Wednesday, 31 January 2007


The last day in the greyest month of the year and I need a bit of colour, so this photograph is of the Amazozo Luminarium that visited Belfast during last year's Children's Festival. The luminarium is a massive inflatible structure of corridors and domes all in vivid colours. If it tours in your area, well worth visiting - even without a small child in tow.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007


A tangle of moss covered tree branches in the forest by Hillsborough Lake. Its a lovely place and the colours are amazing - the photograph doesn't quite show up how vivid the green of the moss is.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Sleepy Cat

Our cat can sleep anywhere, even on a pile of old papers...

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Oak Throne

Taken a little while ago, in Barnett Park. I think every little girl should have a throne like this. This one was carved by Ned Jackson Smith.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Sentry Box

Sentry box at the entrance to Hillsborough Castle. There are two of these boxes - one on either side of the Castle gates. (I guess the Queen mustn't have been visiting today as there was no soldier in the box. )

Friday, 26 January 2007

Sign of the times

Built in 1900, Bank Buildings used to be one of Belfast's poshest department stores. It now houses a branch of Primark (discount fashion store).

Thursday, 25 January 2007


This cafe is just beside my daughter's school, and we often go in for a hot chocolate after a hard day in the classroom. I love the lights over the counter.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007


Passing through the city centre on the motorway, a quick shot from the car window of the Odyssey building, with the ever present cranes in the background.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

the big countdown....

Over the last week, these posters have appeared all over the city, on bus shelters, on advertising hoardings, on buses etc. Smoking in public places is finally being banned on 30th April and most people I 've spoken to (even smokers) are really looking forward to it. In 1994 Southern Ireland was the first country in Europe to impose a workplace ban, and despite the fears of pub and restaurant owners, it didn't have any real effect on profits. I'm really looking forward to April 30th - it will be great to be able to call into any cafe or pub and not have to breathe in other people's smoke.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Beacon of Hope

This 15m high lady stands at the side of the Queen's Bridge in the city centre. She's ok, but I much prefer the Big Fish.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Scrabo Tower

A gorgeous Sunday morning so we drove the few miles out to Scrabo Tower for a walk. The tower is built on a high volcanic plug and commemorates the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (who was one of the Duke of Wellington's Generals at Waterloo). It is a really steep climb up to the tower, but well worth it for the great views over Belfast and much of County Down, including Strangford Lough (see small photos).

Saturday, 20 January 2007

'Say no to blow'

Yet another mural, in the lower Ormeau Road area. This one has an anti drugs message (cannabis is known locally as 'blow').

Friday, 19 January 2007


By the Lagan towpath. We've excaped the worst of the storms that have battered the rest of the UK over the past two days - but the sky looks ominous today.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Custom House Square

Recently refurbished, Custom House Square is now a terrific outdoor venue for all sorts of events and exhibitions. A lot of the permanent features around the Square are aimed at children, including this wonderful machine that lets you turn a handle to make your own whirlpool.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

"Reroute the Flute"

Yet another mural, this one on the Lower Ormeau Road. Quite witty, it is based on a 'no entry' roadsign. The figure wears the sash and bowler hat traditionally worn by members of the Orange Order. The lower Ormeau area has been a flashpoint between Orange Order marchers and Flute Bands and protestors for a number of years now. This sign suggests that marchers just aren't welcome in that area...

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Albert Bridge

In a brief flash of late afternoon sunlight, the Albert Bridge, with the ever-present Samson and Goliath in the background.

Monday, 15 January 2007


Mural on gable end wall, lower Ormeau Road. Makes a nice change from all the political/historical murals dotted around Belfast.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Big Fish

The Big Fish is a ceramic mosaic sculpture on Donegall Quay just by the side of the Lagan (river) lookout. The mosaic fragments are printed with images and material from Belfast's past (see small photos for detail).

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Summer Colour

I'm so tired of posting photographs taken in the grim winter weather,
so here is a photograph I took a few months ago at Seaforde Butterfly House, just 20 minutes drive out of Belfast.

