18 year old student from New York (hence the username!), studying at NUIG until Christmas. Would love to go to Belfast and check the city out for a bit, also visit a friend and his family. I remain a huge hockey fan, so a Giants game at the Odyssey is a must.
There are plenty of threads from prospective visitors asking if Belfast is dangerous, what areas are terrible, etc. Personally, I find that scaring yourself by ruminating on strictly the negatives of a city is not the most productive way of planning a trip.
Now don't count me naive, I know to keep my wits about me, same as in any large urban area. I've had a shade of experience in my young life. Every big, populated city has rough spots and places where incidents may occur.
Ok, sorry, now to my point - it is time to hear what is NICE about Belfast! Or any surrounding areas as well, not just the city centre. Prove right my assertion that the positives of this area must far overshadow all the rest! I would love to get suggestions on what to do with my time there.
If you feel otherwise, please, feel free to give advice. Although fair warning, I'm still going!
I started this thread a while back...as a result of some people on boards.ie running down Belfast or parts of it.
The nightlife in Belfast is good. People are friendly and almost everyone will ask you where are from. Moreso than Dublin I find. There are some lively pubs and clubs around Shaftesbury Square, would be good for a young buck like yourself. You could even try heading up to the Botanic Inn just past the university. Always a good buzz in there during the weekend.
You could try taking one of the sightseeing tours that are offered by reps around the city centre. Some very interesting historical sites including Stormont, Falls Rd, Shankill etc. It's an easy way to take in all the murals. The Black Cab tour might be slightly more expensive but it's a bit more personal.
You could try taking a trip up to the Giants Causeway and the Rope Bridge, not sure if the weather will be suitable but it's still well worth a look. There's various tour companies that will bring you up, if you have a friend that will drive you up all the better.
Try going for a walk around the Botanic Garden, very relaxing place to go for a walk on a nice day. You could take in the Ulster Museum also.
I'm sure there's plenty more but can't think of anything else at the moment! It's a small city so you will find it easy to get around. Very accessible too from Dublin, if you are travelling from Galway I'd recommend getting a Citylink to Dublin City Centre, walk the few minutes to Busaras and get the hourly bus to Belfast. IMO it's the easiest way.
Friendlier than Dublin for sure.
Walking distance everywhere.
Hot girls with a Ulster accent.
Close to Glens of Antrim and other cool things.
Just back from a weekend in Belfast... while it's not the prettiest city in Ireland, it certainly has a lot to offer - some great restaurants, pubs, cafes & is a brilliant place for shopping. On the whole, I found everyone - from people in the service industry to people you'd meet on a night out - extremely friendly.
A very easy city to navigate too - the motorway which almost goes through the city makes it very easy to get in & out with very little hassle.
I used to go to Belfast a lot in my youth when the Troubles were still very much alive & the difference between then and now is palpable... no longer do you see armed soldiers or armoured vehicles on the streets. In fact, I don't think I even saw a policeman!
The last time I was in Belfast, I was drinking in a pub called The Garfield. I left to go & get some chips. In the meantime, an off duty officer who was drinking there had been shot in the head by the IRA who walked into the pub & murdered him in cold blood.
The pub is now closed down & boarded up.
The one thing that really hit home for me about how much times have changed in Belfast since then, was when I visited the Victoria Square shopping centre... it's a fabulous piece of architecture - a series of 5 (maybe 6?) levels of shops, restaurants & a cinema, with a wonderful viewing point at the very top, giving views across the city.
Back in the days of the Troubles, the army used to search people going into shopping centres for bombs... so it stuck me as very significant & poignant that a wall plaque for the shopping centre commemorated it's opening by two of the main political / religious figures of what were the Troubles & are now peace times - Martin McGuinness & Ian Paisley.
What was once a politically dark place to visit & one you would do so with some amount of trepidation, is now a modern, vibrant & somewhat cool city... sure it's even hosting the MTV European Music Awards this week - which means that it's either cool, or I'm too old to know what is actually considered cool these days.
Just back from a weekend there myself, had never been before and I must say I was well impressed with the place. Vibrant, cool, busy, compact, some nice buildings and generally friendly people.
Didn't know what I'd make of it before I got there but I'll definately be back.
Belfast, Huddersfield, Walsall, Glasgow, Blackburn, all those grimy ex-industrial Northern UK towns are the same.
look at yoursel
If you have a problem with a post then report it please but dont engage in retaliatory comments.
they were never built to look beautiful,they are working class cities,but you would have to go a long way to find more lovely people
leave it at that please
Agree with most of the sentiment on here.
Belfast has changed a lot over the years. I stayed over a few times recently and its a good spot now. Of course there are places to avoid, but stick to the city centre type pubs and all should be fine.
As for people asking where you are from, this is great unless you are from Derry.....I mean Londonderry ... I mean the Maiden City ...
My Grandparents are from Belfast and I have family there so I have always had a good time there. Lot's of change for sure. I do find it grey and grim though, even still! The centre is very small. It is an industrial designed town like towns in the North Of England. And all those depressing red bricked streets. And quite a lot of the infrastructure had some British Military influence over the last 40 years. Derry City has more charm and colour.
That said Belfast is worth checking out for a weekend. There are some decent bars etc and like another post said the North coast is nearby and worth a visit too. Some nice attractions along that stretch. Disagree with other reply about Belfast been friendlier then Dublin. Not true! I know both cities well. Dublin is very friendly for a capital city. Both cities are worth checking out.
I moved to Belfast about 18 months ago and am loving it. Rarely have any trouble, any I encountered has actually been at work when I've been refusing a drunk person more drink, so I don't take it personally and definitely not as a reflection on the people or city of Belfast. The nightlife here, while quieter than Galway is still brilliant and there's so many great pubs and restaurants. Would definitely recommend a visit
Some great Pubs in Belfast,always buzzing with a lively atmosphere,i love visiting it,my favourite one is Robinsons ,just across from the main Bus centre.