Belfast

For other places with the same name, see Belfast (disambiguation).

Belfast (Irish: Béal Feirste, meaning "the mouth of the river Farset") is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland and the second largest city on the island of Ireland after Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. Situated at the mouth of the River Lagan on Belfast Lough, Belfast is surrounded by low hills and has a population of 267,500. This figure refers only to the Belfast City Council area whose borders date back to the 1950. Since then the city has expanded and the population of the Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area which incorporates the surrounding suburbs and towns is 483,000.

Understand

Belfast City Hall

Belfast gained notoriety around the world during The Troubles (1969-1997) due to the frequency of gun and bomb attacks in the city. Parts of Belfast were effectively no-go areas for security forces and therefore took on a lawless quality. Today, the scars of Belfast's troubled past make it an intriguing destination for travellers from around the world.

Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, most of the politically-motivated violence has evaporated. Belfast was recently awarded the accolade of being the safest city in the UK, based on a comparison of nation-wide crime figures, and, as part of its commitment to maintain peace, now seeks tourism from all around the world, especially from countries other than the Irish Republic and the rest of the UK.

Those who live in Belfast tend to either absolutely love the city or loathe it, although the outsider's perspective tends to be more forgiving, as Belfast was voted the fourth best city in the UK for a city break in the Guardian/Observer travel awards. Needless to say, a visit to Belfast will be rewarded by a glimpse of a unique city that has finally begun to celebrate, rather than fight over, its place as a cultural meeting-point of Britain and Ireland. Belfast is certainly exhibiting an air of determined optimism, with new hotels, bars, restaurants, clubs and shops opening at an incredible rate. It is a city that is proud of its Victorian and Edwardian heritage and efforts to restore historic buildings are proving successful. Tourism is on the increase in Northern Ireland, especially among those seeking a weekend away or short break in Ireland as Belfast can offer a significantly cheaper and more rewarding alternative to the busier, more expensive and more tourist-driven Dublin.

Belfast remains a great place to explore, as it is still relatively undiscovered compared with its neighbour in Dublin and is ideal for the tourist who enjoys a city with character, yet still has a raw, unspoilt energy. A visit to the capital of Northern Ireland will provide a more stimulating trip as, once you scratch the surface, it is easy to see beyond the ethno-political conflict of past years. It is a city which has changed dramatically in a decade due to this peace and prosperity and you will be greeted with warmth from locals who feel a new-found sense of pride in their city. Indeed, the old cliche that you will be welcomed like an old friend by the patrons of Belfast's many pubs and bars is actually true, as the locals love to find out what draws you to their little part of the world and, of course, they like the chance to share a little bit of their history with you! Ask any local and they will tell you that a trip to Belfast will mean that you learn far more about the Irish and British psyche than a trip to a cheesy Irish pub in Dublin or on a tourist-orientated tour in London.

Some recent events, mostly the flag protests, may have put people off going to Belfast but violence is minimal and more or less peaceful.

Get in

By plane

Easyjet aircraft at Belfast International Airport

Belfast has two airports.

George Best Belfast City Airport (IATA: BHD) is just two miles from Belfast's city centre, with magnificent views of the city of Belfast or Belfast Lough on approach and departure. The airport principally serves routes to domestic UK and Ireland, however British Airways has extensive worldwide connections through the OneWorld Alliance. Airlines using the airport include:

The terminal is served every 20-30min 06:00-22:00 by the Metro 600 bus (£2.50 single, £3.80 return). Depending on traffic, the journey to Belfast's Laganside and Europa Buscentres should take no more than 15 minutes.

Alternatively, NIR trains serve the airport at Sydenham station twice an hour on the Portadown/Belfast/Bangor line. Upon arrival, ask at the airport information desk for a free shuttle ride to the station. If arriving by train, the courtesy bus may be requested just inside the airport perimeter across the bridge from Sydenham station. A single fare to Belfast Central, Botanic, City Hospital or Great Victoria Street costs £1.60. A single to Bangor costs £3.80

Taxis cost approximately £10 to most parts of the city and are an economical choice for small groups.

