Tourist of Belfast

Belfast, Northern Ireland - Thursday, April 29, 2010 by: Michael Townsend

Belfast would hold many surprises, but none more so than the “Meeting of the HOGS”. I had made my way downtown from my B and B in Randalstown and found a parking spot close to city hall. I wandered about taking pictures of this glorious building. And then some bikes showed up. I talked to the first two riders to get there and was told a Charity Ride of The Province wide HOG Chapter was in progress. (And me without my Street Glide! Damn!) I expected a few bikes to show but by the time they had all assembled, 30 or more had arrived. They attracted quite a crowd by the time they set out. Talking to these folks revealed a passion for the Harley and riding riveled only by my own. The picture of the folically challenged guy with his daughter, who also rides, was the director of the Chapter. Very interesting group; a group almost indistinguishable from my own Chapter in Kamloops, as we are so connected by our love of riding and our bikes. I then got on ‘that huge wheel’ to get some shots of the city, and was rewarded with ‘that terrible rumble’ as that most distinctive sound reverberated through the streets as they left for their ride.
From ‘the wheel’ I was able to get some long shots of the city of Belfast.
But what I love most is the street level experience. I hopped an open double-decker to see some of the city. First picture is one of a fascinating clock tower as this is Belfast’s version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I caught this picture of a sky-hook attempting to straighten it. (I believe Irish ingenuity failed at this endeavour.) I spent most of my time just taking it all in but one of the pictures I was able to capture was of Stormont, the parliament buildings of Northern Ireland, which President Clinton, upon visiting Northern Ireland some years ago, was overhead to say, was more impressive than the White House. I think I agree, and despite the security measures present in Northern Ireland, one can walk up to the building freely.
The last two pictures included here are of the dry dock of the Titanic. Belfast was one of the main ship building capitals of the world's greatest ships. And the Titanic was one of the most impressive ships of its day. The liner was due to begin trials April 1, 1912, but because of bad weather it was postponed until April 2. (Hmmm.) eight days later the Titanic would set out on its maiden voyage from South Hampton England bound for New York City. What would ensue would be one of the greatest shipping stories of all time, stuff of legends, all originating from this remarkable city of Belfast.