This is the Crown Liquor Saloon, or Crown Bar — "the most famous bar in Belfast." It's look and feel is that of the so-called gin palaces of the 19th century, which morphed from quasi-pharmacies serving gin for medicinal purposes into full-service pubs. Charles Dickens described the ambiance of the gin palaces as "perfectly dazzling when contrasted with the darkness and dirt we have just left." That is, compared to the sometimes drab world of the Victorian era.
From where it sits in the downtown area, it has seen its share of history over the years. Indeed, across the street is the Europa Hotel, dubbed "the most bombed hotel in the world." During the Troubles it was bombed 36 times!
The Jaffé Fountain in Victoria Square was built in 1874 to honour Belfast's leading linen merchant, a Jewish immigrant from Germany named Daniel Joseph Jaffé. (Belfast really came of age as a centre of the linen trade and even took the nickname Linenopolis.) One of Jaffé's many children, Sir Otto Jaffé, served twice as Lord Mayor of Belfast.
It's bright yellow colour contrasted nicely with the gray Belfast sky when I was there.
The "Beacon of Hope" sculpture, just off Queen's Bridge, which crosses the River Lagan in Belfast.
The 19.5 metre tall sculpture, which was completed in 2007, is part of Thanksgiving Square, a space set aside by the city to provide a public place for people to give thanks. Or something along those lines.
The sculpture has also been affectionately (or perhaps not so affectionately) called the Thing with the Ring or Lula with the Hula.
The "Mother Daughter Sister" statue in Belfast celebrates the role women have played in the history of the Sandy Row area. It stands in front of the mural celebrating William of Orange's victory at the Battle of the Boyne over James II, which solidified William's hold oher the throne of England and Scotland and strengthened the power of Protestants in Ireland. There's an interesting contrast there. I'm just not certain what it is.
Written on the plaque at the foot of the Mother Daughter Sister statue are the words to the song Que Sera Sera.
There are many so-called peace walls in Belfast that separate Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods. They grew out of barricades these communities had erected during the time of the Troubles. In this video I'm approaching a wall from the Catholic side. Like many of these walls there's a gate that's closed at night and on weekends (I'm there on a Sunday). Check out the mural between the two sides, a plea to the people of an area historically ravaged by sectarian violence.
Belfast is known for the political murals that adorn the walls in the areas of the city that saw the most strife during the Troubles. They tell a tale all on their own. Here are 10 photos from one of these areas, numbers 2-5 are from the protestant side and the rest from the Catholic side.
This impressive statue of Queen Victoria sits outside Belfast City Hall in the centre of Belfast city. Queen Victoria granted Belfast city status in 1888 at which point plans for the construction of city hall began.
This is Titanica, the statue in front of the Titanic museum in Belfast. The museum, which opened in 2012, is built on the shipyard where the RMS Titanic was built and completed in 1912.
The World Travel Awards last year named it the best tourist attraction in the world.
First time on the Emerald Isle. I really enjoyed visiting Belfast. What history.
Belfast International is the second busiest airport on the island (after Dublin). It started out in 1917 as a place for the Royal Air Force to train pilots during World War I. Commercial flights started in 1922.
That's the 16th century hexagonal belltower of the church of Sant Nicolau in Palma, near the Placa del Mercat. To the left, a nice contrast with the early 20th century art noveau architecture of Gaudi.
A church has stood on that spot since 1302, having gone through many different iterations over the years.
I'm holding a tray of what's called coca. Some describe it as Mallorcan pizza. It's essentially onions, tomatoes and peppers, chopped up on dough, which is sprinkled with olive oil and then cooked in the oven.
I think the dough is the key. An English-language cookbook I have says to use butter for the dough. A Catalan-language one calls for saim, or lard. I'd go with the lard.
Standing next to me is my brother Miguel @mallorcanative. I may have grown taller in the end but I'll always look up to him! We had a great time that day at a cookout put on for us by very dear friends just outside Palma.