Belfast has blossomed from very humble beginnings… It started out as a small hamlet with fertile land along the mouth of the Lagan. Soon, marauders and pirates realised our lough was deep and our shores were safe from the north Atlantic storms. The perfect haven for repairing sea ravaged ships. From these early stages the industrious locals developed a boat building trade. And the rest is our history.
So what’s Belfast like today? Well, it’s packed with history, culture, exciting events, great food, super shopping… you might even spot a ship or two. You’ll also find some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Have a look around and learn more about the city we’re so proud of.
Did you know...
- Belfast’s Sirocco Works invented air conditioning and the Royal Victoria Hospital became the first building in the world to be fitted with air conditioning.
- Mary McAleese of Ireland is not the only state president to have been born in Belfast – Chaim Herzog, Israel’s first president was the son of a Belfast rabbi.
- Milk of Magnesia was invented in Belfast, as were the pneumatic tyre and the tractor.
- London’s Sloane Square and Sloanies are named after County Down born and Belfast educated Sir Hans Sloane, the man responsible for first creating milk chocolate.
- Shorts Aircraft Factory pioneered Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircrafts in the 50’s when Sir James Martin invented the aircraft ejector seat.
- The expression "The Emerald Isle" was first coined by Belfast poet William Drennan in 1796.
- A tunnel, which carries the river Farset under High Street and into the River Lagan, is so big it can accommodate a double decker bus.
- The unbeaten record for hammering the most rivets in a working shift was set by James Moir at Harland & Wolff shipyard. He slammed 11,209 red-hot rivets into metal plates of a warship in nine hours in June 1918.
- Joseph Black, son of a Belfast wine merchant discovered carbon dioxide and his principles were used by James Watt to develop the steam engine.
- Belfast poet Michael Longley in 2000 and 2001 won four top literary prizes, something never before achieved by any living poet in the British Isles. (Prizes included: Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, TS Eliot Award, Hawthornden Award and a Whitbread Award.)
- The 'Holy Land' of Belfast is so named after a devout Christian developer gave the names of Damascus, Carmel, Jerusalem and Palestine to the streets he built.
- Professor Sir Frank Pantridge invented the portable defibrillator, which saves thousands of lives each year.
- Belfast’s Crown Bar was the first pub ever owned by the National Trust.