Thinking about moving to Ireland? Having moved away from its once turbulent past, Belfast is a burgeoning, vibrant city with plenty to offer.
Whether you're actively planning a move to Ireland or just daydreaming a little, IrishCentral has you covered at the start of each week with #MovetoIrelandMonday. This week: Belfast, Northern Ireland.
What you’ll find in Belfast
Located on the banks of the River Lagan on the east cost of the island of Ireland, Belfast is the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland. The city’s population is 300,000, with 600,000 living in the greater Belfast Metropolitan area. Part of the United Kingdom, it is a mix of British and Irish cultures.
A major port city, Belfast was an important commercial and industrial center in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the establishment of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in 1861 saw that it became one of the worlds’ greatest shipbuilding centers. The RMS Titanic was built here, and today you can visit the Titanic Belfast museum on the site of the former shipyard to learn more about the city’s maritime history.
The city suffered greatly during the turbulent time of the Troubles, but has undergone an extensive transformation in recent years. Belfast is a vibrant, modern metropolitan city with world-class arts and culture, increasing diversity, and a growing economy.
Belfast is home to a mix of architectural styles, with ornate Victorian and Edwardian landmarks, remnants of the industrial age, and new state of the art modern buildings. The city has a beautiful waterfront, a range of restaurants, and a lively music scene.
Belfast is home to two universities, Queen’s University and Ulster University.
Surrounded with natural beauty and nearby castles, that film and television productions, including Game of Thrones, love to film here.
Read More: The wonder of a revitalized Belfast city
Where to live in Belfast
The cost of living in Belfast is generally lower than the UK mainland, but housing prices here are on the rise. The monthly rental price of a one bedroom apartment in the city center is around £400, while a one bedroom flat outside the city center is around £280. However, the majority of the people here prefer to buy rather than rent. The average price to purchase a property in Belfast is £158,812.
The Cathedral Quarter, near St Anne’s Cathedral, is the center of the city’s art scent and many of its most famous street murals can be found here as well as a plethora of cafes. Queen’s Quarter has a large population of students from the nearby university. Newtownbreda, located to the south of Belfast city center, is a family friendly neighborhood. Castlereagh, located in east Belfast, is one of the most expensive areas to live. The Gaeltacht Quarter is home to a large Irish-speaking community. The Titanic Quarter and the waterfront are up and coming and this modern, urban area is attracting a lot of new residents.
What to do in Belfast
Visit the famous St George’s Market, an indoor gourmet food market where you can find local produce as well as the traditional Belfast Bap, a buttery breakfast sandwich filled with sausage. Go shopping at Victoria Square, which opened its doors in 2008, and enjoy 360• views of Belfast from the Dome.
Belfast has some of the greatest pubs in the world. Cozy up at one of the booths in the beautifully ornate Crown Liquor Saloon or go hear live music at Kelly’s Cellar, which has been around since 1720 and hosts traditional music sessions four days a week.
A range of festivals and events around the year attract visitors from around the world. Check out the Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival, the Sounds of Belfast, the Belfast Pride Parade, or the annual Festival of light at Mount Stewart.
The city has over forty public parks. One of the most popular is the Botanic Gardens, a public garden occupying 28 acres. The garden’s Palm House was designed by Charles Lanyon and completed in 1840.
Outside the city, are beaches, day trips to nearby castles, Bushmills Distillery, and the Giant’s Causeway.