Stormont Parliament Buildings

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Honestly, before I went to Northern Ireland, I imagined Belfast as a gray, industrial city without much interest. The few references he had were those of the shipyards where the Titanic was built and the fierce conflict that faced unionists and republicans for much of the 20th century. However, there are many things to see in Belfast. The city has managed to overcome its past and offer a much more friendly and open image to tourism. I have been fortunate to visit her twice and I admit that I have a special weakness for her. To infect you with this passion, I invite you to discover in this article the best things to see in Belfast. Here are 10 places you must absolutely not miss while visiting Belfast! This gorgeous city has so much to offfer! Your North Ireland tour would never be complete without visiting these Parliament Buildings. Built in 1921, the structure is grandiose but within its halls and walls are stories and political controversies by the look itself. This is where the Northern Ireland Assembly convenes for the day-to-day concerns of its constituency. Click the next ARROW to see the next photo!

Belfast Zoo

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This zoo is located near the Belfast Castle and stretches on 55 acres of rich land. It is now considered the home of 140 different species of animals. Founded in 1934, this is among the oldest tourist spots in Northern Ireland. It is most famous for its Asian elephants, Sumatran tigers and Malayan sun bears, among others. The Belfast Zoo is home to over 140 species of animals, many of which are endangered in their natural habitat. You can find a large number of animals such as elephants, penguins, giraffes, bears, tigers. It is a perfect attraction if you visit the city with children. The Belfast Zoo is one of the main attractions for tourists visiting Northern Ireland, receiving over 300,000 clients a year. It is located in the north of Belfast and has 22 hectares of extension. The zoo is a safe haven for more than 1,200 animals of 150 different species. It encourages conservation, education and focuses on raising unique species. Among these unique species are red pandas and Barbary lions. The zoo is adjacent to Cave Hill National Park, so get ready to take in panoramic views over the Belfast River and County Antrim, making it a unique and peaceful place for animals. Most of the animals in the Belfast Zoo are endangered in their natural habitat. The zoo carries out very important conservation work and participates in more than 90 European and international programs that help ensure the survival of many threatened species. Belfast Zoo is the property of Belfast City Council. The city council spends around 1.5 million Pounds each year on the operation and promotion of the zoo, which is one of the few local government funded zoos in the UK and Ireland. Click the next ARROW to see the next photo!

Crumlin Road Gaol

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This infamous prison closed down in 1996 and had been reopened in 2012. This served as a notorious jail for a long time and now it is open for public viewing. Touring around its walls would inform you of the fascinating history of Ireland. There are also tour guides that can help you during your visit. Here you have the opportunity to get to know a prison inside without committing a crime. But not just any one, since very dangerous prisoners have passed through there and had tailor-made security measures. And, Ireland has a really troubled history, with constant struggles and revolts against England. The best known and most recent is the one that confronted the republican armed groups (I.R.A.) and other unionist groups. Many of them were “tenants” of this prison, as well as criminals of all kinds. One of the most famous prisoners was Bobby Sands – the same one who appears on the mural – and he got married inside the prison. The visit is very interesting and enjoyable, explaining the most hidden and secret places. You can see schedules and prices on its website. Click the next ARROW to see the next photo!

Belfast Castle

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This site where the current splendid castle sits upon used to be the site of previous castles dating back since the 1200s. This current edifice was constructed in 1870. There is also an on site restaurant which is called, Cave Hill Visitor Center. There is also an adventure ground and a country park. This fabulous castle is located in a pleasant park on a hill 6.5 km from the center of Belfast. From there there are very good views of the city and the bay. It was built in 1870 and due to a legend it is known as the castle of cats. According to this, the inhabitants of the castle would be happy while a white cat lived there. For this reason, numerous sculptures, mosaics and figures of cats can be seen in the castle and its surroundings. It is not necessary more than 20 minutes for the visit and also the entrance is free. Belfast Castle is located on the hillside of Cave Hill, to the north of the city. Its construction finished in 1870 and was officially opened to the public in 1988. Inside, it has an antique shop, a restaurant and an information center. Today, the castle is very popular for holding weddings, conferences, and other major events. (Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 10pm, Monday and Sunday from 9am to 5:30 pm). Just above the castle we find Cave Hill, a hill 368 meters above sea level that even on winter days offers us beautiful panoramic views of Belfast and the harbor. To get to the top we have several routes that we can do on foot or by bicycle. You can find out about routes and other activities in the castle’s visitor center. Click the next ARROW to see the next photo!

