Belfast has emerged from decades of conflict to become one of Ireland’s most intriguing cities. In the 19th century, its location on the banks of the River Lagan made it an industrial center for ropemaking, shipbuilding, tobacco and textiles. And this legacy shaped much of its architecture: Grand Edwardian and Victorian municipal buildings and warehouses are found throughout the city alongside telltale scars of its more recent past.
While the legacy of Belfast’s complex conflict known as The Troubles still looms, there are many other sides of Northern Ireland's capital to explore, from the quaint streets of the Cathedral Quarter to the newly regenerated Titanic Quarter, where the ill-fated RMS Titanic was constructed.
Belfast is also gathering momentum as an up-and-coming gourmet destination, with a new generation of chefs producing food to get excited about. Beyond the city limits, County Down and neighboring County Antrim have a wealth of things to see and do. Any lingering negative preconceptions will evaporate after a short time in this fascinating and welcoming city.