Linen is just one part of the tapestry of city life in Lisburn, but it’s an interesting one. Favoured by European royalty, Irish linen was the fabric chosen for the napkins on the Titanic, and was even used in Neil Armstrong’s parachute!
A distinguished history spanning more than 400 years means Lisburn has plenty more stories up its (linen) sleeve for visitors.
The city sits southwest of Belfast, in a green fertile valley just beside the river Lagan. It has the peppy step of a young city, as it received its city’s status in 2002 from Queen Elizabeth during her Golden Jubilee Celebrations. And yet its pleasant streetscape has remained largely unchanged since the 18th century thanks to conserved buildings.
The city’s strollable and car-free city centre is often crowded with shoppers heading for Bow Street Mall and the Georgian-style Lisburn Square. Specialty coffee houses and honest-to-goodness home bakeries, such as Windsor and Jeffers, are great stop-offs long the way, while the Yellow Door Deli is the go-to spot for fresh local ingredients.
Of course, there’s a lot more to Lisburn than cafés and shops. The city’s pretty parks tell the story of the great benefactor Sir Richard Wallace, who donated 50 fountains to Paris and Lisburn to commemorate the ending of the Siege of Paris in 1871.
Want to discover more about the city’s textile past? Then head to the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum. The linen heyday was the 18th century, when manufacturing was at a peak, and you can learn all about its history here.
All in all, Lisburn offers a pretty pocket of sightseeing, shopping and history, by the river.