Belfast Telegraph

‘An amazing place’ - tourists fall in love with Belfast

Justine Butler and Eileen Leck
Justine Butler and Eileen Leck
June Johnston
Raymond and Pauline Grant

By Christopher Leebody

Visitors from the Republic are flocking to Northern Ireland like never before.

And many on the streets of Belfast are quick to point to the buzz that has brought in almost a quarter more visitors from the south last year than in 2017.

Katherine Doyle (24), from Dublin, and four friends chose Belfast as their destination for a celebration.

She said: "We are in Belfast for a friend's hen party and we're going to the party boat and games on the Lagan Boat Tours.

"It's a really fun place and lots of places to drink."

Also from Dublin were Jim Fogarty (70) and wife Jennifer (67), who were in Belfast as part of a special celebration for Jim's 70th birthday.

Jennifer said: "We've passed through before but never stayed. It's been really enjoyable."

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One of the more popular activities for those visiting was the hop-on hop-off city tour bus.

Jim said: "We enjoyed the hop-on hop-off bus tour and we're planning to go on the full-day Game of Thrones tour."

While Belfast dominates much of the marketing, other sites around Northern Ireland are proving popular too. Dubliner Michael Casey (76) was in the city with work for a day but said he "usually likes to spend time on holiday in Fermanagh", adding that it's a "really nice place to go".

Belfast continues to grow in popularity as a tourist destination with those from around the UK. June Johnston (80) had arrived from Harrogate, Yorkshire.

She was planning a trip around the Ireland with Belfast as the starting point.

She said: "I am going all the way down the west coast of Ireland. Belfast is the first step. It is unbelievable, amazing."

She spoke about the changing attitudes people have about Belfast, adding: "I am from Liverpool originally, another port city.

"I am surprised about Belfast, in a good way. It's a vibrant city. All my friends want to come now."

Raymond Grant (72) and wife Pauline (80) visited from Yorkshire. Pauline spoke of the growth in Belfast since her last visit.

She said: "I last visited Belfast when I was 16. It was amazing to see the changes in the city."

Speaking about the city's Titanic museum, the couple said they "love it".

Pauline added: "We're really impressed. It is amazing. We are hoping to see a bit more later. We have got a city tour booked."

Justine Butler (45) and Eileen Leck (59) were visiting from Scotland.

Eileen was particularly impressed with the spectacle of the Titanic building.

She said: "We love it. Can't wait to come back.

"My husband is an engineer and the Titanic museum will be amazing for him to see next time we are over."

Belfast Telegraph