Nothern Ireland Art & Culture Guide | My Ireland Travel Guide
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Nothern IrelandArts & Culture

Nothern Ireland Cultural Attractions Regional Picks

While the troubles of the last century seemed to stunt the growth of arts and culture in Northern Ireland the truth is that it just became a little more hidden. The youth of the north took to the the back streets, pubs and libraries to express themselves. Gaining knowledge and training their creativity. During the 1970s and 1980s street art, know as murals, began to spring up on the walls of Belfast and Derry. These usually portrayed strong political ideals and sensibilities painted with expert precision and detail. This time also saw glut of pop bands, usually of a punk persuasion, form and become successful in the region (The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers and Ash being the more notable). Today Northern Ireland is blessed with a more peaceful existence and is thriving from the culture of its forefathers.

Cultural Tourist Attractions

Literary Points of Interest

For years Northern Ireland struggled to find its literary identity, or rather, it struggled to showcase its literary identity. Deemed not British enough to find a market in the U.K and not Irish enough to register south of the border, Northern Irish literature was for years caught up in a political quagmire that failed to reveal its true potential. Some of Northern Ireland's more notable authors include (Lewis Carroll-Alice's Adventures in Wonderland-1865) and Seamus Heaney (Winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, one of four Irishmen to do so and the only one born outside of Dublin).

With Northern Ireland enjoying a more settled period over the past two decades and reclaiming more of a national identity, its literary works have become more celebrated than ever. Below are some of the major libraries of the north as well as a few interesting tours that you can take to learn more about its literary heroes.

  • C.S Lewis Trail Belfast

  • A tour of Belfast focusing on the sights and place that inspired the young author C.S Lewis. His most memorable work, The Chronicles of Narnia, features heavily. There is also a chance to see his birth-home and St. Mark's Church, where his grandfather was rector.
  • +44 (028) 9045 1900
  • Website
  • Find on Google Maps
  • Belfast City
  • Open Weekdays 9a.m to 5p.m.(Closed Weekends)
  • Belfast Central Library Belfast

  • +44 (028) 9050 9150
  • Website
  • Find on Google Maps
  • Royal Ave, Belfast City
  • Open Weekdays 9a.m to 5.30p.m. Saturday 10a.m to 4.30p.m (Closed Sunday)
  • Cave Hill Belfast

  • A massive hill overlooking the city of Belfast. It is the location where Jonathan Swift found inspiration for his most famous work, Gulliver's Travels. Easy to see once you reach the summit, stand as a giant looking down at the miniature city below.
  • Find on Google Maps
  • Newtownabbey, Belfast
  • Heaney County Tour Derry/Londonderry

  • A family run guest house operated by people who know Seamus Heaney personally. They hosts for anyone who would like to find out more about Derry's literary son.
  • +44 (028) 7930 1459
  • laurel-villa.com
  • Find on Google Maps
  • Magherafelt, Londonderry
  • Derry Central Library Derry/Londonderry

  • +44 (028) 7122 9990
  • Website
  • Find on Google Maps
  • Foyle St, Londonderry
  • Open Monday and Thursday 9a.m to 8p.m Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday to 5.30pm. saturday to 4.30p.m. (Closed Sunday)
  • Newcastle Library Down

  • +44 (028) 4372 2710
  • Website
  • Find on Google Maps
  • Newcastle, Co. Down
  • Open Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 10a.m to 5p.m. Tuesday 1p.m to 8p.m. Friday & Saturday 10a.m to 4p.m. (Closed Sunday)

Art Galleries & Installations

Find your way through the history of Northern Ireland's art via its galleries and installations. Discover classic paintings, sculptures and contemporary works by Northern Irish and international artists.

  • Charles Gilmore GalleryBelfast

  • +44 28 9031 1666
  • charlesgilmore.com
  • Find on Google Maps
  • Donegall Quay, Belfast City
  • Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10a.m to 5p.m. Friday 10a.m to 4p.m. Saturday 10a.m to 3p.m. (Closed Sunday)
  • Centre for Contemporary ArtDerry

  • +44 28 7137 3538
  • Website
  • Find on Google Maps
  • Artillery St, Co. Derry/Londonderry
  • Open 12a.m to 6p.m. (Closed Sunday & Monday)

Music & Concert Venues

Having always been a form of escapism throughout its turbulent past, the music & concert venues of Northern Ireland continue to be as popular as ever during these times of peace. For the best selection of music venues, ranging from small Rock&Roll venues to grander classical music concert halls. Derry City is also a popular live music hub of the North.

  • The Glassworks Londonderry

  • +44 28 7126 4132
  • culturlann.org
  • Find on Google Maps
  • Great James St, Londonderry
  • Open Weekdays 8a.m to 5p.m. Saturday 9a.m to 4p.m. (Closed Sundays)

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