According to some very wise and ancient dietician – you are what you eat. In Ireland, we like to believe that and perhaps that’s the reason why we’re such a cheery bunch.
We spend our time munching on drool-inducing potato farls, creamy seafood chowder and hot, out-of-the-oven Guinness bread so it’s natural that we have a certain pep in our step. So when you’re in Ireland wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the same tummy-filled levity that we do? Well, look no further because our little blog has gone all gastronomic and sourced the finest foodie haunts in Ireland, starting with city where the Titanic was born: Belfast!
Judging from the size of an Ulster Fry, you could be forgiven for assuming that it was an Ulster man who decided that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Maggie May’s in Belfast has turned the morning snack into a masterpiece served up in sweet and cosy surroundings with a wallet-pleasing price tag. Don’t start your day without it.
There’s something about strolling around a handsome city like Belfast, taking in the regal City Hall and the academic beauty of Queen’s University that tends to make a person somewhat peckish. Belfast is a charmingly walkable spot so rather than cut your stroll short we suggest making for the decadent and delicious, Little Cupcake Café for a heavenly sugar rush on the go. If it weren’t for the calorie count we’d be scoffing a Chocolate with White Chocolate frosting cupcake for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Post cupcake interlude it’s time to take on the moving and fascinating story of the Titanic down where it all began (literally) at Harland and Wolff Shipyards where the Titanic was built and is now home to the ship’s dry dock, pump house and the gantry cranes that helped build it.
There is a great chance that all that water puts you in mind of a pre-lunch tipple, or a ‘wee dram’ as the locals say, so with a hop, skip and a short walk you’re back in the city centre and bathing under the gas-lit brilliance of the Crown Bar Liquor Saloon. Lunch can only wait so long and so off we pop to one of the gastronomic dreams created by michelin star chef, Michael Deane. Deane’s name hangs above a handful of foodie haunts over the city and we’d recommend taking in some heavenly eats in the beautiful Cathedral Quarter. Alternatively you could make for the intellectual heartland by the beautiful edifice of Queen’s University and chill with the pizza munching students at the very cute Café Renoir.
Smart cookies will fill a picnic basket and head to the graced the floral fabulousness of Belfast’s Botanic Gardens for al fresco lunch under a balmy summer sun. Further proof that they’re not all about the flowers, the Botanic Gardens will play host to some of Northern Ireland’s finest chefs at Belfast Taste and Music Fest from August 4-7, 2011. The festival is one of those family-friendly types and your best chance to get kids to eat their yearly intake of vegetables.
Those with a taste for sea-raised meals need not worry, Belfast isn’t that far from the coast. The menu of Mourne Seafood Bar on Bank St is a party of mussels, oysters, lobsters, langoustines and fresh fish, while specials are whatever landed that morning at the local ports of Kilkeel and Annalong. Your after-dinner cocktail awaits in Tatu, along with a multi-tasker of an evening of sipping and people-watching. For a louder, livelier night get to the gig-tastic Stiff Kitten.
Of course, Belfast’s music scene makes for a bit of a year-round festival. But that’s a whole other blog…