Belfast International Airport (IATA: BFS) is further from Belfast than City Airport, lying closer to the towns of Templepatrick and Antrim, but offers significantly more international destinations. United Airlines has connections available to destinations throughout the Americas and beyond.

The terminal is served up to every 30min from 05:35 to 23:20 by the 300 Airport bus (£7 single, £10 return). Depending on traffic, the journey to Belfast's Laganside and Europa Buscentres takes about 45 minutes. Taxis should cost no more than £25-30 to Belfast City Centre.

There is a cheaper, but slower route available by taking the 109A (hourly service M-Sa) Ulsterbus 109A service to Antrim from the stand outside the airport, leave the bus at Antrim Bus station (£2.60 one way). Take a train from Antrim to Belfast Great Victoria Street. Train times to be found on timetables at station, you can also get by train to Londonderry/Derry, Ballymena/Ballymoney and Coleraine /Portrush/Castlerock by train also just ask what platform they are departing from trains run every hour to Londonderry/Derry and to Belfast Great Victoria Street

From Dublin

The fastest way to get to Belfast from Dublin Airport 160 km (100 mi) is by bus, it only takes about 1 hour 30 mins. Ryanair, Aer Arann and Aer Lingus (the national airline of the Republic of Ireland) serve many international destinations in Europe and North America (including Boston, Los Angeles and New York City). Hourly buses that leaves at 20 minutes past the hour e.g. 14:20, 15:20, etc. (24 hours, daytime services operated by Ulsterbus, night services by Bus Éireann) link Dublin Airport and the Belfast Europa Buscentre.

Aircoach also run a bus service every hour from Dublin Airport to Belfast, you get dropped off in Glengall Street (just outside the Belfast Europa Buscentre). They leave on the hour. The Aircoach is normally faster than the Ulsterbus/Bus Éireann service as there is less stops.

By train

You can now get cheap online tickets from Dublin to Belfast on https://www.translink.co.uk/Buy-Tickets-Online/Enterprise-Web-Fare/ . If you are arriving into Dublin Airport do not get the train to Belfast, get the bus direct from the Airport. The train station is in Dublin City Centre, nowhere near the airport.

Despite decades of underinvestment and service cutbacks, Northern Ireland Railways (a division of Translink, Northern Ireland's public transport operator) manages to maintain a small but increasingly reliable passenger rail network around the province, with four 'domestic' lines radiating out from Belfast. Great Victoria Street Station is in the centre of Belfast on, as the name suggests, Great Victoria Street. Just yards from the Grand Opera House and beside the Europa Hotel, the Great Victoria Station is part of a combined bus/rail station, the bus centre being called Europa Bus Centre. Look for the sign above the door to access the station from Great Victoria Street, Great Northern Mall. The "Central Station" is not very central at all - it's about half a mile from the city centre but is close to Belfast Courts, the Waterfront Hall and bus routes to east Belfast.

There are four rail corridors in/out of Belfast:

Service is most frequent and reliable on the Portadown - Belfast - Bangor corridor, on which new trains offer frequent and fast suburban service. The line to Londonderry/Derry is exceptionally beautiful as it passes along the north coast after Coleraine, however travellers should note that the railway line is slower (two hours or more) than the equivalent Ulsterbus Goldline express coach (one hour and forty minutes). Contact NIR for information on tourist passes for exploring Northern Ireland by bus and train: with integrated bus and train stations in most major towns, the province is easily explored without a car.

Services to Dublin (with connections to other destinations in the Republic of Ireland) is offered by the Enterprise, a modern, comfortable, but relatively slow train jointly operated by Northern Ireland Railways and Iarnrod Eireann (which operates trains in the Republic of Ireland). Journeys between Dublin and Belfast take two hours and twenty minutes, and there are up to eight trains a day, offering two classes of service. The train takes a less direct route than the road, but offers some superb views and is still generally quicker than equivalent buses. Cheap day returns are available to those willing to book online . Standard fare is £25 one-way when purchased on the day of travel.

