“Eight Reasons to Visit Belfast”?

Here they are, according to TIME magazine.

1 Stormont Estate

2 The Cathedral Quarter

3 Political Tours

4 The Titanic Quarter

5 Murals

6 The Causeway Coastal Route

7 The Queen’s Quarter

8 Victoria Square

Competition time: What should have been on this list?

Bonus marks for ‘attractions’ that have sweet F.A to do with the conflict.

Strategic Communications Consultant, located Washington DC

  • Mister_Joe

    125 Hyndford Street, Belfast, birthplace of Van Morrison. I’ve been there.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Number 6 shouldn’t be there for a start.

  • Mister_Joe

    The Morning Star pub in Pottinger’s Entry, or another of the few remaining old pubs, Kelly’s Cellars for example.

  • Mister_Joe

    So many; Girona treasure in the Ulster Museum.

  • Mister_Joe

    City Hall is more impressive that Stormont.

  • Mister_Joe

    Can you tell yet that I loved living in Belfast?

  • Billy Ghoti

    The Lagan Towpath.

    It’s such a peaceful oasis yet so convenient to the busy city.

    Also, there can’t be too many places where you can be surrounded by green fields, trees and twittering birds and then suddenly see a seal swimming along beside you.

  • tacapall

    Is the Gaeltacht Quarter added into the political tour or did that take that one out and add in No 6 ?

  • Drumlins Rock

    If we rightly exclude 6, (other wise you list ever sight in NI)
    1) I love the sweep down into Belfast on the M2, one of the best approaches to the city.
    2) Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, takes a day for each really.
    3) The coastal path out by Helens Bay etc.
    4) St Annes, isnt that old but still worth a juke round,
    5) Crown Bar & stick in Europa too with it.
    6) Giants Ring, for the ancient past.
    7) Ulster Museum, as mentioned, but add in Botanic Gardens palm house etc.
    8) Cave hill etc.

  • Lionel Hutz

    There must beabout10 quarters in belfast?????

  • Ruarai

    Pigeon – #6 is the best one ffs! (And there’s no one who says that whomever comes to Belfast must stay there…)

  • Ruarai

    DR – come to Belfast, there’s a great view on our M2? Really?

  • Mister_Joe


    Much better sweep into the city in my opinion is the A52 (Ballyutoag Rd). That view at the hairpin bend is awesome.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Pigeon – #6 is the best one ffs! (And there’s no one who says that whomever comes to Belfast must stay there…)

    So now we include the whole of Northern Ireland? FFS 😀

    Ahem “Visit Belfast”?

  • Mister_Joe

    Yes, Pigeon Toes. If it was “Visit N.I.” Antrim coast drive would be a must. But, it’s not Belfast.

  • Mister_Joe

    And, for certain “Republican” friends, if it was “visit the north of Ireland”, the Donegal coast equals the Antrim coast for spectacular views.

  • Pigeon Toes

    If we are doing the “(And there’s no one who says that whomever comes to Belfast must stay there..)


    “A spectacular route round the Sperrins has made it into National Geographic’s list of the world’s top 101 most scenic drives.

    The route made it to 88th on the prestigious list and was praised for having “wild beauty, ideal trails and dreamy villages”.

  • Mister_Joe

    That’s the route I normally take between Aldergrove and Strabane on my every second year visit home. If you’re into narrow winding roads and awesome mountain and mountain valley views and don’t mind being held up my a tractor, that’s the way to go between Belfast and Donegal.

  • Ruarai

    I’ve always been puzzelled why the Tourist folks don’t run a “Golf the course the Irish masters play” campaign. Americans, etc, would love that stuff.

  • Mister_Joe

    Or “Golf the courses the Americans come over to practise on, prior to The Open”.

  • Pigeon Toes

    I’m sure they’ll think of that soon enough….

  • These regular events often take many by surprise or surely they would be better attended

    1)the Twelfth parade
    2)the St Patrick’s Day parade
    3)the Xmas lights turn on.

    Perhaps if they had them on the same day each year and over time built up a tourist attraction.

  • andnowwhat

    How come a pastie out of Aldo’s accompanied by a barrack buster out if The Rock offy in the City Cemetery didn’t make it?

  • Mister_Joe


    For your first two it might be better to watch the starts rather than the ends.

  • Mister_Joe


    Time to award marks?

  • Not forgetting

    The full Linen Hall Tour
    Belfast Zoo
    Stained glass windows in Central Hall, College of Knowledge
    Ulster Museum
    Paul’s Cafe Donegall Street

  • Mister_Joe

    Sorry for the misspell, Ruarai.

  • babyface finlayson

    The tourist friendly cycle network..right beside that motorway, through that industrial estate..mmm smells good..watch out buses share that lane you know…oops it’s not 4.30 yet, the cycle lane doesn’t exist, oh there it is, no wait it stopped for no reason, oh now it started again,liberal sprinkling of broken glass but never mind.
    The Belfast Hills are great though. Any reasonably healthy person can scale them and the flora and fauna are splendid..
    Amazing how many people who live in Belfast have never been up the Cavehill. And yes I have done a survey.

  • Local hack

    All Belfast’s 20 quarters should have been listed

  • Ruarai

    Mister_Joe, let’s let it run a few more days. I feel we’re just warming up.

