In recent years, Belfast has undergone a resurgence that has turned it from a quiet small city into a trendy tourist hotspot.
Now, the capital’s rich history and thriving creative scene is taking center stage. But despite the recent boom in popularity, Belfast has maintained its intimate village charm, which couples perfectly with its warm local communities.
From its many museums to the countless historical sites around, here are some unique destinations to add to your list of must-sees.
Photo credit: Svein-Magne Tunli – tunliweb.no CC BY-SA 4.0
Belfast is home to many eccentricities, one of which is the Titanic Museum.
It was recently named the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2016, beating global powerhouses like Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World and Peru’s Machu Picchu.
In truth, the museum lives up to its expectations, with its gleaming exteriors, interactive exhibitions, underwater cinema, and much more. Spread across a total of six floors, the entire building is designed to be as tall as the actual Titanic.
Crumlin Road Gaol
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In 1996, the Crumlin Road Gaol was thought to have closed its doors to the public forever, until it was revived in 2012 to be a tourist attraction and conference center. The prison is now a landmark in its own right, as the last Victorian era prison left standing in Northern Ireland. Its walls have seen its fair share of interesting guests, with inmates from the 1919-1921 Irish Revolution to the late 20th century Belfast Troubles.
It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, but blogger Emanuela Mae Agrini warns that it is not for the faint of heart. One highlight of the tour is a walk through an 84-meter long underground passage from the Crumlin Gaol to the courthouse, where countless prisoners had once traveled. Naturally, the area is home to many ghost stories.
Black Taxi Tour
Photo credit: Trover
Another way to see Belfast through a unique way is to go on a Black Taxi Tour. Headed by local drivers, each tour through the city is a colorful history lesson that delves into Belfast’s culture — from its folk traditions to the dark age of the Troubles.
Tourists get to admire Belfast’s world-famous wall art, which many artists use to express their political and religious views.
A Black Taxi Tour is highly recommended for history students or anyone who wants to take a deep dive into Northern Ireland’s past.
St George’s Market
Photo credit: Ardfern CC BY-SA 3.0
For those who want a delectable taste of the Northern Irish spirit, St. George’s Market offers up a generous sampling of its local cuisine and crafts. Here, you can buy everything from clothes and jewelry, to Irish soda bread and beers.
It was recently named the UK‘s Best Market Attraction in 2017, boasting more than 150 weekly traders. There are also special events such as the Variety Friday Market, City Food, and the Craft Saturday Market.
Photo credit: Bazonka CC BY-SA 3.0
Having recently gone through an extravagant makeover, the Ulster Museum is a beauty to behold. Here, visitors come face-to-face with a variety of artifacts taken from different eras and fields — from natural sciences and history, to zoology and botany. Whether you want to take a glimpse into the Jurassic period and see dinosaurs, or marvel at their impressive collective of British and Irish artworks from the 17th to 18th century, Ulster Museum has something that will catch your eye. Overall, its fascinating exhibitions highlight Belfast’s cultural importance.
Northern Island, in general, is known for its interesting culture and folklore. Nowhere is this more apparent than in quintessentially Irish icons like leprechauns and shamrocks. The latter can be spotted nearly everywhere in the center of Belfast, while leprechauns are ubiquitous, having inspired many characters in pop culture — like Neil Gaiman’s leprechauns in American Gods and the famous Lucky from your favorite childhood Lucky Charms cereal.
Even European slot gaming portal Slingo draws plenty of inspiration from Irish culture, with games like Rainbow Riches, Irish Luck, Wish Upon a Leprechaun. These games lean heavily on Irish folklore for their imagery and music, and are a testament to its enduring popularity in pop culture. However, it is important to note that Northern Ireland’s version of the leprechaun is slightly different to Ireland’s – theirs it decked out in orange instead of green.
These modern media examples help promote Northern Ireland’s rich culture and tourism, but it’s just one of the many reasons why you should put it on your bucket list. Besides being the home for the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2016, it has an edifying vibrance that’s hard to top.
So there you have the Top 5 Unforgettable Things to do in Belfast Northern Ireland
Now we’re turning it over to you.
Have you been to Belfast?
If not, would you like to visit?
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Until next time, hasta la próxima.
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