Sorting through my photos from my day trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland, a year ago, I found this image of The Garrick bar on the corner of Chicester and Montgomery Streets in Belfast.
I was rushing back from visiting the Titanic Museum, trying to find a bite to eat in the city center before I caught the last train back to Dublin.
Leaving the museum, I asked for walking directions back to the city and recommendations on where to eat. The very friendly woman at the museum provided a few suggestions, one being a great place for Mexican burritos. I wonder if it was the shop right behind the street light that she suggested? I did walk up to the window of a burrito place, peeked inside, remembered that I live in California and can have excellent Mexican or Cal-Mex food every day at home, and moved on to the next item on my list – sampling Short Cross Gin. That isn’t available in California!
My friend Mrs. O Around the World had suggested Short Cross, and as Mrs. O is a fellow gin lover, I needed to listen to her advice. I saw The Garrick and decided to stop in for a gin and tonic.
I did not have much time before my train, as the walk back from the Titanic Museum took some time as I enjoyed the late afternoon sun after experiencing a rainy start to the day. I went inside The Garrick and asked the bartender if they carried Shortcross – they did – and in short order I was drinking Shortcross Gin, “Northern Ireland’s first premium craft gin,” per the Shortcross website. It did not disappoint!
The bar was somewhat full, and I wish I had more time to stay and mingle (and have another Shortcross), but I needed to catch the train as it was the last one to Dublin. I quickly paid my tab (£1.95 for the tonic, £4.95 for the Shortcross = £6.90), and gathered my things for the train station. When I stepped outside to take a photo of The Garrick, I noticed the quote on the side of the building:
“A nation that keeps one eye on the past is wise.
A nation that keeps two eyes on the past is blind.”
A sentiment we should all keep in mind, but particularly apt, perhaps, for Belfast and Northern Ireland. In searching for the source of the quote today, which seems to be unknown, I came across this post from David Ross, who visited Belfast again in July after twenty years away. He provides an interesting perspective of what visiting Belfast was like during, “the troubles,” assuming you would visit, which many people did not, and what the city is like today, when he returned.
While I do not have his perspective, I do hope that I can return to Belfast, and Northern Ireland, and spend longer than a too-short day-trip exploring. A visit to the Short Cross Gin distillery would definitely be in order!
Note: I traveled to Ireland with Brendan Vacations, but my day-trip to Belfast was planned and paid for by me.