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A tourist's guide to the city of Belfast

Belfast, the capital city of Northern Island is a fantastic city to visit any time of year. With a thriving arts and alternative scene, and cheaper prices than it's counterpart in Eire, Dublin, Belfast is fast overtaking as a top Irish destination. Visitors will be surprised at how calm and friendly a place Belfast is after it gained notoriety in the news through the nineties. Nowadays, it is a changed and welcoming place where tourists will be greeted and welcomed with that famous Irish charm. Read on to find out what to do in Ireland, or Belfast anyway.

What to see

Belfast has countless Catholic and Protestant churches to see but that's certainly not all that this fascinating city has to share. City tours on either a tour bus, in a taxi or on foot will usually take in some of the cities main sites including the Cornmarket, at the centre of Belfast's retail area, the botanical gardens, Ulster Museum and some of the many political murals scattered around the city. For day trips out without the guided tour, there is Belfast Zoo, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and Belfast Castle amongst many other attractions.

Open spaces

Like the rest of Ireland, Belfast is surprisingly green. The city centre has opened green spaces and there are many parks dotted around the outskirts of Belfast. A favourite is Falls Park, a huge outdoor complex of cemetery, gardens, games pitches for Gaelic football and hurling pitches. Falls Park is a short ride from the city and offers welcome respite on a hot summer day.

Things to do

Taking part in an organised tour will give you better insight into a city that has had a bloody past but has been refreshed and come out all shiny and new. The Murals Tour is highly recommended. It takes in many of the city's huge and fascinating murals which play a dominant part in Belfast's history. Take a tour of your own along the golden mile, the populated area between Belfast City Hall and Queen's University. This place is packed with student bars, cheap eats and usually has a political protest or two going on.

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