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Having survived almost three decades of conflict and division, Belfast is now emerging from its chrysalis with a newfound freshness and vibrancy. Carrying a deep sense of its history, and yet boldly striding into the future, Belfast is an exciting juxtaposition of old and new. Stroll by the River Lagan and see the birthplace of the infamous Titanic, or visit the famous political murals in a black taxi. Or kick back with a traditional music session in one of this lively city’s beautifully preserved old pubs.

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. The name Belfast originates from the Irish Béal Feirste, or the mouth of the Farset, the river on which the city was built and which has now been superseded by the River Lagan. Belfast saw the worst of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and since their start in 1969, news of violence and disruption marred the city’s image as a tourist destination.

Since the 1997 cease-fire and the Good Friday agreement, however, Belfast is making up for lost time. With the help of massive investment, the city has undergone a remarkable transformation, and now has a booming economy and high employment rates. The River Lagan has been cleaned up and inner city areas, such as the Cathedral Quarter, have been regenerated, attracting new restaurants, hotels, shopping areas and cafes.

The city’s largely Victorian buildings have been juxtaposed with impressive 20th century architecture, creating a sense of progress and change. With its sights set on the future, Belfast has become a vibrant, friendly and exciting city, waiting to be discovered in new ways.

The newest creative industry in Northern Ireland over the last ten years has been film. In partnership with the Northern Ireland Film Commission and with the co-operation of the BBC and Ulster Television, the Arts Council’s Lottery Fund has been able to inject vital new financial backing into a burgeoning sector of the arts.

Nightlife is lively with the accompaniment of traditional Irish music as well as folk music, jazz and blues. Sports fans can enjoy rugby , hurling, tennis and football matches. In winter there is ice skating at the Ice bowl on Old Dundonald Road, and in summer, swimming and watersports at Water Wonderland.

Tours from Belfast take the visitor into the richness of the past. One day tours include the 87 mile drive around Strangford Lough through fishing villages and ancient towns, past wildlife preserves, monasteries, castles, and exquisite gardens.

With its friendly people, fine entertainment, outstanding museums, and stunning natural beauty, Belfast provides the traveler with warmth, humor, and charm that, once experienced ,can never be forgotten.