What is it?
The Cathedral Quarter district in Belfast has just about a little bit of everything. Steeped in history and yet a modern-day success story of an area which has been rejuvenated.
Now, you might be wondering – is it just an area filled with cathedrals? Not quite, although I must give an honorable mention to the Belfast Cathedral, otherwise known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Anne. Anne was quite the popular name in Belfast back in the day, attributed to the Countess of Donegall. She married Arthur Chichester, the 5th Earl of Donegall in 1761. Stroll around Belfast and you’ll be sure to find Anne Street, Arthur Street, and Donegall Square. There you will find the magnificent Belfast City Hall building. The Belfast Cathedral is home to what is said to be the largest Celtic cross in the world!
The river Farset actually gave the city of Belfast its name (Beal Feirste in our native tongue) which means “mouth of the Farset”. Cathedral Quarter lies not far from the banks of the River Lagan today, and the part of Belfast once known as “sailor town”. A stones throw from the historic Belfast Entries or alleyways, where Belfast was born and bred – another gem, often hidden in plain sight! Cathedral Quarter is also home to the venue where Frederick Douglas, the famous US abolitionist and friend of our own great Daniel O’Connell, gave a historic speech in 1845.
Cathedral Quarter nowadays is synonymous with having a vibrant nightlife scene and is undoubtedly home to some of (if not the best) pubs in all of Belfast and Ireland. From traditional to modern, whiskey to beer and everything in between, and all types of cuisine, you truly are spoiled for choice. I love the fact you’ll meet people of all ages and nationalities here, it makes for great conversation over a pint or two, or a delicious meal taking in the best local cuisine!
Cathedral Quarter is also home to the Metropolitan Arts Centre (known as the MAC here to us locals), a contemporary venue for arts, comedy, culture, and theatre. I have been fortunate to witness some amazing local productions and I highly recommend you check their website to see what’s on during your time in Belfast.
Why do I like this place so much?
Perhaps my favourite thing about Cathedral Quarter, however, is wandering the cobblestone streets and admiring some of the most iconic street art in all of Europe. There is nothing else quite like it in all of Ireland and the United Kingdom, an expression of the modern-day city Belfast has become. I love to explore the hidden meanings behind the artists impressions and discover new pieces of work on a casual stroll through the district.