The title says it all, Hectic, Baltic, Belter….that’s exactly what yesterday was!
It all kicked off with a visit to the refurbished Ulster Museum and wow, it’s pretty special. We just didn’t expect Belfast to have something so modern and fitting for a proper 21st Century museum, and best of all it’s free! Highly recommended.
Then we headed across the road to the Black Bear Cafe to relax for a bit, but also to check out a Belfast Times card and postcard stockist. I didn’t expect to find a funky little treasure trove of local crafts and art for sale. Loved it..and they serve my favourite local Suki Tea!
Next stop was Madison’s Hotel to discuss a future competition, and we had a wee look at their thousands of pounds worth of Terry Bradley art hanging on the wall. Impressive.
Then it was time for our Titanic walk tour leaving from the Premier Inn Titanic Quarter at 2, so off we walked the long walk over to the hotel. It was a busy tour, and full of absolute Titanoraks, definitely a different experience from any tours I’ve done before. We were guided by first timer Claire and she did such a good job, her boss, Colin Cobb would’ve been impressed. As always I loved getting into the drawing offices for a nosey round and they have definitely been cleaned up a bit, but best of all the skylights have been uncovered to let all the natural light shine in. Definitely my favourite rooms in the City.
Then it was back into the City for dinner, passing the huge queues for the Titanic Sounds concert on the way. As an ex weatherman I had checked the forecast and already knew it was going to be a cold night, but clearly the message hadn’t reached the masses of girls standing in the queue wearing the skimpiest of shorts and t-shirts. Really! It’s April, not the height of summer….fashion isn’t really supposed to be practical I guess. It’s all about the look, rather than the practicalities…I must be getting old as when it’s that cold outside, practicality always wins.
So, it was free dinner in the Cloth Ear, oh, and it was only free because we used vouchers we got as Christmas presents, no other reason.
I think we had about 10 minutes rest before heading back to the Titanic Sounds for a superb night being entertained by what we thought was a disappointing lineup, but which ended up being a belter night out. The new Titanic Belfast building looked superb as a backdrop, and the slipways are a superb concert venue.
But gosh was it cold….Baltic in fact!
We’re almost there folks, it’s almost time for Belfast’s new icon to open its doors to the world, and to finally tell the Belfast story of the worlds most famous ocean liner, the Titanic.
I know a lot of you are already getting Titanic overload with everything in the City having the Titanic label put on it, right from a bag of crisps to a whiskey, and from a bar to the new icon of the city, Titanic Belfast.
But with worldwide interest in the centenary of the maiden and only voyage of the Titanic, it’s finally fantastic to see Belfast claiming it back and celebrating the industrial might we had in the early 20th century, and to celebrate our world class shipbuilding industry at that time. We were world leaders in ship building and that’s something we should be immensely proud of. The Titanic and it’s two sister ships, Olympic and Britannic were built to a standard never seen before as luxury and size were paramount and ahead of their time.
As Titanic Belfast is about to open its doors and celebrate everything that was and is great about Belfast we managed to get a sneak preview and we were most definitely wowed.
Arriving at the building, obviously I was über excited…an actual butterflies in the belly moment. I had very high expectations and in the most part I was impressed and can safely say that it’s worth the entrance fee.
It’s not a museum, but it is an interactive and technologically advanced Titanic Visitor experience, the largest in the world in fact. Standing at the height the Titanic and Olympic were as they were built side by side only yards from the building, it’s an impressive sight to look up as you are walking in the doors.
Inside, the galleries are kitted out with some amazing interactive technology and lots and lots of information and stories about Belfast and the Titanic. I’ll not go into details as it would give just too much away, but two definite highlights stand out. One was the room were story of the actual sinking of the ship is told, and you walk into a black corridoor with water effects on the floor and stars above and the final radio transmissions of the crew of the Titanic are displayed. You just can’t not be moved by the stillness of the room or the final moments of the ship.
