
  • The Titanic was built in Belfast, and shipped off to Southampton (in England) where it set sail;
  • Game of Thrones is filmed in Belfast and around Northern Ireland (which may have influenced my decision to move here); and
  • You can become an extra on Game of Thrones through an extras company, but in order to sign up for the company, you have to have a Northern Irish National Insurance Number (basically an Australian Tax File Number or an American Social Security Number), and in order to do that, you can’t be elsewhere in the UK, but must be living and working in Northern Ireland (see above parenthetical note).

And now, here are a few photos of this wee city:


Just a little street, with lovely terraced houses.


A lovely little river underneath a lovely little bridge. Unfortunately, the grey sky is all too common a sight.


Fortunately, the river is breathtaking when the sky clears.


The front gates of my university.


This is Belfast City Hall, aglow with all sorts of lights in the evenings.


The City Hall in December, during which the Continental Christmas Market comes to visit.


Mmm, the Christmas Market…!


One of the many small alleyways in the city centre.


St. Anne’s Cathedral, the church at which I sing every week.


A not-so-sneaky shot taken during rehearsal.


The alter.


The quire, where it’s always super cold…


My choir pigeonhole! (It’s much neater here than in real life…)


One of my favourite places in Belfast is the St George’s market, open from Friday to Sunday, full of lovely foods, drinks, crafts, and other shinies.


Inside the Market.

And that’s all for a little introduction to Belfast. There are certainly more things (both touristy and otherwise) one could do, but I wanted this post and these pictures to portray “a relatively typical day in the life of Samantha in Belfast”. But hey, neither my camera nor this city is going anywhere!