May 6, 2023
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Today is the big day! King Charles III will be crowned King. While that was definitely a big deal in London, we have seen only minimal attention given to it in other towns and cities we visited in the last few days. So, we were curious what we would find in Belfast. Belfast definitely had more decorations up, in some parts of the city. Our guide explained that Belfast is still a city divided by both religion and politics.
When we visited the City Hall building we found a huge TV screen out front in a park area, with seating areas and a fairly large crowd standing around it waiting for the coronation to start. We stayed and watched the people and the coronation for awhile. Everything was calm, with only a few young people making some not-so-nice remarks about the King and the ceremony. It was fun to take part, in even a small way, in this historic event.
Here are a few more facts about Belfast:
The Titanic was built here (don't want to think too much about that right now!)
C.S. Lewis (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and more) was born here
Van Morrison (Brown Eyed Girl) grew up here
The city does not have the ancient history that so many other cities in the area can claim. It was founded in 1608, and Queen Victoria made it a city in 1888
Northern Ireland is so lush and beautiful that there are 40 words for green
A completely unexpected opportunity arose after we returned from our planned excursion. The tour guide casually mentioned as we approached the dock that the Window on Wildlife (WOW) Center was right next to the dock, and we could see a wide variety of birds there. So we walked over and had a wonderful time talking with local "birders" and looking at all the amazing types of birds. (There was also a crow, which wasn't that interesting, but the alliteration worked for the blog title)
Certainly, this was a unique experience that was totally unplanned, yet so welcomed! Who would expect to see a wildlife reserve next to a cruise terminal. Once in the visitor center, there were literally windows to somewhat of a bird sanctuary. The volunteers shared over 200 different species of bird have been recorded here, along with butterflies, mammals, fish, and plants. The volunteers were so knowledgeable and helped us identify birds as we were viewing through the telescopes and taking so many pictures, my camera battery died. I was still able to capture some birds we have never seen before. Most definitely a peaceful place to find and we are better off because we were able to visit.
Starting on top row left: Black-headed gull, front of WOW Center, Common Moorhen. Second row: Common Moorhen, Tufted Duck, male and female Shelducks. Third row: Black-headed gull standing on one leg, Eurasian coot, Mute Swan.