Belfast & Northern Ireland

Ich bin ein, er, Belfaster? The Follow Up.

more than a year ago
Blimey! We didn’t know what we were starting when we asked you for your suggestions about coming up with an official name for people from Belfast.

Our quest has captured the public imagination, home and away, and our readers have been revealed as a witty, inventive - and sometimes hilariously rude and cheeky - lot.

We've had tons of suggestions since we first posed the question online: what do you call people from Belfast?

Across the UK and Ireland, the residents of various cities have appropriate monikers, but not us.

There are Dubliners, Glaswegians, Londoners, Mancunians, Brummies (Birmingham), Geordies (Newcastle) and Liverpudlians.

But there's no suitable, regularly-used, tag for Belfast folk.

We even asked the cunning linguists at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) whose researcher confirmed that no such word exists - officially.

So we made an appeal on the airwaves, on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme – click here to see the responses - and have also been inundated with Facebook posts.

Some nicknames refer to the name of the city, such as Belfasters, Belfastians, Bellees, Belfastards, Belfasties and, simply, Fasties.

Then there are monikers based on the original Irish place name Béal Feirste - Feirstach and Bealfeirstian.

And we loved the idea of Bastion - using the 'B' from Bel and the 'ast' from 'fast' – but the easily-shocked jury’s out on the rather naughty and suggestive Bellenders.

One Talkback listener suggested Gullivers, based on novelist and one-time Belfast resident, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, which is said to be inspired by the city’s Cavehill skyline.

Other ideas are equally inventive - here are some of our favourites:

Laganlullabites - named after the river as well as our love of both music and food.

Tatties or Champs - due to our fondness for potato-based fare.

Samsons - in honour of the shipyard crane, though interestingly, no-one plumped for Goliaths (the name of the other crane).

Duncher – local colloquialism for a cloth cap.

Jamesies - inspired by the late Norn Iron (that’s Northern Ireland to all you non-natives) comedian James Young's quirky coterie of local characters.

Chip Eaters - because out-of-towners reckon that we visit the seaside on day trips and eat up all the chips. When, really, we eat all the fish too.

McCooeys - this was a popular one, named after the 1949-56 BBC NI radio soap opera which followed the lives of a fictional working class Belfast family. Think, if you will, Archers In The City.

Shipbuilders - like we always say, the Titanic was alright when she left here.

Frankies - arising from the habit, it is said, of city folk craftily collecting their franked 'dole' cheque from the local Post Office while on holiday.

Wah Wahs - OK so enunciation isn't always our strong point, but do we always say 'wah?' instead of 'what?' or 'pardon?' (yes –ed).

If you have a suggestion, get in touch via belfast.inyourpocket.com, tweet at www.twitter.com/inyourpocket or visit Belfast In Your Pocket on Facebook.

If we can settle on a suitable name, our next step is to get it included in a future edition of the OED.

Posterity, here we come!
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