The largest city and capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast sits on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. This is a historic city and industrial center whose recent history was marked by ‘The Troubles’, the conflict between the Catholics (republicans/nationalists) and Protestants (loyalists/unionists) that still define the city’s geography. Running in Belfast is defined by this history, the River Lagan, and the hills northwest of the city.
Belfast is a compact city and many of our favorite places to run are somewhat overlapping. We’ve designed a 10k ‘runseeing’ tour of Belfast’s major sights, and a separate tour along Falls and Shankill roads that defined the conflict. There’s good running along the River Lagan, and a combo run in Ormeau Park and the Botanic Gardens. Just outside Belfast, we love the grounds of Stormont — northern Ireland’s government and Parliament buildings. For some beautiful and hilly trail running near the city, head to Cave Hill Park or the Divis and Black Mountain trails. Also, see the Fitness Challenges in Ireland blog for some great running and fitness events across the country.
Belfast is a compact city and easy to get around. Most of our routes are easily accessible from downtown or the city’s good bus system. And be prepared for Belfast’s weather — often cool, windy, and wet or overcast. Plus, short days in winter!