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Wednesday, 14 February, 2001, 13:48 GMT
Street is tops for Belfast lovers
Preparing to
Preparing to "change" the street name
By BBC News Online's Fiona Murray

Flowers, cards and tokens of undying affection are all synonymous with Valentine's Day.

So where does a bustling Belfast street fit in?

Well, the love-struck Northern Ireland public have voted Botanic Avenue in the university area as the city's most romantic street.

It has been renamed as the city's official Lovers' Lane for the 24 hours of 14 February.

The idea was the brainchild of the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau which aims to promote the city as a leisure and conference destination.

Chief executive Gerry Lennon said they felt they could tap into a growing sense that Belfast was romantic.

"Jools Holland said that Belfast was the most romantic city in the world, Esquire magazine said it was one of the sexiest cities in the world and when Blind Date sent a couple here they fell in love," he said.

"So we asked people to nominate the most romantic street in Belfast, and Botanic Avenue came out tops."

Botanic Avenue boasts a host of flower shops
Botanic Avenue boasts a host of flower shops

So what has Botanic Avenue got to offer the starry-eyed lover?

"It's got everything that young lovers would want," said Mr Lennon.

"It's got restaurants, pubs, clubs, flower shops, jewellery shops and then of course there's Botanic Gardens where they can go for a stroll at the end of the evening."

However, there is a serious message to this slushy tale.

Mr Lennon pointed out that it helped illustrate the positive image now being portrayed of the city which is being backed up by a growing number of visitors.

"People are more geared to coming to visit Belfast, there's a sense that things are changing," he said.

Love boat

However, if you feel like travelling a little further afield to woo your loved one, why not take a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park, at Omagh, County Tyrone.

The park is holding a series of events to show how St Valentine's Day was celebrated in Ireland many years ago.

Or for the more adventurous, why not take a cruise on the aptly named Love Boat from Bangor to Helen's Bay in County Down.

You could even learn a few new tips, such as the art of making lover's knots out of corn.

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