Belfast Love: a proper pub on King West

 After hearing so much about Belfast Love, I decided to head down and see what all the fuss was about. Now before I continue, Belfast love is NOT an Irish bar, nor does it claim to be! It does however have subtle nods to Ireland with the Four leaf clover sign, the awesome walls of Waterford crystal and an extensive Irish whiskey selection.

The first thing that I noted was the atmosphere, the place was buzzing and the patio was packed (despite the lack of sunshine). Inside the decor is really cool, think neon “loo” signs, dark lighting, naked lady wall paper and crystal so much crystal! Belfast Love is a proper high end pub. I especially love that there’s lots of different seating sections and a pool table, this place really uses the space well. The only draw back for me was the acoustics, I found it really difficult to hear the people at my table, but the place was packed so am I just nit picking?!
Now down to the reason I was there…food and drinks. The drinks list is varied, with a big focus on whiskey, with an option to buy a barrel to be enjoyed any time you stop in, nice touch Belfast Love!

The food is not your average pub fare but is still unpretentious. We got a wide variety of the dishes, pizza, poutine, burgers and the chicken and waffles! All of which had a little something unique to this pub, for example, the chicken and waffles were fab but then paired with a sauce of bourbon and maple syrup……amazing! My poutine was not the regular old fries and cheese curds much to the disappointment of the Montrealer among us, but to me it was like a cheesy gravy chip from home, with the added bonus of super fresh rotisserie chicken chunks on top. The pizza looked amazing, freshly made with a super thin crust, I will be back for sure the try it!

There are lots of staff floating around the bar. All of whom are very beautiful and actually really sound, Well the two that I interacted with were! Now the smart thing to do would be remember names, which I don’t, but I know both our servers had links to Ireland (Limerick and Ballybunion) and they chatted away, not in a tip hungry way but in a genuine dead on way! Plus we got some of the Belfast Love badges so yay happy campers!
My advice go check out Belfast Love, I’ll be aiming for a spot on the patio for my next visit, I just need the sunshine to come back!

Thanks Barbara for the pics. If any of you head down to Belfast Love, let us know your thoughts. S xx

Advertisements

That time Muhammed Ali came to Ireland

Muhammed Ali, came to Ireland in 1972, to fight Alvin “Blue” Lewis. Whilst there the Irish Tourism board pulled off a major feat and got the worlds most famous sports star to film a short clip to promote Ireland!! 

 Watch the clip here

The charismatic star marvelled at the country side and our national sports. Ali wowed to return to Ireland after finishing “ugly Joe Fraser”. Ali did indeed return to Ireland and took part in the opening ceremony Ali returned to Ireland twice in later years. He took part in the opening ceremony of the special Olympics in 2003. Later in 2009 he visited the birthplace of his great grandfather, Abe Grady, in Ennis where he was made an Honorary Freeman of the town.

This short clip shows why Ali won the hearts of so many Irish, and why he was as famous out of the ring as he was in. Another legend gone, RIP champ x

Sinéad

Reflections…. Three years in Canada! 

Having moved to Canada three years ago I never thought I would would have lasted the year, it seemed impossible to think that I wouldn’t see my nieces and nephews daily or drink cups of tea with my ma at 3 o’clock after stumbling in from a night out. I put all these thoughts in a little corner of mind and repeated daily…..”I’ll give it a year”.
Three years on, I have my Permanent residencey  and I look back and realize that although I miss home and all it encompasses on a daily basis, I have made a home in Canada.

 

I am one of thousands of Irish who travelled here on a Canadian Experience visa and at the time it felt like I had won a golden ticket to the chocolate factory. One week later I was booked and ready to start a new life. I was in the very fortunate position to travel with my boyfriend and to be greeted at the other side by my super supportive uncle and his family who welcomed us in and made our first three months a breeze, housing us and ensuring we sorted out all the essentials. This made all the difference and still manages to cure the homesick pangs when I drop in for Sunday dinners. If you are a new arrival or are thinking of coming, contact people you know in the city, they have all been in your position and are only too willing to help out. You may also be exactly what they need, your a bit of home for them bringing back memories, stories shared upbringings and common friends and of course it helps if you’ve a box of Barry’s.

Making friends here was the biggest challenge, you are forced to bond with new friends at lightning speed only to be told in a few months that they’re heading home (ahem you know who you are!!). My best piece of advice came in the form of Jeff at a party, after listening to me whine about another expat returning home, he advised “you just get over it” and actually you do and you come to realise that although they move home, the real friendships will last. The friends you have are also friends you’ve chosen, we all have a friend we’ve had from the first day of primary school, the only common bond we have being position in the alphabet, forcing us to sit together for the next seven years. 
I have also been fortunate in that I found a job in my field of Speech Therapy, don’t get me wrong I’m still not exactly where I want to be, but I’m closer than I ever got at home. It wasn’t easy though and I slogged it out for the first year in a tiny bar with no air conditioning. My best advice, network! I talked to everyone in that bar and eventually met a Speech therapist who put me in contact with the company with whom I now work. The established community here are also a great source of employment information and they area apply to share contacts.   

Get involved; I know it’s difficult in your first year when you want to explore/party/get settled, but it’s the best thing I ever done. I tried a few organizations and they didn’t fit, eventually I got involved with Darkness into Light and it has afforded me so many opportunities to meet and get involved with the community of established Irish here in the city. 

As an Irish person in Toronto, I will always feel the tug of home but for now, Toronto is home and I’m looking forward to the next few years of adventure. 
Sinéad