WORDS by SARAH MURPHY

It’s been four months since I moved to Belfast from County Wicklow and I’m loving life in this small city. While it may be only two hours up the motorway and reminds me very much of home, there are a few things I’ve noticed since moving.

1. Almost everything is wee

Even when it’s not wee at all. “Here’s your wee change.” I must be in the wrong job because there is nothing wee about £41.56 in change.

2. Fifteens are basically the traybake of the gods

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Traybakes in general really are much better in Belfast. The little slices of heaven that are fifteens have been my happiest discovery since I moved here.

3. Going for a dander is better than just going for a walk

I love the word dander. I have willingly allowed it to creep into my everyday usage, particularly if it’s combined with ‘wee’. In fact, there are several new words I’ve heard since moving to Belfast, some of them I still don’t understand.

4. The locations for a wee dander are endless

Botanic Gardens, Lagan Lands, Minnowburn, the Giant’s Ring, Cave Hill… I’m still discovering stunning places all the time and all within a few minutes’ drive of the city centre.

5. Mr Tayto changes as you travel north

Little did I know that Mr Tayto has a more yellow, decidedly more ecstatic, Northern Irish brother. I still can’t decide which cheese & onion are better though.

6. The Poke Man is not what it sounds like

“Do you wanna wee poke?” I definitely raised an eyebrow the first time someone asked me this. It turned out it was all innocent fun involving getting a poke from a poke man.

7. The Ulster Fry is like the Full Irish on a serious carb binge

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So. Much. Bread. It’s the ultimate hangover cure. I was so utterly unprepared for the carb overload the first time I had one.

8. Shops open for five hours on a Sunday?!

Sunday opening hours were a little difficult to get used to at first, but it’s grown on me. It means a relaxing Sunday morning without running off to the shops as soon as they’re open.

9. The Belfast food scene is pretty damn good

Boojum, Bubbacue and the Barking Dog to name but a few… Belfast food outlets know how to do good food.

10. Fortified wine made by monks is inexplicably popular

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Previously, my Sunday morning walk after a particularly rowdy Saturday night of partying would be littered with empty Dutch Gold cans, but now when I take my Sunday dander in Belfast, it’s empty bottles of Buckie strewn around. I had heard about the Lurgan Champagne obsession, but didn’t expect to be met with empties thrown behind park benches in Belfast.

11. Belfast Murals are amazing works of art

Before moving here, I thought the famous Belfast murals were solely about celebrating nationalist and unionist culture, but there is such a variety, highlighting a wide array of subjects from the Titanic to quantum gravity, and all of them are pretty impressive.

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