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Belfast, Northern Ireland

Situated on the mouth of the River Lagan, Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland. Belfast's rope making, linen and shipbuilding industries have flourished ever since the Industrial Revolution. Belfast came to world attention with the outbreak of the Troubles in the 1960s and the conflict lasted until the cease-fire of 1994. Immerse yourself in the history and traditions of this fascinating city.

Linen is one of the oldest textiles in the world - and Irish linen is particularly prized for its quality. The Irish Linen Center traces the history of linen from ancient Egypt to the present day. Fascinating displays and exhibits on the Irish linen trade show how generations of families were involved at all levels of the industry, from growing flax to weaving.

The Waterfront Hall on the banks of the River Lagan affords panoramic views of the city. The copper dome of City Hall rises 173 feet into the air, built in the classical renaissance style in 1906. Nearby, the elaborate Grand Opera House is a beautiful Victorian theatre over 100 years old. Edwardian terraces and classic magnolia trees surround The Queen's University of Belfast, and the Charles Lanyon's main building remains a notable landmark.

The Botanic Gardens Park, located between The Queen's University and Ulster Museum, features the Palm House and Tropical Ravine. Established in 1828, the gardens have been opened to the public since 1895. On the north coast is the geological phenomenon of the Giant's Causeway, where a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago formed columns of layered basalt. Ancient legend suggests this was the work of the giant Finn McCool, the Ulster warrior and commander of the king of Ireland's armies.

Exploring some of the city's many and varied pubs is a way to take in the local culture, as well as some pints of Guinness, local Caffrey's Ale, Belfast Gin and dozens of varieties of Irish whiskey. Enjoy the best of Belfast craic, which locally means good conversation and banter. The Crown Bar is considered the most perfectly preserved Victorian pub interior in the province, and is owned by the National Trust.
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