Belfast', the largest and most prosperous city in Ireland, since 1898 a county apart from Antrim, is situated mainly on the left bank of the Lagan, at its entrance to Belfast Lough (12 x 3 miles). It is 12 miles from the Irish Sea, 101 N. of Dublin, 130 SW. of Glasgow, and 156 NW. of Liverpool. On the Antrim side the picturesque hills, rising almost to the dignity of mountains, have an impressive effect, and the general aspect of the town is bright and animated. Though the seat of the linen industry, with a number of mills and manufactures of several kinds, Belfast has a much more pleasant appearance than most British manufacturing towns. On each side of the spacious lough, which resembles in some respects the Lake of Geneva, are a number of pleasant villas, whilst in the higher suburb of Malone, and along the Lisburn Road, handsome edifices of a similar character have sprung up. A fine large new street called Royal Avenue was in 1884 driven through the centre of the town from York Street to Donegal Place. It contains the new post-office, the Ulster Reform Club, the offices of the Water Commissioners, and the free library, which, with many fine shops, form a very imposing thoroughfare. The Queen's College, a handsome brick building, was opened in 1849. The Presbyterian College in 1881 had, in conjunction with the Magee College of Londonderry, the power conferred on it of granting theological degrees. The Catholics and Methodists have colleges of their own, while a Royal Academical Institution and the Belfast Academy, with other institutions of a similar character, supply great educational facilities. Simultaneously with drainage and other improvements in the town, the Harbour Commissioners have been engaged in greatly improving the quays and the harbour. With this object they had already expended 500,000 when, under an Act of 1883, they obtained power authorising an additional expenditure of about a million of money more. Recent improvements are a through channel and a deep-water quay, new parks, new hospitals, and a Protestant cathedral (1899-1904). The linen trade is by no means the sole staple, several industries having since 1855 greatly developed, notably shipbuilding; others are rope-making, the manufacture of aerated waters, and the whisky trade. At intervals there have been serious riots between the lowest classes of Protestants and Catholics. Belfast is a town of great energy, steadily growing, and handsome beyond most large commercial and manufacturing towns. Amongst famous natives are the physicists Thomas Andrews, Lord Kelvin, and his brother, Professor James Thomson; Sir J. Emerson Tennant; Sir Samuel Ferguson; and the painter Lavery. In 18S8 it became a city, in 1892 its mayor became Lord Mayor, and in i898, much extended in area, it was made 'the county of the city of Belfast.' Pop. (1821) 37,117; (1851) 102,103; (1881) 208.122; (1891) 255,950; (1901) 349,180. See George Benn's History of Belfast (1877).


Bel'fast, a port of entry in Maine, U.S., on the west side of Penobscot Bay. Pop. 4294.