The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is a consistent favorite among Belfast tourists. It was actually voted Irish Museum of the Year. The museum is devoted to the province’s social history, with several reconstructed buildings moved here from around Northern Ireland. In terms of Ireland museums, it’s a must. The Ulster Museum artfully and vividly brings Northern Ireland’s past to life. The Northern Ireland museum is located on the 70 acres of Cultra Manor roughly 10 miles northeast of Belfast. The museum is surrounded by a larger park and recreation center, which are both kid-friendly and great for a sunny afternoon or lazy weekend day.
The Folk Center works to convey life in early 20th century Ulster. Almost 50 exhibits have been acquired by the Museum from all over Ulster and restored and authentically furnished. Some buildings at the folk portion of the Ulster Museum include a traditional weaver’s dwelling, terraces of Victorian town houses, an 18th century country church, a village flax mill, a farmhouse, and a rural schoolhouse. The Folk Gallery explains the detailed history of each building, from its purpose to its origin. In addition, helpful, in-costume attendants will happily describe what life was like back then.
The Ulster Transport Museum is located across the road, accessible from the Folk Center by footbridge. The Transport Museum, one of the finest in Europe, displays Ireland"s largest and most comprehensive transport collection, from horse-drawn carts to Irish built motor cars, and from the mighty steam locomotives that graced the railways to the history of ship and aircraft building. This portion of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum boasts locally built airplanes and motorcycles, as well as the car produced by former General Motors engineer John De Lorean in 1982. There is also a moving section on the infamous Titanic, which was built in Belfast. The Ulster Transport Museum also has a miniature railway that runs during summer months.
Admission fees for the Ulster Museum are inexpensive, and the museum offers different rates, including group rates for families, groups, and educational tours. You can buy a combination ticket for the two museums, or simply buy admission to either the Folk Center or the Ulster Transport Museum. The majority of the park is wheelchair accessible, and patrons with disabilities do not have to pay admission.
The museum offers tea rooms and picnic areas. The main tea room at Cultra Manor serves hot and cold meals, snacks, and drinks. The picnic areas are located throughout the museum. In addition, the museum gift shops are located in the Folk Exhibition Galleries and the General Transport Galleries. Visitors can buy craft items, souvenirs, books, postcards, and stationery. There is also a corner shop in Ballycultra Town that sells sweets and confectionery.
The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is a must-see visit, whether you’re planning to head on to Belfast for a few days or simply passing through Northern Ireland. As far as Ireland museums go, it is an excellent choice. It truly captures the sense of early 20th century Ireland.