Each town and city in Ireland has its own personality. The same is true of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; they are two different countries with many subtle differences. They were once all the same country, of course, but Dublin, the capitol of the ROI, was mostly built out during the Georgian era, whereas Belfast, the capitol of NI, boasts the most surviving Victorian buildings in all of Ireland. The difference between Georgian and Victorian? If Georgian architecture is the cake, Victorian style is the icing. And I do so love cake frosting.
Our time in Belfast was short and we didn't see as much as I would have liked--partly because I couldn't tear myself away from the Belfast City Hall, what I call the most beautiful building in Belfast. As such, it deserves its own blog post.
At the front of the building one finds the memory garden for victims of the Titanic. Something I did not know about the Titanic before my visit to Ireland was how many of the people hired to work on the ship were Irish. So many, in fact, there is a Titanic Museum, also in Belfast (more on that in my next post). You can read about it and the inscription HERE.
I love the windows in this building. This photo was taken from a great distance as these windows were on the second story but one can still see how beautiful they are.
These ground floor windows are in the cafeteria/restaurant; I like the way the building across the street is reflected in the panes of glass.
This sculpture greets you as you enter the building. It depicts the Earl of Belfast. My research (scant and rapid) leads me to believe that the last man to hold that particular title died in 1883 but I can't be sure--the Wikipedia entry redirects to the Marquess of Donegall and it is all a bit confusing. However, I think it is safe to assume he is depicted here due to the name of the city. The plaque above the statue lists the council members in 1906, the year the building was completed.
There are many parts to this building and I so wish we had been allowed to go up the stairs to the upper floor. There was plenty to admire on the ground floor, however. Be sure to click on the photos to view the lovelies larger.
I would not want to be the one responsible for keeping this place dusted. (I'm sure the feeling would be mutual as I am a woeful duster.)
The amount of work and dedication and talents and the sheer number of delicious scrolls is mind boggling.
I wish I had paid more attention (or remembered what I read) about this window. I suspect it is a rendering of St. Michael but I don't really know. Finally, we had seen all there was to see below stairs and I turned my full attention to the staircase and what I could see of what was above.
I have seen photos online of the first floor (what Americans would refer to as the second floor) rotunda so I suppose they do allow visitors up there. I wish they had the day we were there. The pictures promise even more beauty than we saw.
To read my other Ireland posts, go HERE to find links to the others.