Belfast Titanic Quarter


TO celebrate Titanic Belfast’s recent accolade as Europe’s Best Visitor attraction, Tourism Northern Ireland is encouraging everyone to find out more about Northern Ireland’s rich maritime history.

Rachel Quigg, Communications & Destination PR Officer explains why a day out exploring this element of NI’s history really offers something for everyone:

“There are lots of exciting tourism spots and destinations around Belfast which allow visitors to delve into Northern Ireland’s rich maritime and shipping industry past. Whether you are a history buff and would like to expand your knowledge or are looking for a fun day out with family and friends, there will be something to suit your needs.

“If you haven’t yet visited Titanic Belfast there is no better time as its latest accolade has named it one of the most interesting tourist destinations in the whole of Europe and if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, there are lots of other spots such as HMS Caroline, SS Nomadic and many more to explore,” added Rachel.

Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a range of nautical destinations to visit:



Titanic Belfast is a must see on any trip to Belfast and has become the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. The Titanic experience tells the famous story of RMS Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her maiden voyage and tragic end. The story is told in a fresh and insightful way, with many innovative and interactive features and galleries. Other experiences on offer in Titanic Belfast include the Discovery Tour, which takes visitors inside and outside the building, following in the footsteps of those who built the ship, Afternoon Tea at Titanic Belfast in the opulent surroundings of the Titanic suite complete with the stunning replica staircase and jazz music throughout the afternoon. For more information go to



HMS Caroline was used in combat by the Royal Navy in the First World War and is the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland still afloat. It is also one of only three surviving Royal Navy warships of the First World War, and is moored in Titanic Quarter, Belfast. The National Museum of the Royal Navy has restored HMS Caroline and converted her into a museum ship, open for all to explore. Visitors can explore a range of spaces on board such as Captain Crookes Cabin, the engine room, sick bay and galley kitchen, and discover through a mixture of historic restoration, state-of-the-art special effects and hands-on interactive exhibits, the importance of the Battle of Jutland and what life was like at sea for over three hundred crew who served on board. For more information go to



With active service as a mine sweeper and troop carrier in both World Wars, over fifty years of experience carrying passengers to the world’s largest Trans-Atlantic liners and nearly thirty years as a restaurant moored beside the Eiffel Tower in Paris, SS Nomadic has a million stories to tell, and now newly refurbished, visitors can step on board and celebrate over 100 years of authentic social and maritime history. The fully interactive experience transports visitors back in time, through the first and second class lounges led by a qualified guide who will provide a unique insight into life on the Nomadic. For more information go to



Thompson Dry Dock and its Pump-House were once the beating heart of Harland & Wolff’s operation during the construction of the great White Star Line ships, including the Titanic. The Thompson Dock itself is the footprint of Titanic and provides an amazing representation of the scale of the ship. Today the Pump-House is the only publicly accessible intact piece of Titanic’s great legacy open in the city of her birthplace, Belfast. It comprises a Visitor Centre & Café with daily guided tours in operation, which are available all year round and include an interactive audio-visual display. For more information go to



The best and most novel way to take in all of the attractions in Titanic Quarter is by the carriages inspired by the tram cars that ran through Titanic’s shipyard. The Wee Tram is a hop-on-hop-off transport service around the Titanic Quarter. Passengers can really get into the spirit of things by wearing their very own Edwardian ‘duncher’ (the yardman’s flat cap)!

The tram route is a ‘figure-of-eight’ continuous loop with its centre at the iconic Titanic Belfast, bringing passengers up close and personal with historic Titanic landmarks – the Drawing Offices where she was designed, the Slipways where she was built and launched, and the Thompson Dock, as well as modern attractions in the area such as the movie studios located in an old shipyard shed, T13 Urban Sports Park, and the SSE Arena. For more information go to



Easily the most prominent visual reminders of Belfast’s maritime heritage are Harland and Wolff’s duo of gantry cranes, built in 1969 and 1974 and affectionately known as Samson and Goliath. These yellow cranes standing at 106m and 96m dominate the Belfast skyline and are a distinctive feature of the city. Even though shipbuilding has long ceased on Queen’s Island, the cranes are kept in working order and are used for heavy lifting in Harland & Wolff’s other activities such as structural engineering, ship repair and offshore construction projects. The two cranes are recognised by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency as buildings of architectural or historic interest.

For more information on things to see and do in Northern Ireland go to, or

Belfast restaurant week starts very soon!!

