A magical Christmas in Belfast? Probably not the first place on your list when thinking of a pre-Christmas holiday getaway, but this is where we found ourselves last weekend and I would certainly recommend it. With the amazing Belfast Christmas Market in front of City Hall and the Christmas craft sale at St George’s Market the whole weekend was spent in a festive blur that even my rather unfortunate journey to the Liverpool airport that resulted in missing my flight couldn’t taint (can you believe that I got in a taxi in Liverpool and the driver did not know where the airport was?!?)! Once I finally arrived we spent the weekend visiting with family, eating exceedingly unhealthy food (a weird deep-fried pastie with radioactive-pink innards being a local favourite of my boyfriend), and getting our holly jolly on!
To Market, To Market | The Belfast Christmas Market and crafts at St. George’s Market
Although we slept later than planned, as is my wont on holiday, we still headed out for a few hours in town to sample what the Christmas Markets had to offer during daylight hours. First stop, City Centre market for a taste of the continent. The market is really the same as most of the others in the UK, quaint wooden chalets selling a variety of food and gifts from around Europe and the world. However, there was something about the Belfast market that was so much better than the other ones I’ve been to, from the smell of all the different foods cooking to the variety of bits and pieces for sale. Belfast people are also unbelievably chatty and friendly so that most definitely added to the overall atmosphere. Bookending the market are also two pop up pubs, which can’t really help but add to the fun and welcoming atmosphere!
Second stop, St. George’s Market. There are food and craft markets at St. George’s every weekend but we were lucky enough to land there the weekend of the Christmas Craft Fair. The beautiful old building was teeming with people, food, and wonderful locally made crafts, and, as a rare treat, didn’t reek of fish! We came out with some lovely prints of Belfast neighbourhoods done by a local artist, and a beautiful wee (getting down with the lingua franca!) glass Christmas tree ornament. With live music being played and friendly people all around you can’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy with Christmas spirit!
Night-time at the Market
Night-time at the market and the lights come on and the pubs start heaving. Friends in tow, we headed over to Laverys Traditional Irish Bar, which is a bit of a Belfast institution and is apparently Belfast’s oldest family owned bar. The lights were twinkling, the music was pumping, and everyone was in good spirits. The Irish love a sing-song and for the final number of the night the patrons belted out their finest beer-fuelled rendition of The Pogues’ classic ‘Fairytale of New York’- the icing on the Christmas cake! Though it was a wee bit chilly, the atmosphere was great and we managed to hang around until we were pushed out the door.
As an old tourist poster once claimed, ‘Belfast is Buzzing,’ so make a ‘bee-line’ to visit this Christmas if you can!
Check out my previous post about Belfast,