Study Abroad in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, shares cultural ties to both Irish and British traditions. Belfast is situated where the mouth of the River lagan empties into Belfast Lough, and its name in Irish means "the mouth of the sandbar."
Belfast offers the wide variety of amenities and attractions of any sizeable metropolis, as well as easy access to some of the most magnificent scenery in the United Kingdom. Indeed, this is why Belfast is competing for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2008.
Throughout Belfast you'll find a varied entertainment scene. In addition to the city's majestic Grand Opera House, which has hosted ballet, opera, and theater since 1896, Belfast now boasts two new entertainment complexes. The Waterfront Hall, a state-of-the-art concert venue, was opened in 1997. The Odyssey Arena, opened in November 2000, incorporates a cinema multiplex, science and technology center, restaurants, bars and Ireland's largest indoor arena for musical and sporting events.
Belfast is also home to the Lyric Players Theatre, which houses its own company and specializes in popular theater, music, and Irish and international productions. Additionally, each November, Queen's University Belfast hosts its own international arts festival, which is renowned as one of the world's major arts showcases.
One of the most popular thoroughfares in Belfast, the "Golden Mile," sits between the Queen's University campus and the city center. Full of color and vitality with its collection of theaters, cinemas, clubs, restaurants, bistros and shops, the Golden Mile is a favorite meeting ground for students and young adults.
Finally, because Northern Ireland is only about 5,500 square miles (about the size of Connecticut), you'll never be more than one hour from the ocean. As you move inland, you'll find pastoral towns, beautiful mountains, winding rivers, lush forest parks and windswept moors. Within this magnificent, varied landscape, you'll find extensive opportunities for outdoor pursuits from cycling, backpacking and pony trekking to sailing and sea fishing.