Heatwave makes the city a favourite amongst tourists

50-year-old Richard Towlard, a visitor from Cheshire, England
50-year-old Richard Towlard, a visitor from Cheshire, England

Belfast seems to be having a ‘Sahara moment’ of its own as the temperature continues to rise. The sweltering heat led the city centre to become a haven of sightseers yesterday.

Richard Towlard, a 50-year-old visitor from Cheshire, England, said: “This is my first time in Ireland.”

When asked about his experience so far, he added: “It’s quite nice. We were expecting it to be cold and wet so this is a big surprise.”

Richard visited the City Hall and was heading to Titanic Belfast. Given the warm climate, he will be heading straight to the coast to see the Giant’s Causeway today.

Susan Kelly, another tourist from Scotland, commented on the weather.

“This is great because it’s so nice for wandering around. That’s what you want,” she said, adding that she is “not missing going abroad” this year.

Even some locals have decided to give travelling a miss, and are more keen to make the best of the summer.

Francis Brown, who works in Belfast city centre, said: “It’s a miracle. Three months of sunshine is what we need.”

He added that each year he faced the dilemma of choosing whether he should stay home or go elsewhere. He usually chose the latter over the fear of facing rain, but this year he decided that he is “staying put” as this sunny spell is “here for a few weeks”.

When asked about his special plans for the day he commented: “As soon as I finish work, I am going to get the barbecue on. I am going to be barbecuing alfresco every day.”

He suggested that there are issues with the heat being too much but he is enjoying it. “We’re just not used to the weather but look at my colour. My name is Francis Brown and now I am brown all over.”

Though the heat has proved to be quite a bit for some, there are those who find it mild. Hash Bash Cycle Tour participants, Ian Jansen, Derek Rye and Steve Cameron from Durban, South Africa, were visiting Belfast to sightsee, and found the weather to be “superlative” compared to Durban. “This is like our winter.”