Visit Ireland, Irish Éire- country of western Europe occupying five-sixths of the westernmost major island of the British Isles. The Cliffs of Moher on the coast of County Clare, Ireland, just south of Galway Bay.
Dragged down for decades by the violence and uncertainty of the Troubles, Northern Ireland today is a nation rejuvenated.
The 1998 Good Friday. Agreement laid the groundwork for peace and raised hopes for the future, and since then this UK province has seen a huge influx of investment and redevelopment.
Belfast has become a happening place with a famously wild nightlife, and the stunning Causeway Coast gets more and more visitors each year.
There are plenty of reminders of the Troubles – notably the ‘peace lines’ that divide Belfast – and the passions that have torn Northern Ireland apart over the decades still run deep.
But despite occasional setbacks there is an atmosphere of determined optimism.
When you cross from the Republic into Northern Ireland you notice a couple of changes: the accent is different, the road signs are in miles, and the prices are in pounds sterling.
But there’s no border checkpoint, no guards, not even a sign to mark the crossing point – the two countries are in a customs union, so there’s no passport control and no customs declarations.
The head of the slipway where the Titanic was built is now occupied by the gleaming, angular edifice of Titanic Belfast,
an unmissable multimedia extravaganza that charts the history of Belfast and the creation of the world’s most famous ocean liner.
Though scarred by three decades of civil unrest, the former battleground of West Belfast is one of the most compelling places to visit in Northern Ireland.
Falls Rd and Shankill Rd are adorned with famous murals expressing local political and religious passions,
and divided by the infamous Peace Line GOOGLE MAP barrier separating Catholic andProtestant districts.
Take a taxi tour of the district, or pick up a map from the tourist office and explore on foot.
Events and Festivals
Visit Ireland and enjoy the famous festival. Said to be the largest community festival in Ireland, the Féile takes place in West Belfast over 10 days.
Events include an opening carnival parade, street parties, theatre performances, concerts and historical tours of the City and Milltown cemeteries.
The UK’s second-largest arts festival stretches over two weeks and features theatre, music, dance and talks.
Belfast International Arts festival
Comfy bunks, lockable luggage baskets, private shower cubicles and a relaxed atmosphere are what you get at one of Belfast’s best hostels, run by a couple of experienced travellers.
It’s conveniently located close to both Queen’s and the city centre.
There are lots of inexpensive eating places along Botanic Ave in South Belfast, and many pubs offer
This is a classic little cafe with cosy wooden booths, murals of old Belfast and a host of hungover students wolfing down huge Ulster fry-ups.
The all-day breakfast menu includes French toast and maple syrup, while lunch can be soup and a sandwich or beef lasagne.
Holohan’s is a sensational find for inspired twists on seafood (seared scallops with burnt cauliflower purée; roast hake with crayfish and dulse butter),
as well as land-based dishes such as saltaged beef with heirloom vegetables, desserts such as plum and ginger cake with vanilla ice cream, and by-the-glass wines from around the world.
Drinking & Nightlife Belfast
Belfast’s pub scene is lively and friendly, with the older traditional pubs complemented by a rising tide of stylish designer bars.
Down an inconspicuous alley in the heart of the city’s former newspaper district, the snug, traditional Duke was a hang-out for print workers and journalists.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams worked behind the bar here during his student days in 1971. The entire alley takes on a street-party atmosphere in warm weather.
The ‘Eg’ is a local institution, and widely reckoned to be the best of Belfast’s many student pubs. It serves good beer and good food, and hosts numerous events:
Monday is quiz night, Tuesday is open-mic night; other nights see DJs spin and bands perform. Bonus: Pac-Man machine.
Visit Belfast Welcome Centre
Provides information about the whole of Northern Ireland and books accommodation. Services include left luggage (not overnight), currency exchange and free wi-fi.
Belfast International Airport is 30km northwest of the city, and has flights from the UK, Europe and the USA.
George Best Belfast City Airport is 6km northeast of the city centre, with flights from the UK and Europe.
Visit Ireland and discovery Derry. Northern Ireland’s second city comes as a pleasant surprise to many visitors.
Derry was never the prettiest of places, and it certainly lagged behind Belfast in terms of investment and redevelopment,
but in preparation for its year in the limelight as UK City of Culture 2013, the city centre was given a handsome makeover.
The new Peace Bridge, Ebrington Sq, and the redevelopment of the waterfront and Guildhall area make the most of the city’s riverside setting.
And Derry’s determined air of can-do optimism has made it the powerhouse of the North’s cultural revival.
Northern Ireland is considered one of the safest places in the United Kingdom.
In fact, the capital city, Belfast, has a lower crime rate than London and Manchester. Crimes like street violence and theft are relatively low here
Activities in Ireland
Visit Ireland and discover its surrounding beauties. Ireland is great for outdoor activities, and tourist offices have a wide selection of information covering birdwatching,
surfing (great along the west coast), scuba diving, cycling, fishing, horse riding, sailing, canoeing and many other activities. Walking is particularly popular, although you must come prepared for wet weather.
There are now well over waymarked trails throughout Ireland, one of the more popular being the 214km Kerry Way.