Visit the Giant's Ring which predates the Pyramids! Wander along the lime trees at Belfast's Most Exclusive Private Address Malone Park! Appreciating the historical context of Belfast’s conflict-related attractions can be tricky on a self-led tour. Benefit from the undivided attention of your guide on a private tour of the city's Leading Sights and Top Landmarks including murals, and gain intimate insight into landmarks such as the Working Class Falls & Shankill Roads, Belfasts amazing murals and politically charged street art, St Peters Cathedral as well as Belfast Castle and Titanic Quarter. Transfer between dispersed points of interest with ease via private vehicle, and relax with hotel pickup and drop-off included.
This is a typical itinerary for this product
Stop At: Botanic Gardens, College Park, Belfast BT9 5AB Northern Ireland
Botanic Gardens is an important part of Belfast's Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students and tourists.
Botanic Gardens was established in 1828 by the Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society, in response to public interest in horticulture and botany.
Originally known as the Belfast Botanic Garden, the site contained exotic tree species and impressive plant collections from the southern hemisphere, many of which can still be seen in the park.
Today, the park is popular with residents, students and visitors and is an important venue for concerts, festivals and other events. It is home to the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine.
Occupying 28 acres (110,000 m2) of south Belfast, the gardens are popular with office workers, students and tourists. They are located on Stranmillis Road in Queen's Quarter, with Queen's University nearby. The Ulster Museum is located at the main entrance.The gardens opened in 1828 as the private Royal Belfast Botanical Gardens. It continued as a private park for many years, only opening to members of the public on Sundays prior to 1895. Then it became a public park in 1895 when the Belfast Corporation bought the gardens from the Belfast Botanical and Horticultural Society. The Belfast Corporation was the predecessor of Belfast City Council, the present owner. The gardens' most notable feature is the Palm House conservatory. The foundation stone was laid by the Marquess of Donegall in 1839 and work was completed in 1840. It is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear cast iron glasshouses in the world.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Queen's University, University Road, Belfast BT7 1NN Northern Ireland
Queen's University Belfast is a public research university in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The university was chartered in 1845, and opened in 1849 as "Queen's College, Belfast". The University forms the focal point of the Queen's Quarter area of the city, one of Belfast's six cultural districts. It offers academic degrees at various levels and across a broad subject range, with over 300 degree programmes available. It is a member of the Elite Russell Trust Group of Universities.
Queen's University Belfast has its roots in the Belfast Academical Institution, which was founded in 1810, one of the United Kingdom's 10 oldest universities, and remains as the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. The present university was first chartered as "Queen's College, Belfast" in 1845, when it was associated with the simultaneously founded Queen's College, Cork, and Queen's College, Galway, as part of the Queen's University of Ireland – founded to encourage higher education for Catholics and Presbyterians, as a counterpart to Trinity College, Dublin, then an Anglican institution. Queen's College, Belfast, opened in 1849.Its main building, the Lanyon Building, was designed by the English architect, Sir Charles Lanyon. At its opening, it had 23 professors and 195 students. Some early students at Queen's University Belfast took University of London examinations
Duration: 15 minutes
Stop At: Rise Sculpture, Broadway Roundabout, Westicle and Broadway Junction, Belfast Northern Ireland
RISE is a concept £400,000 public art spherical metal sculpture in Belfast by Wolfgang Buttress. It is 37.5 metres (123 ft) high and 30 metres (98 ft) wide and was constructed in early 2011 in the centre of the Broadway roundabout, at the junction of the Westlink and M1 motorway, a main gateway to the city where (as of 2009) more than 80,000 cars on average flow past it each day. It is informally known as The Balls on the Falls as this junction also gives access to the Falls Road area via Broadway. Another nickname is The Westicles as the sculpture is located in West Belfast.
