Belfast; (from the Irish: Béal Feirste, meaning “rivermouth of the sandbanks”) is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, the second largest on the island of Ireland, and the heart of the tenth largest Primary Urban Area in the United Kingdom. On the River Lagan, it had a population of 286,000 at the 2011 census and 333,871 after the 2015 council reform. Belfast was granted city status in 1888.
Belfast was a centre of the Irish linen, tobacco processing, rope-making and shipbuilding industries. In the early 20th century, Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries, which built the RMS Titanic, was the world’s biggest and most productive shipyard. Belfast played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, and was a global industrial centre until the latter half of the 20th century. It has sustained a major aerospace and missiles industry since the mid-1930s. Industrialisation and the inward migration it brought made Belfast Ireland’s biggest city at the beginning of the 20th century.
Today, Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as the arts, higher education, business, and law, and is the economic engine of Northern Ireland. The city suffered greatly during the conflict called “the Troubles”, but latterly has undergone a sustained period of calm, free from the intense political violence of former years, and substantial economic and commercial growth. Additionally, Belfast city centre has undergone considerable expansion and regeneration in recent years, notably around Victoria Square.
Belfast is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport in the city, and Belfast International Airport 15 miles (24 km) west of the city. Belfast is a major port, with commercial and industrial docks dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard.
Travelling to Belfast:
Belfast is very well connected to all major European cities through direct flights that land at the three major airports in Belfast and Dublin.
To get to the Belfast Waterfront Hall, the following information may be useful:
George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD) is situated approximately three miles from the city centre. A taxi to the city centre will cost approximately £10.00. The Airport Express 600 departs from outside the terminal building every 20 minutes and terminates at the Great Victoria Street (Europa) Bus Station. The service operates between 05.30 and 22.05 and costs £1.50 single and £2.50 return.
Belfast International Airport at Aldergrove is situated about 20 miles from the city centre. The Airport Express 300 service operates a 24 hour service between the airport and Belfast with buses departing every 10 minutes throughout the day. The bus leaves from the bus stop located opposite the terminal exit. Approximate journey time 30-40 minutes subject to traffic conditions and costs £7.00 single and £10.00 return. A taxi to the city centre will cost approximately £30.00.
Dublin Airport is approximately 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Belfast. The journey by bus takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes. The Aircoach departs from Dublin Airport to Belfast every hour between 07.00 – 21.00 and costs £13 /€16 single and £19/€23 return. www.aircoach.ie/fares/route-705-x-dublin-airportcity-belfast-city
Belfast is easy accessed by sea crossing from Scotland and England by high-speed catamaran or by traditional ferry.All ferry ports are well connected by road.
Ulsterbus services operate throughout Northern Ireland. Services arrive and depart at the Europa Buscentre and Laganside Buscentre. The Aircoach departs from Dublin Airport to Belfast every hour between 07.00-21.00 – see Dublin Airport above.
Bus Eireann operates the number 200 service from Dublin to the Europa Bus Station Belfast every hour 24 hours a day. This service departs from Busarus Station in Dublin City Centre and has a pick-up point at Dublin Airport.
Car from Dublin Airport:
Starting out from Dublin Airport, the M1 Motorway is well signposted for Belfast; this is a toll road and there is one Toll Plaza approximately 31 km from Dublin Airport. Continue on this Motorway signposted for Belfast. Once within the Greater Belfast area the signs will display as City Centre. At Grosvenor Road Junction (approximately 152 km) leave the motorway and follow signs City Centre onto the B38.
The main rail stations in the city centre are Great Victoria Street and Central Station. The ‘Enterprise’ operates between Connolly Station Dublin and Central Station Belfast. This service takes approximately 2 hours and operates a number of times a day. Central Station is only two minutes from the main conference centre and the headquarters hotel – the Hilton Hotel.
Uber is also available in Belfast.
Exclusive Delegate Offers
To help you make the most of your stay, Visit Belfast have put together a selection of exclusive offers and discounts, especially for you.
Just present your delegate card at any of the participating outlets. These delegate cards will be given out at registration.