1. Belfast is home to Ireland’s tallest building (and bar!)
Belfast’s Obel Tower is the tallest building in Ireland, standing at 85m with 27 floors. Hastings Grand Central Hotel is the second tallest building, with 23 floors and a height of 80m, making the luxurious Observatory Bar on the top floor the tallest bar in Ireland with some of the most spectacular city views you’ll ever see.
2. Belfast was nicknamed Linenopolis
In the 1800s, industry in Belfast was booming. Among shipbuilding and the production of rope and tobacco, the city paved the way in the world’s linen industry. By the end of the 19th Century Belfast was known as the world’s linen capital and was nicknamed Linenopolis. Many of the city’s linen houses were in the district now known as the Linen Quarter.
3. Titanic was longer than the height of the world’s tallest building
Belfast was the birthplace of the RMS Titanic, the world’ most famous ship which, when it was constructed in the early 1900s, was longer than the height of the world’s tallest building at 882 feet and six inches in length. Weighing 46,328 tonnes, Titanic was to be the largest manmade moveable object the world had ever seen. Read more Titanic facts here >>
4. The symbol of Belfast is a seahorse
Pointing to the city’s maritime history, the symbol of a seahorse has strong connections with Belfast. Early merchants printed the creature on their coins throughout the 17th Century, and two seahorses still feature on Belfast’s coat of arms. You’ll also spot seahorses around the city, including the seahorse sculpture at Belfast’s port and the glowing seahorse logo on the side of the lofty Grand Central Hotel.
5. Led Zeppelin first played Stairway To Heaven here
The historic Ulster Hall, which dates back to 1862, is where Led Zeppelin famously took to the stage to debut Stairway to Heaven in March 1971.
6. You can dine in a Victorian office cubicle inside the Titanic Hotel
Titanic Hotel is housed in the former headquarters of Harland and Wolff. The beautifully restored Victorian building contains the Drawing Offices where RMS Titanic was dreamed and designed, and in the Wolff Grill Restaurant you’ll find an original Victorian office cubicle that can be booked for private dining!
7. CS Lewis was born in Belfast and the surrounding landscapes likely inspired The Chronicles of Narnia
Writer and theologian, Clive Staples Lewis was born in east Belfast in 1898 and later attended Campbell College, a private boys’ school that’s still open today. Among his most famous works were The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of fictional children’s books believed to have been inspired by hills, forests and castles around Belfast and across Northern Ireland. Read more facts about CS Lewis >>
8. Liam Neeson had his stage premier at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre
Actor Liam Neeson, who was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, had his stage premier in the Lyric Theatre. He joined the theatre in 1976 and performed there for two years.
9. Belfast is home to one of the largest optic lights ever made
Did you know, the Great Light on Belfast’s Maritime Mile has the largest lenses ever made, emitting what was one of the strongest lighthouse beams in the world? The light is over 130 years old, weighs 10 tonnes and is seven metres tall!
11. The Beacon of Hope has a state-side connection
With a nickname like ‘Nuala with the Hula’, the Beacon of Hope sculpture might feel authentically Belfast. But the public art piece was actually based on Thanksgiving Square in Dallas, Texas – a landscaped public park in the heart of the city that features a non-denominational chapel, public art and green space.
12. Belfast has a library that’s over 200 years old
Housed in a listed Victorian linen building, Linen Hall Library has an incredible 232 years of history. Founded in 1788, it’s the oldest library in Belfast and famous for its Irish and genealogy collections. The library’s oldest book is De Anima (1490) written by the Eastern physician, Avicenna, about health and well being. It also has a first edition copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses in its collection, and the first printing of the American Declaration of Independence outside of America.
13. We have sister cities in USA and China
Did you know Belfast has two sister cities? Nashville, Tennessee in the United States and Hefei in eastern China have been our sister cities since 1994 and 2005 respectively.