Dublin has various historic landmarks, a plethora of literary geniuses to name drop, and a host of established universities. However, can you get a Belfast Bap down there? You bet your ballix you can’t.
Here are a few things the Big Smoke doesn’t offer that the smaller, yet equally smoky, Belfast has got in its locker.
1. The Cathedral Quarter
This recently established cobblestoned haven for bars, restaurants and theatres in the city centre is thronged with a new batch of millenials every weekend.
Have a few pints at the Dirty Onion, and who knows, maybe you’ll get your own onion dirty, if you catch my drift.
The city’s young hooligans. Often seen in his natural habitat of around Castlecourt shopping centre or outside McDonald’s, the smick spends his evenings drinking BPM or a barrick (see no. 3), and just generally annoying the shite out of the locals.
Nope, not the barracks traditionally associated with the North. A barrick refers to a three litre bottle of Frosty Jack’s Strongbow, or whatever other cheap cider the smick can get his hands on that day.
4. The Holylands
The actual holy land isn’t usually isn’t that much craic, but if you head down to Palestine or Jerusalem Street in South Belfast during term time you’re likely to see vast swathes of GAA-clad students going buck mad on the session.
5. Kelly’s Cellars
Contrary to what any Dubliner tells you, the best pint of Guinness in Ireland resides in this small and character-filled pub in the middle of town.
‘Tis like a pint of ice cream.
6. Potato bread
A fry just isn’t complete without this eclectic mix of two old favourites. So simple, yet so brilliant, potato bread is a bit of a rarity below the border.
More for us then.
7. Tennent’s Vital
The recently passed music festival on Boucher Road has attracted some huge names in recent years, with this year’s headliners including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Avicii – as well as a horde of dubiously dressed teenagers.
Many former paramilitaries have decided to put down their arms and cash in on the ever-growing demand for tourism surrounding the Troubles, with many of the political murals found around the Falls and Shankill Roads being pretty interesting things to visit.
9. The Accordion Man
This writer is convinced Billy Joel fucked up the lyrics to his most famous song, as surely he must have been singing about this fantastic little Romanian man who plies his trade on the streets of the city centre.
10. The Titanic
Simultaneously Belfast’s least and most successful export. The poor ship sank after being born in the shipyards of East Belfast, but sure would that stop them from turning it into one of the world’s highest grossing films and opening a huge exhibition in its honour? Of course not.
11. Belfast Baps
Fill it with whatever you like, this brown toasty bap has been a staple of the Belfast citizens’ diet for millions of years. Probably.
12. Filthy McNasty’s
Kind of sounds like a stereotypical dump of an Irish bar abroad, but Filthy’s has built a reputation as one of the coolest places to be in Belfast right now.
13. ‘What about ye?’
The classic Belfast greeting.
14. Carl Frampton
‘The Jackal’ has become one of the best professional boxers in the world, with his recent victory over Leo Santa Cruz.
Hailing from working class Tiger’s Bay, Frampton is revered by both sides of the community in Belfast. No easy feat.
15. Pints of Harp
Yeah, I know you can get them down there, but they taste like piss. As the famous advert so cringingly professes: “it’s our thing”.
The Coppers of the North, perhaps?
Thompson’s Garage attracts a diverse range of clientele, including smicks, underage boozers and those who are too pished to know any better.
Anyone that’s lived in Belfast has surely made the fateful journey down that dingy alleyway to fulfil their dreams.
17. Game Of Thrones
The kids are all raving about this television series. Admittedly, I don’t know much about it apart from that there’s loads of sex and zombies, but much of the filming takes place in and around Belfast, so you can even do a tour of the various sets.
18. Queen’s University
The intellectual hub of the city, the area surrounding Queen’s is actually quite beautiful, with the main Lanyon Building and nearby Botanic Gardens being particular highlights.
19. Maggie Mays
A favourite amongst students from the aforementioned Holylands area, Maggie’s is a typical Belfast café serving some of the best fry ups about.
20. The Continental Market
Every Christmas the area surrounding the City Hall becomes a melting pot of various types of food and beer, with all sorts of pishy syrup to make it taste like fruit.
Popular with city-dwellers and up-for-the-day culchies.
21. George Best
Robbie Keane’s not a bad old player, but he’s got nothing on this guy.
Georgie was a wizard with the ball at his feet, especially when there was mention of a few post-match pints.