RISE is visible for miles around the city. The area is part of a multimillion-pound road improvement programme. It is the biggest public art sculpture in Belfast. Work on RISE was due to begin in August 2009 and end in October 2009, however due to delays the completion date was changed to March 2011. It was finally completed in September 2011, nearly two years behind the original schedule. When completed it became Belfast's largest public artwork
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: Divis, Belfast Northern Ireland
Divis Tower is a 20-floor, 200-foot (61 m) tall tower in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was built in 1966 as part of the now-demolished Divis Flats complex, which comprised twelve 8-story blocks of terraces and flats, named after the nearby Divis Mountain. The tower, a vertical complex of 850 flats, housing 2,400 residents, was designed by architect Frank Robertson for the Northern Ireland Housing Trust. The site on which the Tower stands was previously the site of the Sir Charles Lanyon-designed Falls Road Methodist Church, which opened in 1854 and closed in 1966. The site was sold to Belfast Corporation for approximately £11,000.
Divis Tower rises near the interface between Falls Road and Shankill Road. It is currently the sixth-tallest building in Belfast.
British Army observation post
In response to Provisional IRA and INLA activity in the area, the British Army constructed an observation post on the roof in the 1970s and occupied the top two floors of the building. At the height of the Troubles, the Army was only able to access the post by helicopter.
Patrick Rooney and Emmanuel McClarnon shootings
Divis Tower was a flashpoint area during the height of the Troubles. Nine-year-old Patrick Rooney, the first child killed in the Troubles, was killed in the tower during the Northern Ireland riots of August 1969, when the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) fired a Browning machine gun from its Shorland armoured car into the flats. The RUC claimed that it was coming under sniper attack from the tower at the time. Patrick Rooney's death took place during a day of street violence in the area. Chairman of the enquiry into the riots, Mr Justice Scarman, found the use of the Browning machine gun "wholly unjustifiable".
On 12 May 1981, an Army sniper killed INLA Sniper Emmanuel McClarnon from the top of Divis Tower, on the night that Francis Hughes died on hunger strike.
Dismantling of the post
Following the IRA's statement that it was ending its armed campaign, the Army decided to dismantle the observation post. Dubbed a 'spy' post by Sinn Féin, removal of the observation post commenced on 2 August 2005. In 2009, the top two floors of the tower were reinstated as residential properties. As part of a £1.1 million refurbishment programme by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive eight extra flats were provided.
Duration: 15 minutes
Stop At: International Wall (Murals), Divis Street, A501, Belfast BT13 2HE, UK
This is what peace looks like in Northern Ireland – communities separated by a wall up to six metres high; gates along its length that are still locked at night; and artwork painted on either side that talks of harmony but with messages of revenge or oppression. Belfast refers to the city’s violent conflict as ‘The Troubles’. It’s a simple and non-inflammatory way to describe a period that some people would prefer to call ‘a war’. More than 3,600 people were killed during ‘The Troubles’ and about half of those deaths were in Belfast. About 50,000 people were injured.
The streets may be quiet these days, the sounds of gunshots or bombs silenced, but the streets are still divided. Physically, at least. An ever-changing al fresco Street Art Gallery of large art works depicting George W. Bush's Iraqi War, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Spanish Civil War and other global campaigns, past and present. The Falls Road (from Irish túath na bhFál, meaning 'territory of the enclosures' is the main road through west Belfast, Northern Ireland, running from Divis Street in Belfast city centre to Andersonstown in the suburbs. Its name is synonymous with the republican community in the city, whilst the neighbouring Shankill Road is predominantly loyalist, separated from the Falls Road by peace lines. The road is usually referred to as the Falls Road, rather than as Falls Road. It is known as the Faas Raa in Ulster-Scots
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Peace Wall, 15 Cupar Way, Belfast BT13 2RX Northern Ireland
The peace lines or peace walls are a series of separation barriers in Northern Ireland that separate predominantly Republican and Nationalist Catholic neighbourhoods from predominantly Loyalist and Unionist Protestant neighbourhoods. They have been built at urban interface areas in Belfast, Derry, Portadown and elsewhere. The stated purpose of the peace lines is to minimise inter-communal violence between Catholics (most of whom are nationalists who self-identify as Irish) and Protestants (most of whom are unionists who self-identify as British).
The peace lines range in length from a few hundred yards to over three miles (5 km). They may be made of iron, brick, and/or steel and are up to 25 feet (8 m) high. Some have gates in them (sometimes staffed by police) that allow passage during daylight but are closed at night.
