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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Belfast

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Belfast, capital since 1920 of the six counties of Northern Ireland (reorganized into 26 districts in 1973), is an important industrial city and port. It lies beautifully situated on Belfast Lough in the northeast of Ireland, at the mouth of the River Lagan, the county boundary between Down and Antrim. Belfast's shipyards are among the most modern in Europe and for many years Harland and Wolff's dry dock was the largest in the world. Here as elsewhere however, the worldwide crisis in shipbuilding has left its mark.

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Donegall Square (City Hall)

Belfast City Hall.
The central feature of Belfast is the City Hall in Donegall Square, a huge neo-Renaissance palazzo (1898-1906) designed by Sir Brumwell Thomas, with corner towers and a massive dome 197ft/60m high. In front of it are statues of Queen Victoria and prominent citizens of Belfast.

Garden of Remembrance

On the west side of the City Hall in Belfast is the War Memorial in a Garden of Remembrance. There is also a sculptured group commemorating the sinking of the Titanic, the ill-fated liner having been launched from Belfast's Harland and Wolff shipyard in 1912.

Linen Hall Library

On the north of Donegall Square stands the Linen Hall Library (1788), with an exhibition on the history of linen manufacture.
Address: 17 Donegall Square North, Belfast BT1 5GB, Northern Ireland

Royal Avenue

Donegall Square and the adjoining streets, particularly Royal Avenue, are the city's main shopping streets, with large department stores.

St Anne's Cathedral

Belfast St Anne's Cathedral.
To the north, by way of Royal Avenue and Church Street, is St Anne's Cathedral, the principal church of the (Anglican) Church of Ireland, begun in 1898 (architect Sir Thomas Drew). A neo-Romanesque building of the basilican type, it has three fine west doorways decorated with sculpture. The baptismal chapel has a mosaic ceiling made of hundreds of thousands of tiny pieces of glass. In the chapel is the tomb of Sir Edward Carson (died 1935), leader of the Ulster Unionists.
Address: Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2HB, Northern Ireland

St Patrick's Pro-Cathedral

Among several other churches worth visiting is St Patrick's Pro-Cathedral (Roman Catholic; late 19th C. pre-Raphaelite tryptich) on Upper Donegall Street.

St Malachy's Church

Among several other churches worth visiting is the Tudor style St Malachy's (Roman Catholic; 1848) on Alfred Street.
Address: 24 Alfred Street, Belfast BT2 8EN, Northern Ireland

Sinclair Seamen's Presbyterian Church

Among several other churches worth visiting is the Sinclair Seamen's Presbyterian Church in Corporation Street, consecrated in 1853, which now houses a maritime museum.

Grand Opera House

West of the City Hall in Great Victoria Street stands the very ornate Opera House, well worth seeing.
Address: Great Victoria Street, Belfast BT2 7HR, Northern Ireland

Custom House

Figures of Britannia, Neptune and Mercury adorn the Custom House (1854-57) beside the River Lagan northeast of the City Hall.

Albert Memorial Clock Tower

Victoria Street and the Albert Clock in Belfast.
Situated a few steps from the High Street the Albert Memorial Clock Tower was built in 1869 as a memorial to Queen Victoria's husband, the Prince Consort. The tower is often called "the Big Ben of Belfast" because of its similarity to the famous London landmark.

Botanic Gardens

Belfast Botanic Gardens.
For feet made weary by pavements the Botanic Gardens in the south of the city offer welcome relief, the main attraction being the elegant palm house with plants more than 100 years old.
Address: Stranmillis Road, Belfast BT7 1JP, Northern Ireland

Ulster Museum

Located in the Botanic Gardens is the Ulster Museum, with substantial displays from Celtic and Early Christian times as well as a collection of gold and silver items recovered from the wreck of the "Girona", flagship of the Spanish Armada, which sank off the Giant's Causeway in 1588.
With works by Brueghel, Turner and Gainsborough among others, the museum art gallery is particularly strong in 17th and 18th C. European painting in addition to modern Irish art. The sections of the museum devoted to natural and industrial history are also full of interest. The portraits of prominent persons of Northern Irish descent, including ten American presidents, testify to the scale of Irish emigration down the centuries, particularly to the United States.
Address: Botanic Gardens, Belfast BT9 5AB, Northern Ireland

Queen's University

Queen's University in Belfast.
A short distance north of the Botanic Gardens are the Tudor style buildings of the Queen's University, founded in 1845 and an independent institution since 1909. Charles Lanyon's redbrick campus was modeled on Magdalen College, Oxford, and incorporates a history museum.
Address: University Road, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland

Zoological Gardens

To the north of Belfast, in addition to various parks, sports grounds and golf courses, lie the Zoological Gardens - in a lovely setting with beautiful views.
The Belfast zoo is set against the stunning backdrop of Cave Hill. Exhibits include: the Children's Farm, Spider Monkey Island, the Primate Enclosure, the African Enclosure, penguin and sealion pools, a polar bear canyon and a free flight aviary and bird-house.
Address: Antrim Road, Belfast BT36 7PN, Northern Ireland

Belfast Castle

Belfast Castle.
To the north of Belfast, in addition to various parks, sports grounds and golf courses, lies Belfast Castle (1870), once the home of Lord Shaftesbury but now a restaurant.
Address: Antrim Road, Belfast BT15 5GR, Northern Ireland


Cavehill (1182ft/360m), volcanic in origin, has a profile supposed to resemble Napoleon's. In good weather the climb to the top of the hill is rewarded with splendid views of the city, Lough Neagh to the west and the Irish Sea coast to the east, with the Isle of Man in the far distance.

Lagan Weir Lookout

Lagan Lookout is one of the newest attractions on the Donegall Quay. It features models which demonstrate the workings of the weir gates to control the tides. Other displays deal with engineering history in Belfast, the Lagan River's past, present and future, and Houdini's famous challenge of the Donegall Quay. Several interactive exhibits.
Address: 1 Donegall Quay, Belfast BT1 3EA, Northern Ireland

Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park-International Rose Garden

This popular park includes a magnificent rose garden, which is open all summer. The garden is the venue for the annual International Rose Trials. The park also includes a Japanese Garden and Camellia beds.

Arts Council Sculpture Park

Belfast's Arts Council Sculpture Park showcases the bronze, steel, wood, iron and ceramics works by local artists.

Belfast City Airport

The City Airport (4mi/6km north of the center of Belfast) only handles flights to and from destinations in Great Britain and Ireland.
Address: Sydenham By-pass, Belfast BT3 9JH, Northern Ireland

Royal Ulster Rifles Museum

The Royal Ulster Rifles Museum contains relics and memorabilia of the foot regiment and its predecessors from 1793 on.
Address: 5 Waring Street, Belfast BT1 2EW, Northern Ireland

Streamvale Farm

This is a dairy farm set in Gilnahirk hills. Visitors can feed the animals and watch the milking. There are a full range of farm and pet animals in the Pets Corner.
Address: 38 Ballyhanwood Road, Belfast BT5 7SN, Northern Ireland


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