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36 Hours in Belfast – The New York Times

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It’s best to do the trek around Divis Mountain on a clear day, when the views down into Belfast and northeast to Scotland are truly spectacular, but the challenging walk is pleasurable even when skies are gray, thanks to the gloriously fresh air and pastoral landscapes of lush fields and tranquil cows. Peregrine falcons and red grouse also call the mountain home. The drive to the car park, where you can begin the hike, is about 7.5 miles west of the city center, around a 20-minute drive in your rental car or a taxi.

On Ormeau Road, General Merchants (breakfast or lunch for two around £25) is a hip neighborhood favorite that’s got a full menu of interesting breakfast dishes (cooler alternatives to the traditional Ulster fry), including eggs scrambled with chile oil, and buttermilk rolls laden with local bacon and excellent black pudding, as well as Irish oats with apple and raspberry compote. After brunch, stroll up the road to AL Gelato, home to Belfast’s best ice cream, in flavors like Guinness and white chocolate, or Jammy Dodger (a popular jam-stuffed cookie). You have your pick of top-notch indie cafes on Ormeau Road — Kaffe O and 387 Ormeau Road are both good options — but strolling a bit farther south brings you to the excellent Root & Branch, which roasts its own impeccably sourced coffee in the back.

Don’t leave Belfast without paying tribute to the city’s shipbuilding industry and its most infamous export, the Titanic. Titanic Belfast (admission £19) is a blockbuster museum in the “Titanic Quarter” of the city (Belfast’s increasing number of geographical “quarters” is standard joke fodder). Its eye-catching architecture — four sharply angled silver wings designed to look like ships’ hulls — is reason enough to visit, but the museum’s deep dive into the Titanic’s history, design and passengers, as well as fascinating exhibits on the lives of workers in Belfast’s linen and other industries, is very well done. Many “Game of Thrones” scenes were filmed in the adjacent studios, and if you’re in town before Sept. 1, you can catch the show’s touring exhibition, which showcases sets like the Crypt of Winterfell. Afterward, stroll north toward the Great Light, a 19th-century lighthouse, then up the newly opened Titanic Walkway, a stretch of Victoria Wharf that connects the Titanic Slipways to the HMS Caroline, a World War I light-cruiser that’s now a floating museum.


Titanic fanatics can live out their fantasies in the Titanic Hotel Belfast (doubles from £109), which opened in 2017 in the old Harland & Wolff offices. Neat rooms have rivets for décor and sinks that are replicas of those on the Titanic, but it’s the spectacular bar, its high arching roof crammed with skylights, that’s the most impressive (it’s also where the draftsmen once sat).



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