"Belfast - no more a Troubled City?" Top 5 Page for this destination Belfast by St_Vincent

Belfast Travel Guide: 457 reviews and 1,027 photos

In looking to get away for a few days I thought of Dublin as I had never been there before and whilst checking for flights I noticed Belfast and thought I’d take a look at that as well. When thinking of taking a trip to Ireland it is most probably the likes of Galway, Waterford, Dublin or Cork in the Republic of Ireland (Southern Ireland) that come to mind first. However Northern Ireland should not be dismissed as it has some interesting places to visit and a number of attractive coastal towns.

Then of course we have the capital Belfast, for so long the main focus of “the Troubles” where there was conflict between the Catholic population (Nationalists/Republicans wishing to be part of the Republic) and the Protestants (Unionists/Loyalists believing the Country should be aligned to the UK). The situation was markedly improved when the Good Friday Agreement was signed in Belfast on 10th April 1998 (Good Friday). It was signed the British and Irish governments and endorsed by most of Northern Ireland’s political parties. It was a major breakthrough in the Northern Ireland peace process which had been ongoing since the late 1980’s and the terms allowed negotiations to continue towards lasting peace. It is generally acknowledged that the peace process and the Troubles came to an end with the signing of the St Andrews Agreement in 2006 which devolved power to a new Northern Ireland Assembly and led to power sharing agreements between Unionists and Nationalists.

Please note that this is a very general overview of the complex situation in Ireland but is probably about as far as you can go without getting into political debate which a) I don‘t want to do and b) I‘m not qualified to do.

So what of current day Belfast, has it thrown off the shackles of the past and has it reinvented itself as a tourist destination worthy of visits by VT members. Well if a commercial tourist destination is judged by the presence of low cost airlines, a designated Welcome Centre, a Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing bus and a Ferris Wheel giving wonderful views of the city then the answer certainly is yes. There is still an underlying uneasiness about political tensions but this should neither worry nor deter any prospective visitors, although it is perhaps advisable not to start a discussion about the topic. You will however undoubtedly find yourself in conversation with the locals as people in Belfast are some of the most friendly and engaging I have encountered - I guess this is all part of the famous Irish craic.


Belfast Pubs

As any regular reader of my pages will know, no report from me is complete without mention of pubs and bars so here is my “best for” list,

Ornate interior - The Crown Liquor Saloon
Attractive exterior - The Duke of York
Irish Stew - Bittles Bar
Real Ale - The Crown or The John Hewitt
Friendly old landlord - The Front Page
Craic - Whites Tavern/Kelly’s Cellars
Hyperactive landlord - Bittles Bar
Quiet contemplation - The John Hewitt
Guinness - Anywhere and everywhere

Further details on some of these can be found in my tips.

  • Last visit to Belfast: May 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (22)

Comments (9)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    Nice page

  • Feb 8, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Great Review... I am carrying out some research into tourist motivations. I would really appreciate it if you could take five minutes to complete the questionnaire at the link below: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/P7G3JNL

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2008 at 7:05 AM

    very comprehensive guide - great stuff. p.s i'm surrised CAMRA havn't employed you yet !

  • mjbcoffee's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2008 at 11:25 AM

    We used Value Cabs often on our recent trip to Belfast. Since we were 4 traveling, it was cheaper than a bus ticket! Great tips!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2008 at 7:29 AM

    Hello, Clive! Thanks for your wonderful story! I wish I could join you there! Maybe some day!

  • jgemini65's Profile Photo
    Sep 7, 2008 at 3:47 PM

    How did I ever miss "The Cat Garden?" Very cool...very quirky!

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2008 at 5:38 AM

    Hi Clive. I really enjoyed your tips and insights about Belfast... another one of the great underestimated cities in the world. Greetings from the desert / Jess in Dubai :-)

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2008 at 5:30 AM

    Great tips Clive! I gotta go back and see more of Belfast. All the best.

  • SWFC_Fan's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2008 at 1:17 PM

    Excellent update with the pub tips since my last visit, Clive! I'm off to Belfast with a friend in a couple of weeks, and those tips will come in handy! :-) Cheers, Jonathan.


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