The Best of Belfast Northern Ireland

Good morning, guys. Welcome back to Vagabrothers. It’s day 5 of our road trip through Northern Ireland, and right now we’re in Belfast. It’s a beautiful day here in the capital of Northern Ireland. We have a fun day ahead of us, and we’re starting off with breakfast. It is a beautiful morning here in Belfast. This city is gorgeous. It’s got that beautiful Victorian architecture I’ve seen in Liverpool or Glasgow; City Hall right behind us. It’s an exact replica in German, South Africa. It’s from that time period. All these cities were trading with each other, and you can kind of see those influences in the buildings around us. It’s cool. All right guys.

We’ve just got to St. George’s Market, and I’m excited because I’ve walked in here and the whole building, the top of it, is just filled with smoke of bacon and sausages. We are in St. George’s Market. This is kind of the food and drink pub of Belfast. And this is where I would come on a Sunday morning and buy some stuff to make for dinner and also get a really good breakfast. Oh wow. What do we have here? This is our traditional extra fry. We have our soda bread, potato bread. We have our pork adult sausages, smoked bacon, vegetable roe, black pudding and tomato. That was an award winning fry for a reason All the ingredients come from here in the market. We’re going to go check out some of the stands here that provide this restaurant, along with many others, with the ingredients they need to make good food. These guys have been blending tea here for about 11 years. And they started off selling here in the market. They sold 118 pounds in their first day. And last year, a cup of Suki tea has been drunk every second of every minute of every day. So they’re doing really well. This is SD Bells. They’re Ireland’s oldest coffee roaster. They’ve been roasting coffee since 1887, the year before Belfast became a city. Guys, it’s small world. Micheal here, who is the bearded candle maker, actually saw our last series from Ireland and follows us on Facebook. Small world.. Very small world. Thank you, man.

My girlfriend is going to love these candles. Just a bit of back round on the history of street art here in Belfast. As we talked about in an earlier episode, from the ’60s onwards, all of Northern Ireland was divided by the global conflict between Protestants and Catholics, known as The Troubles. Here in the city, different ethnic neighborhoods were literally divided by walls, and it was there that the first murals appeared about fifty years ago. My name is Tim McCarthy. I’m a street artist painting under the name of Verz. We have a reputation for wall based art and murals, but unfortunately for us, it’s been all the wrong kind. And these murals have been very tribal based on para military images that are designed to intimidate. That is their way of very visually and very simply saying,” You’re not welcome in this area.” What we’ve done as artists over the last few years is play on this creation of murals but try to create something slightly more positive. So a lot of this stuff we do would be environmental; there would be humor in it.

We’re just trying to make very run down areas look a lot more beautiful with our art. Tour starts here at the Duke of York, which is a legendary pub. It apparently has a great whiskey selection. But this is basically the courtyard right here. We’re going to be walking around the cathedral quarter right now, and we’ll show you some of the best pieces from the walls, along with a little bit of context. Well guys, this piece of artwork here is done by an artist called MTO and it’s called “Son of Protagoras” In the subject’s hands you have a dove, which is the symbol of peace. It’s got two arrows through it. On the fletchings of the arrow has the Catholic cross and the other has the Protestant cross. The idea being that they would have had peace here in Northern Ireland if it had not been for the religious divide. We’re walking past all these big, brick buildings, which kind of speak of the city’s past, but apparently this is the LGBT quarter.

Apparently, not that long ago, even ten years ago, it wasn’t very tolerant in that regard. I think, from our guide’s perspective, a lot of things have changed. I think it’s part of the city’s progress. Just got to the Titanic Belfast, voted this week as the number one tourist experience in Europe. Apparently, there’s a ride in here. So far this is pretty cool. I have to say, that was one of the best museum experiences I have ever had: immersive, engaging, eye opening; an in depth breakdown of the ship and the tales of survivors. It was intense. It was eye opening, and I really enjoyed it. The exhibition ended it with talking about the future of Belfast…how this quarter, the Titanic Quarter, is one of the largest urban seafront regeneration projects in the world, and right around the corner are the Titanic Studios, which helped produce Game of Thrones.

From what we’ve seen so far, it seems that the city has gone through numerous transformations: industrially, culturally, politically, and is moving very far forward. The future looks bright, There’s a cocktail in our future. Let’s go. My name is Steven Toman head chef and owner of Ox Restaurant. The Belfast food scene is amazing at the minute It’s very positive and super exciting. All the young guys are coming back from traveling. And we’ve got loads of ideas, new products, new techniques. Well our tagline is “seasonal creativity” and our menus are based on what’s in season. It’s a blind tasting menu. You don’t know what you’re getting We were open two years when we got the star. I mean, we’re always working towards Michelin. It’s a standard that all chefs look up to, and it’s a dream to get it. When we achieved it, it was just……. a day we’ll never forget. What a lovely way to wrap up today. Honestly. Beautiful meal, great ambience, great wine pairing, and just generally good vibes. Alex and I have been lucky enough to eat at a number of Michelin stared restaurants in the last year. This one was very distinct.

Very accessible price point: fifty pounds for a five-course tasting menu. And five courses, by the way, is the perfect size for such a tasting menu. If you enjoyed this video, you know exactly what to do give it a thumbs-up, share it with your friends, and subscribe to Vagabrothers, if you have not already. In the meantime, stay curious, keep exploring, and we’ll see you guys on the road, more specifically on the King’s Road because winter is coming.