Myself and Maeve
Once I'd diposed of my backpack at her flat we went for a walk around Queens University and the park there, bustling with people enjoying the unusually warm weather. After sharing some heart to hearts we went to a ~cool coffee shop, Common Ground and caught up some more. I finally got to see the Queens Film Theatre, and its setting was not at all what I expected. It is linked to the university itself, being part of the QUB Drama and Film Centre and is cosily nestled in a beautiful Georgian house. I can only say that next time, I'll include a trip to the cinema in my visit. The evening that followed was unplanned and of course we ended staying out until the wee hours, I having bought a £4.75 bottle of red to accompany dinner.
Interior of St. George's Market
The next day was exciting as I had been looking forward to seeing Claire of French for Cupcake, who had recently secured a permanent stall at St. George's Market, with her independent bakery Lily Pink Bakery. I think one of the positives of this recession that some people are finding fulfilment in alternative means of employment and Claire is pursuing her dream, and I couldn't be more pleased for her. She works so hard! In fact I'm devouring one of her best sellers, the red velvet cupcake as I type.
Claire at her stall
Claire's beautifully iced cupcakes
Maeve & I outside the iconic St. George's Market gates
St. George's Market was a joy to wander around, independent businesses all plying their wares, from independent artists to leatherworkers, the stall holders were as engaging as the ware of their stalls. I bought a very delicious vegetarian burrito from the father and son team of Sol Catering (I believe that was the name but I can't find them after googling), as well as a Flax Fox Designs postcard illustration of the iconic Harland & Woolf shipping cranes "Samson and Goliath", that I'd seen on my list visit, to Titanic Belfast. She had a lovely range of quirky prints and beautiful tea towels, I wished I could have afforded to buy more.
(Also for Game of Thrones fans, there were some Stark children about while I was there, in fact Claire seems to have her photo taken with a different cast member every week!)
"Samson and Goliath", Flax Fox Designs
A leisurely hour or so later, we meandered through the streets of Belfast, making our lazy way toward The MAC, a recently opened contemporary arts centre in the heart of the city.
Gavin and Maeve, unconciously making good poster candidates for the gallery!
Rather decadently, instead of making our way up through the galleries directly, I was somewhat awed to see a long, well stocked bar opposite the reception desk. No generic gallery cafe, not for Belfast! The painfully chic black booths were organised along the red brick interior walls. We made our orders at the bar, what better time than now to try out "the hair of the dog" hangover cure. As we later made our way up through the galleries, I recognised Mark Garry's handiwork:
Mark Garry, The Permanent Present, 2012 (Gavin's picture!)
As we resolved that because I was "on holiday", we made our way to a favourite bar of Maeve's, and probably beloved of tourists, I don't know if there's an Irish equivalent for the word Americana, but this place was literally wall to wall of Irish bar paraphernalia. I liked it though, it was laid back with its snugs, mirrors, copper topped tables and wooden benches. It didn't feel forced, more like they had been accumulated and acquired over time.
Gavin & I, that was the first outing for the rather wonderful 1960s lurex suit I have had in my wardrobe for a number of months! It recevied loads of compliments at St. George's market, a different environment to small town West of Ireland though!
The 'Duke of York' Irishy bar (the English name puzzled me too, but its Belfast) was down this lovely wee alley with punters taking the opportunity to drink in comfort on the gaily painted red benches outside.
Dali looking over the aforementioned alley
Dinner next, and we enjoyed a curry in the delicious, it was very quiet when we were there which seems such a shame because I really enjoyed my meal. This blissful day ended, I'm not ashamed to say, with a tired Maeve and myself watching When Harry Met Sally, squeeing over our favourite scenes. Feels good to watch it with a fellow fan, rather than introducing it to an indifferent friend!
A really beautiful Catholic church that we passed on the walk home
P.S. I have been neglectful of the blog as of late and not for the first time, there's so much to say and I scribble enthusiastic notes in my notebook, hoping one day to turn them into a tangible post, then I quickly loose confidence... and nothing.
The blog will be poorly attended to for the next number of weeks, but more of that soon.