Sunday, 5 December 2010

Belfast in December

Belfast City Hall December 2010
Belfast is very cold! We've not had the quantity of snow that a lot of the UK and Ireland has experienced this week but this part of the world has nevertheless shared the freezing cold temperatures. So before I reminisce more about last months trip to New York, here is a quick start-of the-month feeler from the frozen streets of Belfast.

The city has been getting into the festive spirit. The Christmas lights were turned on the day Norngirl and I arrived home from NYC. The switch-on was apparently done by the Lord Mayor and Lisa Riley. Sadly though, we didn't head down because we were just too tired to do anything more than sleep. With good reason too! At that stage in the day we'd had a mad week, had been awake for the best part of 40 hours and needed more rest than we got closing our eyes for a few minutes on hard airport seats in Heathrow. The streets of Belfast therefore are now lit up with festive decorations, they're not exactly the Blackpool Illuminations but they do add a nice glow to our city's streets.

Belfast Christmas Lights

In the grounds of Belfast City hall is the Belfast Christmas Continental Market. I've so far only had the chance for a quick walk through and the shops seem quite similar to last year but it's still fun to take in the sights, sounds and more importantly - smells... though it would be awesome to head back and take in some of the BEER!

Belfast Continental market and City hall

Belfast City Hall itself (and the rest of the grounds) have also been decorated. I think most people in Belfast, if asked, would count the City Hall as one of the gems of Belfast when speaking about its landmarks and I think the council have done a great job of decorating it again this year. Though it really is missing the Belfast Wheel :(

Belfast City Hall Christmas Decorations

Belfast City Hall Bfestive decoration and Korean War Memorial

The other big change in this part of the city centre is the semi-completion of the paving on Donegal Place and Royal Avenue. This was a nice surprise! Before, the buses into town had to swerve through a roadwork chicane and it always threw you off balance. Now seemingly done, this area is more pedestrianised than ever and the first 2 of what are said to be 8 giant lighting masts have been installed!

Belfast Iconic Feature Lighting MastIconic Feature Lighting Mast in BelfastYep, the two random copper sculptures are part of 8 masts that will grace the street. They are known as Belfast City's Iconic Feature Lighting Masts though I suspect they'll get a new name before long. I've not been able to find too much about them but according to the Department for Social Development's website, the remaining 6 will be installed in January and each is to be named after a ship with a tie to the city. For a little more information here is the DSD page about the iconic feature lighting masts. I can't wait to see what it all looks like once they're done and the lights have been installed and turned on! The page linked to above has some artists impressions if you're feeling curious.

There has also been a little bit of snow and at times it has been looking quite like a winter wonderland but there hasn't been quite enough snow to be able make some snowmen or snow animals like we did in Yorkshire back in February this year. Sadly there has been just enough snow/ice for the primary school kids (who don't live in our street) to come around and pelt the windows, grrrrrrr, wee brats.

Snow in North Belfast

Night time snow in Belfast

Victoria Square is also alive with festive glow; a massive tree like cone is its centrepiece but the whole shopping centre is filled with hanging lights and bunches of small Christmas trees. It's quite a sight. Sadly I've not had chance to take any photos of it yet but do head over to San Fran ♥ Belfast where Flippin' Yank has been busy sharing some snaps of those decorations and scenes.

So with that I'll get back to some online Christmas shopping and putting together some more posts about New York... that is if I can draw myself away from my new toy! I recently hit the 200 limit on Flickr so succumbed to paying to go Pro.  With this purchase I've found a new addiction... like I needed one! I've now taken to ploughing through people's photos and commenting on them as well as sharing my own. So if you also use Flickr too, don't be shy to say hi and add me as a contact, I'll be sure to reciprocate. Here is my photostream on Flickr. Tis the season to be jolly after all :)


  1. Do the new lighting masts impact walking space very much? They look very cool, but I always felt like Belfast pavements were so full of signage and fixtures, no one could actually use them!

  2. They're not bad so far but then at the moment there are only 2. The streets ahead project seems to have done a decent job of making the space more open for pedestrians. However saying that I've yet to try walking down there on an early Saturday afternoon or on a late night shopping day. Maybe it just seems a lot more open due to it being so cramped with the construction works going on for so long but it does seem the pavement is wider now compared to before?

  3. Ah that is true, without the construction, they could trick us into accepting all manner of crowded pavements, as they would just seem more open! ;)

  4. They were manufactured by Fleckimet - a local steel company.
    They will be able to give more detail.

  5. Good to know :) looks like they make a lot of the things we walk on or around. Apparently they had a hand in Victoria Square's steel bits n bobs too.



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