Though work on St. Anne’s Cathedral (also known as Belfast Cathedral) began in 1899, many changes and extensions were made during the following decades, culminating in the addition of the Spire of Hope in 2007. The neo-Romanesque structure contains a wealth of decorative features and artworks, including a 150,000-piece glass mosaic.
Also known simply as Belfast Cathedral, St. Anne’s Cathedral is one of the city’s main religious monuments. The cathedral is often seen on walking tours of Belfast, and on sightseeing tours of Belfast from Dublin that visit other Northern Ireland highlights, such as the Giant’s Causeway.
Visitors typically explore the cathedral with the aid of a guide booklet or audio guide, or as part of a guided tour, covering highlights such as the tomb of Sir Edward Carson, a prominent unionist leader who fought against Irish Home Rule, and the baptistery’s ceiling mosaic, which depicts the story of Creation with some 150,000 artfully arranged pieces of glass.
Things to Know Before You Go
- St. Anne’s Cathedral is a must for first-time visitors to Belfast.
- The cathedral is wheelchair accessible via the Donegall Street entrance.
- Visitors are welcome to attend services, which take place daily.
How to Get There
St. Anne’s Cathedral is located in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, about 15 minutes’ walk from Belfast City Hall. Many local Metro bus routes stop near the cathedral.
When to Get There
If you want to explore the cathedral, it’s best to arrive when services are not in progress, so as not to disturb the congregation. If you want to attend a service, try the 30-minute choral evensong, which takes place Monday to Friday at 5:30pm during months when school is in session.
Spire of Hope
Among the most notable features of the cathedral is the 236-foot (72-meter) spire that pokes up into the sky through a glass portion of roof. The lightweight stainless-steel spire, known as the Spire of Hope, was erected in 2007 as an alternative to a traditional church spire, because the so-called “Belfast sleech” (a soft mixture of sand, gravel, and boulder clay) that lies below the cathedral would not support a heavier ornament.