Monday, 6 April 2009

New Belfast Hotel

There has undoubtedly been a boom with regard to new hotels opening in Belfast. A few mere weeks ago, the five-star Fitzwilliam hotel opened beside the opera house; now it is the turn of the brand new Ramada Encore Belfast hotel which, I think, is graded as a three star. The Belfast Encore is in Talbot Street in the city centre, overlooked watchfully by Belfast Cathedral.

The new hotel is part of the larger Saint Anne's Square development, an island site standing on ground formerly occupied by old, narrow city streets like Edward Street and Hector Street. Saint Anne's Square lies within Exchange Street West, Academy Street, Talbot Street and Dunbar Link.

Talbot Street, the address of the new hotel, links Donegall Street to Dunbar Link. A certain Mr Talbot was agent to Lord Donegall in 1770, his lordship owning Belfast at that period. Talbot Street, therefore, dates from the late 18th century.

In 1776 St Anne's parish church, pictured to the left, was built; Lady Donegall's Christian name being Anne. Indeed, my ancestors were parishioners there. The Cathedral, to the right, was built, quite literally, around the old church; so, when the new cathedral church was built the old parish church was demolished within it.

This part of Belfast is now known as the Cathedral Quarter.

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