'21701792622','belfasta','irl'); //--> Ulster: Belfast
see also Dublin, Bantry,
and near Bantry, CastleDonovan, Gougane
and the neolithic sites of Beara's peninsula
All that you want to know about the ancient and the famous Clan O' Donovan
Belfast is the largest
city in Northern Ireland and the Irish Province of Ulster, with a population
of 279,200 (1999 estimate).
It is the seat of government for Northern Ireland, and in times past this was located at Hillsborough fort.
Belfast is the county town for County Antrim. The name Belfast originates from the Irish Béal Feirste, or the mouth of the Farset, the river on which the city was built. Interestingly, the river Farset has been superseded by the River Lagan as the most important river, and languishes under Bridge Street in obscurity.
Belfast is situated at the mouth of the River Lagan on Belfast Lough and is surrounded by hills (Black Mountain and Cavehill - the famous Napoleon's nose is a basaltic outcrop here which forms the border with neighbouring Glengormley).
The Lagan riverfront has been regenerated, and much of the city centre is pedestrianised. Other long gone industries included Irish linen and rope-making.
It has two airports Belfast City Airport adjacent to Belfast Lough and Belfast International Airport which is near Lough Neagh.
The site of Belfast has
been occupied since the Bronze ages, and the remains of Iron Age hill forts
can still be seen. In the early 17th century Belfast was settled by English
and Scottish settlers, under a plan to colonise the area drawn up by Sir Arthur
Causing much tension with the existing population who rebelled in 1641. It was later settled by French Huguenots who established a sizeable linen trade.
Belfast became the centre of Irish Protestantism. And the capital of Northern Ireland in 1922.
The multiple faces of Belfast
Since December 1-st, 1999,
the Ulster has an autonomous executive within which live catholic Protestant
and republican Unionists. But it will still take time so that turns the page
of the civil war.
Even if the moderate parties are majority, the "mixed" parties are very uncommon and most of the inhabitants recognize in one of both communities.
The violence fell with intensity, but the tensions persist, craft bombs, attacks of stones, of batons, fire....
And nevertheless the referendums
which approved the agreements of 1998 were a wide success: 71 % of yes in Ulster
and 94 % in Eire.
But the integration progresses very slowly: two communities mix without seeing itself, the one catholic and republican, the other Protestant and the unionist.
First name, name, address, school, uniform of the pupils, the press, the jargon, the accent, the holidays, the teams of football are among the dozens of identical markers which allow to the individuals to distinguish itself. As example, only 4 % of the children receive a not confessional education.
Link: a very detailed, complete and objective site: cain.ulst.ac.uk
The centre of Belfast
The city of Belfast presents
two very different aspects.
An clean, modern centre, with businesses active but rather austere and left early by the inhabitants who get back the districts.
These are marked by a community or discreetly or in a aggressive way.
Only 10 % of the inhabitants live in "mixed" districts.
The City Hall, dating from 1906, Queen's University (1849) and other Victorian and Edwardian buildings display a large number of sculptures. Among the grandest buildings are two former banks: Ulster Bank (1860) and Northern Bank (1769).
The City Hall, finished in 1906
The university, built in 1849 by Charles Lanyon
The modern districts
banks of Lagan River, develop modern and functional commercial districts as
well as leisure centres.
The world's largest dry dock is here, and the giant cranes of the Harland and Wolff shipyard can be seen from afar.
See the continuation of the visit of Belfast in the radical districts