Belfast was already a substantial settlement in the 17th century, but during the 18th and 19th centuries, it boomed as a commercial and industrial center. Industries such as linen, rope-making, tobacco, heavy engineering and shipbuilding thrived. By the end of the 19th century Belfast had even, albeit briefly, surpassed Dublin as the largest city in Ireland. However, Belfast, as well as much of Ireland, became embroiled in religious disputes nearly from inception. Records indicate that as early as 1791 meetings and discourse were taking place. By 1921, the civil disputes in Ireland seemed to be resolved with the creation of the “Government of Ireland Act 1920”. Belfast became the capital of Northern Ireland. Sadly, rancor endured and culminated in “The Troubles”, that period of civil conflict that raged from 1969 until 1998 when a peace agreement was reached.
Most of the politically motivated violence in Belfast has disappeared since that Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Today, Belfast is considered the safest city in the UK and that may be attributable to its desire to excel in the area of tourism. Belfast exhibits a sense of optimism with new hotels, restaurants, and shops opening at, what they say, is an incredible rate. A major boon to tourism may be the attention paid to restoration and renovation of the historic Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the city.
We have tried to visit Belfast on several other cruises only to have the port call cancelled for weather-related reasons. You can imagine our delight to finally get here!!! I hope these photos will show you what a charming city this is: