Buying In Belfast in Northern Ireland Posted January 1, 2009 I just noticed there, BT13 appears to pretty much cover Shankill. Considering that my fiancee is a Catholic, does that make BT13 a no-go area? It also covers Clonard, so not necessarily... but why buy anywhere in BT13 if you can rent elsewhere? Actually, the world has changed a bit even in North and West Belfast, and if you if you are an English fella married to a local Catholic girl, most people in the Shankill end of BT13 would welcome you as decent neighbours long before they would welcome a 'local', Protestant, BT13 person who happened to drug-dealing scummer. In BT13, for starters you have Clonard and bits of the Lower Falls (very poor and Catholic), the Shankill and most Woodvale (very poor and Protestant): in all these areas you would be a bit unusual. But I would guess the reaction to you on either side of the peaceline would be like you could expect from my relations in Clonard: you seem to be decent people, decent neighbours and you're actually a bit posh and therefore your kids aren't going to be a problem, either. So, in that case, welcome. But why hunt in the marginal parts of North/West Belfast at the fag end of a dying property boom? There are some very nice areas on this side of the City, but also some places you WOULD NOT want to live in. In BT13, you also have the better parts of the Shankill - along the Ballygomartin Road and, less salubrious but equally respectable in placeslike Dhu Varren. The old properties on the Ballygomartin and the newer housing estates about Lyndhurst would be fine. In BT14, the same would apply in the better bits of the Upper Crumlin Road (more or less mixed), the better bits of Ballysillan (Protestant although not ghettoes, but be careful not to buy estate agent buellsh1t), and the Cliftonville Road (Catholic - really very nice at the top end, genuinely prime 'pioneer' country at the lower end). But as regards Hesketh Park - I wouldn't live there as a mixed marriage with no local roots. That's tough country. Really, tough country - which is, I would guess, why it's cheap. Some have recommended BT15 to you. I have lived here all my life - except for a few years in London - and no Belfast postcode runs the social and religious gamut like here. On the Catholic side, the New Lodge is seen as a hard-core Catholic ghetto, but isn't as bad as people make out. If you and your children seem to be 'good people', people in the New Lodge won't care too much where you're from or what religion you are. The sane applies to much of the Lower Antrim Road area, which is sold as being the poor man's Malone Road, but really isn't any different from the New Lodge. Sadly, the reality is that the Lower Antrim Road areas have the same crime rate with less community spirit. On the Protestant side, there are places you wouldn't want to live in, no matter how much the housing authorities paid you, like Tiger's Bay or Mount Vernon. On the other hand are places like Seaview and York Crescent where your multi-national mixed-marriage would not go amiss except to compliment your children on their good behaviour. And finally, there is the relatively wealthy, middle-class enclave from Dunlambert at the bottom of Fortwilliam Park up to the Upper Cavehill Road and beyond the Castle. Prices might still be too high here but rents are reasonable and it's a very nice place to spend a few years waiting for the bubble to burst. It's where we rent. It is leafy, there is plenty for kids to do, and is the perfect place for renters to wait for prices to come down. And no-one cares where you're from or what religion you are. Or, at least, we think so. That's why we're renting here, waiting for sanity to return.