The neo-Baroque Belfast City Hall is home to a memorial garden and visitor exhibition that provide insight into the city’s history. Built to commemorate Belfast’s new city status in the late 1800s, the building survived the Belfast Blitz, and was at the center of the 2013 dispute regarding its continued use of the Union flag.
As a focal point in the Belfast landscape, most city sightseeing tours include a stop at City Hall, including round-trip day tours from Dublin. As you stroll the grounds of the Portland stone structure, you’ll see the copper dome, Queen Victoria statue, and controversial Union flag flying from the pediment. You can also book a politics-focused tour to gain deeper insight into the city’s complex past.
Things to Know Before You Go
- City Hall is a must for anyone interested in Belfast’s social history.
- Remember to bring a coat and umbrella during rainy months, as the memorial gardens and lawns are uncovered.
- The building is accessible for wheelchairs, with adapted toilets, a ramped entrance and exit, and a lift.
How to Get There
City Hall features on many guided walking tours of Belfast, which can be useful for orienting yourself in the city. Otherwise, Lanyon Place and Great Victoria Street stations are both a short walk from City Hall, and the 6A bus serves Donegall Square directly. Belfast is a typical capital city—lots of traffic—so it’s best to avoid driving because parking can be a challenge.
When to Get There
Belfast City Hall is open year round, though the building, grounds, gift shop, and exhibition all keep slightly different hours. In summer, you can picnic on the outdoor lawns or simply relax on the freshly kept grass.
History in Stained Glass
The building’s stained glass windows reveal the history of Belfast and pay homage to important community members. The Belfast Dockers Strike window, located on the northeast corridor of the ground floor, is a particularly powerful installation that demonstrates the power of a united Belfast.