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Dublin to Belfast Day trip

Jacksonville
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Dublin to Belfast Day trip

Hello all! I was told I would have better luck with answers on this forum. Makes sense as Belfast is the destination! My original post:

I will be in Dublin for a week in July and would like to take a day trip to Belfast. I saw on the program “No Reservations” a segment on the Black Taxi tours. This is the main reason for our day trip. I have a few questions regarding logistics….Is there a speed train from Dublin to Belfast? Where is the station in Dublin and would I be OK to walk up and purchase tickets or should it be done in advance? Also, where in Belfast should I get off the train if I am interested in a Black Taxi tour? Please pardon my ignorance on this question, but are there tours that favor a particular political side or are the tours bi-partisan? And finally, After the black taxi tour, I am open to any suggestions as to must see/do attractions in Belfast before we hit the train home that night. Our interests are architecture (older the better), Art (not modern) and dinning. Also, any recommendations as to the time I should leave Dublin in the morning to have time to enjoy the day in Belfast would be welcomed. In other words…I don’t want to get up and leave by 6 am unless I have to…..plan on enjoying the pub scene in Dublin the night before!! :) Thank you in advance for your responses.

Belfast, United...
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1. Re: Dublin to Belfast Day trip

Hi and welcome! I'll try and give some answers to your questions:

Is there a speed train from Dublin to Belfast?

Yes, it's called the Enterprise: www.translink.co.uk/Services/Enterprise/

Where is the station in Dublin and would I be OK to walk up and purchase tickets or should it be done in advance?

The station in Dublin is Connolly station. You CAN walk up and purchase tickets but it's often cheaper to book in advance. See the web link above for more info.

Where in Belfast should I get off the train if I am interested in a Black Taxi tour?

There is only one stop in Belfast on the Enterprise route, which is Central Station. Contrary to its name, it's not all that central, but you can take a free bus (when you show your train ticket to the driver) from just outside the station's main exit into the city centre - most bus routes terminate at the City Hall, which many consider to be the centre of the centre. If you want to take a black taxi tour, you can ask one of the drivers in the taxi rank on Donegall Square North/Chichester Street.

Are there tours that favor a particular political side or are the tours bi-partisan?

So far as I know all taxi tours cover both "sides" of the troubles, although you might well find that one driver might emphasise certain places or stories, etc, which relate more to one side than the other. It's pretty much the luck of the draw. I must admit when I've taken taxi tours in the past I didn't like it when drivers exaggerated for dramatic effect, or implied that we were in a "dangerous" area, etc, when as a local I knew it wasn't quite the truth, but then again maybe it's just not my cup of tea - I prefer making my own mind up about things based on impartial info rather than just taking one guide's word as the truth. Just my two cents though - most people really enjoy the taxi tours and I'm sure you'll have a great time! Bobby, one of our resident regulars on this forum, is a black taxi driver himself and can probably answer any further questions you have.

As for suggestions for other attractions:

Re architecture, you may wish to take a tour of the City Hall: www.belfastcity.gov.uk/cityhall/tours.asp

For art, the Ulster Museum is a little way out of the city centre (about a 15-20 minute walk, or 10 minute bus journey) but is a nice facility with several galleries featuring all kinds of art. Entrance is free and it's set in the grounds of Botanic Gardens, which makes for a nice walk on a good day. It also neighbours Queens University, the main building of which (the Lanyon Building) is in a lovely, red brick Tudor Gothic style (more architecture there).

For food, there are lots of great options in the city. We have everything from Irish fusion to Thai to Lebanese to Mexican. What kind of budget and food would take your fancy?

As for the time you should leave Dublin in the morning, the earliest Enterprise train is at 7.35am, which would have you in Belfast by 9.45am. That would give you a full day. Although the next one at 9.35am, arrives in Belfast at 11.47am, which would still give you a good few hours to do a tour, maybe take in one of the attractions above (or something else), have a nice meal and still make the last train to Dublin at 8.50pm. Note the times above relate to the Enterprise timetable for Mon - Sat; Sun is a whole different ball game but there are timetables on the website anyway.

Hope this helps a bit!

Belfast, United...
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2. Re: Dublin to Belfast Day trip

Doh! I'm too late to edit my post above but just to note that whilst the Translink website linked to above has great info on the Enterprise service, if you're coming from Dublin you'll probably need to book tickets via Irish Rail instead: http://www.irishrail.ie/

Just put your start point, end point and dates into the journey planner and it will take you through to the screen that shows fares and lets you book.

Jacksonville
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3. Re: Dublin to Belfast Day trip

Thank you so much for the wealth of info! I was told I have to go to the Crown Pub near city hall. I think we may do lunch or dinner there. Are there any other tours, landmarks ect...that center around the troubles? I am a bit of a modern history lover and these times/events have always been something of interest to me and have never had a chance to read and learn as much as I would like on the subject. I want to be sure to take full advantage of my opportunity while in Belfast.

Belfast
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4. Re: Dublin to Belfast Day trip

In answer to the above post Anthony Bourdain recorded No Reservations

with Cabtoursni

North Coast, N...
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for Northern Ireland
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5. Re: Dublin to Belfast Day trip

Bobby!!! That's bad...

That said, I would take a taxi tour with one of the specialist taxi companies rather than just pick up a random black taxi. Some ones which get good reviews on TA include

tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186470-…

and

tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186470-…

There are tours available with a political slant if that's your thing

http://www.coiste.ie/

Absolutely second Bridget's recommendations of the city hall tour. Queen's is also nice (my old uni so I'm biased). Crumlin Road gaol whilst not architecturally stunning, is becoming a popular tourist attraction. And of course there are several Titanic options (the main Experience really needs to be prebooked if you want to be sure of seeing it).

I think there's lots there to keep you busy.. Enjoy!

Belfast, United...
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6. Re: Dublin to Belfast Day trip

Spending the evening in the Crown is mentioned. Consider returning by bus especially as both Aircoach and Translink/Bus Eireann services leave from just across the road. Depending on where you are staying in Dublin, Aircoach might well be a better option. Journey times in the evening are not much different to the train with late night options.

Belfast
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7. Re: Dublin to Belfast Day trip

Ponaire, we are not so proud of that show as they subtitled Paddy and John in the Crown and they didn't even have a drink.

Jacksonville
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8. Re: Dublin to Belfast Day trip

Bobby,

I think I may be sold! Should I contact your company the day before or call when I get there....and do you pick up at the train station or can we meet at the city center..We will be in town sometime in the first week of July.

Thanks!

Edited: 10 April 2013, 19:09
Belfast
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9. Re: Dublin to Belfast Day trip

Its best to pre book via email, and you can be picked up of the Enterprise train .

Edited: 10 April 2013, 19:52
10. Re: Dublin to Belfast Day trip

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