Ireland 2019: Views of Belfast from the Grand Central Hotel

Here’s all you need to know about the Grand Central: A 23-story office building called Windsor House was built on Bedford Street in 1974 and at the time it was the tallest building in Belfast but it has since been surpassed by the Obel Tower on Donegall Quay. In 2015 Windsor House was bought by the Hastings Hotel Group and after a complete refurbishment it opened in June 2018 as the Grand Central Hotel Belfast. Oh, and they have a bar on top with big windows. And fantastic views.

The Grand Central Hotel is Belfast’s tallest hotel and second tallest building overall.

Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.

Our plans for Sunday morning were to meet with our friends Siobhan and Adrian  at the Grand Central for brunch and then be served Sunday Afternoon Tea by their daughter Catherine who would then give us a tour of the hotel. These plans had to be modified a tad when we discovered that a cruise ship was in town and more than 500 passengers would be taking over the hotel’s dining facilities that morning. So we went to a quirky little place across the street from the hotel called the Harlem Café for a delicious brunch and then we walked across the street to the Grand Central for that tea with Catherine.

Debbie and her “almost cousin” Siobhan at the Harlem Cafe. Siobhan and Geraldine are sisters. Geraldine’s husband Henry is Siobhan’s brother-in-law and Deb’s fifth cousin once removed.

Siobhan’s husband Adrian and yours truly.

My daughter and her family loved our brunch at the Harlem Café.

Catherine, one of Siobhan and Adrian’s triplets, met us at the hotel’s ground floor lobby and led us to their first floor lounge.

The girls are ready for Sunday afternoon tea.

The whole gang.

Our server and her proud father. Catherine plays a mean fiddle when she is not working or studying.

After tea Catherine led us to the cocktail lounge on the 23rd floor called The Observatory. According to the hotel it’s the tallest bar in all of Ireland. On the elevator going up to the lounge she confided with us that the hotel is really only 22 floors. There is no 13th floor because of superstitious people.

Our first view is of the southeast with the Titanic Quarter in the background.

East view.

That’s the City Hall in the foreground.

Looking down on Bedford Street. The Harlem Café is on the left near the cars.

The BBC NI building on Ormeau Avenue is at the lower left.

Samson and Goliath, the huge Harland and Wolfe cranes on the upper right, overlook the Titanic Quarter.

Southeast view.

Belfast City Hall is a block away.

East Belfast View.

Southwest views. The Invest Northern Ireland building is on the left.

The Sandy Row neighborhood lies between our Holiday Inn hotel and that huge smokestack.

Looking down on construction area next door.

On our way back to our hotel we passed the Italian restaurant on Great Victoria Street where we dined the night before.

We walked back to our hotel to relax for awhile before cousin Henry and Geraldine and their friend Dougie would pick us up for a clan gathering at the Holywood Hills Golf  Club that night. And that will be the subject for my next posting.

BonusThe Black Velvet Band by Luke Kelly and The Dubliners

There are more than a hundred versions of this traditional folk song which has been around for almost 200 years. Different towns throughout the British Empire are mentioned in these many versions but in the most popular version which was recorded by The Dubliners in 1967 they say the action takes place in Belfast and so we will go with that. This video of Luke Kelly’s rendition of the song goes back to 1970.

About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
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3 Responses to Ireland 2019: Views of Belfast from the Grand Central Hotel

  1. Peter Klopp says:

    I can see from your photos how much you enjoyed the view from the hotel’s top floor. The name ‘Grand Hotel’ is very fitting indeed. I also liked the bonus music. Thanks for sharing!

  2. mvschulze says:

    Some of the images from the top look almost artistic on canvas, probably the effect of the glass. The series gives a great perspective of the city. And the “mountain” in the image 5 up from the bottom, appears fairly significant to what I would have expected in the area. M 🙂

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