Travel Blog

West Belfast – Ireland

West BelfastBelfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It is also the largest city in Northern Ireland.  Belfast is smaller than Dublin in Southern Ireland.  Although the city has a population of  267,000, it lies in a metropolitan area of 641,000 people.  In the past industries such as tobacco, linen, rope making and ship building were the main industries.  Today it is an industrial and economic power house. It has recovered from the set backs caused by what is know as the “troubles” . This is Ireland today with many new business opportunities.

Violence has Declined

There was a great deal of violence, shootings and bombings during the period from 1969 until 1990. This caused industry as well as people to move away from Belfast. Over 1500 people were killed in the period from 1969 until 2001. Especially with  the development of the waterfront area, Victoria Square and the Belfast City center.

The highest levels of segregation in the city are in west Belfast with many areas greater than 90% Catholic. Opposite but comparatively high levels are seen in the predominantly Protestant east Belfast.

What it is Like in West Belfast

There are two airports that serve Belfast. The George Best Belfast city airport in the city and the Belfast International airport which is about 15 kilometers outside the city. There is also a major seaport with commercial and industrial docks.

The average temperatures in the summer are around 18 C and 6 C degrees in the winter time. They do receive some snow in the winter, however it does not stay long with these temperate temperatures.

Since 2001, boosted by increasing numbers of tourists, the city council has developed a number of cultural quarters. The Cathedral Quarter takes its name from St Anne’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland). It has taken on the mantle of the city’s key cultural locality. It hosts a yearly visual and performing arts festival.

Custom House Square is one of the city’s main outdoor venues for free concerts and street entertainment. The Gaeltacht Quarter is an area around the Falls Road in west Belfast. This area promotes and encourages the use of the Irish language.

The Queen’s Quarter in south Belfast is named after Queen’s University. The area has a large student population and hosts the annual Belfast Festival at Queen’s each autumn. It is home to Botanic Gardens and the Ulster Museum, which was reopened in 2009 after major redevelopment.

The Golden Mile

The Golden Mile is the name given to the mile between Belfast City Hall and Queen’s University. Taking in Dublin Road, Great Victoria Street, Shaftesbury Square and Bradbury Place, it contains some of the best bars and restaurants in the city.

Since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the nearby Lisburn Road has developed into the city’s most exclusive shopping strip.

Titanic Quarter

Finally, the Titanic Quarter covers 0.75 km2 (0 sq mi) of reclaimed land adjacent to Belfast Harbour, formerly known as Queen’s Island. Work has begun which promises to transform some former shipyard land into “one of the largest waterfront developments in Europe”. Plans also include apartments, a riverside entertainment district, and a major Titanic-themed museum.

Now that the “troubles” are over, Belfast has become a great place to visit and see all of the many historical things to do in the city. Don’t miss the many murals that have been drawn on various walls that depict the time of the troubles and people who were killed during this time.

For more posts about Ireland including both Belfast and Dublin, click here.


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One Response to “West Belfast – Ireland”

  1. since I emigrated from Ireland, a lot has changed. sure there are still some problems in Belfast, but it is much better than what it used to be. it is much safer and people just want to lead their lives now and not be involved in any violence.

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