As Dr. Donnelly mentioned in her travel FFF last week, I (Dr. Hinson) am in Belfast, Northern Ireland this week, presenting at an academic conference and continuing our business networks on this side of the pond. Since Dr. Donnelly listed Northern Ireland (and Belfast) as her number one travel destination, I thought I'd continue with the travel trend and make my Five Friday Favorites Northern Irish themed.
1. Dr. Donnelly and I both researched identity and how it interacts in different spaces. Northern Ireland is a diverse and complicated setting for identity formation. A recent BBC Radio Ulster program, A Question of Identity does a decent job of explaining the complexities of identity on this wee island.
2. As you may or may not be aware, HBO's epic TV series Game of Thrones is filmed on location in part around Northern Ireland. On my travels this week I visited the Ulster Museum's Game of Thrones Tapestry (see below). The 77 meter (252 feet) tapestry honors the history of the linen industry in Northern Ireland while also drawing a range of visitors to the museum to see favorite scenes from the show.
3. Ironically, Dr. Donnelly's mention of Lonely Planet connects to Northern Ireland this week as they have just made Belfast and the Causeway Coast their number one region to visit in 2018. The accompanying video showcases the hexagonal stones of Giant's Causeway and the eccentric musical culture of Belfast.
4. As an American transplant in the UK, it was always a joy to find sports from home. The Belfast Giants are the local ice hockey team, composed of North American players, that compete in the Elite League of the UK. The success of the Giants has lead to the introduction of collegiate tournaments, with the Friendship Four NCAA Hockey tournament entering it's third year in the city and the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic making its debut this December.
5. A list of my favorite things about Belfast would be incomplete without mentioning the wonderful and exciting food scene in the city (and country). Experimenting with locally sourced meats, produce, dairy, and fish, restaurants are reinventing what it means to serve 'Irish' food in the region. A trip to Belfast must include a visit to St. George's Market, the largest indoor Victorian market in the UK, chocked full of local (and European) food stuffs and a unique selection of local arts and crafts.