Why should I choose Belfast for my year abroad?
It comes as no surprise, once you see all that is on offer here, including a top British university, why so many prefer Belfast over Southern Dublin, or other cities within the UK. You can start by exploring Belfast castle, a great place to get a panoramic view of the city. To get a (slightly biased) understanding of the city, head to Eileen Hickey Republican History Museum. You should also take a peek at Ulster Museum, holding historical, maritime and artistic information and works. Not to be missed are the political murals found on Falls Road and Shankill Road, which you can see as part of a tour, or on your own schedule. In terms of museums and galleries, you’ll be spoilt for choice. We highly recommend Belfast Exposed, a fantastic photographer’s gallery with its own darkroom let out to budding artists! Belfast Print Workshop and Gallery offers visitors the chance to print out their own work, as well as take in some fine examples of different prints across the talented spectrum of artists on offer, and the Queens Film Theatre shows art house films on a regular basis, so make sure you check their programme often.
The Botanical Gardens are definitely worth a detour, you’ll be amazed at how many different types of flora grows in such an unforgiving climate – speaking of which, don’t forget to pack an umbrella, it will turn out to be a very worthwhile investment indeed, as Belfast is hardly known as a sun-lover’s paradise! For all animal lovers out there, you can’t afford to miss out on a day trip at Belfast Zoo, you’ll be sure to have much fun, judging by the place’s popularity.
In terms of eating and drinking, the Golden Mile should offer all you could dream of in terms of snacks, mains, cocktails and all other forms of beverage. Be warned: it isn’t the safest place at night, so do take a taxi to your port of call for the evening. If you’re tackling a hangover from hell, head to the crowded Maggie Mays for an Ulster fry-up, the only tried and tested cure to combat that cracking headache! And who can mention Ireland without speaking of SPUDS? The nation’s favourite carbohydrate, as well as the name of the longstanding restaurant, you should tuck into the house’s speciality, champ.
Nightclubs can be found across the city, but some of the best include Brickies Bar (the students’ favourite), The Stiff Kitten (we didn’t make this name up...) and Scratch Nightclub; all fun establishments, all reasonably priced, all guarantee to give you a good night out! If you’re up for some traditional music, you’ll take a shine to Robinsons Bar as it offers local music every day of the week, in the back bar. So there you have it, a city that has come across many blows, is still in the all-too-famous words of Elton John, still standing and having a good time! So why don’t you join in the fun too?!