City Hall, Belfast Northern Ireland

I’ve traveled to Ireland three times now. In November of 2007 I arrived with a group of friends. We had a fabulous Thanksgiving party. In July of 2008 I was in Ireland in part to find my ancestral home, Malahide Castle in County Dublin but also to see my friend Branden graduate from Queens University in Belfast. During both of those trips City Hall in Belfast Northern Ireland was essentially closed to all but essential personnel while they completed a two year refurbishment which cost Eleven Million pounds. City Hall was reopened to the public and tourists on the 12th of October 2009.

City Hall, Belfast Northern Ireland
City Hall, Belfast Northern Ireland

On March 8, 2011 I was finally able to get inside to see the renovations. Interestingly just moments before I was there the future King of England, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and his wife to be were visiting City Hall. That of course would explain why the Lord High Mayor was out front being interviewed by the media in addition to the swarms of guarda all running about in their bright yellow jackets.

Alas William & Kate had little time for us and were whisked away before anyone really knew for sure that they were indeed there.

Grand Staircase Belfast City Hall
Grand Staircase Belfast City Hall

In 1888 Queen Victoria granted City status to Belfast and subsequently authorized the construction of the City Hall building in the city of Belfast. It was originally completed in 1906 and was constructed out of Portland Stone. Its presence in the heart of Belfast was to encourage commerce, the manufacture of linen, rope and ship-building, the most noteworthy being the home of the Titanic.

City Hall, Northern Ireland
City Hall, Northern Ireland

While the recent refurbishment cost eleven million pounds I thought it was interesting that the original construction cost a mere 369,000 pounds. Of course that was 123 years ago.

Since I wasn’t able to see the City Hall building prior to the refurbishment I have nothing to compare it to although I was quite impressed with the attention to detail.

Stained Glass at City Hall, Northern Ireland
Stained Glass at City Hall, Northern Ireland




The stained glass panels actually line halls that run both east and west. The City Hall itself faces the north and essentially divides the commerce and arts areas of the city.

Each of the stained glass windows represents some aspect of the struggles of the people in Northern Ireland. While not of religious nature they are impressive and beautiful.

Lord High Mayor, Jim
Lord High Mayor, Jim

The tour took us through mostly historic areas of the City Hall but we were also able to visit areas where the council actually meets. The old style woodwork and attention to architectural detail is nothing short of amazing.

Council Chambers, City Hall, Belfast Ireland
Council Chambers, City Hall, Belfast Ireland







City Hall Belfast Northern Ireland at night
City Hall Belfast Northern Ireland at night

During the Christmas holidays the area in front of City Hall is replete with a myriad of shops selling Christmas gifts as well as tasty treats from all over the world. During other times the grounds of City Hall are often used by tourists, residents and others as a nice place for a picnic or some other respite from this busy city.

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32 thoughts on “City Hall, Belfast Northern Ireland

  1. Donna Merrill

    I really enjoyed these wonderful pictures. My ex son-in-law is from there and has told me many stories. It is one of my to-do’s to visit. I felt like I was on vacation reading this. Thanks for the “tour” because it felt like a little vacation.

  2. Anonymous

    This post rocks, James. The pictures are amazing. I’m not really big into travel, but when I see pictures like these and read about the adventures you and other people have while out and about it makes me think maybe I should consider it more.

    A friend of mine and his new wife went to Ireland for their honeymoon. They both had roots there. They had the time of their lives and the trip will surely live in their memories forever.

    I’ve enjoyed reading about your travels and I’m looking forward to seeing where you end up next.

  3. Lian

    Hi James,
    What a majestic building. Too bad you didn’t catch a glimpse of Wills and Kate. You could have been a spur-of-the-moment paparazzi. Hehehe. I’m surprised you got the Lord High Mayor to pose for you. Such an obliging chap. I’m impressed that you know so much about the place. Definitely not just a tourist with a camera. Thanks for the education.

