pints and pokes
This open space is a key element in the Cathedral quarter’s
reinvention as a centre for the arts and, when skateboarders aren’t
rattling over the quotations about Belfast by famous writers inscribed
underfoot, it’s a venue for street performers and arts festival
One famous poet is also commemorated in a pub across Donegall Street
and a little down to the right.
The John Hewitt is run by the Belfast Unemployed Centre and hosts regular
music sessions, art exhibitions and events.
Directly opposite the square is St Anne’s Cathedral. It is built
mainly of Portland stone but a stone from every county in Ireland was
used in its construction.
Work on the cathedral took more than 80 years and seven architects
A special act of Parliament allowed Lord Carson, leading opponent of
Home Rule for Ireland and prosecutor of Oscar Wilde, to be buried in
its south aisle.
The streets behind the cathedral were once part of the city’s
Sailortown docks area and were known as the Half Bap for unclear reasons.
Most of Sailortown was swept away for redevelopment but some of the
character can still be glimpsed in the streets of the Half Bap.
This area was also once home to the city’s Italian community which
brought with it the delights of fish and chips and ice-cream pokes and
Many of the Italians in the city had originally arrived to carve and
erect the marble in places like the city hall. Some of the city’s
places of worship, most notably Clonard Monastery on the Falls Road,
benefited from their skills with marble.
Further along Donegall Street, past the traffic lights, is St Patrick’s
church, the second Catholic church built in the city and, like St Mary’s,
financially supported by Protestant well-wishers.
The sculpture of the patron saint of Ireland which adorns the outside
of the church is said to have been sculpted by the English father of
Patrick Pearse, one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising.
to Belfast Walk: No Mean City