Belfast: A capital city of which Northern Ireland is proud

Morning View
Morning View

A survey has found that over 90 per cent of residents of Belfast are satisfied with the city as a place to live.

A survey has found that over 90 per cent of residents of Belfast are satisfied with the city as a place to live.

The findings should be treated with some caution, because they were commissioned by the City Council and they could be used to imply that that local authority (soon to be enlarged) is doing a good job with regard to the services that they provide.

But despite that caveat, the overall results are plausible and encouraging.

Northern Ireland’s capital city has never seemed like an unhappy place, even though it has endured some deeply unhappy times. During the bleak years of the Troubles there was a sense of solidarity against the violence, albeit amid deeply divided loyalties. People strove to continue their daily lives insofar as was possible.

It was akin to the Blitz spirit that prevailed in the 1940s when German planes attacked Belfast on a small number of occasions in 1941, but when for several years after there was the fear that they might return.

Now life in the city is barely recognisable from the 1970s. Night life is flourishing and there is a thriving tourist industry. The history of the Troubles is part of the allure, with visitors intrigued by the murals.

The peaceful atmosphere (despite the dissident threat) means that tourists are more likely to appreciate long-standing pleasures such as the fine architecture in the heart of the city or the inter-linking Botanic Gardens and university area.

Belfast is also on the touring itinerary of famous musicians and entertainers, so if you spend a lifetime here, ultimately almost everyone famous passes through.

And the quality of life is high. It isn’t too densely populated and it is easy to escape to the countryside or the coast or to Dublin or, indeed, to overseas destinations from one of its two airports.

It is a small but lively city of which the Province is proud.