The Walkers and some hidden history of Belfast
Did you know that St George’s Market is the oldest surviving market in Belfast? Or that St Malachy’s Church was intended to be a Cathedral? And do you know about the unusual Christmas decorations in Muriel’s pub near Ann Street or where the first Belfast Castle was built?
Our unusual monthly outing with Marti Molloy of Belfastology provided all the answers when we embarked on a ‘Hidden Belfast’ tour. From the late nineteenth century St George’s Market, which had fallen into disrepair and more recently restored with Lottery funding into the vibrant hub which it is today, we made our way along Joy Street, past the only surviving Georgian houses in Belfast to the 170 year old St Malachy’s Church in Albert Street. Originally it was intended to be the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Down and Connor seating 7000 but as the building costs were to be raised by donations which, due to the Famine, dried up, it is smaller than planned. However the interior is stunning – the ceiling looks like a wedding–cake turned inside–out, so lacy and frothy is the plasterwork.
On then through the City Hall to view some of the beautiful stained glass windows with their individual stories and thence to Fountain Street where a fountain stood just behind the Arcade, and on via Ann Street to the Cathedral Quarter. On the way we popped into Muriel’s Bar to see its quirky Christmas decorations kept throughout the year by popular demand – you need to go and see for yourself – and on through the lively vibrant Cathedral Quarter with the Black Box theatre, the Yardbird Bar approached through what is said to be the oldest building in Belfast to St Anne’s Square – a light airy open place with the Mac Theatre on one side. From there you get a great glimpse of the Cathedral and its Needle.
We finished at the Big Fish by the new walkway over the Lagan where Marti told us of the regeneration of the Lagan and the appearance of salmon after years of pollution by the dockside industries. The Lagan is a river which had turned its back on the City but now is the lifeblood of a whole new city development.
One of those is the Marina and we made our way there to have lunch in the Dock Café at Abercorn Basin, about 15 minutes walk rom Titanic Quarter train halt. This is an Honesty Café with really interesting art work, decoration, comfy sofas, and an ever–expanding collection of quirky pieces of history from the Belfast docks: Titanic memorabilia, models and unique pictures of shipyard life, and artefacts from the lovely old H&W Drawing Office. It affords the opportunity for meetings, working, and music – just whatever you please. There we had our BYO lunch and enjoyed the usual chat about our venture.
These were just a few of the interesting stories revealed on our walk. Belfastology is to be recommended for those who think they know Belfast! Visit http://www.belfastology.com
Added by: RobbieJackson
Added on: Tuesday 7th February 2017