The majority of peace walls are located in Belfast, but they also exist in Derry, Portadown, and Lurgan. The first peace lines were built in 1969, following the outbreak of the 1969 Northern Ireland riots and "the Troubles". They were built as temporary structures meant to last only six months, but due to their effective nature they have become wider, longer and more permanent. Originally few in number, they have multiplied over the years, from 18 in the early 1990s to at least 59 as of late 2017; in total they stretch over 21 miles (34 km), with most located in Belfast. They have been increased in both height and number since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Three-quarters of Belfast's estimated 99 peace lines and related structures (such as gates and closed roads) are in the north and west of the city. These are also the poorer and more disadvantaged areas of Belfast. 67% of deaths during the sectarian violence occurred within 550 yards (500 metres) of one of these "interface structures".
The most prominent peace lines in the past few years separate the nationalist Falls Road and unionist Shankill Road areas of West Belfast; the nationalist Short Strand from the unionist Cluan Place areas of East Belfast, the unionist Corcrain road and the nationalist Orbins drive in Portadown and the unionist Fountain estate and nationalist Bishop Street area of Derry.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: St Peter's Cathedral, St. Peters Square South, Belfast BT12 4BU Northern Ireland
Saint Peter's Cathedral, Belfast. (Irish: Ard Eaglais Naomh Peadar) is the Roman Catholic cathedral church for the Diocese of Down and Connor, and is therefore the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor. It is located in the Divis Street area of the Falls Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland and construction began in the 1860s. It is home to St Peter's Schola Cantorum (Choir).
Until the Reformation the cathedral of the Diocese of Down & Connor had been at Downpatrick.
St Peters's was originally envisaged as the parish church for the expanding post-Famine Catholic population of Belfast. The site was provided by a wealthy Belfast flour merchant and philanthropist, Bernard Hughes while the church was designed by Fr Jeremiah Ryan McAuley, who had trained as an architect before he became a priest.
The church was opened on 14 October 1866. The signature twin spires were added in 1886.
The decision to designate St Peter's as the diocesan cathedral was taken by Bishop Cahal Daly who celebrated the Mass on 29 June 1986 at which the building was formally named as the Cathedral Church of Down and Connor.
The exterior is of Scrabo sandstone with Scottish sandstone dressings. Internally there is a hammer-beam ceiling. There were several extensive refurbishments in 1950, in 1986 under the direction of the controversial Irish artist Ray Carroll and more latterly in 2003/5 which undid much of the 1980s work
It was built on a scale and with a level of high quality interior decoration that it became known as a pro-cathedral, or temporary cathedral, for the Diocese. In that regard it was an honour shared with St Patrick's Church, Belfast in Donegall St where, for example, Bishop Patrick Dorrian was buried in 1885 and where in 1929 Bishop Daniel Mageean was consecrated bishop.
It is a Grade A listed building.
Duration: 20 minutes
Stop At: Bobby Sands Mural, 49 Falls Rd, Belfast BT13 2QR, UK
A Photo Opportunity at Belfast's most famous mural where you will learn all about Bobby Sands and the Hunger Strikers. Bobby Sands, the famous volunteer for the Provisional IRA imprisoned in HM Maze, was the leader of the 1981 hunger strike – to which he eventually lost his life in the same year. Above Sands’ iconic smiling face is the phoenix rising from the ashes, signifying the rising of Ireland out of the flames of the 1916 Easter Rising. The Phoenix breaks the top of the chain surrounding Sands, just as the lark – representative of a pure voice and self-discovery – splits the links at the bottom of the mural, demonstrating his commitment to cutting through governmental restraint. Left and right sit the symbols of United Irishmen – the harp with the absence of a crown, but with a cap of liberty.
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: Clonard Martyrs, 14-42 Cupar Way, Belfast BT13 2GZ, UK
This is the Birth Place of the Provisional IRA formed in 1969
Address: Bombay Street, Clonard.
