Name & Location: Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland with a population of 267,000, is located on the east coast where the River Lagan enters Belfast Lough. Surrounded by hills, moorland and meadows our small city is home to one of 21 branches of the U3A which operate in N Ireland. Belfast U3A’s well supported monthly meeting is held in the Belvoir Players Theatre in the south of the city and attracts folk from all over the greater Belfast area and beyond.

Membership: We celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2011 and having started with 20 members we have now grown to over 470 today.

Activities: We currently have 25 special interest groups ranging from Birdwatching to Computing, Creative Writing, Play Reading and Tai Chi. Our longest running activities include three Walking groups, two Book clubs, and a “Let’s Go” group. Last year saw the start of new classes in Italian, Archaeology and Crafts.

Personal Thoughts: When I took early retirement the U3A was recommended by a friend as a good starting point to put structure into my week and keep me active and involved. Three years later it certainly has not disappointed. It’s great to have made new friends, learnt new things and been introduced to new places. I now also help lead the Birdwatching group and am taking my turn on the committee. I’ll certainly be passing on my friend’s recommendation to others.

Brian Bridge