BELFAST, Ireland, the chief commercial and manufacturing city of the island, a par liamentary borough and the capital of the prov ince of Ulster, on the river Lagan at the head of Belfast Lough, about 113 miles by rail north of Dublin. It is the terminal station of the Great Northern and the Belfast and County Down railways, the latter, 80 miles of track, connecting with chief points on the seacoast. The greater part of it is built on low alluvial land on the banks of the Lagan, not more than six feet above high-water mark. The country around is extremely beautiful; the position of the town renders its appearance from a dis tance by no means imposing, but the Lough itself presents a fine scene; and the slopes of the hills that bound it and partly encircle the town are thickly studded with the villas and country houses of the merchants.
Streets and Many old squalid districts have been destroyed to make way for spacious, regular and well-lighted streets, the finest of vvhich is Royal avenue, where numer ous public buildings are situated. An excellent electric tramway service and electric light have been introduced and the sewage system has been improved. There are many handsome houses, but architecturally the city has scarcely kept pace with its commercial prosperity. Four bridges cross the river, one of which, the Queen's Bridge, is an elegant structure of five arches, each of 50 feet span.
Churches, Public and Commercial Build ings, Many of the churches are handsome buildings. Saint Anne's Cathedral on the site of the oldest Episcopal (Church of Ireland) church had the foundation stone laid in 1899, and was opened for service in 1904; Trinity, a fine specimen of Gothic, and Saint George's, adorned with a beautiful portico, are also de serving of notice among the Episcopal churches. The Presbyterian churches, which outnumber all others in the city, include two fine buildings on Fitzroy avenue and Elmwood avenue. Saint Patrick's serves as the Roman Catholic cathe dral, but is architecturally inferior to Saint Malachy's. The secular buildings include the new city hall, costing $1,800,000; Queen's Uni versity, a massive pile in the later Gothic style, with a facade 600 feet in length; the Presby terian Theological College; the Methodist Col lege, a handsome building erected and endowed in 1868 at a cost of $580,000; the municipal buildings; the county courthouse; the commer cial buildings and exchange; the buildings for the customs and inland revenues; the post office; the offices of the Ulster Bank, the Bank of Ireland, the Provincial Bank, the Belfast Bank, the National Bank, the Scottish Ami cable, Scottish Provident and North British and Mercantile Assurance companies; the Grand Opera House; the Theatre Royal; the county jail; the Ulster Hall; the Presbyterian As sembly Hall; the Belfast Museum; the Albert Memorial clock tower, 143 feet high, etc.
Educational Institutions.—Of the educa tional institutions the most prominent is Queen's University, first opened to students in 1849, and raised to the rank of a university in 1908, with 65 teachers and 550 pupils (1913-14). Candi dates for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland receive a training in the General Assembly's Theological College, founded in 1853. The Methodist College and the Campbell College (a secondary school) are important institutions; while the New Mu nicipal Technical Institute and the Royal Acad emy and the Royal Academical Institution also deserve mention. There is a free public library belonging to the city.
Newspapers, Charitable Institutions, Parks.—The chief and oldest newspaper in the Belfast News-Letter, established 1737. The charitable institutions are very numerous and important. In the city there are six extensive public parks, besides the borough cemetery.
Trade, Manufactures, Shipping, Harbor, etc.— Belfast is the centre of the Irish linen trade and manufacture, having within itself the great majority of the spinning-mills and power loom factories in Ireland, some of them of immense size and of imposing appearance. The spinning of flax and weaving of linen are the staple industries. Linen goods to the value of $68,131,000 were exported from Belfast in 1916. The cotton manufacture, which had decreased considerably, showed a considerable increase, imports of cotton yarn in 1916 being 10,486 tons, compared with 6,222 tons in 1915 and 3,251 tons in 1914. There are two large shipyards, and in their yard and engineering works Messrs. Harland and Wolff employ some 12,000 hands, and have turned out some of the finest vessels afloat, one of their triumphs being the great steamer Olympic, built for the White Star Line. There are also breweries, distilleries, flour-mills, oil-mills, saw-mills, foundries, printing and lithographic works, tanyards, chemical works, aerated waterworks, the largest rope works and tobacco factories in Great Britain, felt manufactories, etc. The commerce of Belfast surpasses that of any other Irish seaport and is rapidly increasing. By its customs revenue it is the fifth port in the United ICingdom. The port covers an area of over 2,000 acres, inCluding docks, wharves and shipyards. Belfast Lough, which forms the approach by sea, is a fine sheet of water be tween the counties of Down and Antrim, about 14 miles in length and six miles in breadth at the entrance, narrowing toward the city.