Commemorating: Fallen Volunteers of "C" Company, 2nd Battalion, Belfast Brigade, Oglaigh na hEireann PROVISIONAL IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY. Civilian casualties from the Greater Clonard area. Deceased Republican prisoners from the Greater Clonard area 1916-1970.Black iron gates with black and red iron phoenix. Signs at the main entrance, one on each side of the gate, reading: “Clonard Martyrs Memorial Garden” and “Gairdin Cuimneacain Mairtiris Cluain Ard”. Garden divided into three separate yards. Central yard – black and white Celtic cross in the middle, with the inscription “Clonard Martyrs i gcuimhme na mairbh dilis”. On the wall behind it – granite plaque featuring a male and a female Volunteer with bowed heads on each side; on top runs the inscription: “i measc laocra na ngaedeal go rab siad go ndeana dia trocaire ar a n-anamaca”; two panels are enframed within a Celtic design with the shields of the four provinces of Ireland, one at each corner; left panel – “Clonard Martyrs C Coy 2nd Battalion Belfast Brigade Oglaigh na hEireann Roll of Honour (list stating name and date of death follows). We also remember all the civilians from the Clonard area who were killed by Crown forces and loyalist murder gangs”. Right panel – “Civilians murdered by loyalists and British forces during the course of the conflict (list stating name, date and age of death follows)”.
Duration: 15 minutes
Stop At: Shankill Road, Belfast Northern Ireland
The Heartland of Ulster Loyalism, the Shankill Road (from Irish: Seanchill, meaning "old church" is one of the main roads leading through west Belfast, in Northern Ireland. It runs through the working-class, predominantly loyalist, area known as the Shankill.
The road stretches westwards for about 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from central Belfast and is lined, to an extent, by shops. The residents live in the many streets which branch off the main road. The area along the Shankill Road forms part of the Court district electoral area.
It is known as Auld Kirk Gate ("Old Church Way") in Ulster-Scots and as "Bóthar na Seanchille" in Irish.
The road is unique as the bottom half is controlled by the largest Ulster paramilitary group the UDA Ulster Defence Association while the top is controlled by the smaller UVF Ulster Volunteer Force.
Duration: 20 minutes
Stop At: Belfast Castle, Antrim Rd, Belfast BT15 5GR, UK
Belfast Castle is set on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland, in a prominent position 400 feet (120 m) above sea level. Its location provides unobstructed views of the city of Belfast and Belfast Lough.The unique garden contains nine cats in the form of sculptures, mosaics, and manicured shrubbery. ... This myth led to the creation of the Cat Garden, which boasts nine cats for visitors to discover.
The original Belfast Castle, built in the late 12th century by the Normans, was located in the town itself, flanked by the modern day High Street, Castle Place and Donegall Place in what is now Belfast city centre. This was the home of The 1st Baron Chichester (better known as Sir Arthur Chichester), but was burned down in 1708, leaving only street names to mark the site. Rather than rebuild on the original site, the Chichesters decided to build a new residence in the city's suburbs, today's Belfast Castle emerging as a result. The building that stands today was built between 1811 and 1870 by the 3rd Marquess of Donegall. It was designed in the Scottish baronial style by Charles Lanyon and his son, of the architectural firm Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon. After Lord Donegall's death and the family's financial demise, the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury completed the house.
It was his son, the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, who presented the castle to the City of Belfast in 1934. In 1978, the Belfast City Council began a major refurbishment over a period of ten years at a cost of over two million pounds. The architect was the Hewitt and Haslam Partnership. The building officially re-opened to the public on 11 November 1988.
Its most famous feature, known locally as Napoleon's Nose, is believed to have been the inspiration for Jonathan Swift's novel, Gulliver's Travels.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Albert Memorial Clock Tower, Queen's Square, Belfast BT1 3FG Northern Ireland
The Albert Memorial Clock is a clock tower situated at Queen's Square in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was completed in 1869 and is one of the best known landmarks of Belfast. In 1865 a competition for the design of a memorial to Queen Victoria's late Prince Consort, Prince Albert, was won by W. J. Barre, who had earlier designed Belfast's Ulster Hall. Initially Barre was not awarded his prize and the contract was secretly given to Lanyon, Lynn, and Lanyon, who had come second. Following public outcry the contract was eventually awarded to Barre. The construction cost of £2,500 (2011: £196,000) was raised by public subscription.
The sandstone memorial was constructed between 1865 and 1869 by Fitzpatrick Brothers builders and stands 113 feet tall in a mix of French and Italian Gothic styles. The base of the tower features flying buttresses with heraldic lions. A statue of the Prince in the robes of a Knight of the Garter stands on the western side of the tower and was sculpted by SF Lynn. A two tonne bell is housed in the tower and the clock was made by Francis Moore of High Street, Belfast.
