Belfast is the delightful capital of Northern Ireland. The City has existed in one form or another for at least 5000 years, as evidenced by the “Giant’s Ring,” a large henge, or stone circle, just outside the city. Belfast is situated on the east coast of Northern Ireland at the mouths of the River Lagan and the River Farset from which the city derives it’s name. At it’s eastern end the city borders Belfast Lough, a large sea lough, the site of an important nature reserve and perfect for both sailing and fishing.
Cultural life in Belfast is concentrated around the City Centre, with the impressive façade of Belfast City hall which is an excellent example of turn of the century British architecture. There are also two world class theatres around the city centre: The Grand Opera House, recently renovated, and the Lyric Theatre, currently undergoing extensive renovation. Belfast is an architecturally rich city with over 1,000 listed buildings. These include the Crown Liquor Saloon, the only pub to be owned by the National Trust, the Albert Tower, built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Prince Consort, and St George’s Market, a fantastic example of a Victorian Covered Market still in use today.
Belfast Botanic Gardens
Situated near the City Centre are the beautiful 28 acres of the Belfast Botanic Gardens, with its stunning Palm House dating from 1839, and housing many rare and interesting species. The Gardens also frequently play host to musical concerts with bands such as the Kings of Leon, Kaiser Chiefs and U2 having performed there in the past.
Just outside the city itself, on the slopes of the imposing Cavehill, lies the magnificent Belfast Castle. Reconstructed in its present location; after its 12th Century incarnation burnt down in 1708. The 19th century reconstruction is in the Scottish Baronial style, and was completed by the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury, whose son gifted the Castle to the City that shares its name, in 1934. Today it is open to the public and is a popular venue for weddings.
Harland and Wolff
No view of Belfast would be complete without a look at its ship building heritage. The great maritime construction company Harland and Wolff had its headquarters at Queen’s Island in Belfast for over one hundred years; building the Titanic as well as her sister ships the Olympic and Britannic. Even Today the monolithic cranes, Samson and Goliath, still stand on Belfast’s skyline as a monument to the City’s great industrial past. However, the Queen’s Island district did not die with the decline of Harland and Wolff and is being revitalised into the City’s Titanic District, which beginning to become a world leading centre for technology.
Property in Belfast
Property in Belfast is diverse, to say the least, ranging from terraced houses, to sprawling Victorian Town houses as well as trendy Quayside apartments. The property market itself has been incredibly buoyant with house prices rising faster than anywhere else in the UK in 2006 and 2007. With the recent global economic downturn however prices have been hit, dropping 25% in 2009. This may make it a good time to buy in Belfast, as the current lull is not expected to last forever.
Energy Performance Certificates
According to new government regulations any property for sale or to let in Belfast will require an Energy Performance Certificate EPC. This certificate shows the potential buyer or tenant the energy rating of the property, the annual fuel costs and a list of recommended improvements that save energy costs and reduce CO2 emissions. Epc4less is an established supplier of EPCs for homeowners and landlords and operate in Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland. Their current offers can be found at www.epc4less.com