The information on this page was written in the late
1990s and has not been updated since then. You may
wish to look elsewhere for more recent data.
The modern and lively city of Belfast is situated on the east coast of Ireland, straddling the border between counties Antrim and Down and the rivers Lagan and Farset. It is the second largest city in Ireland, and the largest in Northern Ireland, with almost half a million inhabitants (475,968 in the 1991 Census). It is the capital city of Northern Ireland, the seat of the new Assembly. It is situated at the southern tip of Belfast Lough, surrounded on the other thre sides by hills and mountains. There is a lot for tourists to see in and around Belfast.
It is an industrial city, home to Harland & Wolffe's Shipyard - the single largest shipyard in the UK. The ill-fated White Star Liner "Titanic" was built in Belfast. Other industries include linen, aircraft, rope, tobacco, computer software, beer, military missile systems, fertilisers, computer hardware and oil refining.
Belfast is a very historic city, dating back at least 1000 years. The first mention of the word 'Belfast' was in AD 666, when a battle was recorded at the site of 'Béal Feirsde' ("approach to the sandbank ford"). Over the centuries of usage, the Celtic name 'Béal Feirsde' has evolved into the word 'Belfast' that we know today. (In parts of Belfast, the accent is such that the city sounds like it is spelt 'Belfawst' !)
On the right is a thumbnail of our street map of greater Belfast. To see the full map [82kB], click on the thumbnail. The roads on the map are labelled with numbers which are given around the edges of the map. However, we have also supplied an alphabetical list of the marked roads which give the number to look for on the map. This index is given at the bottom of this page.
Sadly, Belfast is also a city divided along religious grounds. Click on the thumbnail on the right to see a detailed map of Belfast coloured along Catholic/ Protestant lines [98kB]. The map below backs this up with a map of the distribution of Catholic and Protestant churches in Belfast [59kB]. As you can see, west Belfast is mainly Catholic, in most areas over 90%. For many years, the Catholic population expanded to the southwest, but in recent years it has started expanding around the Shankill and into north Belfast. The east of the city is predominantly Protestant, typically 90% or more. This area, along with the north of the city, is the main growth pole of the Protestant population. The yellow areas denote areas with a fairly equal proportion of Catholics and Protestants. These are found nearer the edges of the city, but also in the Ormeau Road and Ballymacarrett areas. When trouble flares in the city, it is in the border areas between largely Catholic areas and largely Protestant areas. These areas are common in west Belfast, where a large 'Peace Wall' was erected some years ago to try to keep rival groups apart. There is also trouble in north Belfast, but there is much less sectarian tension in the east and south of the city.
Index of streets and places marked on the Belfast map.
Belfast City Hall
East Bridge Street
Finaghy Road North & South
Graham's Bridge Road
Great Victoria Street
Lower Braniel Road
North Queen Street
Old Dundonald Road
Prince of Wales Avenue
Royal Courts of Justice
Royal Victoria Hospital
Ulster Television HQ
Upper Knockbreda Road
Upper Lisburn Road
Upper Malone Road
Upper Newtownards Road