An Droichead is a cultural space that hosts a variety of events ranging from concerts, exhibitions to community events. Considered to be one of the biggest Irish cultural centers in United Kingdom, the place is at the center of many activities throughout the year. The center also has classes available, ranging from music classes to dance workshops, as well as learning the Irish language. For additional information, call ahead or visit their website.
A beautiful remnant of the city's Victorian past, the Botanic Gardens was established in 1828 as a private garden by the Belfast Botanical and Horticultural Society. After the Belfast Corporation purchased it in 1895, it has been one of the city's most loved public green space and meeting place for tourists and locals alike. Spread across 11.33 hectares (28 acres), the park is a vibrant medley of roses, rare oaks, exotic trees and blooms. The arched cast-iron glasshouse Palm House and the sunken Tropical Ravine are some of its prominent features. The gardens regularly play host to concerts, festivals and other live performances, making it an idyllic cultural venue as well. However, the one thing while visiting this place is that opening times vary.
Nestled in a corner of the iconic Botanic Gardens, the Ulster Museum is one of Belfast's most prestigious establishments with a spectacular collection art, ethnography and archaeology sourced from all across the globe. Formally established in the year 1929, this elegant four-story structure is located within walking distance of Queen's University's plush campus. The main highlights of the museum include riches recovered from the wreck of a Spanish Armada ship salvaged off the Giant's Causeway. Its top-floor gallery displays a series of exquisite British and Irish artwork.
Located a bit further from the city center in the 'sailor-town' area of Belfast in an old mill, the Golden Thread Gallery has given a boost to the visual arts scene since 1999. Although there is no permanent collection as such, this spells good news for emerging artists who now have a chance to feature in their well-received ongoing exhibitions. Check website for a list of upcoming events.
An attractive rolling parkland, Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park's crowning glory is its International Rose Garden. It's a treat for the senses with the scents and riotous colors of over 300,000 blooms. Come for the famous rose trials held here during Rose Week every summer. Set out in a series of circular gardens, each garden has a different theme and is decorated with striped tents. The park also provides an ideal starting point for exploring the Lagan Valley Regional Park. Though the park opens at 7.30a, the closing time varies seasonally, please visit the website for complete schedule.
The Grand Opera House is one of the city's great signature buildings. Restored to its Victorian glory in 1980, it is a masterpiece in gilt and plush scarlet. The pièce de la résistance of this lavish interior being the elephants that support the boxes. The venue maintains its operatic traditions, with regular visits by some of the world's greatest opera companies. In recent years, the Royal Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet have both performed at this venue as well as artists taking part in the annual Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. Ticket prices vary per performance.
Situated on Belfast Lough and surrounded by hills on all sides, Belfast is known for its picture-perfect beauty and scenic vistas. The quaint 17th-century streets are fronted by the intricate façades of Victorian and Edwardian buildings like the Belfast Public Library and St. Anne's Cathedral. The city boasts a burgeoning art scene that's replete with contemporary art galleries and studios highlighting the works of modern Irish artists while traditional markets like St. George's and the Grand Opera House are full of old-world charm. Titanic Belfast, the site where the shipyards that built the Titanic were once located throws light on the city's seafaring legacy as well as drawing visitors into an interactive experience. From cultural evenings to biking through Northern Ireland's dramatic coastal vista's, Belfast is a city with hidden depths.
Belfast has grown into a cosmopolitan destination and become a popular weekend spot for the tourists and locals in the city. There are a variety of places to explore such as the museum, the cathedral, the shopping area and many award winning restaurants, bars, galleries, theatres and clubs. It is an active city best for fun days out with family. Visit the website for details on places worth visiting in the city.
The City Hall dominates the city's skyline from every angle. The building's remarkable interior contains a marble grand staircase crowned by a domed ceiling of intricate plasterwork. The Grand Staircase is lit by seven stained glass windows and the Grand Hall is also adorned with several stained-glass portraits of British sovereigns, rescued from bombing during the Second World War. Guided tours of the building and grounds are available all year round; each tour lasts approximately one hour.
To keep up with the enormous increase in foreign visitors to Northern Ireland, the Belfast Welcome Centre is now housed in glitzy new premises in the heart of the city, offering a range of invaluable services to the Belfast visitor. There's a selection of Ulster postcards and gifts, including some beautiful pottery. Videos and literature are available in several languages. Find out what to see and where to stay in all six counties. Helpful multilingual staff are on hand to answer your questions and help with bookings. You can get all kind of information over here, from services for the disabled, to jazz or traditional music performances, to where to get the best food in town. Don't go anywhere without coming here first.
This library is situated opposite the City Hall. It has been awarded a considerable sum by the Lottery Heritage Foundation to expand the library collection and make a cultural center. Even though it is a private library, visitors too are welcome to read books or newspapers or to sit on one of the antique sofas that sprawl on every floor. There is an extensive genealogy section, the first port of call for anyone attempting to trace ancestors from Belfast. They also provide access to internet. There is a popular cafe too, so do enjoy books with a cup of coffee.