My other absolutely totally amazing moment was the glass floor in the theatre almost at the end of the tour. Thousands of photographs have been taken looking down on the Titanic as it is today, 2.5 miles down at the bottom of the Atlantic. These are merged into one large image and as you stand on the glass floor this image moves across underneath your feet showing some amazing details of the ship. It’s quite special….actually it’s more than quite special, it just totally wowed me and I just need to stand there again and take it all in, in every minute detail!
On a very slight negative, there were a few things I thought could have been better, but final touches and tweaks were still being finished, so hopefully any minor issues or disappointments I came across will be ironed out by the time it opens this Saturday.
Opening day tickets are sold out online, but there are tickets available at the door on the day. If you are going, expect it to be busy, and expect to spend much longer in there than you planned to.
We’ll be back in there on the 14th, on the day the iceberg struck, but who knows, maybe I’ll make a wee sneaky visit again before then!! I have an absolute need to spend a whole afternoon in there on my own, soaking up the huge amount of information available and getting totally immersed in the Belfast Titanic story.
For more information head over to www.titanicbelfast.com
What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with a drink….it is afterall what’s expected of being Irish isn’t it?
And to jump on the Irish/drinking trend, Smirnoff has created the Smirnoff Irish Shamrock. This zesty little (or big if you prefer) cocktail will make all other revellers green with envy apparently!
For the Smirnoff Irish Shamrock all you need is, 50ml Smirnoff Lime, 20ml Sugar cane syrup, 1 Lime chopped in 16 pieces.
Muddle the lime and sugar cane syrup in a glass,
Fill glass with crushed ice,
Add vodka and stir,
Retop with crushed ice and garnish with a lime wedge and straw……
Happy St. Patricks Day!
Don’t forget to be Drink Aware!
Every Sunday in St George’s Market is a fun day, but this week was especially thrilling as I actually sold out of a new range of greetings card and it’s taken me totally by surprise. Based on the Keep Calm and Carry on design, I opted for a ‘Keep er lit’ local theme. I totally love the local lingo, and judging by people’s reactions reading the cards, it’s not just me who’s the buck eejit! But yousun’s are just as bad as me!
Meanwhile, around the market, we had the pleasure of having a flying shark beside us! It’s just surreal seeing a shark moving about above the market stalls.
I also had another bizarre encounter, but bizarre in a really pleasing way. I’m standing there having a break from the rush, and I see my next door neighbour walking by having just paid for her pitch. When I say next door neighbour, I don’t mean the stall next to me…but my actual next door neighbour of 10 years! She didn’t know I did St George’s and I didn’t know she crafted! Check out the two pics here with the cool chicken and cute giraffe. Her creations are beautiful and very Kath Kidston, love them. Keep an eye out for Buttonmoon, you will adore it.
I did skive a bit today as well, and popped over to see my chums over at Tee and Toast and Arbee Cards. Love love love T&T’s funky stuff, it’s just so way out there! Quirky Funky Fun, always makes me smile. And right beside T&T is the vintage and cool Arbee Cards with her cute as a button ‘Wee Dotes’ cards. Rachel at Arbee is an expert wedding stationery creator, but you probably already knew that.
And a special mention to my chum Carrie at CherryBlossomTattoo who’s come back after a break. Every photo Carrie sells has it’s own story and each story means so much to Carrie. It’s wonderful to hear the passion for her art shine through. Keep er lit Carrie!!
Time to head off and create more Keep er lit designs. The things one does on a Sunday night!
Oh and by the way, I’m selling bus tour tickets at my stall now. So if you haven’t done a tour of Belfast yet, it’s time you did!
When the Titanic was discovered lying broken at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean 25 years ago, the worlds most recognisable ship name was almost never spoken about in Belfast. Around the world, few knew about the Titanic connections to Belfast, and that we designed and built it here in what was a city in it’s industrial prime.
Now almost 100 years later, the Titanic Belfast building, will be the largest Titanic visitor attraction in the world when it opens it’s doors in 2012.
In this short clip, Dr Robert Ballard, who made the discovery 25 years ago, talks about the challenge to find the cruise liner and also about the launch of the new building.