By bus

Ulsterbus (a division of Translink, Northern Ireland's public transport operator) operate the intercity bus network in Northern Ireland, linking most major towns and cities. Services are well-used and, in most cases, reasonably priced. The most frequent service is to Londonderry/Derry. Bus Éireann jointly operate cross-border services with Ulsterbus and operate almost all intercity routes in the Republic of Ireland. Bus Éireann offer a €15 single fare and €22 return fare from Dublin Busaras (bus station) and Dublin Airport to the Europa Buscentre in Belfast (currently unavailable to purchase online); Ulsterbus offers similar specials in the opposite direction. There is also a daily bus to Cork, via Athlone and one to Galway via Cavan.

Under the Eurolines banner, Ulsterbus offer 2 daily services to Glasgow and Edinburgh, and 2 daily services to London via Manchester and Birmingham. All of these are via the fast ferry Stranraer. Connections are available via National Express to virtually every destination in mainland Great Britain.

For less independent travellers, you can also book day trips from Dublin to Belfast on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. This includes a bus trip to Belfast followed by a black taxi cab ride through the two neighbourhoods and a visit to the peace wall. See Belfast Taxi Tours for info.

Local bus travel in Northern Ireland can be expensive outside of Belfast, but services are frequent and reliable. Belfast itself is small enough to walk anywhere comfortably.

There is also a bus based Park and Ride facility available, see National Park and Ride Directory

By car

Belfast is the focus of the road network in Northern Ireland, and as such is very well connected to the road network in Northern Ireland. While there are only three motorways in Northern Ireland (M1, M2 and M22), the rest of the country is very well provided for with high quality trunk roads.

Access to Belfast from the Republic of Ireland has never been better. Due to the great improvements the peace process in Northern Ireland has gained, crossing the border into Northern Ireland is now nothing more noticeable than a change in signposts and road markings. The M1 connects Dublin to Dundalk and almost to the border with Northern Ireland. The M1 is 83 km long and has one toll over the bridge of peace in Drogheda (€1.80 for a car).

Car rental

Belfast is not as well served by car rental companies as Ireland in general. Some Irish car rental companies offer a drop off option in Belfast while others have locations in Belfast City. If you plan to rent a car in the Republic of Ireland and drive it into Northern Ireland be aware of a potential additional insurance charge.

By boat

By sail and rail from Great Britain

It is possible to buy a through train ticket between any railway station in Great Britain and any railway station in Ireland, north or south. It is generally cheaper to do this than buy separate train tickets to ferry ports and then foot passenger tickets on the boat, and this remains one of the cheapest ways of reaching Northern Ireland, especially at short notice.

For journeys from Great Britain tickets can be bought from any staffed station and from some automated ticket machines. Few online ticket agents sell cross-channel rail tickets, and those that do add additional booking fees. Since tickets are no cheaper booked in advance, they can usually be bought at the station on departure.

For journeys from Northern Ireland cross-channel tickets (and, in fact, all rail tickets for travel within Great Britain) can be bought from NI Railways Travel, the travel agency located at Great Victoria Street railway station (with a small handling fee) or at the Stena Line terminal in Belfast.

Most rail and sail passengers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland are routed via Stena Line's Belfast/Stranraer Stena HSS fast ferry. Stranraer railway station is immediately adjacent to the ferry terminal, although Stena Line will leave Stranraer for the non-rail connected Cairnryan in 2011. Fares are priced by zones within Great Britain, starting at £25 single / £50 return (£16.50 / £33 with a National Rail railcard) between Belfast and destinations in south-west Scotland. London to Belfast via Stranraer costs £46 single / £92 return. Tickets include rail travel to Stranraer and passage on the Stena HSS, although not the transfer from Stena's terminal in the Port of Belfast. Metro 96 runs hourly throughout the day between the terminal and the city centre, or for slightly more rail and sail passengers can travel on the faster coach transfer to the Europa Buscentre offered free for cross-channel coach passengers.

