Belfast

On the Ferry

The ride across the Irish (North) Channel was NOT fun. It wasn’t just expensive at 175 Pounds ($280 Canadian dollars), it was also rough and rocky. As such, I spent the time crossing incredibly motion sick. Motion sickness = no photographing.

Now raining, the ferry was stuffy, steamy and packed with commuters – standing room only. It was only 10:30am but not many of our Irish counterparts were avoiding the bar (you can’t even buy an alcoholic drink at that time here in Canada!).

At the table across from us sat 3 gentlemen who we watched drink 10 beers each – a total of 30 beers arrived to their table before they got back in their cars to drive off of the ferry – just two hours later.

And it wasn’t just the men, a table of rowdy ladies hooted and hollered beside us, rapidly downing their intoxicating beverages, cat calling at every male passer by – including my highly embarrass-able and easily mortified husband who could barely make it back to the table after his hilarious ‘attack’.

It really was more like a college bar than a commuter ferry. Truly it was completely outrageous.

We were a bit paranoid driving off of the ferry with the other drunken passengers.

Close to Belfast

Here in BC Canada, our drinking and driving laws are so strict that it is possible to ‘blow over’ and lose your license over ONE DRINK. Even I think that is a bit severe – but I am not sure what I think of the practice of serving multiple (10!) drinks to a passenger who is about to drive home.

Of course none of this means I would dare judge the consumption levels of an entire country based on one city (& ferry) and one days visit.

Architecture Belfast

I think Ireland is full of drunks as much as I think Canada is full of igloos and lumberjacks. Sure, we have some – more in certain places than in others – but the country is NOT full of either.

I would soon discover we had arrived the day before the Orange Festival (another story altogether), so perhaps that played a part in the Northern Irish drunkenness we witnessed on the ferry and off.

Orange Fest

 

Whatever the cause, belligerent drunkenness was happening everywhere we turned.

We had considered staying for the Orange Festival, but decided not to at the last minute. Thankfully we didn’t – it would turn into a ferocious riot that would last for days.

Downtown Belfast

In hindsight, after the brutal history that Northern Ireland has barely moved past, you would wonder why a secular religious event would seem like a good idea in the first place.

Why riot? According to cafe babel.co.uk;

“The 2010 riots manifested the aggression of thousands of young people who have grown up in a social climate of profound hatred, have played amongst bomb sites and burnt out streets, are maturing into a society that had lost its economic strength long before the global recession, and yet are daily watching their politicians grin across borders and declare that all their worries are over.”

I guess I could feel the tension in the air (you know, the empath thing), because I didn’t want to stay in Belfast long.

Queen infront of City Hall

We got a bite to eat, enjoyed the beauty of the City Hall and the Titanic monument (did you know it was built here?), and walked a few streets before rushing out into the north Irish countryside to make our way to County Clare.

Green Northern Ireland

Many additional photos in the slideshow.

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Follow this tour by heading to the ‘8 Country EU Tour‘ section. Many more photos of Ireland at the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.

(continued)

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5 responses to “Belfast

  1. I’d not stay long either in those circumstances. I think those drunk driving laws in BC should be adopted here in Michigan. The drunks are loose everywhere and I simply hate it.

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    • My husband was just telling me that the stats here have been good since we adopted our extremely strict laws just a few years ago. The number of police stops resulting in the arrest of drunk drivers is WAY down. I know that most people I know really don’t risk even one drink (always have a designated driver, or just don’t drink) – the consequences are too high. I know it isn’t the same in other provinces of Canada. But yes, it is good! safer, for sure!

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  2. Altho I haven’t been there Ana Ela my husband served there in the earlier years of ‘troubles’ . He would definitely vouch for a certain type of absolute belligerence and unwavering religious/political views amongst some of the people. Yes probably that time the … Orange Festival would be rather high spirited !
    Now of County Clare I will be very interested to see what you think 🙂

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    • Oh yes Belfast. The air was thick with trouble! And the streets teeming with people looking for trouble. Orangefest – when I looked it up and read about it, I couldn’t even believe that is was slated to happen. I am no expert, but it seems like a bad idea!

      I won’t spoil my upcoming post, but let me say I LOVE County Clare. LOVE.

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