Belfast’s name, Beal Feirste in Irish, means the ‘mouth of the sandspit’. Belfast has a fine setting, ringed by high hills, a sea lough and a river valley – a ‘Hibernian Rio’ as one writer has called it.
This robust northern metropolis of nearly half a million people (one third of Northern Ireland ’s total population) has much in common with Liverpool and Manchester across the Irish Sea.
Belfast was the engine-room that drove the whirring wheels of the Industrial Revolution in Ulster. The development of industries like linen, rope-making and shipbuilding doubled the size of the town every ten years during that period. The world’s largest dry dock is here and the shipyard’s giant cranes tower over the port.
Today the city and the riverfront are again being transformed with more than £300 million investment in Tourism Infrastructure and Belfast has emerged as one of the prime Conference destinations in the British Isles.