After checking at Europa about how to book the bus to Dublin Airport, Lisa and I boarded a train at Great Victoria Street heading toward Lanyon Place. As it happens, it was the same train (but one hour earlier) that we planned to take out toward Cultra and the Ulster Transport Museum. We went to the Hilton and waited in the lobby, socializing with fans who were around that morning. I also downloaded the Translink app and while waiting managed to book Lisa and me for the bus on Tuesday morning.
Feòrag NicBhrìde joined us and we headed out to Cultra. The reason Lisa and I bought local bus-rail cards is that they include trains on that line as far as Cultra, which is convenient.
Feòrag later took this picture of me, Kuma, and Lisa wearing our All the Stations shirts. We first learned of this museum watching All the Stations Ireland Episode 16.
Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe only got to spend less than an hour here on their visit on April 9th of this year, but we spent most of the day exploring the entire museum.
The entrance to the museum takes you over the train displays to give you an overview of what's ahead.
So it was off to see the trains (and other transportation).
The museum's mascot is Berkeley Bear. This encouraged Kuma Bear to no end.
Feòrag was as interested in the displays as we were.
Contrast the special director's coach and a third-class carriage from the same railway to see the difference in class.
After traversing a gallery about the Titanic and its sister ships, including the class ship Olympic, we moved in to the Bus and Tram Gallery.
Again, an overview from above gives you an idea of what you can expect here.
This is a pair of preserved vehicles (what appears to be a first class coach in the foreground with upholstered seats and an open third-class coach with hard wooden seats in the distance) from the Giants Causeway Electric Tramway. As you may recall, we rode the two-mile reopened tramway laid on the roadbed of the original railway.
As Lisa's request, I took this picture of the preserved vehicle's larger wheels with some suspension, in contrast to the small-wheeled, almost-no-suspension vehicles on the modern tourist line. Of course, there's no way to compare the ride of the modern line to the original, which was notoriously slow itself.
Kuma Bear, after taking a turn as a delivery driver, showed us a small model bus and suggested we let him drive it. We said he'd have to ask Mr. Berkeley Bear for permission. Bear tried, but wasn't able to get Mr. B. to approve.
We moved on to the Automobile gallery.
It makes sense that there is a substantial exhibit devoted to the DeLorean Motor Car, which was manufactured in Northern Ireland.
Here's what a DeLorean looks like with the chassis removed.
And almost finally, the Air Gallery.
The Short SC1 was developed in Northern Ireland as a vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Two were built, but one was destroyed in a wreck. This is the only remaining one.
Lisa enthusiastically explained some of the aircraft displays to one of the other museum visitors while I took a load off my feet for a while.
I did not get any pictures of the horse-drawn carriages gallery. There is one full-sized ship on the grounds of the museum.
The schooner Result has been in long-term "temporary" storage on the ground here awaiting restoration.
We spend more than four hours here, stopping back in the train gallery for a snack.
I had tea and a scone in the tea room, which is not a reproduction but the actual tea room from a now-abandoned Midland Railway station in Belfast.
Returning to the gift shop, we managed to escape buying only two train books. I'm glad I sent a few kilograms of stuff home by mail, so there's no question that there's enough room for a couple of small train and air books.
We returned to Cultra Station and caught the next train to Belfast.
At the Hilton, we said goodbye to Feòrag and sat down in the Eurocon social space on the first floor, socializing with some of the people who had not gone off on the convention's all-day bus tour. When I tweeted out that we'd settled in, Cheryl Morgan headed over from her hotel, having dressed to impress for that evening's Game of Thrones-inspired banquet.
I got this shot of Cheryl, who pointed out that she shouldn't be wearing sunglasses, nor shoes, to be more appropriate, but there are limits to authenticity.
We hung around for a while socializing as the various bus groups returned and things got busy again. When the doors opened for the banquet, I gave Cheryl a goodbye hug and Lisa and I joined Sharon Sbarsky looking for our own dinner (none of us having booked for the banquet). We headed for Fish City, located about 750 m from the Hilton.
Both Sharon and I were taken by the doorway on the walk to Fish City.
We've had a lot of fish and chips on this trip, but the ones we had at Fish City, plus the seafood chowder, was among the best of the lot. I'm willing to admit that our exhaustion from all of our walking today (13K steps) may have improved the savor, and that it was improved by the company and by the lack of time pressure. After dinner, we took a taxi back to the hotel and headed back to Lanyon Place.
Trains don't run as often on Sundays and Bank Holidays (like tomorrow), and if the gate staff hadn't radioed ahead to have the crew on the platform hold the train that was arriving just as we came through the gate, we would have had a 40 minute wait for the next one. (Which in practice means that we would have walked "home" instead.)
Unlike most of our friends who have either left already or are on their way home tomorrow, we have one more day in Belfast tomorrow before we move on to our next stop: Iceland. We haven't figured out what we're going do to on Monday, but that's okay. We can't be out that long anyway due to the early morning departure on Tuesday.