  4. Anonymous


    You have very blessed to do the traveling you share! It is truly amazing the pictures and information you have shared. I would love to do more traveling but have other things that have my attention at the moment! “My Grandbabies” Please keep sharing your pics.


    PS We do manage 1 trip somewhere a year

  5. Joyce Edwards


    Magnificant pictures! It is amazing the work that was done on these buildings. It is also wonderful that the city put the money into an historic building. The workmanship is just out of this world.


  6. Hans Schoff

    Hey Jim, great photos of your travels through Ireland. I’ve never gotten a chance to go, though we had planned to get a ferry across from Wales to do the Guiness Tour a few years back but never made it. I’ve got some family out there so I’m sure some day I’ll get out there to experience it myself as you have! Thanks again for sharing your great pictures.

  7. Wendy Hewlett

    Great photos Jim. It looks like a lot of love went into restoring the splendor of the old City Hall. I’ve never been to Ireland so I really enjoyed you sharing your visit with us. One of the places that I really want to tour is Scotland. I was born in Edinburgh and haven’t been back since I was in my teens. I would love to tour the entire country and really get to know my birth place.
    I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts … it allows us to travel along with you in our imaginations 🙂


  8. Mike Sweeney


    Being a person with Irish heritage, I’ve always wanted to get to Ireland. Haven’t made it yet, but something that is still in my lifetime plans. Will surely check out City Hall when I do get there. I wasn’t aware it had connections with the Titanic.

    Mike Sweeney

  9. Jaclyn Castro

    I don’t believe I have any friends that have visited Ireland… Hmmm…
    It is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your trip(s) with us.

    The pictures are beautiful. Did you take these pics? If you did that must be you with the organge robe 🙂

    There definitley is quite a bit of detail that went in to the City Hall. Although these are great photos, I’m pretty sure they don’t do the REAL building justice. Pics can only show so much.

    Great travels Jim! Thanks for bringing us along for the journey!

    Smiles from Guam,
    Jaclyn Castro

  10. Eldon

    When I see places like this City Hall, I am amazed at the incredible architectural detail and the elaborate furnishing that was done. I’ve thought many times of visiting Ireland, as some of my early ancestors came from there. Beautiful photos and great descriptions, Jim!

  11. Joyce Penner

    Thanks Jim for this descriptive view of Belfast City Hall. I too, am amazed at the beautiful work that went into creating a building of such magnitude. We have nothing to compare in our modern age do we?

  12. Deb Augur

    Hi Jim,

    Absolutely gorgeous place and a very interesting history. While the renovation was expensive, restoring these truly beautiful (and historic) buildings is well worth it. It’s hard to believe that even 123 years ago such exquisite workmanship would cost so little. Can you imagine being there as it was being built!?! I can’t even imagine how they did it. It’s massive and so intricate. Truly breathtaking. I’d love to see it in person someday though I’m not much of a traveler.

  13. Lori Tisot

    Hi Jim,

    All I can say is WOW – thanks so much for sharing part of your cultural journey – I love the night photo! Again, all your photos are fabulous! I appreciate you sharing parts of the world that most of us will never see. Wonderful!!

  14. Marquita Herald

    Oh, I have wanted to visit Ireland for so long – thank you for these beautiful photographs! I’ve been to the UK and all over Europe, but never have had a chance to visit Ireland. I’ve been feeling a bit itchy feet lately anyway, now I’m thinking I need to do something about getting back out on the road.

  15. Steve Nicholas

    Great post, Jim! It is always great to hear about your journeys. It is amazing to see what City Hall looks like in Belfast. It doesn’t seem like that old of a building in terms of European buildings, but this looks like an elaborate castle. You have some wonderful travels. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

  16. Anne Perez

    Hi Jim
    I’m definitely tempted to visit Belfast now after the images you show in your article. Thanks for sharing. What a coincidence to be reading this just after HRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have now tied the knot

  17. Anonymous


    Thanks for sharing your travels with us. It’s a great way to see the world and help us decide where we’d like to travel.

