We set off in the early hours of the morning to the peaceful end of Belfast by the Queen’s University Belfast and its beautiful greenhouse. Separated into three parts, the greenhouse shows an array of blooming flowers, domestic and tropical, as well as some hanging prickly green cactuses – fitting for the occasion. You could spend hours walking around the south-east alongside the River Lagan and through the botanical gardens.
Next, we hit the city centre where masses of people, young and old, are dressed in green from head to toe. Hung over their shoulders is the Irish flag as they swarm in and out of pubs. The walls are etched in infamous mural paintings commemorating and displaying parts of Irish culture and history, namely events such as the Great Irish Famine and the 1981 Irish hunger strike. Today, there is also music and noise as people shout, whistle and celebrate through the streets.
We head straight to St. George’s Market for a bite. Previously a slaughterhouse and used as an emergency mortuary during World War II, the brick walls of the market are now home to over 300 traders and musicians. The vibrant environment is filled with plentiful and inexpensive amounts of food. A carrot cake for a pound and a box of cupcakes for three pounds!
On our search for a pub, we find a line in front of the Dirty Onion. Though every pub was packed with people, the Dirty Onion was definitely worth the ten-minute wait. Divided into an outside garden, enclosed by a white cover to protect us from the drizzling rain, and the elongated inside bar, there are bands playing one after the other including Owen Denvir and Him&Her. By this point, everyone is cheerful and holding a plastic cup of lager high in the air. For dessert: mint-flavored shots topped with Bailey’s.
Our final stop was to be expected, a trip to the closest fish and chips shop. Hungry, a little tired and incredibly grateful for the day.