Belfast has seen some rough times over the year, but thankfully that’s all behind us now. It’s now becoming one of the world’s more popular places to visit and 2012 will be even busier due to the anniversary of Titanic tragedy.
The Titanic was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast and since 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinkingof the ship there will be quite a few curious onlookers.
(photo credit: lyng883)
Many people are attracted by the city because it hasn’t been known as a tourist destination so many areas of it haven’t changed over the decades. There will be numerous attractions that are related to the Titanic, including tours and even a beer named after the ship. There will be a $150 million visitor centerknown as Titanic Belfast where the great ship was launched along with the Britannic and Olympic, which were both sister ships of the Titanic.
The six-level site will feature nine different galleries that will tell the story of the Titanic and the people who built the ship via films, artifacts, and other exhibitions and displays. It will also provide a live feed from the Titanic’s resting place, which is about 370 miles southeast of the Canadian province ofNewfoundland. It’s expected this Titanic site will attract about 150,000 overseas visitors to it as well as local residents.
One of the best ways to soak in the atmosphere of the city is to take a tour on an open-aired bus. Here you’ll see some of the history of the past troubles such as peace walls and murals that relate to the problems between Catholics and Protestants. The peace walls were erected to separate the religious neighborhoods from each other and are a solemn reminder of Belfast’s past.
However, times have changed and Belfast’s considered to be as safe as other major European centers and this is why many visitors are coming from continental Europe. The rest of Northern Ireland is also an interesting destination. The city of Londonderry has been announced as the United Kingdom’s City of Culture for 2013 and there will be a brand new visitor centre opened up close to the Giant’s Causeway, which is a popular UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another popular attraction in the country at the moment is golf. The sport has boomed in popularity ever since Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, both of Ulster, won the US Open in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Golf’s always been pretty popular in Northern Ireland along with soccer and rugby, and visitors now flock to the Royal Portrush golf course in County Antrim to play a round. This is the home golf club for both Clarke and McDowell.
The Chinese Olympic gymnastics team will also be training in Northern Ireland in County Antrim as they’ve selected the charming town of Lisburn to be the headquarters. In fact, Northern Irelands became quite a popular destination with travelers from China over the past year or two.
There’s a lot more to this historic nation than just Belfast, golf and the shipyards. You’ll find a lot of cultural attractions, historical sites, friendly pubs, and shopping opportunities. It is well worth a visit to Northern Ireland now as the country has gotten back to a normal way of life.