An alternative 'rail and sail' routing from London and southern Britain is via Holyhead and Dublin.

Seat61.com offers informed and independent advice on how to book combined train and ferry tickets from any railway station in Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Get around

The centre of Belfast is small enough to be explored by foot. However, to explore the suburbs of the city, as in any city, requires some sort of transport. From the centre of belfast to the city limits at any point is perhaps a distance of eight miles, Within the city there are two very distinct 'Bus' systems. Translink which is a private company operated the 'Metro' (previously Citybus). Buses run along colour coded high frequency routes that radiate from the city centre from around 6AM until 11PM. All major bus routes start or pass through Donegall Square, and a Metro information kiosk is on the West side of the square (Donegall Square West). Tourist passes are available from here, or for the more frequent traveller, you can purchase and pre-load a Smartlink card with credit for bus trips. While the routes are extensive, the travel is expensive, as it is for the whole of the country. Buses frequently do not turn up and staff can at times be unhelpful.

On Friday and Saturday night, Metro Night Link buses operate limited service from Donegall Square to Antrim, Ballygowan, Ballynahinch, Downpatrick, Bangor, Carrickfergus, Comber, Lisburn, Newtownabbey, and Newtownards. These pass through most suburban areas of Belfast: however, the fixed-fare system means that a taxi may be better value if you're only travelling within Belfast.

Belfast's second 'Bus' service is the 'Taxi Bus' or more commonly known as the 'Black Taxis'. These London style Black Taxis were brought to Belfast in the early 1970s and occurred at a time when the 'Troubles' was in its infancy. Riots and armed conflict were a daily occurrence and the established Bus company, would suspend its services to sections, or all of Belfast in response to this conflict. This suspension of services left much of Belfast without a regular transport service. It had negative effect on many working class areas of Belfast which found that they were unable to get to or from work, or in the case of children, school. The communities response to this was for individuals to travel to England and to purchase old London Taxis. These Taxis initially appeared in Republican areas of Belfast and later in Loyalist areas of the city. The Taxis operated as buses and were shared by members of the public who would hail the taxi and pay a nominal fare. For more than 40 years this system has existed and developed. The primary provider is the West Belfast Taxi Association which operates this service in Nationalist/Republican areas. They have a fleet of around 220 taxis and service, from their base at King Street, Belfast areas such as the Falls, Whiterock, Glen, Andersonstown, Stewartstown and Shaws Roads as well as outlying areas such as Twinbrook and Poleglass. The Association also provides a similar service in the North of the city covering the New Lodge and Ardoyne areas as well as to the small town of Crumlin. To avail of the 'Taxi Bus' service, one merely has to put ones hand out to stop a taxi. Most taxis have a display which states their destination. However, should a visitor to the city be unsure of the exact ettiquete surrounding this form of transport or destination, they should just hail any 'Taxi Bus' and ask advice from the driver. The fare for these journey are (for the short journey) 80 pence for a pensioner; 90 pence for any child still at school and £1.30 for an adult. The longest journey is slightly more expensive, but still cheaper than the regular buses (90 pence for a pensioner; £1,00 for any child still at school and £1.70 for an adult). This Association instigated and developed the now famous 'Black Taxi Tour'.

Unionist/Loyalist areas of the City are served by the Shankill Taxis who provide services on the Shankill and Shore Roads, This operation is considerably smaller given that there are perhaps only a dozen taxis working these routes.

