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Pocket Guide: Cathedral Quarter Albert Memorial Clock Tower Hotels

Belfast is the largest city in Northern Ireland and its capital, being the centre of government, commerce and the tourist industry. More than seven million people per year visit the city, many of them arriving via Belfast International Airport or George Best Belfast City Airport. Visitors range from business people taking advantage of the conference centres in the city to families using it as a base from which to explore the rest of Ireland.

One thing all visitors to Belfast have in common is that they’ll be given a genuinely warm welcome, whichever part of the city they stay in. Whether the accommodation you require is a five star luxury hotel or a budget-priced, family-run bed and breakfast, you’ll discover the fabled Irish hospitality is a fact and not merely a cliché.

Architecture in Belfast

The range of architecture on view in Belfast city centre is eclectic and impressive, and makes exploring on foot an absolute pleasure. Buildings range from the Victorian splendour of the Lanyon Building at Queen's University to the imposing Edwardian façade of the City Hall on Howard Street, and there are smaller gems such as the quirkily titled Crown Liquor Saloon and the Albert Memorial clock tower.

Finding the Albert Memorial Clock Tower

The Albert Memorial Clock Tower is located at Queens Square in Belfast, close to the point at which Bridge End, the A2, crosses the River Lagan, and it is one of the most easily recognised landmarks in the whole of Belfast. The streets around the square are packed with hotels and guesthouses of every kind, from national chains to independent boutique accommodation, so no matter what kind of accommodation you’re looking for you can find something suitable just a short walk from this historic attraction.

The History of the Albert Memorial Clock Tower

The design of the clock tower originally came about following a competition held in 1865, in which entrants were invited to design a memorial to Prince Albert, the late consort of Queen Victoria, who had died in 1861. The winner was WJ Barre, also responsible for the design of Ulster Hall, a concert hall on Bedford Street in Belfast. The memorial is constructed from sandstone and is designed in the Gothic style. It cost £2,500 to build and work on it was complete by 1869.

Design Features of the Clock Tower

The tower is 113 feet high and local legend has it that an intrepid youth climbed to the top of the tower to get a better view of the launch of the Titanic. There are carved heraldic lions around the base of the tower, a statue of Prince Albert himself and the time is marked by the ringing of a two- tonne bell.

The Leaning Clock Tower

For many years, the Albert Memorial Clock Tower leaned over by four feet, making it an Irish rival to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. This is because it was originally placed on wooden foundations in soft, reclaimed land around the River Farset, although restoration work in recent years has corrected the tilt as well as cleaning the stonework of the tower.