• Maritime beginnings

    The name Belfast originates from the Gaelic ‘Beal Feirste’, which means ‘mouth of the river’.

BelFacts

Did you know...

  • Belfast’s Sirocco Works invented air conditioning and the Royal Victoria Hospital became the first building in the world to be fitted with air conditioning.
  • Mary McAleese of Ireland is not the only state president to have been born in Belfast – Chaim Herzog, Israel’s first president was the son of a Belfast rabbi.
  • Milk of Magnesia was invented in Belfast, as were the pneumatic tyre and the tractor.
  • London’s Sloane Square and Sloanies are named after County Down born and Belfast educated Sir Hans Sloane, the man responsible for first creating milk chocolate.
  • Shorts Aircraft Factory pioneered Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircrafts in the 50’s when Sir James Martin invented the aircraft ejector seat.
  • The expression "The Emerald Isle" was first coined by Belfast poet William Drennan in 1796.
  • A tunnel, which carries the river Farset under High Street and into the River Lagan, is so big it can accommodate a double decker bus.
  • The unbeaten record for hammering the most rivets in a working shift was set by James Moir at Harland & Wolff shipyard. He slammed 11,209 red-hot rivets into metal plates of a warship in nine hours in June 1918.
  • Joseph Black, son of a Belfast wine merchant discovered carbon dioxide and his principles were used by James Watt to develop the steam engine.
  • Belfast poet Michael Longley in 2000 and 2001 won four top literary prizes, something never before achieved by any living poet in the British Isles. (Prizes included: Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, TS Eliot Award, Hawthornden Award and a Whitbread Award.)
  • The 'Holy Land' of Belfast is so named after a devout Christian developer gave the names of Damascus, Carmel, Jerusalem and Palestine to the streets he built.
  • Professor Sir Frank Pantridge invented the portable defibrillator, which saves thousands of lives each year.
  • Belfast’s Crown Bar was the first pub ever owned by the National Trust.