Sunday, March 29th 2020.


Anja De Haen
2012: the glorious year of the Titanic!


By Karin de Graauw, Editor-in-Chief BBT Online


In 2012, it’s exactly 100 years since the Titanic disaster occurred. It might have escaped everyone's attention, but the Titanic is inextricably linked to the Northern Irish city of Belfast. Here is where the ship was built, launched and where it left on its first and only trip with the well-known disastrous consequences.

Titanic Titanic


Belfast is going through a great renaissance. No wonder that the well-known MTV awards were handed out here last November. Belfast has Europe’s youngest population of residents under 25 years! And the lowest queens_university_belfastcrime rates in the UK and Northern Ireland, by the way. The city is the birthplace and home of singer Van Morrison, and the famous enfant terrible booze- and football wonder George Best posthumously got an airport named after him.

Perfect for a meeting or a cocktail gathering are the Queens university buildings where the business market is also welcome. From seminars to gala dinners. Stained glass frames, wood paneling, high ceilings with huge chandeliers and a picture gallery with impressive names of great historical significance sternly looking down on visitors in the Black & White Hall. The imposing complex is old: Queen's University dates from the Victorian era, and in those days it was an alternative to Dublin’s Trinity College. After a refurbishment, the Great Hall was reopened by Prince Charles, while his mother Elizabeth got a gala dinner out of it. The University has a long tradition when it comes to events, many held in the auditorium. It even runs its own event department for this purpose - -

Belfast City Hall Belfast City Hall Belfast City Hall

Another venue for events is the Belfast City Hall. In 1888 Queen Victoria gave the town of Belfast the status of City. In response the citizens built the City Hall. The venue can accommodate up to 400 for gala dinners and is often used for Irish themed evening receptions. -


Hotels, from historical to super-hip

Crown barBeatrice_Kennedy_restaurantBelfast is a particularly nice destination for a varied, multi-day incentive. The city is full of restaurants (the first evening we ate at Beatrice Kennedy  and charming hotels, and that’s without even mentioning all the cozy pubs. Don’t miss the historic pub, The Crown Liquor Saloon. The pub is just across the street of the Hastings hotel. The Crown is a wonderfully preserved piece of authentic Victoriana, which still serves its original intended purpose – providing hospitality for the people of Belfast and its visitors. Be aware that closing time from Mon- Wed is Ballywalter Parknot later than 11 pm, Thu- Sat 12 am, and on Sunday 10 pm.

A few miles outside (30 minutes transfer) the city center – , in the beautiful green hilly area, lies Ballywalter Park. The Ballywalter park is an A listed Mansion House and has been in the ownership of the Mulholland family for over 150 years and home of the 6th Baron Dunleath. The venue provide a truly dffirent venue for those seeking somewhere to hold their corporate or other prestigious event. Lady Dunleath is a food historian and will ensure Hastings Europa Hotelan oustanding menu. Groups of up to 22 can overnight. -

The Hastings Europa Hotel has a much more businesslike appearance. This international 4-star hotel is located right in the city center and attracts many celebrities, among them even President Clinton. With no less than 272 rooms, it’s the largest hotel in Northern Ireland. Interesting business facts: it houses 16 flexible conference and banqueting suites and a Grand Ballroom. The Europa Hotel has recently Merchant Hotelopened an adjacent conference and exhibition hall.  -

Completely different in style and atmosphere is the Merchant Hotel. What a wonderful place. The current restaurant was formerly the entrance of the Ulster bank and the cozy bar sports an award winning design. Art Deco atmosphere and Victorian style, with facilities for events on the first floor, very contemporary furnished. The rooms are spacious and guarantee a pleasant stay. -

Merchant Hotel Merchant Hotel


Just opened in November 2011 is The Bar & Grill at James Street South and it a nice addition to Belfast’s restaurant scene. The Bar & Grill is set in on old linen mill and draws its inspiration from the great steak houses of NY and French inspired brasseries.
On the 1st floor is a cookery school where groups of up to 16 people can enjoy cooking sessions.

Bar & Grill Bar & Grill


2012: Glorious Titanic year!

Titanic-Belfast-NewspaperWe all know the outcome, but what happened to the Titanic before the disaster is just as interesting. And that is exactly what Belfast will showcase this year. The ship was built here, as part of the Silver Star Line fleet. During the Titanic Walking Tour you get sucked into the story by an inspiring narrative guide. He takes you to the headquarters of the company, to the drawing room where the Titanic was created on paper. An impressive sight. There are even advanced plans thought out to turn this industrial heritage into a 5-star hotel. A visit to the Titanic Pumphouse is also mandatory. Looking closely at the dry dock, you realize how huge the ship must have been. It needed 3,000 people to be built! -

The Titanic House opened in late March. A £ 90m project turned into an iconic building. From the air it looks like a star. 6 floors full of experiences, holographic stunt work and interactivity takes the visitor to different parts of the ship. You can even hear the sea! Great facilities for business can be rented exclusively after hours. -

Belfast Titanic-Belfast

Find all the latest information for incentive groups, business travellers, conference organisers and delegates coming to Northern Ireland.



BBT Online would like to thank Danielle Neyts, Market Representative Belgium, Tourism Ireland, who invited BBT Online for this interesting trip.

The Belgian group of incentive agents who participated to this fam trip consisted of:

Bart Declerck - DDMC
Brigitte Van Vlierden – Way2Events
Britt De Smet – Event Masters
Dawn Cutajar - Xception
Raymond Desmet - @dmire
Sara Huys – De Buck Incentives


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