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Looking for inspiration? Planning a trip? Or just want to scroll yourself happy? We'll show you an Ireland that's tailor-made for you.

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    Belfast Header Belfast Header

    5 reasons to visit Belfast in 2024

    The Titanic city has a hugely ambitious cultural programme taking place across the year

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    It’s always a good idea to visit Belfast, Northern Ireland’s thriving capital. From top attractions such as St George’s Market to the Botanic Gardens, this buzzing spot on the banks of the River Lagan mixes historic attractions with a cool new cultural scene. Of course, Belfast has always been a cultural spot, and is home to an array of artists, musicians and writers past and present including Van Morrison and CS Lewis.

    But there’s also a new cultural energy pulsing through the streets. It can be seen in galleries and studios of the Cathedral Quarter. It can be evidenced by the city’s designation as a prestigious UNESCO City of Music in 2021. And it can be experienced through Belfast 2024, an ambitious cultural schedule that will see an exciting programme of events and projects showcased throughout the year. Boat-building experiments, dance theatre, augmented reality installations, immersive light displays in iconic locations... we could go on! There’s bound to be something here that’ll get your creative juices flowing.

    Any time is a good time to visit Belfast, but Belfast 2024 makes this year a really GREAT one. Need more convincing? Here are five reasons to add Belfast to your bucket list this year...

    Belfast Museums Belfast Museums

    Titanic Belfast

    1. The museums

    Belfast is a historic place and there’s no better way to enjoy the city’s heritage than by visiting some of its museums. To explore the city’s famous shipbuilding past, Titanic Belfast is a must. This world-leading attraction is located at the same docks where the infamous “Ship of Dreams” was built and launched on her ill-fated maiden voyage in 1912. The striking building juts out into the sky just like the Titanic, and inside there are a plethora of interactive galleries and exhibitions to explore. For art, history and natural sciences, head to the Ulster Museum, where a treasure trove of items from past and present awaits, including dinosaurs, meteorites and Egyptian mummies.

    If you’re visiting later in the year, look out for Belfast 2024’s Eco Arcade experience. Artist Robin Price is teaming up with local young minds to transform the outside of the Ulster Museum into an interactive area of play and public engagement through laser arcade games. Gamers and tech-lovers, don’t miss it!

    Art of Reconciliation Art of Reconciliation

    The Art of Reconciliation by Féile an Phobail, East Side Arts and Belfast International Arts Festival © Belfast 2024

    2. The cultural venues

    Culture vultures can feast on an array of eclectic experiences in Belfast. A top catch-all spot is The MAC in the hip Cathedral Quarter. It’s always got something fun going on, from theatre performances and dance workshops to modern art exhibitions. For photography, check out Belfast Exposed, Northern Ireland’s leading photography organisation, which is home to a wide range of courses and exhibitions. If craft and design are more your bag, pop into Craft NI, a carefully curated gallery featuring jewellery, ceramics, textiles and more from some of the area’s most talented creators.

    Opening as part of Belfast 2024, the Show Some Love Greenhouse adds another creative locale into the mix. The collaborative space hosts an art studio, sustainable fashion hub, workshops, events and more. This community-focused, eco-conscious endeavour shows sustainable Ireland at its best.

    Belfast Music Belfast Music

    Music gig, Belfast

    3. The music

    Belfast is the only UNESCO City of Music on the island of Ireland. With such a prestigious accolade, you just know the city is a fantastic destination for music lovers. Music is woven into Belfast’s DNA. Take all the great musicians who hail from here, from legendary punk rockers Stiff Little Fingers to modern-day rock behemoths Snow Patrol. Then you’ve got all the top quality music venues including Ulster Hall and the Oh Yeah Music Centre, the latter of which is a live venue, bar, rehearsal studio and social space all rolled into one. Add to that a plethora of traditional music pubs and possibly the coolest jazz club on the island – Bert’s Jazz Bar – and it’s easy to see why Belfast’s music scene is so revered.

    If you like the sound of all that, then Belfast 2024’s Sound Links by Ulster Orchestra should be music to your ears. Taking place on 21 September, the age-old Townsend Street will be transformed for a one-day festival of dance, song and fun for all the family. It’s a community-led celebration of the street and its locals that’s not to be missed if you’re here on the day.

    Shadowdock Shadowdock

    Shadowdock by Three’s Theatre Company and Studio Sykes © Belfast 2024

    4. The landmarks

    The iconic yellow Harland & Wolff gantry cranes that tower over the docks, picturesque Belfast Castle nestled snugly on Cave Hill, elegant Queen’s University near the city centre... Emblems of Belfast’s storied history and rich heritage can be seen across the city and they’re all fabulous places to add to your trip itinerary. As is Crumlin Road Gaol, an atmospheric 19th century jail that’s not for the faint-hearted, as tours of the complex take in the hospital, hanging cell and graveyard! For a more genteel step back in time, wander the Maritime Mile, a dockside brimming with historic attractions including the Titanic slipways, the SS Nomadic (tender ship for the Titanic) and the Titanic Dock and Pumphouse.

    From 26 – 29 September this year, Belfast 2024 will add a brand new attraction to the city’s famous docks. Shadowdock will see a striking display of light, shadow, colour and sound light up the very dock where the Titanic was launched. Performers, composers and lighting designers will turn this empty space 40 foot below sea level into an immersive experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

    Seedheads Street Art Belfast Seedheads Street Art Belfast

    Seedhead Arts street art walking tour, Belfast

    5. The tours

    The fifth and final reason to visit Belfast this year is the range of varied tours on offer. Big foodie? Check out Taste & Tour which provides a series of tasty tours including a gin jaunt and a five-stop brunch tour. Want more? Uncover five reasons Belfast tastes amazing. For a history tour with a difference, try the Belfast Black Cab Tour and uncover the history of the city as told through public murals. A great option to delve into Belfast’s burgeoning street art scene is the Street Art Walking Tour by Seedhead Arts, a two-hour stroll about the city that champions a new breed of street artists both local and global who are leaving their mark on Belfast in colourful and creative ways.

    As for Belfast 2024, the cultural programme will beckon people to tour the somewhat forgotten spaces of the city’s alleyways. 9ft in Common: A Manifesto for the Alleys promises to turn Belfast’s overlooked alleys into creative spaces full of community and connection. As with all of the events throughout the year, Belfast 2024 puts the key themes of the people of Belfast and the place itself front and centre. All that’s left now is for you to join in...