Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland.
Belfast natives have a rich history — of commerce and prosperity — as well as violence and heartache.
Although the site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age, the modern cities origins date to the 1600′s, when both English and Scottish settlers arrived in the small settlement of Beal Fierste, meaning ‘sandbank on the river mouth’.
The land at that time owned and controlled by the ancient O’Neill clan from Ulster.
This, however, was the Plantation period, when native Irish inhabitants were uprooted and replaced with Protestant settlers by decree of the English crown.
The Official Charter for the city was granted in 1888.
Of all the cities and towns in Ireland, Belfast was the the most fully engaged in the Industrial Revolution.
Its population doubled every decade, and Belfast became the largest linen producing city in the world.
Other thriving industries included
- Rope making
- Trade and shipping
The influence of Queen Victoria upon the city is apparent. She founded Queen’s College, which opened in 1849. She is memorialized all around the city by various monuments and in the names of many buildings and streets.
More recent history focuses on Belfast’s central role in the Troubles – from 1974 until the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Evidence of these embattled years can be seen in the Belfast wall murals and the peace line that runs between East and West Belfast.
Today’s population stands at roughly 300,000.
Since the signing of the Good Friday Peace Agreement, Belfast has become the focus of revitalization projects aimed at rejuvenating this historical city aimed at increasing prosperity and growing tourist industry.
Places to Visit in Belfast
- Belfast City Hall
- Wall Murals
- Albert Clock Tower
- Botanic Gardens
- Crown Bar
- Ulster Hall
- Linen Hall Library