Everything You Need To Know About Belfast
- Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland.
- There is no physical border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
- The currency is the pound sterling
- You drive on the left hand-side of the road
A city with a troubled past, witness to a split between Protestant and Catholic communities, Belfast has now risen to become a vibrant, multi-faceted city.
Following the Good Friday agreement of 1998 that ended most of the violence of the troubles, Belfast was able to slowly rebuild, develop and finally open up to tourism.
Two recent events have greatly contributed to the tourism development:
In the old days, Belfast was well-known for its shipbuilding industry. the most famous of them all ? The Titanic! Sadly we all know (courtesy to James Cameron) the tragic ending of this vessel and the event has largely contributed to the downhill of Belfast industry. However in 2012, after 3 years of construction and over £100 million invested, The Titanic museum opened its doors and has since welcomed millions of tourists.
Does “winter is coming” ring a bell to you ? If your answer is yes, you will be happy to know that the worldwide famous series Game of Thrones has been mostly filmed in Belfast. Millions of fans from all over the world have since visited Northern Ireland to retrace the different filming locations and to hopefully spot the actors. I even met people that have specifically moved to Belfast to optimize their chance to be an extra in the show!
The series ended in 2019 (let’s all agreed not to talk about that last season) but Belfast was not ready to let go of such a tourist attraction and in February 2022 opened the doors to the Game Of Thrones Studio Tour!
Game of thrones also helped develop the film industry in Belfast. The construction for a £44 million expansion of Belfast Harbour film studio, has begun in 2021 and should be completed in 2023 (fancy a job in the film industry?). At the moment studios are occupied by Netflix, filming their new series “Lift”, starring Kevin Hart.
Why Should You Move To Belfast?
- Northern Ireland has a much lower living cost than the other three UK nations (England, Scotland and Wales). Many expats choose to rapidly invest in the housing market as it is very affordable.
- As Belfast continues to grow exponentially all the ideas to contribute to the development of the city are welcome (Hello start-up 😉).
- We are all aware that the United Kingdom has left the European Union in 2021, well Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, shares a land “border” with the Republic of Ireland so you are never far (2h by bus), from a European Country… you actually, have the best position to take advantage of both worlds!
- It’s PEOPLE!!! Without a doubt the Irish are among the warmest, nicest people on this planet… Always a smile followed by a “hello, how you doing?” from complete strangers in the street, always a little chit chat with the cashier at the supermarket or in a queue, always ready to help you even when you don’t ask…They definitely know how to make you feel welcome and it is pretty addictive.
- Last but not least, the landscape. The beauty of this Island will take your breath away. The green of its grass, the scenic coastline, the dramatic cliffs,the enchanted forests,the white-sand beaches, you’ll be in awe at every turn! For your first mini road trip, rent a car, go straight to the giant’s causeway and slowly drive back to Belfast via the coastal scenic road with stops at Dunluce Castle, Kirbane Castle, Dark hedges and Ballycastle, you will fall in love fast and furious with Northern Ireland ….PS: no, it is not always raining, but yes, often overcast.
- Eat ? The food scene has flourished a looot in recent years, they even have a michelin-star restaurant (OX). Few of my favorites: Bunsen , little wing on Ann street, six by Nico, coppi, Jumon…. Coffee + brunch : the flatiron pocket, Oliver, ground espresso bars on queen street. A very good cheesemonger passionate about his job: Mike’s fancy cheese @wheresthatjoebuck…Deli: Sawers…a good bread and croissant: Bread and Banjo…a Patisserie like in France: Lazy Claire Patisserie.
- Drink? For an Irish Atmosphere: Kelly’s cellar, The White Tavern and duke of York…For a good beer garden and craft beers: the Sunflower (personal favorite)…for an afterwork beer while playing pool: Lavery’s.
- Practice yoga? Yoga Quarter, Maitiri Studio and Flow studio
- Buy sustainably? Refill quarter
I really hope I influenced you to visit or even move to Belfast… In that last case scenario, do not hesitate to contact Settl’in to help you navigate this bumpy road!