Grand Opera House

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This opera house is located in Great Victoria Street. Its structure has been elaborately decorated. This has been there even since 1895. When this was extensively restored beautiful ceiling panels were added in its main auditorium. Today, it hosts a lot of concerts, shows, musicals and operas. There is a tour guide stationed if you want to know more about its history. It is the Belfast theater. It stands out among the rest of the buildings for its oriental appearance. You can visit inside, with one of the tours they do. Tours are only available in English. Right next to the Grand Opera House is the Europa Hotel, the most targeted target hotel in the country’s history. Very close to the town hall and The Crown is another of the most important examples of Victorian architecture in the city: the Grand Opera House. This theater, which was inaugurated in 1895, was seriously affected by the IRA bombs in 91 and 93. The only way to visit it inside is to buy a ticket for one of its shows. With a huge succession of repairs throughout its more than 100 history, it ranks fifth on our list for What to See in Belfast, the Great Opera of Belfast, the most important theater in the entire city with more than 300,000 visitors Every year, it is the mecca of culture in Belfast and one of the greatest exponents of the Irish performing arts. With a capacity for 1,063 people, this theater has been a venue for opera, dance, comedy, tragedy and many more dramatic events. This theater has been the victim of some bombings, however, it is currently erected to continue sheltering all kinds of unforgettable experiences that aim, day by day, to awaken the passion for theater in children and young people. Click the next ARROW to see the next photo!

St. Anne’s Cathedral

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Sir Thomas Drew, a famous architect, designed this cathedral in 1898. Since then, this is considered as the main Anglican Church of the country of Ireland. Its architecture is neo-Romanesque and with a basilica design. The chapel for baptisms has a mosaic ceiling. The church also has marble tiles and beautiful stained glass windows. The Cathedral of Saint Anne or Belfast Cathedral was inaugurated in 1903 and has the particularity of serving as an Anglican and Catholic temple. It has an austere decoration, in which the stained glass windows stand out. Although you are not going to enter, you can go and take a look at its exterior architecture. Price: £ 2 / Children: £ 1. Walking through the city you will inexorably pass by the Cathedral Quarter, the oldest area of ​​the city. Its Cathedral is located there and although it seems incredible, the temple is modern, since it was built in the 20th century and instead of a tower, a 40-meter-high stainless steel spiral was built, known as ‘Spiral of Hope’. It is surely known to you if you have visited Dublin, since it is located on O’Connell Street, ‘The Spire’, 119 meters high, built in stainless steel. Which, incidentally, is a rather controversial monument after its construction. This is because it was built by a British company, a lot of money was invested in its construction and it was raised where the Nelson’s column was located, an English symbol that was destroyed by the IRA. Click the next ARROW to see the next photo!

Waterfront Hall

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This is set to have an overlooking view of the River Lagan. This world-class conference hall reflects the modern city and the quality entertainment it provides. It has been opened since 1997 and has attracted numerous artists, performers and musicians all around the world. The Arc Brasserie is the restaurant of the hall. In 1994, the Lagan Dam was built on the river of the same name that passes through Belfast. The visitor center is located in the Lagan Lookout building, where an exhibition on the dam and the history of the Lagan River is hosted. In the same building is the control center of the dam gates, among other facilities. After the construction of the dam, environmental improvements have been seen, such as water quality and biodiversity. In addition to an improvement in traffic for people, since a pedestrian bridge rises just above the dam. Click the next ARROW to see the next photo!

Ulster Museum

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This is near the Waterfront Hall and can be reached within a five-minute drive. This national museum had undergone a big reconstruction recently making it one of the best attractions of Belfast. It has exquisite collections and one of the most popular among them is an Egyptian mummy aged 2,500 years old. Located in the Belfast Botanical Gardens, this comprehensive museum houses a fantastic collection of history, science, natural and other sciences. Among other elements there are dinosaur skeletons, an Egyptian mummy and a curious exhibition on the treasures of the Spanish army. There is also a children’s play area. There is a section dedicated to the different peoples of Ireland and their history. Best of all, it’s free. Click the next ARROW to see the next photo!

The Botanic Gardens

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This was established in 1882  and owned by the city council. It was in 1895 when it was opened to the public for viewing. It has different facilities within it including the Palm House that is being used to house a variety of tropical plants. There are also other exotic plants in the gardens. The Botanical Garden was born as a private garden in 1828 and was opened to the public in 1895. Inside you will find a small greenhouse known as ‘Palm House‘ that can be visited and where you can see various types of tropical plants. And if you do not feel like walking or the weather is not good, in the same park is the Ulster Museum. It is the largest museum in Northern Ireland and if you have the time it is worth visiting. The museum tells the history of Northern Ireland and in its rooms you can find collections of art, archeology, science, and even the treasures of the Spanish ‘Invincible Army‘. It is free entry. (Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm). Click the next ARROW to see the next photo!

Titanic Belfast

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This is perhaps the largest titanic visitor attraction in the whole world. What makes this more interesting is that it has interactive displays and exhibits. It shows Belfast as a rapidly developing city that once became arrogant about being the most powerful in the industry of shipbuilding. The structure likewise contains artifacts of the ill-fated ocean liner, the Titanic. The famous infamous ocean liner was built in the Belfast shipyards. Despite the catastrophic journey, they feel very proud and have a large and interesting museum dedicated to it. In it, we can make a didactic journey through the history of the shipyard, the Titanic and the causes that led to the tragic outcome. There are also rooms with exact reproductions of the cabins and other dependencies of the ocean liner. A highly recommended museum for both adults and children. On Sandy Rd there is also another statue dedicated to Titanic workers, also known to locals as the Peaky Blinders, for their close resemblance to the characters in the series.