Introduction to Belfast

Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and currently has a growing population of just over 250,000 people. The transformation of this once tiny 17th-century industrial village is nothing short of phenomenal. Belfast was built upon the production of linen, rope and most famously boat building making it a very hard working-class city.

The area has just celebrated the RMS Titanic’s 100th anniversary of its maiden voyage, which was famously built in the Harland and Wolff shipyards of Belfast. Although the story ended on a sour note, the ship was well known to have been the most technologically advanced and luxurious vessel in the world. Take a tour around the interesting and highly interactive Titanic Exhibition located in the mouth of Belfast’s port to gain a real life insight into the tragic voyage. Today, the city’s boat yards are frequently being turned into super- luxurious waterfront apartments with the Titanic Quarter and Victoria Square the largest regenerated areas. The waterfront is lined with modern art and an abundance of attractions have been drawn to the vicinity.

The city is also a well-known destination for its array of historic attractions and natural beauty spots including Cavehill, which stands 368 metres above the northern half of the city supplying spectacular views of the industrial cityscape. Neighbouring this is the site of Belfast Castle, which has stood for around 150 years and once housed monarchy. Visitors can wander around the grounds as well as dine at the onsite restaurant.

The nightlife in Belfast is full-on and all in good spirit. The maze of traditional Irish pubs are symbolic in Belfast as they were the safe haven for boat builders after a long day of graft. Pubs are lively and frequently offer local live musical shows accompanied by the odd cheer and beat-keeping foot-stomp. One to look out for is the Duke of York, a ‘proper pub’ that is incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike. Thankfully, the period of civil unrest in Belfast, known as The Troubles, spanning from 1969 to 1998 appears to have petered out allowing the city to shine in all of its glory.

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