advertisement

A testament to the city’s grand industrial past, this domed building of granite, marble, and stained glass dominates central Belfast. Built in classical Renaissance style in 1906, it has white Portland stone walls and a soft green copper dome. Several statues dot the grounds, including a grim-faced Queen Victoria, who stands out front looking as if she wished she were anywhere else. Bronze figures around her represent the textile and shipbuilding industries that powered Belfast’s success. There’s also a memorial to the victims of the Titanic disaster. Inside the building, the elaborate entry hall is heavy with marble but lightened by stained glass and a rotunda with a painted ceiling. Somehow it all manages not to be tacky. A new 16-room exhibition center opened in 2018. Free hour-long guided tours offer a surprisingly absorbing insight into the building’s history.