Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, is a place rich in history. As the largest city in Northern Ireland, as well as the capital, it is home to the major institutions of government, finance and the media, and has been a major European metropolis since the era of the industrial revolution.
Exploring the streets of Belfast on foot is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways of appreciating the many historic buildings within the city centre. Finding a hotel, inn or guesthouse within walking distance of iconic locations such as City Hall, Clifton House and the Lanyon Building will make it easy to take a trip back in time, all while partaking of 21st century attractions such as the pubs, bars and restaurants around every corner.
Accommodation in Belfast
Literally every type of accommodation can be found within the boundary of the city of Belfast. From gleaming five star luxury to cheap and cheerful backpackers’ hostels, rooms of all type are on offer, allowing you to pick and choose on the basis of your requirements and your budget.
Attractions within Belfast
The historical nature of many of the buildings in the centre of Belfast is something that appeals to many of the seven million people who visit every year, and in particular the way in which old and modern are integrated side by side. Customs House Square, for example, the space in front of the Victorian edifice of the Customs House, has been renovated and refigured as a pedestrianised 21st century venue for open air events of all kinds. Another part of Belfast that combines old and new is Crumlin Road Gaol.
Finding Crumlin Road Gaol
As might be expected, Crumlin Road Gaol is located on Crumlin Road, just over a mile outside the centre of Belfast. The drive to the jail will take less than 10 minutes, and for those without a car there are regular bus routes from the centre to the jail.
The History of Crumlin Road Gaol
The imposing edifice of the jail was originally completed in 1845, with the first prisoners arriving the next year. In 1854, Robert Henry O'Neill became the first prisoner to be executed at the jail. Rather gruesomely his body, along with those of 14 other executed prisoners, is still buried in an unmarked grave in the grounds of the jail.
Modern Crumlin Road Gaol
The jail closed its doors in 1996 and, after extensive renovations it was reopened as a historical visitor attraction and events venue. Public tours take place throughout the day, seven days a week, and last approximately an hour and 15 minutes. You’ll be shown places such as the governor’s office, the hospital, the hanging cell and the graveyard.
Especially brave souls can come back when the sun goes down, having booked a place on one of the jail’s spooky paranormal tours. Crumlin Road Gaol is reputed to be one of the most haunted buildings in Belfast, and these tours and investigations look into this other-worldly side of the jail.
As well as tours, the jail plays host to concerts and performances, and can also be hired to provide a unique and memorable backdrop for your own conference, party or event.