With a rare full-day off on the trip to Belfast, my client and I hired (rented) bikes for a day and took the Belfast Towpath (bike-path… don’t ask why it’s called a towpath… that’s what people seem to call it yet we only saw one sign with that name and no one being towed) from Belfast towards Lisburn, called The Lagan and Lough Cycle Way http://www.nationalcyclenetwork.co.uk.
The path was an easy ride, mostly flat with only baby hills, and followed the river. The scenery was green, green, and green, with the occasional splash of yellow or red to break up the green. The trees were green, the shrubs were green, the grass the hills the fields were all green. It was, as I may have mentioned, quite green. Unfortunately the sky was a blinding shade of matte-grey, rendering nearly all photos as drab and flat as English toast. We spotted a cemetary along the way and had a respectful look around.
We got as far as Drumbeg, or more specifically a pub in Drumbeg, about 10 miles down the road, and stopped in for a pint. The locals were far more colorful than the sky, entertaining us with tales of local sites and why they drive on the left side of the road (apparently it has to do with having available your sword-arm to meet oncoming aggression. Which probably weeded out the southpaw population quite rapidly).
The ride back was surprisingly quick; fueled by pints and salt-and-vinegar crisps, we indiscriminately shoved young children and old ladies off the path towards lunch, stopping at The Docks for a leisurely lunch of salad, veggies and chicken.
Upon returning to Belfast, we headed toward the Titanic Quarter. This is where, as you may have cleverly surmised, the Titanic was built. We found it surprising that they are so proud of this ship that they named an entire quarter after it, instead of naming it the Olympic; a ship also built by Harlan & Wolff, of equal size to the Titanic, that served for many many years for both civilian and military needs before finally being retired and scrapped in 1935. But as they Irish say of the Titanic; “she were just fine when she left here. An English captain and a Canadian iceberg brought her down”. So there. It’s also curious that the two largest cranes in Europe, both here in Belfast, are named Samson and Goliath—biblical figures both brought down by much smaller foes. Someone should have a word with the City of Belfast marketing department. Anyway the Titanic quarter is under amazing development, with apartments and hotels popping up everywhere. Construction was so great there we really couldn’t get anywhere to see anything. Pity, but good to see the city growing. With The Troubles essentially over, investment money is pouring into the city, and the only explosion is growth. Let’s hope it stays that way.
A little shout-out to the stellar bicycle hire company we used, called Bike Dock www.bikedock.com. They had awesome service, fair prices, and were very kind indeed.
As usual, there are more photos in the gallery if you click on any of the images above.