Tuesday, June 27, 2006


[The leaning clocktower of Belfast]

Not a terribly exciting day today. From my Bangor B&B I checked out a nearby second-hand bookstore and was very impressed to find a clutch of cheap Flann O'Brien paperbacks, all Picador editions with Ralph Steadman artwork. I started reading The Poor Mouth almost immediately.

Drove into central Belfast and walked around the Cathedral, commercial and Queen's quarters. The latter refers to Queen's University of Belfast [pix below]. The university library has opened a CS Lewis Reading Room to celebrate its connection (his mother was a graduate) with Belfast-born Lewis.

Like many cities in the Republic, cranes and other manifestations of rapid urban development are widely visible, although at around half or Dublin's population, Belfast still seems to be a larger city than the southern capital.

While I notice an overall improvement in Irish cuisine since my last visit in '97, the fry-and-die mentality still persists. I shudder when I see "Red Thai Curry and Chips" on menus. Side-salad or vegetable offerings seem to be either a ladle full of potato crisps, or a teaspoon of wilted leaves crushed under a slice of cucumber.

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