    In fact, we may have hit on a great competition idea the Tourist guys could run, “See the Belfast you won’t find in the Guides”…though not sure who they’d title that guide:)

  • Neil

    The Causeway/Dunluce/Carrick-a-rede is the only thing on the list I’ve ever recommended to a tourist – though tenuously on a Belfst list. Welcome to Belfast – recommended attraction # 6 the road out of town.

    You know you’re in trouble when you need to resort to a shopping centre to pad your list out. Has anyone ever visited another city and gone to the tourist office to be told ‘we have a nice shopping centre you could visit. they sell iPads and clothes and stuff.’ It’s new on me.

  • keano10

    Why not complile a list of the most over-rated attractions.

    1. The Cathedral “Quarter”. – Absolutely nothing whatsoever in it except one decent pub – The Spaniard.

    2. The Crown Bar – loved by film-makers, frequented by nearby hotel guests, but locals give it a wide berth as its completely devoid of atmosphere. Belfast’s great urban myth…

    3. Victoria Square – Increasingly empty spaces as shops have closed leaving it with a few over-priced ‘designer’ stores such as ‘Cruise’ and a few dodgy restaurants upstairs. Our greatest and most expensive White Elephant… Castle Court remains a much more user-friendly shopping experience.

    So, what are the upsides? Titanic Museum is a world-class visitor attraction. The City Hall presents a lovely central focal point for Belfast. Well worth a tour as well. Stormont is a decent spot for tourists to have a look around also.

    So what are


    Most of them aren’t ‘reasons’ to visit Belfast but rather things worth seeing if you happen to be there. More in the ‘worth seeing’ category rather than the ‘worth going to see’. That said, it is interesting how mention of the traditional tourist haunts now appears to be sacrified in favour of the new. Here’s my 8 old fashioned things to do when visiting Belfast.

    1. A traditional pub tour starting in the Crown Bar followed by Maddens, Kelly’s Cellars, White’s Tavern and The Morning Star before ending up in the Duke of York

    2. A visit to Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

    3. A morning stroll up the Cave Hill followed by lunch in Belfast Castle

    4. A train ride to Carrickfergus to visit the Castle

    5. A trip to Belfast Zoo

    6. A tour of the Ulster Museum, the Palm House, the Tropical Ravene (both Botanical Gardens) and Friar’s Bush Graveyard (by prior arrangement)

    7. Hire a bike and cycle the tow path to Lisburn

    8. A picnic in the grounds of the City Hall

  • John Ó Néill

    Local bias, but… the views as you walk to McArts Fort are worth it and are as good as you’ll get of a city. There is a passage tomb 2 mins walk from there, as well as the castle etc below.

    The Ulster Museum – if they put enough of their collections on display.

    City centre pub crawl – Crown, Kelly’s etc with grub in the Mourne Seafood Bar and a decent gig on the Empire.

  • sdelaneys

    Local hack, I’m surprised that Belfast has only 20 quarters.

    Billy Ghoti, if it’s ‘twittering birds’ you want there are plenty of them , and twittering bucks too, in Stormont.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Neil, To put things in context Belfast is a small city, roughly half a million, essentially Victorian at best, it is most famous for a ship that sank and 30 yr of civil strife, it is a regional capital on the very edge of Europe, not the best of places to start from.

    On the other hand, it has quite a beautiful setting, on a river by the sea with mountains on one side and green rolling hills on the other, which has kept the city quite small geographically, with a clear centre and neighourhoods & “quarters” radiating out from it.

    I’m a country boy so like to slag of Belfast when I can, but I have have also travelled quite a lot, and have found it to be far ahead of most similar American & Australain cities, and the equal with many mainland & continental ones of a similar history.

    The realitiy is Titanic & Terrorism are the main draws to the city itself, but many just use it as a gateway to the coast route, and hopefully further afield. I think there is enough there for 2 days at most, but thats all its needs.

    Finally, I tend to ask visitors which they prefer Belfast or Dublin, its about 2:1 for Belfast, not sure I agree, but in many ways it is its equal.

  • Watching bonfires on 11th night from Castlereagh Hills is fairly cool although you need a mask as its a bit smokey. You can see all the East Belfast fires from up there.

    Oak Lounge in the Errigle

    Trying to scam your way into some likely “lock-in” at 2.30am

    The Park that is split in two with a peace wall for a bit of “national” self-deprecation – trying to persuade people it wasn’t a joke whoever put it there

    Cregagh Rd – actually all in round that part of East Belfast – it’s got a real atmosphere that you can sense is fairly old and authentic – albeit run down.

    Culturlan and Feile

  • I’ll kick off the 8 reasons not to visit Belfast

    1) lack of diversity eg no proper Chinatown, no gay village, very few English students

  • 2)The singular lack of state of the art sporting venues

  • Compared to most of the big UK cities, its not much of a list.

  • 3) Lisburn’s next door

  • Mister_Joe

    4) You may bump into someone who will try to convince you to go and visit some other city instead.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Seymour, give us the list for Cardiff, Leeds, Coventry, Stoke, Hull, Aberdeen, see if they offer more.

  • williewombat

    St Georges Market worth a visit although has development potential. I also think a visit to the opera house would be worthwhile and the Waterfront and Oddessy complex depending on whats on.

  • 5) Brian Kennedy