Culture & Heritage
Belfast Museums & Gardens
Northern Ireland’s treasure house of the past and present, Ulster Museum features rich displays of archaeology, ethnography, art, history and natural sciences, as well as a constantly changing environment of exhibitions and events that offer a fascinating voyage of discovery.
From ancient Ireland to the South Pacific, from masterpieces of modern art to rare flowers, the museum is a window to the world. Don’t miss the award-winning Early Ireland gallery, the outstanding Made in Belfast exhibits and Treasures of the Armada, featuring items recovered from the Spanish galleass Girona. Top floor art galleries showcase changing exhibitions from the fine and applied art collections, as well as exhibitions on loan. The café overlooks the ancient Friar's Bush graveyard.
Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum illustrates the life and traditions of the people of Northern Ireland. The exhibit buildings of the Folk Museum include furnished houses, mills, shops, schools and churches set in a recreated landscape extending 60 acres. This setting presents life in Ulster in the early 1900's through costumed interpretation, activities, crafts and skills. The award-winning galleries of the Transport Museum display Ireland's comprehensive transport collections from horse drawn cart to Irish built motor cars, from the mighty steam locomotives which graced railways to the history of ship and boat building. Check out the permanent Titanic Exhibit.
Botanic Gardens and Palm House
Enjoyed by the people of Belfast since 1895, the Botanic Gardens feature extensive rose garden with long herbaceous borders and rare oaks planted in the 1880s, including the hornbeam-leafed oak. Constructed in the 1830s, the Palm House is one of the earliest curvilinear cast iron glasshouses, and has a reputation for fine plant collections. The cool wing houses displays of colour and scent using plants such as geranium, fuchsia, and begonia.
The Tropical Ravine is a fine example of horticultural Victoriana, and plants grow in a sunken glen overlooked by a balcony. The stove wing and dome area contain temperate and tropical plants.
Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park
One of the most outstanding parks in Belfast, Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park consists of 128 acres of tranquil flower meadows, copses, woodland and gardens. Visit the famed International Rose Garden and the rhododendron displays, listen to a band concert, enjoy the children’s playground or relax in the tranquil surroundings. The Belfast International Rose Garden has over 45,000 rose bushes in bloom each summer creating a fusion of colours. While meandering through display beds savouring the scent and colour, you can follow the story of the rose in the Historical Section, see local roses in the Irish Heritage Section or enjoy contemplation in the Princess Diana Memorial Garden.
Check out the Japanese Garden, the Golden Crown Fountain, the Nature Study Centre and outdoor sculptures. Band concerts jam from May to September as part of the Music in the Park program. Rose Week is an annual event in July with competitions, music, plant and craft stalls, entertainment and demonstrations.
Belfast Culture & Heritage
St. Annes Cathedral/Cathedral Quarter
Designed in Hiberno-Romanesque style, the magnificent St. Anne’s Cathedral took 77 years to complete, and it was worth the wait! Surrounding St. Anne’s Cathedral, the ecclesiastical heart of the city, Cathedral Quarter is full of fascinating architecture, from distinguished buildings to cozy pubs and trendy warehouse restaurants. Intriguing buildings are tucked down narrow cobbled streets and alleyways that give the area its intimate charm. The Cathedral Quarter is the focus of Belfast’s burgeoning arts and crafts scene, and home to many visual and performing artists and groups. With the University of Ulster close by, there are plenty of artistic students adding to the atmosphere.
Discover the treasures of this Hiberno-Romanesque cathedral on a site where there has been Christian worship since the 1700's. The Cathedral maintains an Anglican and Irish ethos and identity in daily worship, providing community and church services. The main section of the cathedral was consecrated in 1904, and various parts have been added such as a new spire. The Cathedral contains the largest Celtic cross in Ireland, beautiful mosaics and stained glass on Celtic themes, and sculptures by Rosamund Praegar and Maurice Harding. The Cathedral Choir sings on Sundays.
The famous Titanic was built in Belfast, so immerse yourself in Titanic-related activities. Visit the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum with its permanent Titanic exhibition or Lagan Lookout where a replica of the ship, accompanying the exhibition, is on display. Enjoy the world’s only authentic Titanic Boat Tour around the shipyards of Harland & Wolff in Belfast Harbor, birthplace of the legendary luxury liner, with pickup points at the Waterfront Hall & Odyssey Centre. The abandoned shipyard in Belfast is now the heart of the revitalized Titanic Quarter, featuring a heritage project dedicated to the famous ship. Reflect on the tragedy of the Titanic at City Hall's Titanic Memorial, an impressive stone sculpture - unveiled in 1920 - that faces the shipyard where the Titanic was built.
With Queen’s University at its center, Queen’s Quarter is filled with character and charm. One of the most alluring areas of Belfast to explore, Queen’s Quarter is endowed with architecture, bursting with artistic creativity and overflowing with shops, bistros, attractions, and a vibrant nightlife. The fusion of academia, entertainment, culture and commerce creates this dynamic neighborhood. Queen’s Quarter has a lively calendar of cultural events, including the Belfast Festival at Queen’s each autumn, featuring theatre, dance, music, literature, comedy and visual arts - the largest festival of its kind in Northern Ireland. For entertainment, Queen’s Quarter boasts funky bars, comedy venues, and pubs with live music and traditional Irish jams. Lace up your walking boots and immerse yourself in the unique history, heritage and culture of Queen’s Quarter.