    Have a Great Day

  18. LeeAnn Townsend

    Very interesting! I am enjoying your blog and posts. The pictures are great and attention to details in your writing is great also. How neat that would have been to “run” into Prince William too! Since I can go there…at least now..I can still visit through your posts, thanks!

  19. CJ priestley

    Hi Jim

    Those pictures of Ireland look very nice, seems there is a ton of detail in the Council Chambers very intricate wood work it has to be something to see in person I am sure. it also looks like from the pictures there is a lot of Portland Stone used, you don’t see many building built like that anymore especially in the US but in other countries I am sure it is more common probably because at the time of construction it was a lot cheaper.

    The city hall looks nice at night all lit up, I like the picture. Are you by chance an amateur photographer? or just like most people always taking pictures when you visit some place new? I would love to visit Ireland myself someday.

  20. Katri Remes

    Hi Jim,
    This brought back memories… I have not been there myself but I heard the stories about the place so many times from my late fiancé, who actually was doing a lot of work in there years and years ago… small world ! It it as gorgeous as he described it to be. Maybe one day, I will visit it too, to get the feeling of what he told me.
    Thank you for this,

  21. Linnea Kline

    Hi Jim,

    While it has always been on my list to visit, I have yet to get there. I really enjoyed reading your post as a substitute. I would also like to complement you on your photos. Nicely done. Thank you.

  22. William Earl Amis Jr III

    Hey Jim, what a wonderful time you must have had. Even though the original structure was altered a bit. The art still resonated, even through your amazing pictures you shared.

    We have a glass of similar structure here, in our great home in Boston. That hand craft multi-colors is breathtaking. Your truly blessed and highly favored to have seen such things.

    It’s like being back in time, without all the seriousness. Having the Royals at the same location was priceless, since they just got married!

    I love visiting your site. I visualize myself with wife at the same locations, of all your journeys. Thanks for motivating us to start again to travel, in vast places with character.

    Jim you are a visionary and helping all your readers and I. We get empowered and get to master our technique of visualization. This will inspire all to get out and see amazing things globally. Just do it!

    Well done, Jim and please continue the journey sharing. This is better than a movie!

  23. Terrific Tonya Heathco

    I can always count on you when I need a quick vacation from Tennessee. Today was Ireland, a great treat for my senses. Thank you for posting the high quality pictures. I enjoyed every moment and look forward to our next destination. Thank you for having me along on your travels.

    Shall I refer to you as Lord High Mayor now? I appreciated the picture.

    Be safe on each journey –

    Terrific Tonya Heathco

  24. Anonymous

    Jim great post my friend. You descriptions of these towns and places keep me coming back you are truly in your niche and it shows. Love what you doing my favorite pic is the gorgeous structure at night that was really great.


  25. Brandon Wraith

    What a beautiful looking place, I can sure tell they spent a lot of money on it. Too bad you missed William and Kate ;), that would have been quite a story. Looks like a great time, you take great pictures Jim. I want a stain glassed window!

    Thanks for the post,


  26. Leslie Denning

    Hi Jim. I love coming here and seeing your gorgeous pictures and hearing about places I will probably never see. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

    Wishing you a song in your heart,
    Miss Leslie @ Music with Miss Leslie

  27. Willena Flewelling

    I would love to visit Ireland some day. Both parts. My ancestors came from somewhere in the south… County Cork, I believe… but I would love see both north and south. Your photos make me feel almost as if I am really there! Thank you for sharing.

    Willena Flewelling

  28. Debbie@Invisible Heartstrings

    Hi Jim,

    You are like my own, personal travel guide. I love the way you weave a story and I am fascinated by your travels. I can’t wait to browse through the rest of your blog. Thank you for sharing your experiences. It helps me as an armchair traveler.


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