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Cathedral Quarter

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One of the oldest and most historic districts in Belfast.

The Cathedral Quarter in Belfast takes its name from St Anne's Cathedral, the ecclesiatical heart of the city. With fascinating architecture ranging from public buildings such as Custom House to cosy pubs and trendy warehouse restaurants the Quarter has become well known for its architectural excellence. The foundation stone of the Cathedral was laid by the Countess of Shaftesbury in 1899 and the building features excellent glass mosaics and Irish marble and boasts the largest Celtic Cross in Ireland. The Central Library is French in style and opened in 1888. The stylish Malmaison Hotel is a former seed warehouse, and the Grade A listed Italianate style Merchant Hotel was built in 1860 as the headquarters of the Ulster Bank and has now been restored to its original splendour.

The Cathedral Quarter was once home to Belfast's newspaper industry with the Northern Whig, Belfast Telegraph, News letter and The Irish News all being published here at one time. The Quarter also boasts Mc Hugh's - Belfast's oldest building and one of its oldest bars, and the Belfast Harbour Commissioners - home to a set of table and chairs that were due to set sail on Titanic but quite literally missed the boat.

In recent years the Cathedral Quarter has become the focus of Belfast's thriving arts scene. The University of Ulster Art college is nearby, and the John Hewitt bar features exhibitions from both emerging and established artists. The Belfast Print Workshop and Gallery is the longest established resource in Northern Ireland for artists hoping to work in various printmaking media.

Each spring the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival showcases an eclectic programme of visual art, comedy, literature, music and drama. It has been described as one of the liveliest and most ground breaking festivals in Europe.

The Quarter also boasts a diverse mix of nightlife - from bars with live music to those with a perfect club atmosphere. The Duke of York is nestled in one of the Quarter's cobbled streets in the centre of the newspaper district, while The Spaniard is an intimate bar with bags of character.

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