If your time is limited, the open-top 'Belfast Sightseeing' bus tours are recommended, costing about £10 per person for a 2 hour journey. You will be shown the sights in the city centre and suburbs including famous murals painted on the ends of terraced houses during 'The Troubles' in the Falls Road area, the Harland and Wolff shipyards where the RMS Titanic was built and Queens University. The guides are friendly, well informed and interesting, although many locals still remark that is unusual to see bright red open top tour buses passing through once troubled neighbourhoods. You may prefer a less obvious exploration of the city.

Belfast is now famous for its Black Taxi tours of the city, which are highly recommended, and can be arranged by most hostels, hotels and at the tourist office (47 Donegall Place, above the Boots pharmacy, just north of the City Hall). These tours are given by regular taxi drivers who have worked through the troubled years, and have a wealth of knowledge and very personal experiences, which they are glad to share during a tour that can last up to two hours.

See

To make the most of your time in the city your first point of contact should be the centrally located Belfast Welcome Centre (Tourist Office) at 47 Donegall Place, just north of City Hall. The first floor centre is accessible by elevator and escalator just to the left of the Boots Pharmacy. The staff can provide maps, book accommodation and tours, recommend itineraries and places of interest and sell you overpriced and tacky souvenirs. There is also a useful left luggage facility.

Central

Belfast city centre is focused on Donegall Square and Belfast City Hall in its centre. All major city bus routes converge here and, on sunny days, this is where shoppers and office workers can be found enjoying their breaks. The City Hall is the grand centerpiece of the city and the orientation point for your exploration of Belfast. Running north from the centre of Donegall Square is Donegall Place, a broad and bustling shopping street, which will lead you towards the Cathedral Quarter and the Arts School. The city centre is bordered to the east by the River Lagan, and to the south by the area around Donegall Pass. Where Belfast city centre meets the River Lagan, windswept pavements prove that meaningless sculptures and grandiose attempts at urban planning do not necessarily make for a popular urban space. The horrendous dual carriageway known as the Westlink separated the centre of Belfast from the western suburbs of the city in the 1970s; this borders the city centre to the west. On the plus side, the network of dual carriageways and motorways mean that one can get from the city centre to all the surrounding suburbs and satellite towns in less than fifteen minutes, even during the rush hour, something which is impossible in many other cities, for example Dublin.

In between these rough boundaries, you'll find Belfast's heart. Parts of it are blighted by dereliction, others are blighted by narrow-minded money-grabbing redevelopment. Note that while largely safe at all times, years of city centre curfews during the troubles means that the centre of Belfast can be startlingly empty of pedestrians after 8PM. City centre living has yet to become as popular here as in other parts of Britain and Ireland.

The Belfast Big Fish

South

Belfast's leafiest and most accessible suburbs are found south of the city centre along Botanic Ave, and University Rd around the Queen's University. Apart from the small loyalist community around Donegall Pass, the areas between University Rd and Lisburn Rd are mostly mixed, and there is a dense student population living in rented accommodation. It's a 20 min walk from Donegall Place to Botanic Avenue. The commercial core of Belfast is apparent on Bedford St, and the lively bars, takeaways of Dublin Rd are busy most nights of the week. Botanic Ave is somewhat quieter with less traffic and is lined with cafés, restaurants and small shops. Farther south, beyond the University, is the Lisburn Rd, recently christened "Belfast's Bond Street", with its eclectic mix of boutiques, chic bars and restaurants, and lively coffee shops. This part of town is the most affluent of the city, and is regularly referred to by its postcode: BT9.

North

West

East

East Belfast is the largest of the cities' 4 electoral wards and is serviced by a number of large arterial roads (Cregagh Road, Castlereagh Road, Newtownards Road and Holywood Road), which all start in or close to the city centre.

