Student Life in Belfast

Belfast Overview

This is the capital city of Northern Ireland and was - like many of its UK counterparts - a product of the Industrial Revolution, with much of its early wealth coming from the manufacturing of linen. The City Hall which dominates the city was completed in the early 20th century and was built from white Portland stone. One of its standout features includes a central copper dome rising 173ft above street level. The City Hall is in Donegal Square, at the centre of the main shopping thoroughfares offering department stores, boutiques, and many high street shops. There are also many buildings worth mentioning. For example, Belfast's cathedral (St Anne's) was built at the turn of the century and is one of the main sights in the city. One of the more familiar sights of Belfast is its pubs and taverns which can be found down many alleyways and side streets. With their glass stained windows and traditional music sessions being performed during the day, they have an atmosphere entirely their own.

Belfast itself as a city has undergone a recent rejuvenation through a series of major programmes of improvements. Buildings have been transformed back to their original beauty with new shops adding that extra splash of colour and pedestrianised areas for pleasant strolling. The area near the University is only half a mile from the city-centre but offers its own range of varied shopping, well priced restaurants and lively pubs.

Things to do in Belfast

Ballet, opera, touring plays and musicals at the Grand Opera House; repertory at the Lyric. Alternative productions, dance, mime. etc. at the Old Museum arts centre. 1997 saw a new concert hall opened, the Waterfront Hall (cap. 2,235); here you can see anything from the Ulster Orchestra to Peter Andre, passing by Ben Elton and Paul Daniels on the way. Ulster Hall puts on big name bands and classical music. There's the Empire Music Hail and the Belfast Civic Arts Theatre for smaller names. Otherwise bands play in pubs and clubs, mostly in the University area, everything from rock to traditional Irish folk. For Art Exhibitions, it's Ormeau Baths Gallery and the Ulster Museum. Cinema: The Queen's Film Theatre and four multiscreen cinemas. The club scene here is good and some attract major DJs as do lots of pubs: The Crown Victorian pub. restored and owned by the National Trust, is lit with gas lamps. You're in Ireland so the Guinness is good, and Caffrey's Ale is at home. Restaurants are varied and numerous, especially on the Golden Mile stretching down from the Opera House to the University.

Sport in Belfast

International and club football matches in Windsor Park; international and club rugby at Ravenhill. Gaelic football and hurling at Casement Park; marathon in May; Grand Prix in August, golf courses, horse racing at Down Royal, several leisure centres and an indoor tennis arena.

Escape Belfast

The Province, Troubles aside, is very beautiful. The Antrim coast is warmed by the Gulf Stream: palm trees and roads hedged with fuchsias. Cliffs and coves, small harbours and villages. Inland are the Glens of Antrim, cut deep into moorland hills. North and round the coast is the Giant's Causeway, a geological 'roadway' of basalt pillars stacked into the sea. Castles all around the coast, dating back to the first waves of inter-fighting, most ruined, stand high above crashing seas. Within short journeys of Queen's are marvellous boating waters, the fabled Mourne Mountains, a many-islanded sea inlet and the world's oldest whiskey distillery. Northern Ireland is like nowhere else and if you do come here from Britain you will find the people, the sea, the hills and the history will be with you always.

Transport in Belfast

For those of you in Northern Ireland, the road system and rail network give efficient access to Belfast. From the mainland, the best route is either via ferry from Stranraer, or by air.

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