Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland. The city is the largest in Northern Ireland and the second largest on the island of Ireland. Located amongst stunning scenery, the city is surrounded by the Glens of Antrim, Castlereagh Hills, Divis Mountain, Cavehill and Black Mountain. The city has a mild, though occasionally rainy climate, and it boasts a population of 276,459 inhabitants.Belfast has been a settlement since Bronze Age times and examples of Iron Age hill forts can be seen within the city. It was during the 18th century that Belfast began to become the bustling, industrial city that it is today.
Between 1969 and the late 1990's, the city suffered under 'The Troubles' - sectarian conflict between republicans and loyalists. However, following a ceasefire by both sides, Belfast has become a popular tourist destination.Some notable attractions within the city include the impressive City Hall, which was opened in 1906 and is a stunning Classical Renaissance landmark. Resting close to City Hall is the equally impressive Saint Anne's Cathedral and also the lovely Victorian-built, Belfast Central Library. Another Victorian-built landmark is the striking Queens University Belfast, which rests amongst beautiful gardens.
Equally famed for its architecture is the Crown Liquor Saloon, which has remained unchanged since Victorian times and is charmingly gas-lit.For those interested in nature, Belfast is home the lovely Botanical Gardens, featuring a mixture of local, rare and tropical plants. Another popular outdoor attraction within the city is Belfast Zoo, which is involved in world-wide breeding programmes. Many visitors to the city follow the Mural Tour of large-wall political paintings that can be seen throughout the city. While, for those less politically-minded, the city offers an abundance of cafes, pubs and shops ? particularly in Smithfield Market, where one-of-a-kind items are sold by independent retailers..
Dara Ward is an expert on all things Irish and is based in Wexford Ireland. He operates over 20 Irish travel websites including Hotels in Belfast and Hotels in Galway.
By: Dara Ward