You don’t know it’s spring in Belfast when the daffodils bloom, nor when the trees start to put on buds. It’s not necessarily the temperature, which was an extremely temperate 57 degrees today.
You know it’s spring in Belfast when the restaurants put out their outside tables. I had always thought that the Lisburn Road was really wide, but not so much once Eddie Rocket’s, the Yellow Door deli and the Indian restaurant put out their tables and chairs.
Belfast’s own henge
It was by far the best day, weather-wise, we’ve had in Belfast in nearly three months, so of course we went outside. Our destination was the Giant’s Ring, a local henge that was built 4,700 years ago.
Google Maps said it was a tad over three miles, so we set off down the Malone Road a little past 3. This was a wish-you-had-remembered-your-hat day, because during the first part of the journey the sun was directly in our eyes. But we soon made it to the Lagan River at Shaw’s Bridge, before cutting through National Trust land and to the site.
After seeing Stonehenge and the Avebury Stone Circle last week, the Giant’s Ring was a bit of a letdown, but it still was impressive. An earthen circle that stretches 210 yards was built up around the henge, the remains of a passage tomb comprised of five upright stones and a capstone. Aerial photos show three rings between the ditch and the center, believed to be where posts were set. Archaeologists have found 10 other burial sites and other settings of posts.
We saw many dogs playing in the water, kids on bikes, daffodils in full bloom and lots of birds. An ice cream vendor was parked in the Shaw’s Bridge car park, so Declan and I had to have a cone apiece.
Glimpse of elusive landmark
On the way back, we even saw the twin Harland & Wolff gantries in the distance. My first trip to Belfast was by train, and I first saw Samson and Goliath just before arriving at Central Station. I knew of Belfast’s shipbuilding history, most notably as the birthplace of Titanic, and I’ve always associated the gantries with that part of Belfast’s history.
I so want to include a picture of the gantries in the blog, but I’ve never been stationary long enough to get a clear shot. The good news is that I have another four months to make that happen.
When we got back to the car park, we’d already walked just shy of six miles, so we called a taxi for the return trip. The sunset, as you can see, was a beautiful end to a glorious day in Belfast.