56 Facts About Belfast


Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast.

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Belfast suffered greatly during the violence that accompanied the partition of Ireland, and especially during the more recent conflict known as the Troubles.

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Belfast is still a port with commercial and industrial docks, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard, dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline.

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Name Belfast derives from the Irish, later spelt The word means "mouth" or "river-mouth" while is the genitive singular of and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across a river's mouth.

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County borough of Belfast was created when it was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888, and the city continues to straddle County Antrim on the left bank of the Lagan and County Down on the right.

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Belfast remained a small settlement of little importance during the Middle Ages.

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However, this original 'Belfast Castle' was much smaller and of far less strategic importance than nearby Carrickfergus Castle, which was constructed at Carrickfergus and was probably built in the late 1170s.

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Belfast was established as a town in 1613 by Sir Arthur Chichester.

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When early in the American War of Independence, Belfast Lough was raided by the privateer John Paul Jones, the townspeople assembled their own Volunteer militia.

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The plentiful supply of cheap labour helped attract English and Scottish capital to Belfast, but it was a cause of insecurity.

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Sectarian tension was not in itself unique to Belfast: it was shared with Liverpool and Glasgow, cities that following the Great Famine had experienced large-scale Irish Catholic immigration.

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In 1921, as the greater part of Ireland seceded as the Irish Free State, Belfast became the capital of the six counties remaining as Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom.

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Belfast has been the scene of various episodes of sectarian conflict between its Catholic and Protestant populations.

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Belfast saw some of the worst of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, particularly in the 1970s, with rival paramilitary groups formed on both sides.

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Belfast was granted borough status by James VI and I in 1613 and official city status by Queen Victoria in 1888.

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Belfast is represented in both the British House of Commons and in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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Belfast elected 7 Sinn Fein, 5 DUP, 5 Alliance Party, 1 SDLP, 1 UUP and 1 PBPA MLAs.

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Belfast is at the western end of Belfast Lough and at the mouth of the River Lagan giving it the ideal location for the shipbuilding industry that once made it famous.

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The climate of Belfast is significantly milder than most other locations in the world at a similar latitude, due to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream.

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Townlands of Belfast are its oldest surviving land divisions and most pre-date the city.

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Belfast expanded very rapidly from being a market town to becoming an industrial city during the course of the 19th century.

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Parts of Belfast are segregated by walls, commonly known as "peace lines", erected by the British Army after August 1969, and which still divide 14 districts in the inner city.

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The Gaeltacht Quarter is an area around the Falls Road in west Belfast which promotes and encourages the use of the Irish language.

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The Forest of Belfast is a partnership between government and local groups, set up in 1992 to manage and conserve the city's parks and open spaces.

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In 2008, Belfast was named a finalist in the Large City category of the RHS Britain in Bloom competition along with London Borough of Croydon and Sheffield.

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Belfast experienced a huge growth in population in the first half of the 20th century.

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Segregation has been present throughout the history of Belfast but has been maintained and increased by each outbreak of violence in the city.

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Belfast harbour was dredged in 1845 to provide deeper berths for larger ships.

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Belfast has been the fastest-growing economy of the thirty largest cities in the UK over the past decade, a new economy report by Howard Spencer has found.

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Belfast saw the worst of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, with nearly half of the total deaths in the conflict occurring in the city.

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Belfast is a relatively car-dependent city by European standards, with an extensive road network including the 22.

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Belfast has a direct rail connection with Dublin called Enterprise which is operated jointly by NIR and Iarnrod Eireann, the state railway company of the Republic of Ireland.

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Belfast has a large port used for exporting and importing goods, and for passenger ferry services.

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Belfast's population is evenly split between its Protestant and Catholic residents.

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In 2003, Belfast had an unsuccessful bid for the 2008 European Capital of Culture.

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Ulster Orchestra, based in Belfast, is Northern Ireland's only full-time symphony orchestra and is well renowned in the United Kingdom.

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Musicians and bands who have written songs about or dedicated to Belfast includeU2, Van Morrison, Snow Patrol, Simple Minds, Elton John, Rogue Male, Katie Melua, Boney M, Paul Muldoon, Stiff Little Fingers, Nanci Griffith, Glenn Patterson, Orbital, James Taylor, Fun Boy Three, Spandau Ballet, The Police, Barnbrack, Gary Moore, Neon Neon, Toxic Waste, Energy Orchard, and Billy Bragg.

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Belfast has a longstanding underground club scene which was established in the early 1980s.

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Belfast has the highest concentration of Irish-speakers in Northern Ireland.

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Belfast is the home of the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News, and The News Letter, the oldest English-language daily newspaper in the world still in publication.

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The Belfast Telegraph was founded in 1827 as the Belfast Daily News and later became The Northern Star.

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Belfast Telegraphy is a popular news website in the United Kingdom.

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In November 2011, Belfast became the smallest city to host the MTV Europe Music Awards.

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Belfast has several notable sports teams playing a diverse variety of sports such as football, Gaelic games, rugby, cricket, and ice hockey.

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Belfast was the home town of former Manchester United player George Best, the 1968 European Footballer of the Year, who died in November 2005.

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Belfast is home to over twenty Gaelic football and hurling clubs.

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In May 2020, the foundation of East Belfast GAA returned Gaelic Games to unionist East Belfast after decades of its absence in the area.

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Belfast has four teams in rugby's All-Ireland League: Belfast Harlequins in Division 1B; and Instonians, Queen's University and Malone in Division 2A.

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Belfast is home to the Stormont cricket ground since 1949 and was the venue for the Irish cricket team's first ever One Day International against England in 2006.

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Belfast is home to one of the biggest ice hockey clubs in the United Kingdom, the Belfast Giants.

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Belfast produced the Formula One racing stars John Watson who raced for five different teams during his career in the 1970s and 1980s and Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine.

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Queen's University Belfast was founded in 1845 and is a member of the Russell Group, an association of 24 leading research-intensive universities in the UK.

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The Belfast campus has a specific focus on Art and Design and Architecture, and is currently undergoing major redevelopment.

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Belfast Metropolitan College is a large further education college with three main campuses around the city, including several smaller buildings.

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Belfast is one of the most visited cities in the UK, and the second most visited on the island of Ireland.

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Belfast was successful in attracting many conferencing events, both national and international, to the city in 2018.

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