(population 279,237) is the administrative and major commercial
centre of Northern Ireland. The politically and religiously
divided city has a reputation for terrorist bombings, shootings,
and beatings, but tourists are not targeted. Moreover, most
of the terrorist organisations support the new Northern Ireland
peace agreement and are observing cease-fires. The agreement,
known as the Good Friday Agreement, basically transfers power
from London to the new Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont
Belfast's shopping area centres on Royal Avenue, which runs
north out of Donegall Square in the heart of the city. There
are several modern shopping centres in the city. In addition,
The Craftworks Gallery on Linenhall Street specialises in Northern
Irish crafts, and Smyth's Irish Linens on Royal Avenue has Irish
linen and Irish souvenirs.
Look for restaurants and B&B accommodation just south of
Donegall Square on a stretch of University Road known as the
Golden Mile. Here you will also find Queen's University, the
Botanic Gardens, and the Ulster Museum.
are several interesting turn-of-the century buildings in Donegall
Square. They include Belfast City Hall (1906) and Linen Hall
Library, which has a major Irish collection.
The oldest part of Belfast is a collection of narrow alleyways
north of High Street, between Royal Avenue and the river, known
as the Entries. Some attractive old Belfast pubs are to be found
in the alleyways.
Stormont, to the east of the city, is the location of Stormont
Castle, which serves as the headquarters for the Secretary of
State for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Office,
the conduits for direct rule from London. Also in Stormont are
the old Parliament Buildings, where the fledgling Northern Ireland
Assembly now sits. Both Stormont Castle and the Parliament Buildings
are not accessible to the public, but the surrounding park areas
are an excellent family attraction and include a newly designed
children's play area.
Cave Hill Country Park, on the shores of Belfast Lough in northern
Belfast, features waymarked walks, several raths, a crannóg,
and two nature reserves.
On the slopes of Cave Hill are Belfast Zoo http://www.belfastzoo.co.uk/
and Belfast Castle.
Citybus runs bus tours of Belfast, including a tour of areas
associated with the troubles. Buses for the city tour leave
from Castle Place, just north of Donegall Square, at 1.30 pm
on Wednesdays and Fridays. Buses for the other tour leave at
2 pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Tel. +44 28 90458484
Belfast Folk Festival in mid-June.
The Civic Festival in May features music, dance, theatre, and
sports events around the city.
The two-week Belfast Festival at Queen's in mid-November has
drama, dance, music performances, and movies at various venues.
has several hostels and plenty of hotels. There is a lot of
Bed & Breakfast accommodation on the Golden Mile and 2 kilometres
south of the centre on Eglantine Avenue.
are several art galleries. The principal modern art gallery
is the Ormeau Baths Gallery on Ormeau Avenue. Open Tuesday to
There are also many venues for plays and concerts. Most notable
Grand Opera House on Great Victoria Street. http://www.goh.co.uk/
Tel. +44 28 90241919.
flights into Belfast go to Belfast International Airport, which
is 30 kilometres north of the city in Aldergrove. However, some
regional airports in Britain have flights to the centrally located
Belfast City Airport.
Car ferries to Stranraer and the Isle of Man leave from the
centrally located SeaCat terminal on Donegall Quay, and car
ferries to Liverpool leave from the Victoria terminal, which
is 5 kilometres more northerly.
Most major towns and cities in Northern Ireland are connected
by rail to Belfast. There are also eight express trains to Dublin
each day from Belfast Central Station.
The Laganside Buscentre in Oxford Street has buses for County
Antrim, County Down, and eastern County Derry. Buses for all
other destinations, including the Republic, the ferries in Larne,
and Belfast International Airport, leave from the Europa Buscentre
in Glengall Street.
Citybus operates 60 routes around the city, and most buses pick
up at Donegall Square. Tel. +44 28 90246485
The Citybus Centrelink service provides a link between all the
main bus and rail stations in Belfast as well as the principal
shopping areas and the Waterfront Hall. The service is free
for those who arrive in Belfast at either of the main bus/rail
details for Belfast
dialling from the Republic of Ireland, replace +44 28 with
Back to Top