Friday, 12 January 2007

Bridgestone Plaque

If you are in Belfast, or indeed anywhere in Ireland, look out for these plaques as they indicate cafes, restaurants and shops recommended by the Bridgestone Guide. Ireland isn't generally renowned for its cuisine, but the standard has improved enormously over the last ten years and the Bridgestone Guides are a fabulous aid in finding the best places to eat, wondeful artisan producers, the best farmers' markets, fabulous B&Bs etc.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Mural, Cregagh Estate

This wall mural commemorates soldiers who were awarded VCs during the First World War. The UVF of the first world war has no connection, other than name, to the paramilitary organisation of the last 40 years. This mural is one of a number painted in an initiative to replace the overtly paramilitary murals of recent years with more positive images of local culture and heritage.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Car park, Fountain area

I'm hoping that this car park is safer than it looks!

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Titanic Memorial, City Hall Grounds

The Titanic was designed and built in Belfast, and this lovely memorial statue carved by Sir Thomas Brock, bears the names of 22 local crew members who died in the sinking. Visitors to the city can now take a Titanic Trail of sites linked to the ship. Information about the memorial is available at Titanic-Titanic.

Monday, 8 January 2007

Royal Avenue (in the rain)

A black and white photo, though the city is so grey today that I needn't have bothered. After an exceptionally mild period before Christmas, the New Year is bringing in proper winter weather. The city has been under heavy dark cloud all day, with constant rain. (The only sensible response to this weather is to curl up by the fire with a cup of coffee, a cat, and some travel guides....)

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Sheep on the Road

Bronze sculpture by Deborah Brown, outside the Waterfront Concert Hall.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Antrim Coast Road

A few miles out of Belfast for a couple of hours this afternoon - a walk along the bottom stretch of the Antrim Coast Road in the low winter light. The plaque to the right commemorates the men who built the road. It was constructed during the 1830s and runs for around 23 miles linking the port town of Larne to the 9 Glens of Antrim. In a 2006 survey, the road was voted number 5 in a list of the world's most spectacular views, beating the Grand Canyon, Machu Picchu and the Angel Falls! (see ). Now, don't get me wrong, the coast road is spectacular and undoubtedly lovely, but even I suspect the vote might have been rigged...!

Friday, 5 January 2007

Queen Street

This vacant building is in Queen Street, in the city centre. Belfast is full of lovely Victorian buildings, and its a shame that many, such as this one, aren't being used to their full potential. (Like many cities, the emphasis is on new building.)

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Northern Bank

Today the court case against two of the three people accused of involvement in the December 2004 Northern Bank robbery collapsed. Around £26.5 million was stolen in the robbery - one of the biggest in UK history. The Northern Bank is the big grey building on the left of the picture - it is right in the centre of the city, just across from the City Hall and the robbery took place on a night when the town centre was full of Christmas shoppers. So it is amazing really that nobody seemed to notice anything...

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Raspberry Beret

First real day back at work after the holidays, and a really grim dark morning, so I called into the Spires shopping centre on the way into work (any excuse) and had a browse. Raspberry Beret is a really lovely vintage clothing store.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007


The rath at the top of the Cregagh Glen, right at the edge of the city. Raths are also known as ringforts - and there are thought to be almost 50,000 of these in Ireland - some thought to date from the Iron Age. Wikipedia has a fairly thorough article, if you're interested:

Monday, 1 January 2007

Favourite moments of 2006

I see people are posting their favourite photos of 2006. I haven't been blogging long enough to have anything that really qualifies, so here are a couple of my favourite moments from the last year.

Firstly , carousel horses at the Tuileries, on the last night of a wonderful family holiday in Paris, August 06. Secondly, my cat Cuddles trying to catch a peacock feather - check out those teeth and claws! Finally, my husband and daughter just a few weeks ago at lovely Tra na Rossan in Co. Donegal.