Eat & Drink Belfast Restaurant Week – a tasty celebration of local food and culinary events – is serving up nine days of deliciousness in fabulous eateries across the city from this Saturday (8 October).
From 8 – 16 October, diners will be spoilt for choice as restaurants, cafés and pubs serve up bespoke menus and unique food experiences to celebrate Belfast’s bustling food and drink scene, and organisers Visit Belfast and Food NI are encouraging everyone to try something new or book a table at a tried-and-tested favourite to celebrate.
Belfast’s restaurant scene offers everything from Michelin-starred dining to a classic Ulster fry, and the city’s pubs and bars are perfect for cocktails, craft beers or locally distilled gins. In more than 60 events taking place right across Belfast – north, south, east and west – the city’s eateries will showcase the passion that goes into making, cooking and serving up the very best of fresh local produce.
Belfast City Council has funded the event, and Lord Mayor Brian Kingston said:
“Belfast has a growing reputation for great food, and was named as one of National Geographic’s top places to travel for food in 2016. The city is home to internationally renowned chefs and produce and as we approach the end of the NI Year of Food and Drink, Belfast Restaurant Week provides the perfect opportunity for residents, or visitors to Belfast, to get out and enjoy some of the best food on offer right across the city.”
For full details all events taking place during Belfast Restaurant Week, go to
Some of the special events and menus on offer during Belfast Restaurant Week include:
· The Merchant Hotel Opera Dinner (Thursday 13 October, £69.50pp)

The Merchant Hotel invites music enthusiasts and gourmands alike to enjoy culinary and auditory delights at their Opera Dinner. Guests will arrive to a drinks reception with canapes before indulging in a six course meal with wines to accompany each course. Opera singers will entertain guests on arrival, between courses and during the grand finale.


· Dine around Deanes (Thursday 13 October, £70pp)

Sample the delights of all Deanes restaurants in Belfast. Climb aboard a double decker bus, which will take you on a tour from Deane and Decano in south Belfast, via Deanes at Queen’s and to the city centre restaurants – Deanes at Howard Street, Deanes Deli Bistro and Vin Café.


· Bollywood Dance Night (Saturday 15 October, £25pp)

East meets West with an injection of culture and live entertainment to complement your meal at Solo Kitchen and Bar. For one night only, feast on an authentic three course Indian meal using the very best locally sourced food and beverage suppliers. Be greeted like a VIP with a red carpet and glass of prosecco on arrival, and enjoy entertainment from live Bollywood dancers as you eat


· Taste & Tour (Sunday 10 October, £45pp)

Taste and tour your way around the Ormeau Road, with a deliciously vibrant food and drink scene. Over the course of the evening, you’ll enjoy a host of food and drink experiences, including a visit to a speciality coffee roaster, local drinks in a traditional family owned pub, incredible Asian cuisine and more to tantalise your taste buds.


· Cooking with Niall McKenna (Sunday 9 October, free)

Celebrate Belfast Restaurant Week at St George’s Market with chef Niall McKenna, owner of the James Street South restaurant, who’ll be cooking up a storm in the market from 10am – 12 noon on Saturday 9 October


· Trad & Tapas (Wednesday 12 October, prices vary)

Enjoy traditional music all night in Horatio Todd’s, complete with an Irish and Ulster Scots themed tapas menu using local produce from the local area.

Have u enough Vitamin D?

ARE YOU VITAMIN D READY FOR WINTER?Dr Kirsty Pourshahidi is a Human Nutritionist at Ulster University where she specialises in studies on vitamin D. Her research interests include vitamin D requirements for health in the general population and here she tells News Letter readers of the importance of vitamin D in our diet during winter.


“As we begin to feel a nip in the air we start to prepare for the winter months: store away our summer clothes and get out our winter wardrobe; have the boiler serviced; turn up the thermostat a notch; and put a higher tog quilt on the bed. However, many people don’t realise that they also need to prepare their body for winter and that means ensuring that we get enough vitamin D.


“There are three ways we can get vitamin D: from summer sunlight, as vitamin D is made in the skin when it’s exposed to sun which contains enough UVB light; from food sources; and from dietary supplements.


“Until recently little attention was given to food sources, as it was thought that we synthesised enough vitamin D from sunlight in the summer to last us over winter when we can’t make it, but recent studies have revealed this isn’t the case and that blood levels of the vitamin drop significantly between October and March. 


“The recent National Diet and Nutrition survey (NDNS) has shown that around a third of adults (aged 19-64 years) in Northern Ireland had low blood levels of vitamin D, a higher proportion than in the UK as a whole. Research conducted by Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE) at Ulster University has highlighted that even at the end of summer, when levels should be at their highest, as many as 50% of adults have insufficient blood levels, and even more worryingly, that’s before levels naturally start to drop over the winter.


“Research shows that vitamin D is vital to our health as it is used to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body which are essential for healthy bones and muscles. Without enough vitamin D, bones can become thin, soft and brittle which in extreme cases can lead to rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults, as well as an increased risk of falls. 


“So how can we ensure that our bodies get enough vitamin D in the winter months?

“If we are reliant on topping up our body’s stores with food sources of vitamin D then the simple answer is to look out for foods that are high in vitamin D. The fact is though, there aren’t many naturally good food sources of vitamin D; fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel and fish liver oils are among the best. So another option is to opt for foods fortified with vitamin D; look out for fortified dairy products, breakfast cereals, and bread to ensure you stay topped up with healthy levels of vitamin D. 


To keep up with the vitamin D research being conducted by the team at NICHE, follow them on twitter (@NICHE_ULSTER) or Facebook (