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One last post about Belfast. Right next door to the University, so close that you can easily . . . er, get lost on your way to the vitally important and massively interesting conference business meeting, is the Botanic Garden. As one of the few attractions in the whole country that opens before 10 AM, it was clearly top on my list of Things To See.

The Botanic Garden is basically a large city park. There's a Rose Garden, except that Rose Gardens look pretty pathetic in early April. Much more interesting are the two Victorian greenhouses in the park. Here's the thing about them: The park itself opens about 8 AM, and the signs on the greenhouses claim that they don't open until 10. But they don't appear to be locked, so even if it is about 9ish, you really can just go right in. The first one is the Palm House:

34.  Palm House Outside

Which is worth seeing just on its own, for that classic Victorian birdcage structure. Inside, it's all warm and humid, and there are in fact, lots of palm trees:

29.  Palm House Palms

But there are other interesting things to see, too. There's some nice statuary to be found if you poke around a bit, and a couple of really lovely wrought-iron chairs in one of the side rooms:

30.  Palm House Sitar Player

33.  Palm House Chairs

The other greenhouse is the Tropical Ravine. It's less impressive from the outside than the Palm House is:

40.  Tropical Ravine Outside

But inside, it is . . . a Tropical Ravine. Exactly as promised.

35.  Tropical Ravine

It's bigger than you'd expect, and it's like being at a plant zoo. You walk around the edge, and stare down into this . . . well, ravine, filled with large exotic plants and vines and ferns, and koi ponds, and stuff trails around, and it smells all green and damp and alive. I never thought I'd enjoy greenhouses so much, and I can definitely see why people like these ones in particular. Imagine being some Victorian child growing up in dank old Belfast at the polluted height of the Industrial Revolution. These places must have seemed like another planet, and, if you were very lucky and had the right kind of nanny . . . you could just go there, and be in a whole nother world.

Alas, I had to leave that whole nother world right after the conference. But not too alas. My next stop was Cork, home of Dot! But that is for another post.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
Nice pics, FP. I've been in that greenhouse. :-)

Looks like you had more energy than I usually do the first day.
Apr. 23rd, 2013 06:57 pm (UTC)
The greenhouses were definitely wonderful places. It wasn't really all that cold outside, but it was chilly enough that it felt good to step into the warm greenhouse. And they smelled so wonderful inside!

I didn't take all of these pictures on the first day! But I did do a lot, that's true. I slept on the plane going over, and I caught a nap on the train up from Dublin. Once I got to Belfast . . . well, I had Things To Do, People To See, and Conference To Attend. Gotta keep moving. I guess it's a good way to get past the jetlag, too. Just ignore it, and shift yourself onto the daylight schedule of wherever you happen to be. Worked pretty well for me in Helsinki, after all.
Apr. 23rd, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
I've been there too but only in the rain.

But they don't appear to be locked, so even if it is about 9ish, you really can just go right in.

Ah, you and wandering through open doors...
Apr. 23rd, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
I bet it was even nicer going into the greenhouses when you were going in out of the rain. Wouldn't matter if anything dripped on you, and the warmth would be even more welcome.

Ah, you and wandering through open doors...

Well, you can see that there's often a reward for wandering through open doors! So far, my record of "interesting things to see" vs. "angry Russian security guards" is pretty good.

And I wasn't the only person in either greenhouse!
Apr. 24th, 2013 06:39 am (UTC)
I love greenhouses and these do look quite nice. You have just reminded me that now that I have a way to get my scooter places, I am having someone drive me to our beautiful conservatory, one of my favorite places, very soon.
Apr. 24th, 2013 11:32 am (UTC)
Oh, that'll be fun! Does your conservatory have interesting statuary hidden among the plants?
Apr. 24th, 2013 01:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, it does! Along with hidden fountains etc. plus I heard there is a new wing I can't wait to see.
Apr. 24th, 2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
What's in the new wing?
Apr. 26th, 2013 12:50 am (UTC)
I adore garden conservatories. There is an awesome one in Cincinnati if you ever go there. Those look awesome!
Apr. 26th, 2013 02:48 am (UTC)
I really didn't expect the greenhouses to be as much fun as they were, so that was a real pleasant surprise. I'll have to check out the one in Cincinnati next!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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