If you are moving to Northern Ireland and are on the hunt for a job, living in Belfast is certainly your best bet for employment. It is by far the largest city in Northern Ireland with a population of almost 270,000. When you take into account the vast surrounding area known as the Larger Urban Zone, this population dramatically increases to almost 650,000. Belfast has been a city since 1888 and has a thriving economy due to its overall importance in the UK.
By the standards of most European cities, Belfast residents are extremely dependent on cars with almost 80% of all people travelling by car with only 10% of the population using public transport. Belfast has an extensive road network which covers more than 20 miles and includes the M22 and M2 motorways. Translink Metro provide the local bus service while Ulsterbus reaches virtually all suburban areas of Northern Ireland from Belfast. Plans for a light rail network to rival that of Dublin were shelved when it was decided that the city does not have enough of a population to support such a scheme. Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport serve a number of international destinations.
Prior to the 19th century, Belfast was little more than a market town. However, the Industrial Revolution was the catalyst to transform Belfast into a huge and important city. During its expansion, Belfast swallowed up nearby settlements until it came as far as the hills surrounding it. While nucleated settlements usually dictate the districts of a city, Belfast’s districts are divided via roads such as the Falls and Newtownards roads. Belfast’s inner city is divided into 14 districts by walls which are known as ‘Peace Lines’. The City Council met in 2008 and began discussions which they hope will ultimately lead to the removal of these walls. The city centre is divided into two postcodes. BT1 is given to areas north of City Hall while BT2 is kept for southern areas. BT3 is the postcode given to the docklands and industrial estate areas.
Belfast City Hall is one of the most magnificent buildings in the city. Its dome stands more than 170 feet above the city and the building is lit up at night. A giant Ferris wheel stands behind it and is a glorious sight on the Belfast skyline. The Crown Liquor Saloon is a public house that was built in 1876 and refurbished in 1885. It was purchased by the National Trust in 1978 and refurbished to its old Victorian state in 1981. It is a Grade A Listed Building and an extremely popular tourist attraction. Other attractions in Belfast include the Grand Opera House, Waterfront Hall and the world famous Harland and Wolff shipyard.
Once you choose to live in Belfast, you will be a resident of one of the most important cities in the UK. It is the heartbeat of Northern Ireland and a city that is on an upward curve. Employment opportunities are plentiful and professionals can expect to make a fantastic living here.