Lisburn City

Lisburn City
Lisburn is one of Northern Ireland's youngest cities, having been granted the status by the Queen in 2002.  Just 10 miles south of Belfast, and straddling counties Antrim and Down, it is Northern Ireland's fastest growing metropolis.

The name 'Lisburn' means 'fort of the gamblers' and is derived from Lisnagarvey townland. The origin of the 'burn' add-on is less clear. Some say it comes from the fire which destroyed the town in 1707, others that it's derived from the Scottish word 'burn' meaning stream (the River Lagan being the stream).

Plans to develop the nearby former Maze prison into a Centre for Conflict Resolution, though controversial and not without their detractors, will undoubtedly lure a new generation of visitors to this infamous site.

But, before these ambitious projects are realised, day trippers and overnighters can enjoy a revitalised cultural and historical edge... and some of the best shopping in Northern Ireland.

The city's rebranded Historic Quarter dates back to the 17th Century and was destroyed in the great fire of 1707. Its rebuilt streetscape remains pretty much unchanged to this day and is home to the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum where interactive exhibitions focus on local history and the Irish linen industry which began in Lisburn in the late 1600's.

The Island Arts Centre (t. 9250 9254) provides locals and visitors with a shiny, state-of-the-art cultural and entertainment centre sadly missing for so many years.

Outisde, an eye-catching water jet blasts skywards and a sculpture trail wends its way past various works of public art set in the surrounding gardens.

Sports fans can follow in the footsteps of royalty at Down Royal Raceourse, go to the dogs at Drumbo Park Greyhound Stadium and check out local football team Lisburn Distillery at New Grosvenor Stadium.

It's all about the shopping, though, for Lisburn visitors. Bow Street Mall is one of NI's largest shopping centres and boasts a big car park, over 60 shops and plenty of places to eat.

Gentrified Lisburn Square, just off Bow Street, is another shoppers' haven. A mix of designer boutiques, gift shops and cafes are overlooked by yuppie-style apartments built in the city's historic Georgian style. The Square is also home to Lisburn Tourist Information Centre.

A short drive away is Sprucefield Shopping Centre with Marks & Spencer and several big name furniture and DIY stores its main draw. 

Away from the city but within Lisburn Borough are two quaint villages, each with their unique atmosphere and reasons to visit. Click below to find out more about Hillsborough and Moira.

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