East Belfast is a mainly residential and largely Protestant area encompassing a wide range of housing from the working class terraced streets along the Beersbridge road, to wide tree lined avenues of Belmont, and all areas in between. Despite its largely Protestant nature East Belfast is generally the area of the city where newcomers to Belfast of all religious and political persuasions from within Northern Ireland will look to purchase houses in when they arrive in the city. The rationale for this may be that although South Belfast is often thought of as a desirable locale it is in many cases prohibitively expensive. North and West Belfast are even cheaper than the East but whilst both contain many pleasant neighbourhoods they still have a lot of echoes from the troubles that can put newcomers off. North Belfast especially has a large number of "interface areas" (regions where working class loyalist and republican areas meet) that can occasionally flare up into trouble. East Belfast, possibly because it has only one interface area and is relatively homogeneously Protestant, was less on the "coalface" of the troubles than both the North and the West.

Belfast Metropolitan Area

Whilst the urban area of Belfast itself has a population of just over 480,000 people, the larger Belfast Metropolitan Area encompasses neighbouring councils of Lisburn, Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, North Down and Castlereagh with a total population of just over 640,000.

It is worth noting that a large make-up of the City's daily commuters come from these areas and the areas themselves have certain sights worth visiting.

Conveniently, rail links go to all Belfast Metropolitan areas via Belfast Central Station and Great Victoria Street Station. Bus links are also an option from Great Victoria Street Station. Prices vary, where buses are typically cheaper but take slightly longer, usually not more than around 30–40 minutes in total.

Do

A Republican Mural
A Loyalist Mural

Buy

Belfast has the full complement of high street chain stores that can be found in any other UK and Irish city. It does however have a variety of more interesting places to browse and shop, and a visit to Belfast would not be complete without experiencing them.

Traders and shoppers at St. George's Market

You will also find a number of interesting shops on and around College Street, and on Dublin Road.

Eat

Belfast has everything to quench any appetite, and best of all, eating meat on a Friday during Lent is no longer regarded as an expression of anti-Nationalism.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Belfast has a vibrant and bustling nightlife even though it is a relatively small city. Pubs around the city centre are generally open until 1AM several days a week, though some may close around 11:30PM. Clubs generally run from around 9PM through until 2AM, though a small number do stay open much later.

Style bars

Night club bars

Traditional bars

Alternative and Indie bars

The following bars are beside each other in the Cathedral quarter. These all get a friendly alternative crowd:

Mainstream bars

Traditional music

Gay venues

Kremlin Belfast's best gay owned dance club for men and women. Voted best Gay Venue in Ireland on numerous occasions. The Kremlin is located at Donegall Street. Tel: +44 28 9031-9061.

Union Street Bar Belfast's trendy award winning gay bar. Union Street, has an excellent late club night on Saturday - Event Horizon. Check it out today. Web Link:

Dubarrys Belfast's newest gay bar. Set over three floors, Dubarrys offers a great alternative to the banging house tunes and teenybopping antics of some other gay establishments.Frequented mainly by older gay men. A welcome addition to Belfast's booming gay scene. Gresham St T: +44 28 9032-3590

Forbidden Fruit is the only place to be on a Monday nite. Taking place at the Rain Nightclub in Tomb Street, it's the best gay venue on a Monday nite, followed by Bang which is almost as good, taking place in the Shoe Factory beside the Union Street Bar.

The Nest Gay owned pub that attracts an older mixed crowd. The bar is located at Skipper Street. Serves food. Used to be called 'The Custom House'. Tel: +44 28 9024-5558.

MYNT (formerly The Parliament, Belfast's first gay bar) Belfast's best gay dance club and bar for men and women. MYNT is located in Dunbar Street, Cathedral Quarter. Food is served at lunchtime all week. t: +44 28 9023-4520.

Mono is Belfast's latest city centre bar has rebranded Monday nights and brought in respected Irish DJ Micky Modelle - who recently went UK Top Ten with club hit Dancing in the Dark. His 'funky ass shakin' music' will get the gay crowd & chums grooving into early Tuesday... and a Happy Hour will run from 10PM to midnight. Admission free before 10PM, £3 after. Club closes at 03:00.

