Belfast is home to a number of sporting havens. Whether you are a huge rugby supporter or a fan of football, the Northern Ireland capital is the place to be. With various breath-taking sport arenas in the local area, tourists won’t be short on places to visit; especially those who are visiting during the sporting season. Here are four of the most popular sport venues in and around Belfast; be sure to visit all four next time you are in Belfast!
Ulster Rugby play in front of 18,00 passionate supporters here – and they have done since the stadium opened back in 1923. Of course, it has been renovated since then and the last work was completed in 2014; making this a very modern arena to host rugby union. Ulster haven’t been at their brilliant best in recent years but it would be foolish to write them off in their pursuit of Pro 14 glory this season.
Getting a ticket is relatively straightforward; most home fixtures are well attended but will rarely sell out. So if you are a huge rugby fan and happen to be in the city, head down to the stadium and enjoy an entertaining evening at a very reasonable price.
Previously known as the Odyssey Arena, this venue is home to the Belfast Giants ice hockey team and can seat up to 11,000 people at full capacity. The Giants, recently crowned 2018 Challenge Cup champions after defeating the Cardiff Devils, are one of the most consistent teams in the United Kingdom’s Elite ice Hockey League. More success should follow in the near future.
In addition, Belfast’s largest indoor entertainment venue has hosted a Premier League Darts night annually since 2008 and that is always one of the most eagerly anticipated events for both tourists and locals. The SSE Arena is a must-attend, whether you go to watch an event or simply to admire the beautiful architecture down at the Titanic Quarter.
The inaugural race meeting was held back in 1685 – well over 300 years ago. It is mainly attended by locals but there is a friendly vibe down at the course and visitors are usually complimentary about the facilities on offer at Downpatrick.
The feature race here is the Ulster National Handicap Chase, otherwise known as the Irish Grand National. Punters will be keeping an eye on this race ahead of April’s race at Aintree. Pineau De Re won both events, Belfast in 2013 and then Merseyside in 2014. William Hill has Total Recall at 12/1 – Willie Mullins could send him to Downpatrick in a bid to turn him into a dual National winner if glorious at Aintree next month.
The Northern Ireland national football team play their home fixtures here – as do Linfield during the domestic campaign. Michael O’Neill led his side to the European Championships in France less than two years ago and supporters will be hoping for more success on the Windsor Park terraces in the not-so-distant future.
Another stadium packed with history and tradition, Windsor Park has been standing for over 100 years. Northern Ireland have been playing in the new-look stadium, renovated in 2015, since the stadium was built and it could host many more dramatic international fixtures, especially if Northern Ireland continue to improve.