I work in belfast so travel in every day. I have not seen any trouble at all. Restaurants etc are carrying on as usual, though perhaps a lttle emptier as the bad publicity is putting people off. Trouble is confined to East Belfast really which is not an area you are likely to venture into as a tourist anyway. I have been looking at the coverage in A couple of the International papers lastely and it is really annoying that such a small band of people are able to completly destroy 15 years of effort put in to change peoples perceptions of Northern Ireland.
My DH works in hospitality side of things in Belfast and they've just had a big group of Americans cancel a group booking that would have brought in £5k - i love Belfast and i've lived here pretty much my whole life but doubt i'd plan to come on a city break til protests die down a bit - city hall has been a real focal point and it's right in the middle of town. It's a bloody shame tho cos this is a really nice place to visit and believe it or not people here are really friendly!!
I'm not coming now because DH found out yesterday that he's at a meeting overseas that weekend. I'd found excellent rates at the Hilton and the Fitzwilliam, and was really looking forward to a night in a pish hotel. We'll come later in the year though, definitely.
Things really aren't as bad as portrayed in the media. The violence has been more less exclusively at a known flashpoint in the East if the city which can easily be avoided. I live near that area and haven't see any of it first hand because I've no need to venture that way.
Shops and restaurants are carrying on as normal so everything should be open. Where are you planning to stay?
I'm in Belfast. It's mostly been fine in the main tourist areas, I live in the city centre. Keep an eye on twitter and facebook so that you can avoid any protests (which have more or less all been peaceful in the city centre and are all now heavily policed) at City Hall etc but really, if you're a couple of streets away from a peaceful protest the only reason you'd be aware of it would be the increased police presence.
The atmosphere in town has been largely fine, if anything there's a sense of mass eye-rolling when there is a protest on that means the town is full of police landrovers but that's it really. There hasn't been any trouble in the city centre at night time for quite some time I don't think.
I would come personally, just keep an eye on things (facebook & twitter definitely your best bets), but unless you're planning on visiting East Belfast I wouldn't be too stressed. IME life has continued more or less as normal.
As the title says, really. Wanted to see Titanic Museum and visit the city. It's easy to get cheap flights from here (Glasgow) but the weekend of the 19th Jan is the only one in months where we're all free.
I'm not worried about my personal safety - more about the atmosphere in the city, and whether restaurants and bars will close early.