Oonagh Murphy is a museums and digital culture researcher at the University of Ulster. She blogs at www.oonaghmurphy.com and tweets @OonaghTweets.

This is her creative scene.

Belfast is a buzzing little city attracting global events such as MTV’s  European Music Awards  and brands such as Hollister whilst remaining true to its indie roots.

From music, to art, to food there is a real pride in anything that can be stamped with a ‘made in Belfast’ tag.  For me, my creative scene can be found throughout Belfast from the bars and coffee shops, to festival and parks.

Belfast has some of the best pubs in the world. The Duke of York is ‘the’ arty hangout, a traditional old man’s pub, with traditional Irish Music and lots of dark corners. It always has a great buzz about it. On the first Thursday of the month ‘Late Night Art’ takes place, galleries open late, new shows are previewed and lots of cheap wine is drunk. Come 9 o’clock the galleries close and everyone heads to the Duke for a pint.

Duke of York

If you fancy a quieter drink, then the Garrick is the place to be. A great bar with an even greater selection of beer and board games. A pint and a game of Jenga is my favourite way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Runaway Go
It’s fair to say that over the years Belfast has produced an eclectic musical overture from the Undertones, ‘Teenage Kicks’ to Van Morison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. Whilst the past is great, the future is better and in a couple of weeks the EMA’s are coming to town, what’s really exciting is the coinciding Belfast Music Week programme which is designed to showcase local talent. Some of my favourite local bands that are doing well for themselves include, runaway GO, Cashier no. 9 and Pocket Billiards. My favourite place to hear great new music is the Glasgowbury Music festival -it’s just a pity it only happens once a year!

Belfast Children’s Festival

For visual inspiration you can’t beat the Ulster Museum, Belfast Exposed (photography gallery) or Ormeau Baths (contemporary art gallery).  I’m really excited for the opening of MAC next year, the largest purpose built gallery in Belfast.

And I guess I can’t really talk about my creative scene without talking about Belfast’s blooming brilliant Festival Scene. Every month a new one springs up. My picks are the Belfast Children’s Festival – amazing, mind blowing international theatre. Out to Lunch festival, happens in January tickets cost a fiver and your lunch is included- what’s not to love! Finally I have to also mention the Cathedral Quarter Art’s Festival, brilliant programme, great venues, and lots of craic.

I guess the only problem with living in a city that is so happening is that it’s hard to get your head down and actually do some work!


My Creative Scene is an insight into different creative & cultural happenings in cities where your members and readers live. Browse through more insider guides here or contact us to write about the arts scene where you are.