The weeks are flying by and we are nearly at Christmas. I swear December has just gone by in the quickest of flashes. I haven’t even got the tree up yet, the fridge needs cleaned, the oven too….awe man, the list! And what am I going to do with my only free evening this week? Sure write and tell you all about my gallivanting to St. George’s Market...Much more enjoyable than cleaning I think you’ll find!
As part of the annual Christmas outings I always try and make it up to Belfast to get a night out with one of my besties, Siobhán and this weekend gone we did just that. And although the annual Continental Christmas markets are back at the City Hall I had said to Siobhán a few weeks back that I really wanted to visit St. George’s. If you haven’t made the journey yet, I beseech you, GO!
As soon as you stand outside those gates, the old Victorian red brick building, the black iron gates and framed windows; the place has a magical feel from the outside. But embark on the journey inside and that’s where the real magic starts!
Straight in through the door your eyes are met with a feast of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables. Carrots still in their dirt…imagine! And Brussel Sprouts still on their stalks...whaaaat I hear you say! Imagine, some kids growing up (and probably some adults too!) have never seen vegetables in as natural state as that, without being washed and packaged in a plastic bag. Some probably wouldn’t recognise the sprouts. Saddest face at today’s convenience society. Anyway, rant over… back to the markets.
As an island nation we do not eat enough sea food. Simples. Nor do we monopolise enough on our fresh seafood. Alas, come to St. George’s Market and that is not the case. Any amount of fresh fish – some gutted and filleted, some not! Check out my picture of the whole trout (least that’s what I was told it was…I’ll look the right preaching numpty now if it’s not!!) The array of fish and sea food; monk fish, salmon, white fish, scallops, mussels, oysters – the lot!
Wander on round the stalls and I promise you the place is a feast for the senses! The food stalls cater for even the pickiest pallet – vegetarian, Mexican, falafels, sandwiches, pizza, vegan…you name it. We opted for the beef brisket Cuban Sandwich. O.M.Geeee! Word of warning…one sandwich between the two would be a wiser option as it would leave room for grazing the bakery stalls. We made the rookie error of ordering a sandwich each (which is like a foot long sub except bigger..!) and we were both too stuffed the rest of the day to take advantage of all the treats before us. ERROR! I will not be making this mistake again. I’ll starve myself for a week in advance of going just so I have enough room for all the goodies!
Aside from the food, the array of talent on display throughout the market really is remarkable. I’m always so in awe of people with artistic skills, and the display of art from different stall holders is really amazing. There is one particular stall and ‘Belfast Art’ where the artist paints scenes from around Belfast – one of my favourites was a selection of pubs in the city. Really lovely pieces which would make a great addition to any fan of the public houses!
Another one, Tandem Photography had photos from derelict building from around Ireland. This was my favourite stall of the whole place I think. Those pictures really did paint a thousand words. You can get a real sense of what life would have been like for our ancestors living in rural Ireland and how in today’s fast paced society we move on so quickly, while Mother Nature slowly reclaims the land. Really fascinating pieces (www.tandemphotographyni.com/).
The Belfast Beard Company will provide any self-respecting man in your life an array of moisturisers, waxes and what not to make his beard as shiny as you’d imagine. (https://www.belfastbeardcompany.com/).
There are pottery stalls, ceramic creations, antiques, soaps, jewellery…honestly it really is a sight to behold. If it’s a laugh you’re after you might visit the Belfast Times stall; all the best ‘Norn Iron’ sayings put on greeting cards…’It’s Christmas so it is’, ‘bout ye’ and ‘mucker’ to name a few! And if want to wear them instead of having on a coaster, make a stop at the Norn Iron TShirt company. (www.belfasttimes.co.uk) (https://nornirontshirts.bigcartel.com/)
With a good few mulled wines just to really get into the festive spirit, we then absolutely deserved to treat ourselves to brunch at the ‘Lamppost Café’ the next morning. This is just the cutest, quaint little spot on the go. It appears to be almost residential in its layout but has a very stately home feel about it with the décor inside which is nothing short of decadent – perfect surroundings to enjoy their lovely food! They have recently opened a neat little gift shop which I highly recommended for a visit. They have managed to create lovely, functional pieces of art from old bottles, cutlery and wood. Oh and they’re dog friendly, if that’s your thing! (https://www.thelamppostcafe.com/)
All in all a fab trip up to the big schmoke. I will 100% be revisiting St. George’s Market again in the very near future. It literally has everything under one roof one might wish for Christmas pressies so sack of the multinationals guys, buy local!
“When you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a CEO buy a 3rd holiday home, you’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey and parents put food on the table”.
Anyway muckers, I must run on. Sure it’s Christmas…so it is!