Travelling to and Living in Northern Ireland

Make sure to read these helpful  Transition Tips for Irish American Scholars!

You can also check out our ‘Alumni‘ page for more hints and tips for your time in Northern Ireland!


Students should read immigration rules carefully as the rules have changed and become stricter.  When traveling to Northern Ireland, students must fly directly into Belfast or into another airport in the United Kingdom (e.g. London, Manchester or Glasgow). They must not fly via the Republic of Ireland (Dublin or Shannon), as they will not be cleared through immigration.

General Information

Northern Ireland has a population of 1.7million people (about the same as the city of Philadelphia).

Belfast is the capital city with a population of about 270,000 people. 60,000 of those are enrolled in one of the Higher Education institutions in the city.

There are good transport links, locally using Translink buses and trains. Belfast has two airports, Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport, that will connect you to many locations throughout Europe including London, Paris, Rome, Krakow. There is also an airport in County Derry, and there are excellent rail and sea links to the UK and Europe.

For more information see: A Factfile on Ireland

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Money Matters

The currency in Belfast is the British pound (sterling) (GBP), with one hundred pence (p) to each pound. Notes are issued with values of GBP50, GBP20, GBP10 & GBP5; coins with values of GBP2, GBP1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, & 1p.


Northern Ireland has strong, diverse cultures and history. There are many museums and heritage centers throughout the country. There are festivals throughout the year celebrating a variety of cultures. Northern Ireland is also famous for its beautiful scenery including the North Coast, the Giants Causeway and the city of Derry/Londonderry.

Northern Ireland is famous for its artistic talents. You will find many opportunities to get involved, from theatre to music festivals. Londonderry was named the “City of Culture for 2013.” Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney was born in Northern Ireland, as was C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia), Liam Neeson and Kenneth Branagh, to name a few.