Skyline and buildings throughout the City of Belfast
Belfast City Coat of Arms.svg
Coat of arms with motto "Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus" (Latin: "What shall we give in return for so much")
Belfast is located in Northern Ireland
Location within Northern Ireland
Area51.16[1] sq mi (132.5 km2)
PopulationCity of Belfast:
340,200 (2018)[2] 
Metropolitan area:
671,559 (2011)[3]
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBELFAST
Postcode districtBT1–BT17, BT29 (part), BT36 (part), BT58
Dialling code028
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
EU ParliamentNorthern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
54°35′47″N 05°55′48″W / 54°35′47″N 05°55′48″W / 54.59639; -5.93000

Belfast (t/ BEL-fahst; from Irish: Béal Feirste, meaning "mouth of the Farset" [bʲeːlˠ ˈfʲɛɾˠ(ə)ʃtʲə])[11] is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Northern Ireland. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom.[12] It had a population of 333,871 as of 2015.[2]

By the early 19th century, Belfast became a major port. It played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, becoming the biggest linen-producer in the world, earning it the nickname "Linenopolis". By the time it was granted city status in 1888, it was a major centre of Irish linen production, tobacco-processing and rope-making. Shipbuilding was also a key industry; the Harland and Wolff shipyard, which built the RMS Titanic, was the world's biggest shipyard.[13] Belfast as of 2019 has a major aerospace and missiles industry. Industrialisation and the inward migration[14] it brought made Belfast Ireland's biggest city and it became the capital of Northern Ireland following the Partition of Ireland in 1922. Its status as a global industrial centre ended in the decades after the Second World War of 1939–1945.

Belfast suffered greatly in the Troubles: in the 1970s and 1980s it was reported to be one of the world's most dangerous cities.[15] However, a survey conducted by a finance company and published in 2016 rated the city as one of the safest within the United Kingdom.[16]

Belfast is still a major port, with commercial and industrial docks, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard, dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline. It is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport 15 miles (24 km) west of the city. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) listed Belfast as a Gamma global city in 2018.[17]


The name Belfast is derived from the Irish Béal Feirsde, which was later spelt Béal Feirste.[18] The word béal means "mouth" or "rivermouth" while feirsde/feirste is the genitive singular of fearsaid and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across a river's mouth.[18][19] The name would thus translate literally as "(river) mouth of the sandbar" or "(river) mouth of the ford".[18] This sandbar was formed at the confluence of two rivers at what is now Donegall Quay: the Lagan, which flows into Belfast Lough, and its tributary the Farset. This area was the hub around which the original settlement developed.[citation needed] The Irish name Béal Feirste is shared by a townland in County Mayo, whose name has been anglicised as Belfarsad.[20]

An alternative interpretation of the name is "mouth of [the river] of the sandbar", an allusion to the River Farset, which flows into the Lagan where the sandbar was located. This interpretation was favoured by Edmund Hogan and John O'Donovan.[21] It seems clear, however, that the river itself was named after the tidal crossing.[18]

In Ulster-Scots, the name of the city has been variously translated as Bilfawst,[22][23] Bilfaust[24] or Baelfawst,[25] although "Belfast" is also used.[26][27]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Belfast
አማርኛ: ቤልፋስት
العربية: بلفاست
aragonés: Béal Feirste
asturianu: Belfast
Avañe'ẽ: Belfast
azərbaycanca: Belfast
تۆرکجه: بلفاست
বাংলা: বেলফাস্ট
беларуская: Белфаст
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Бэлфаст
भोजपुरी: बेलफास्ट
български: Белфаст
bosanski: Belfast
brezhoneg: Béal Feirste
буряад: Белфаст
català: Belfast
čeština: Belfast
Cymraeg: Belffast
dansk: Belfast
Deutsch: Belfast
eesti: Belfast
Ελληνικά: Μπέλφαστ
español: Belfast
Esperanto: Belfasto
estremeñu: Belfast
euskara: Belfast
فارسی: بلفاست
føroyskt: Belfast
français: Belfast
Gaeilge: Béal Feirste
Gàidhlig: Beul Feirste
galego: Belfast
한국어: 벨파스트
հայերեն: Բելֆաստ
हिन्दी: बेलफ़ास्ट
hornjoserbsce: Belfast
hrvatski: Belfast
Ido: Belfast
Bahasa Indonesia: Belfast
interlingua: Belfast
Interlingue: Belfast
Ирон: Белфаст
íslenska: Belfast
italiano: Belfast
עברית: בלפסט
Jawa: Belfast
ქართული: ბელფასტი
қазақша: Белфаст
Kiswahili: Belfast
Kreyòl ayisyen: Bèlfast
kurdî: Belfast
Кыргызча: Белфаст
Latina: Belfastum
latviešu: Belfāsta
lietuvių: Belfastas
Ligure: Belfast
Limburgs: Belfast
magyar: Belfast
македонски: Белфаст
Malti: Belfast
मराठी: बेलफास्ट
مصرى: بلفاست
Bahasa Melayu: Belfast
монгол: Бельфаст
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဗဲလဖတ်မြို့
Nederlands: Belfast
Nedersaksies: Belfast
norsk: Belfast
norsk nynorsk: Belfast
Nouormand: Belfast
occitan: Belfast
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Belfast
پنجابی: بیلفاسٹ
پښتو: بلفاست
Piemontèis: Belfast
polski: Belfast
português: Belfast
română: Belfast
romani čhib: Belfast
Runa Simi: Belfast
русский: Белфаст
sardu: Belfast
Scots: Belfast
sicilianu: Belfast
Simple English: Belfast
slovenčina: Belfast
slovenščina: Belfast
ślůnski: Belfast
српски / srpski: Белфаст
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Belfast
suomi: Belfast
svenska: Belfast
Tagalog: Belfast
Taqbaylit: Belfast
татарча/tatarça: Белфаст
тоҷикӣ: Белфаст
Türkçe: Belfast
удмурт: Белфаст
українська: Белфаст
اردو: بیلفاسٹ
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: Bélfast
vèneto: Béal Feirste
Tiếng Việt: Belfast
Winaray: Belfast
ייִדיש: בעלפאסט
Yorùbá: Belfast
Zazaki: Belfast
Zeêuws: Belfast