As a result of being built on wooden piles on marshy, reclaimed land around the River Farset, the top of the tower leans four feet off the perpendicular. Due to this movement, some ornamental work on the belfry was removed in 1924 along with a stone canopy over the statue of the Prince. This gave rise to the expression that the tower “has the time and the inclination.”
Being situated close to the docks, the tower was once infamous for being frequented by prostitutes plying their trade with visiting sailors. However, in recent years regeneration has turned the surrounding Queen's Square and Custom's House Square into attractive, modern public spaces with trees, fountains and sculptures.
The clock was damaged in a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb explosion outside nearby River House in High Street on 6 January 1992.
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: Big Fish, Donegall Quay, Belfast BT1 3NG Northern Ireland
The Big Fish also called The Salmon of Knowledge is a printed ceramic mosaic sculpture by John Kindness. The 10-metre-long (33 ft) statue was constructed in 1999 and installed on Donegall Quay in Belfast, near the Lagan Lookout and Custom House.
The outer skin of the fish is a cladding of ceramic tiles decorated with texts and images relating to the history of Belfast. According to the Belfast City Council, each scale "tells a story about the city".Material from Tudor times to present day newspaper headlines are included along with contributions from Belfast school children (including a soldier and an Ulster Fry). The Ulster Museum provided the primary source of historic images, while local schools/day centres located along the line of the River Farset were approached to provide drawings for the fish. Images were provided by Glenwood Primary School, St Comgalls and Everton Day Centres.
The Big Fish contains a time capsule storing information, images, and poetry on the City.
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: Samson & Goliath cranes, In the Harbour area behind the Titanic Quarters, Belfast Northern Ireland
Samson and Goliath are the twin shipbuilding gantry cranes situated at Queen's Island, Belfast, Northern Ireland. The cranes, which were named after the Biblical figures Samson and Goliath, dominate the Belfast skyline and are landmark structures of the city. Comparative newcomers to the city, the cranes rapidly came to symbolise Belfast in a way that no building or monument had hitherto done.
The cranes are situated in the shipyard of Harland & Wolff and were constructed by the German engineering firm Krupp, with Goliath being completed in 1969 and Samson, in 1974. Goliath stands 96 metres (315 ft) tall, while Samson is taller at 106 metres (348 ft). Goliath, the smaller of the two sits slightly further inland closer to Belfast City. At the time Harland & Wolff was one of the largest shipbuilders in the world. The announcement that they were to be built was an important event at the time. Contrary to popular belief, the cranes did not host the RMS Titanic as they were built much later.
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: SS Nomadic, Hamilton Dock Queens Road Hamilton Dock, Belfast BT3 9DT Northern Ireland
Photo Opportunity. SS Nomadic is a former tender of the White Star Line, launched on 25 April 1911 in Belfast now on display in Belfast's Titanic Quarter. She was built to transfer passengers and mail to and from RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic, and is the only White Star Line vessel in existence today.
Duration: 5 minutes
Stop At: Titanic Belfast, Queen's Road 1 Olympic Way, Titanic Quarter, Belfast BT3 9EP Northern Ireland
Photo opportunity at Titanic Museum. Titanic Quarter in Belfast, Northern Ireland is a large-scale waterfront regeneration, comprising historic maritime landmarks, film studios, education facilities, apartments, a riverside entertainment district, and the world's largest Titanic-themed attraction centred on land in Belfast Harbour, known until 1995 as Queen's Island. The 185-acre (75 ha) site, previously occupied by part of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, is named after the company's, and the city's, most famous product RMS Titanic. Titanic Quarter is part of the Dublin-based group, Harcourt Developments, which has held the development rights since 2003
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: The Crown Liquor Saloon, 46 Great Victoria St, Belfast BT2 7BA, UK
Tour Ends at Crown Liquor Saloon where you can quench your thirst!
The Crown Liquor Saloon, also known as the Crown Bar, is a pub in Great Victoria Street in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Refurbished in 1885, and at least twice since, it is an outstanding example of a Victorian gin palace, and one of Northern Ireland's best-known pubs
Duration: 30 minutes