Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and, as befits this status, it is a place rich in history. Many buildings in the city still represent the peak the Victorian age, an era when Belfast was a world centre of industry and commerce. To stroll around the streets is to soak up an atmosphere which combines this history with a vibrant contemporary cultural scene.
More than seven million visitors per year visit Belfast, many of them arriving at either Belfast International Airport of George Best Belfast City Airport. The size and popularity of the city is reflected in the range of accommodation on offer. Whether you’re part of a stag or hen party looking for a room close to the raucous nightlife of the Cathedral Quarter, a keen golfer needing a room close to some of Belfast's 14 golf courses or a family looking for a base from which to explore the city and the countryside beyond, you’ll be able to find the perfect accommodation.
Attractions Around Belfast
The rooms on offer range from simple, budget prices hostels, through bed and breakfasts and two and three star guesthouses all the way up to four and five star luxury hotels. Depending on the size of your party and the budget available, the reality is that you’ll simply be spoilt for choice.
Attractions within easy travelling distance of Belfast city centre include Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the United Kingdom, the hills, forests and trails of the Divis mountains and the beaches at Tyrella, Ballycastle and Downhill. For a glimpse into the industrial history of Northern Ireland, and a break from the noise and crowds of Belfast itself, take the M1 east out of the city and head for the Benburb Valley Heritage Centre.
History of Benburb Valley
Benburb Valley is an area on the banks of the River Blackwater, 48 miles from the centre of Belfast. There are several attractions within the wider area of the valley, each of which illustrates a different aspect of the history of Northern Ireland. The heritage centre is a restored linen weaving factory dating as far back as the 1800s. Some of the original machinery used in the manufacture of linen is still on display, alongside galleries that show the various processes involved in producing it. There is also a steam engine on site and a beetling shed.
Other Attractions in Benburb
Having explored the history of linen manufacture in Benburb, the surrounding area offers much more to pass the time and make a full day out of a trip here. The River Blackwater is popular with both canoeists and anglers, and the forests in the adjacent Benburb Valley Park can be explored on foot or, for the more adventurous, on horseback.
The village of Benburb was the site of the Battle of Benburb in 1798, and exhibits on display tell the story of the battle, which was part of the struggle for Irish independence. As if this wasn’t enough history for one location, you can also explore the sympathetically restored Benburb Castle, which was built in 1611 and is perched high on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside.