Belfast, Ireland is full of possibilities for those on a cruise holiday. Even Trip Advisor has rated it as “one of the UK’s top destinations” in 2013. As the economic outlook is bleak for many areas within the EU, predictions for Northern Ireland are more than positive.
A 25% increase in revenue for Northern Ireland will be generated by cruise tourism within the next three years. Belfast is doing everything possible for the mass invasion that will bolster the job market and anticipates that their £7m investment to build the first cruise facility in NI will pay off within a year. With sixty ships scheduled to make Belfast a port of call, officials claim that £18m will reach the local economy.
This area is perfect for both the casual and the adventurous traveller. This certainly is a great getaway from the stereotypical beach setting of other ports of call.
The city is compact and Belfast’s Victorian architecture is among the finest in Europe. With easy access to most tourist locations, the city is broken down into four neighbourhoods: Cathedral Quarter, the Queen’s Quarter, Gaeltacht and the Titanic Quarter. Finding all the points of interests is a snap for any cruise passenger.
Start your cruise holiday off on the right foot in Belfast by visiting its rich maritime heritage. One ship dominates in this city, the RMS Titanic, even though its lineage is tragic. The famed and yet doomed liner made its way from Belfast in 1912 and has since captured the public’s imagination.
The Titanic phenomenon can be relieved by the museum, Titanic Belfast. It recounts not only the tale of the Titanic with an accurate interior of what the ship looked like but highlights the full story of Belfast’s long ship building career. The SS Nomadic, the last White Star Line ship is permanently docked here.
That’s not the only thing to see in Belfast though.
The city’s oldest quarter centres on St. Anne’s Cathedral which has been under construction since the Victorian age. It was finalised with the installation of the Spire of Hope in 2007.
They say that some of the greatest writers derive from Ireland. Writer’s Square is dedicated to them and is directly across from the cathedral. The highlight is the embedded quotes plastered into the sidewalk of famous Irish authors and playwrights.
The Albert Memorial Clock is Belfast’s version to that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. Historic pubs for a stout, such as Kelly’s Cellars rates as one of the oldest along the cobble streets.
The centrepiece in Queen’s Quarter of Belfast is Queen’s University. This is a Tudor-styled university allows self-guided tours of the college. Just enter at its ‘Welcome Centre’ to begin your discovery. Notable alumni include Poet Seamus Heaney and former Irish President Mary McAleese. Sir Charles Lanyon designed the university which is most noted for its Medieval-style Great Hall.
Steps away from the campus, a delightful attraction for those who dabble in horticulture is the Botanic Gardens, known for its famous Palm House. This stunning Victorian structure is one of Belfast’s most beloved. During summer, the Gardens host a wide variety of outdoor concerts and other events.
Rated the title of “Best UK Tourist Attraction” for its wall murals by London’s Independent newspaper; obtain that true Northern Irish flavour of language and culture in the Gaeltacht Quarter.
Other fun activities to do in Belfast include the W5 Interactive Discovery Museum and Belfast Zoo, as well as the Ulster Art and History Museum. For outdoor fun, there’s always the Dundonald International Ice Bowl or the Bridges Urban Sports Park.
Have you discovered the wonders of Northern Ireland and Belfast before?
Written by our guest blogger Veronica Shine