Flights to Belfast
By far the easiest way to reach Belfast from outside Northern Ireland is by air. Many daily flights link Belfast's two airports (Belfast City and Belfast International) to regional English airports such as Bristol, Newcastle, and Manchester, as well as to the four main London airports with worldwide connections (Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, and Luton). British Airways (www.ba.com) flies direct from London Heathrow to Belfast City Airport only, which is located a few miles to the east of the city centre. A cheaper option to Belfast City Airport from London Gatwick is Flybe (www.flybe.com). Cheaper flights to Belfast International Airport, which is located 20-25 minutes' drive outside the city to the west, are available from various UK and European destinations. Reliable budget carriers include Easyjet (www.easyjet.com) and Bmibaby (www.bmibaby.com). In 2005, Continental Airlines (www.continental.com) apparently has plans to start direct transatlantic flights to Belfast International Airport from New York, and these may be worth considering.
Travel from the airports to the University and city centre
There is a direct bus link from Belfast City Airport to the Europa Bus Centre, adjacent to the Europa hotel in the city centre, approximately every 40 minutes between 0600-2150. From the Europa Bus Centre, it is a short (10-15 minute) walk to Queen’s University along Great Victoria Street and University Street (or Botanic Avenue). The same journey should cost less than £5 by taxi. Approved taxis also operate from the taxi rank outside Belfast City Airport, and the cost of the journey to the city centre or to Queen's University should be in the region of £8-10. From Belfast International Airport, the Airbus service leaves approximately every 30 minutes for the Europa Bus Centre, and vice versa (currently £6 single fare, or £9 return). Services run from 0545-2320. The cost of a taxi from the International Airport to Queen's University or the city centre - provided only by the International Airport Taxi Company - is about £24-25. For getting around in the city, or for travelling from the city centre to either Airport, a reliable taxi firm is Value Cabs (Tel: 028 + 9080-9080).
Places to visit
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (www.discovernorthernireland.com) gives reliable information on all the major tourist attractions in Northern Ireland, such as the Giants' Causeway (a World Heritage Site), the North Coast, and Downpatrick (according to tradition, Saint Patrick's resting place). Lonely Planet's Ireland also has detailed, county by county, chapters on Northern Ireland, as well as more extensive coverage of places to visit in the Irish Republic. The Belfast tourist office (see www.gotobelfast.com) is located in the heart of the city in the Belfast Welcome Centre at 47 Donegall Place (tel. 028 + 90246609). Sites of political interest outside Belfast city centre (east and west Belfast murals, the Peace Lines, Stormont) can easily be visited in Black Taxi tours, while the main city centre landmarks - such as the City Hall, the Albert Clock, and the Crown Liquor Saloon - can all comfortably be seen on foot. Queen's University is located in the south of the city (see www.qub.ac.uk), and is near to a large number of restaurants, bars, parks, and shops on the Golden Mile.
From Belfast it is very easy to visit Dublin and the Irish Republic. The trip to Dublin takes about 2-3 hours by car or by train (the 'Belfast-Dublin Enterprise', which leaves from Belfast Central Station and arrives at Dublin Connolly). For timetabling and pricing information for rail and bus travel, see www.translink.co.uk.
Single room accommodation will be available as required for paper-givers for the nights of 13-15 October at the Tara Lodge Hotel (www.taralodge.com). This is situated just off Botanic Avenue, less than 5 minutes’ walk from Queen's University.
NB: UK and EU-based visitors will need a recognised photo ID or passport for travel to Northern Ireland.