I took two different tours on each of the two days I was in Belfast. The first was run by a big bus company, and they whizzed you through Belfast at lightning-speed, cracking jokes, and breeze, and alternating between the two t's of the tourism industry: the titanic and the troubles. While the tour took us through many different sights, the pace was very fast, and we were able to look quickly at many different sights without ever really seeing them. That kind of exposure to the city, I feel, is only really good if you want to tick off sights without learning much.
The Hidden Belfast tour takes a different approach. It is on foot so they are not able to rocket you from the shipyards to the murals. Instead, you are taken through the city center, and taught about the foundation of Belfast, and its rich history, a history much larger than those gaudier things that Belfast is associated with. I don't normally write reviews, but I thought it was important to voice my support of what Hidden Belfast is does, how they treat the city with dignity, and make you associate new things with the city. The tour from the day before really just illustrated and confirmed pre-existing associations, which has its limits and makes you feel like you are still looking at the city from the outside, even while you are in it. Tour Guide Nathan was very informative and agreeable. The tour is also cheap and ends with free coffee.
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