The Cathedral Quarter, Belfast
Named after St. Anne’s Cathedral, the oldest part of the city has evolved from Belfast’s old trade and warehousing district. Today it is home to fascinating architecture, narrow cobbled streets and alleyways to explore.
The Cathedral Quarter is home to a bustling culture and arts scene, cosy pubs, underground music venues and a host of contemporary restaurants to suit all tastes. Wandering around the Cathedral Quarter you will come across hidden gems such as the Oh Yeah Music Centre located in a former bonded whiskey warehouse, which houses an exhibition of Northern Ireland’s music history from fabled legends such as Dana to Snow Patrol. Tucked away in one of the alleyways is a piece of art painted on the wall illustrating some well known faces. This area of town hosts year-round festivals, such as Festival of Fools, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and Belfast Pride.
St Anne’s Cathedral & Writer’s Square
Built in 1899 on the site of Belfast’s first Church of Ireland Episcopal parish, St. Anne's is a fine example of neo-Romanesque building. Marvel at the spectacular stainless steel spire known as the Spire of Hope which the visitor can view through a glass platform from inside the nave.
Writer’s Square, immediately opposite the Cathedral, celebrates Belfast’s literary past with quotations from famous local writers carved in the stone underfoot. Complementing the literary flavour is The John Hewitt bar named after the renowned, locally-born poet. Visitors can enjoy the local ale and whiskeys surrounded by literary references and become part of the literary ambiance.
St. Anne’s Square
Nearby St. Anne's Square is home to a collection of thriving contemporary restaurants, and is Belfast's equivalent to the European Plaza. Throughout the year it is a focal point for outdoor performances as part of various popular arts festivals in the city.
The MAC is an award-winning, contemporary, multi-arts venue opened in 2012 with several galleries and performance spaces spread over many floors. It is an ideal rendezvous for the chic and the hip, and you can easily spend half a day taking in the atmosphere and enjoying great coffee, lunch or even a pre-performance supper.
The Black Box
The Black Box is a cultural venue famous for its cosy, eclectic atmosphere where local musicians, performers and poets hone their craft, including many from further afield. Here visitors can experience the underground cultural scene of Belfast.
The Albert Memorial Clock
Known as Belfast’s ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’, the Albert Memorial Clock was erected in 1853 as a memorial to Queen Victoria’s Consort ‘Albert’. It developed its distinct lit due to its marshy foundations and is the perfect and unusual photo opportunity.
The Belfast Barge (MV Confiance)
On the outskirts of the Cathedral Quarter, the Belfast Barge is moored on the River Lagan and contains an interactive museum portraying Belfast’s proud maritime history with video accounts of the personal stories of those connected to the shipping industry. On board is the Galley Café where visitors can experience a cosy lunch or dinner on the river from a menu of fresh, local delicious produce. The location manages to bring together the industrial heritage of the city and good local food. During the evenings visitors can finish their meal, push back the tables and enjoy the talents of local artists.