By Tara Dougherty, Staff Writer.
Courtesy of Tourism Ireland.
The Vibrant and Cultured City of the North
Belfast is a city reborn. It blends the cultural sophistication of Europe with the unique history of the Irish and the vigor of a youthful population. Two highlights of Belfast to plan your trip around are the Titanic Quarter and Belfast’s legendary Festival at Queen’s University.
THE TITANIC QUARTER IN BELFAST
For those gripped by the stories of our ancestors, this spring, Belfast will launch an unparalleled look into the history, the tales and the life of the HMS Titanic. In April 2012, the Titanic Belfast will open inside a six-floor architectural masterpiece, fit for the wonders it houses. Nine galleries will lead visitors through the history of the Titanic, from its construction in Industrial Era Belfast to the 1985 discovery of its final resting place on the ocean floor. Visitors to the Titanic Quarter will find themselves in the largest modern urban development in Northern Ireland, while still feeling an enduring connection to the Titanic and its passengers.
THE BELFAST FESTIVAL AT QUEEN’S
As summer fades and the cool air breezes in, Belfast warms up with a three-week-long festival in October, which features some of the best live music acts, theater, dance, film and family activi- ties from around the world. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2012, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s encompasses everything visitors to Belfast rave about: the seasoned history of an ancient city met with the vibrant energy of a modern atmosphere. Next year’s 50th Anniversary Queen’s is one of Northern Ireland 2012 events. The festival, dreamed up by Queen’s University student Michael Emerson, boasts the most refined opera and visual arts as well as the most heart- pumping rock acts and engaging films. Queen’s has welcomed the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Laurence Olivier to its stages, and in 2012, the festival promises to top itself once again.