Kitty Killers A place for women to come, relax and have a boogie in any of our three nights of every month in both Belfast and Derry. Men are welcome as guests. Always check the website for updates on acts etc. 1st FRIDAY of month - BELFAST - The venue changes check the website- Alternative, pop, chart and dance - 9:30PM, £5. 3rd FRIDAY of month

Sirens @Ten Square A friendly and welcoming women-only crowd gets together on an ad hoc basis at the super-chic Ten Square Hotel. Email Sirens (sirensbelfast@yahoo.co.uk) or contact the hotel for nights and times (T: +44 28 9024-1001) . The perfect laid-back intro to the local lesbian scene. Open third Friday in every month. 21:30-01:00.

Queens Bar Gay friendly city centre pub located at Queens Arcade. Tel: +44 28 9032-1347.

The John Hewitt Gay friendly Cathedral Quarter pub located at Donegall Street Tel: +44 28 9023-3768.

The Apartment Gay friendly bar located at Donegall Sq West. Tel: +44 28 9050-9777.

The Spaniard Lesbian friendly Cathedral Quarter bar and "Tapas Bar" at Skipper Street. The "Belfast/Basque" style bar is worth a visit for its tapas and cocktails. Great fun.

Also try Muriels and the Roost two lovely gay friendly bars just off the top of High St in Church Lane, very popular with lesbians.

If you're gay and looking for fun in Belfast you'll not leave disappointed that's for sure.

Coffee

Theatres

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Boutique

Stay safe

Belfast's reputation as a dangerous city is often exaggerated. A recent study by the United Nations International Crime Victimisation Survey (ICVS) shows that Northern Ireland has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe. The majority of incidents are committed by local people against local people, unsurprisingly following religious, sectarian or political differences. Tourists are outside this culture and should not be very concerned. As with any other city, it pays to be careful and always be aware of your surroundings. Do not flash valuables or money or walk around reading your guidebook or map. If you need directions, ask in any shop or bar.

There are areas in Belfast which have been scarred by trouble in the past. Though these areas are largely safe to visit, it is important to be aware of where you are. In nationalist areas of the city, it would be foolish to wear a Glasgow Rangers, England, or Northern Ireland football jersey. In unionist areas, wearing Glasgow Celtic, Republic of Ireland and Gaelic Football (GAA) jerseys would almost certainly lead to trouble. Though this is unlikely to affect tourists, it is best to avoid wearing green or orange or the name of any area, especially Northern Ireland or England.

Perhaps more importantly, it is not advisable to make any overtly political statements about Northern Ireland, even if you think that your comments will align with the views of the people to whom you're making them. It is unlikely that anyone will ask your thoughts about the political situation; however, if this does happen, it's best just to say you don't have an opinion. Otherwise, ask locals for advice and enjoy the hospitality of the majority of Belfast people.

Connect

There are free internet kiosks throughout Belfast which allow anyone to browse the internet. Here you can find up-to-date travel information and timetables. Kiosk locations

Television

Northern Ireland receives the same basic package of national television and radio services as the rest of the United Kingdom, with regional variations on the BBC channels and UTV. UTV carries most of ITV-1's national programming, but is branded as UTV. It is the last remaining television channel in Britain to feature a live, on camera announcer introducing the evening's programming; usually the effervescent Julian Simmons. To get an understanding of what is happening, you'll find high quality regional news programming on BBC One at 1:30PM, 6:30PM and 10:30PM and on UTV at 6PM.

Depending on geographic location and the availability of a signal, you may also receive stations from broadcasters in the Republic of Ireland.

Radio

Local radio stations include:

Regional variations of shows on the national BBC Radio One and the excellent Across the Line on BBC Radio Ulster promote local music, and can be listened to online. These are a great way to find out about forthcoming concerts and gigs. Like television from south of the border, there are a number of Irish republic radio broadcasts which tend to spill over into Northern Ireland such as Today FM and RTÉ 2FM.

Press

Locally published newspapers include:

Cope

Consulates and Deputy High Commissions

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.