During a family day out in Belfast we called into St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.
Where Is It
St. Anne’s Cathedral is located on Donegall Street within the Cathedral Quarter, a very short walk from Belfast City Centre. Street parking is available around the Cathedral at a charge, there is also a large car park at St. Anne’s Square located only a short walk away.
The history of the Cathedral is long and very interesting. Most interesting for us was learning that the Cathedral was built over the top of a Parish Church while it was still being used. For more detailed information on the history of the Cathedral, check out the official page here.
Opening Hours & Cost
For opening hours and cost please check here.
*As mentioned the last entry is 15 minutes before closing, it wouldn’t do a visit justice only giving it that long, so try and give at least 45 minutes as a minimum.
What To See And Do
I highly recommend you lift a guide book on entry to the Cathedral, they have copies available in different languages, if needed. We found this very useful, as it directed us to items of interest, giving the history of the many of the works of art. We also found the guides who are on hand very informative and very engaging.
The Regimental Chapel became the spiritual home of the Royal Irish Regiment in 1992. The amazing stained glass window is the largest within the Cathedral.
The Cathedral treasury holds a number of beautiful vessels, some of which are very old. Our favourite was the replica of the silver lamp used by Florence Nightingale.
Sanctuary, Choir, Spire and Organ
Megan was amazed at the spire coming down into the Cathedral, the spire (Spire of Hope) is 40 metres high and can be seen from all across Belfast. In the background of the above photo the three windows high above the Alter, represent Creation, the Trinity and the Eucharist.
During the tour we learnt this Organ is the second largest in Northern Ireland, the largest being in St. Peter’s Parish Church on the Antrim Road in Belfast also.
In the guide book we read this memorial was dedicated during a service of commemoration in St. Anne’s on 15th April 2012. Two members of University of Ulster School of Art (which is just around the corner from St. Anne’s) designed this Pall. If you look closely it is is made up of 1517 hand embroidered Crosses, Stars of David and Crescents for each person who died when RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in April 1912. It’s even more beautiful and striking in real life.
The Carson Tomb
A simple granite stone inscribed with the one word ‘Carson’. It marks the resting place of Edward Henry Carson, the famous politician who lead the Unionist Party for the best part of 11 years from 1910 to 1921. For more information on Carson check here.
An absolutely stunning section of the Cathedral. The ceiling formed out of 150,000 pieces of glass represents Earth, Fire and Water, with the hand of the Creator giving blessing. More information on its creation can be found here.
Labyrinth of black and white tiles
From the guide we were given, initially I couldn’t find this area, so I asked one of the on hand staff who was more than happy to show me, and explain its meaning. Follow the white tiles, the path of virtue, and they will lead you to the Alter. Follow the black tiles, the route of sin, and you will go no where!! We didn’t test it out but if you visit and try it – let me know which route you choose.
Would We Recommend
We all enjoyed our visit to St Anne’s Cathedral. At first we thought £5 each was expensive, given that most cathedrals we have visited on our travels have been free to enter. But, there was much more information available compared to our visit to Kings College Chapel in Cambridge. If you’re in the area and have time, give it a go!
If you enjoy reading about our days out in Northern Ireland. Check out our other blog posts here – Northern Ireland
The Lewis Family.