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One of the wonderful things about planning a holiday in Ireland is that it’s a relatively small place, so you do not have to limit yourself to one area or location. If you’re based in Dublin, why not hire a car and drive up to Belfast to spend the day in Northern Ireland?  There is so much going on, you will be glad you made the trip, which should take less than two hours.

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Titanic Belfast

Until this impressive tourist attraction was created, it was often overlooked that the huge ill-fated ship had been built in Belfast. Now, everyone is aware of it and they are flocking from all over the world to find out about the Titanic more than 100 years after she was launched.

The purpose-built museum resembles the bow of a ship and is located right next to where construction was carried out in the Titanic Quarter. Over six storeys, visitors are taken on a multi-sensory journey through the history of the vessel.

Starting off in the boomtown that was Belfast at the beginning of the 20th century, the narrative leads guests through the launch of the Titanic and into the amazing luxury of her interiors. This is contrasted with the tragic sinking and a tour of her final resting place at the bottom of the ocean.

The lives of the passengers and crew come to life and the heroes of the disaster are given their place in history. This is an experience you will never forget.

Belfast Zoo

Belfast Zoo is a fascinating place to visit, but also an important force for conservation. Many of the 140 species that are housed within the zoo are endangered in their natural habitats and the facility has an extensive breeding programme.

It originally opened to the public in 1934 and since then its collection has grown to include everything from sea lions and penguins, to Malayan sun bears and Sumatran tigers. It is a great way for children to learn about ecosystems around the world and an extensive programme of events is staged throughout the year.

St George’s Market

Built between 1890 and 1896, this Victorian covered market is one of the oldest and most loved attractions in Belfast. It is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but each day offers something different.

The variety market on a Friday consists of 248 stalls with fruit, vegetables, fish, clothes, antiques and books all for sale. On Saturday you will find crafts and speciality foods from all over the world, so if you want to stock up on pheasant or French pastries then this is when you should plan to visit.

On a Sunday the vibe is more relaxed and live brands often set up to entertain the crowds. The wares on offer are a hybrid of Friday and Saturday, with more of an emphasis on local crafts. Whichever day you decide to visit, there will be plenty to see and buy.

The building itself is worth studying, as it allows shoppers to step back in time. It underwent a £4.5 million renovation in 2007 to ensure that it continues to be an exciting and vibrant place to visit.

Somewhat impressively, it has fought off competition from the likes of Spitalfields, Billingsgate and Borough to be voted the UK’s Best Large Indoor Market 2014 by the National Association of British Market Authorities.

 

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