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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Belfast in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
 

Custom House Square

Cathedral Quarter

 
 
Custom House Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., May 14, 2019
1. Custom House Square Marker
Inscription.  

This part of Cathedral Quarter is an area of great historical importance. It was the birthplace of Belfast, where the River Farset joined the River Lagan. In the past, ships tied up at quays here, but today Custom House Square provides an area where people can meet, socialise and be entertained. The Square is dominated by the magnificent two storey Italianate Custom House, designed by the renowned Belfast architect, Charles Lanyon and completed in 1857.

Custom House Square has a long history as a public arena. In the 19th and early 20th centuries it was Belfast's 'Speakers' Corner' and large crowds regularly gathered at the foot of the Custom House steps to hear and heckle the orators of the day. This history is celebrated today by 'The Speaker', a life size bronze statue standing on the steps. The large lights that fringe the square are aptly named 'The Hecklers'. The square was recently part of a busy road, however in 2005 the area was landscaped by Laganside Corporation and returned to its original public arena purpose.

The River Farset runs under the Square and its course is traced by an attractive water feature that projects

Custom House Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., May 14, 2019
2. Custom House Square Marker
plumes of water from the ground. Don't go too close - you might get soaked! In another link with the past, the 1859 Calder Fountain, Belfast's oldest drinking fountain for horses, has been reinstated close to its original location beside the Custom House, on the line of the Farset.

One of Belfast's most historic pubs stands on the edge of the Square. Built nearly 300 years ago, McHugh's Pub is among the oldest and most atmospheric buildings in Belfast. Its interior has exposed areas of original handmade bricks and massive 18th century oak trusses. For more information on tours of this and other historic pubs in Belfast, contact the Belfast Welcome Centre.

Opposite the Custom House is Belfast's very own 'leaning tower', the Albert Memorial Clock. This is one of the city's best known and best loved landmarks. It was built in 1865 to commemorate the death of Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert and over the years it has adopted a list 1.25 metres off the vertical. Restoration works have halted this incline and the clock has been restored to its full Victorian splendour. Further architectural excellence is demonstrated at two former seed warehouses, now converted to a luxury hotel, on Victoria Street opposite St. George's Church. The exquisite stonework includes vivid depictions of the five continents and their mouth-watering fruits.

[Illustration captions, from top to bottom, read]
Custom House

Calder Fountain

McCausland & Lytle Seed Warehouse
 
Erected by the City of Belfast.
 
Location. 54° 36.061′ N, 5° 55.383′ W. Marker is in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in County Antrim. Marker is on Queen's Square just east of Princess Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. This section of Queen's Square is only open to pedestrians and bus traffic. Marker is at or near this postal address: 35-37 Queen's Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT1 3FG, United Kingdom. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. James Holmes (a few steps from this marker); Calder Fountain (within shouting distance of this marker); Anthony Trollope (within shouting distance of this marker); Donegall Quay (within shouting distance of this marker); Custom House (within shouting distance of this marker); Albert Clock (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); The Quays (about 120 meters away); High Street (about 120 meters away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Belfast.
 
Also see . . .
1. Cathedral Quarter, Belfast. (Submitted on June 11, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Custom House Square Unofficial Page on Facebook. (Submitted on June 11, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Visit Belfast. (Submitted on June 11, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
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More. Search the internet for Custom House Square.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 11, 2019. This page originally submitted on June 11, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 87 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 11, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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