Sunday, 26 April 2009

Botanical Trail

I parked at the Stranmillis Road, Belfast, this morning, adjacent to the Botanic Gardens. I strolled up to the Ulster Museum, still obscured by hoarding though, I understand, due to open this summer.

Continuing along University Road, I passed the Sir William Whitla Hall and the foundation stone caught my eye. It was laid by Lord Londonderry seventy years ago. They have his lordship's post-nominal letters in the wrong order, too: the MVO precedes PC!

I walked on to Shaftesbury Square and made a right turn on to Botanic Avenue. At the far end I passed Molly's Yard restaurant and bar. The depiction of the headless black dog is still visible at the entrance. I think they could make the sign of the headless dog a feature. A painted, wooden pub sign could hang on a wooden post outside the door with a black, headless dog. It would add even more character to Molly's.

From Molly's, I ambled further along the Avenue till I passed a side entrance to the Botanic Gardens; and spotted an original stone plaque emblazoned Royal Botanic Gardens. Someone has craftily obscured the adjective with plants.

Eventually I came full-circle, noticing four wood-pigeons and a squirrel in the Gardens.


Anonymous said...

You might know this already but the modernist concrete facade on the front of the Ulster Museum was designed by the well-known N. Irish architect Robert McKinstry - his son Leo was at Brackenber House School, probably a couple of years below you. Leo is now well known as a journalist and commentator in the UK press (Daily Mail etc), invariably lamenting the decline of something or other. However, he had an article in The Spectator last year saying that Belfast was one of the most appealing cities in Europe.

Timothy Belmont said...

Yes indeed, McKinstry's name is familiar to me (we often knew folk by their surnames in those days!).

Didn't Robert McKinstry work on the renovations at the opera house during the eigthies too?