A monumental makeover


If you are planning to visit Belfast this summer to view its rich architectural and cultural heritage, be prepared to be disappointed. Four of the city’s historic buildings, dating from the 19th or early 20th centuries, are hidden from the curious eyes of tourists as teams of workers carry out extensive renovations on them. The landmark buildings that are closed for repair or rebuilding are in the big league of visitor attractions: the City Hall, the Ulster Hall, St Malachy’s Church and the Ulster Museum are swarming with yellow-jacketed workers and buzzing with saws, churning cement mixers and bleeping fork-lift trucks. Three of the buildings are swathed in scaffolding. They have succumbed to the ravages of time and, as they are showing signs of serious wear and tear, the conservationists have been called in. Described by one critic in the 1970s as “Victorian grisly”, they are a throwback to an age that regarded pomp and circumstance as being architecturally important. But today, once again, the city is firmly in favour of showing off its past and protecting its civic architecture.

The Irish Times

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