Introducing Around Belfast
The southwestern fringes of Belfast extend as far as Lisburn (Lios na gCearrbhach), 12km southwest of the city centre. Like Belfast, Lisburn grew rich on the proceeds of the linen industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. This history is celebrated in the excellent Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum, housed in the fine 17th-century Market House.
The museum on the ground floor has displays on the cultural and historic heritage of the region, while upstairs the award-winning 'Flax to Fabric' exhibition details the fascinating history of the linen industry in Northern Ireland – on the eve of WWI, Ulster was the largest linen-producing region in the world, employing some 75,000 people.
There are plenty of audiovisual and hands-on exhibits – you can watch weavers working on Jacquard looms and even try your hand at spinning flax.
Lisburn Tourist Information Centre is on the town's main square. Buses 523, 530 and 532 from Belfast's Upper Queen St go to Lisburn (£2.60, 40 minutes, half-hourly Monday to Friday, hourly Saturday and Sunday), or catch the train (£3.60, 30 minutes, at least half-hourly Monday to Saturday, hourly Sunday) from either Belfast Central or Great Victoria St Stations.