At the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, St Anne’s Cathedral – also known as Belfast Cathedral – cuts a mighty shape. Completed at the beginning of the last century, in 1904, the church today still welcomes worshippers through its doors. And now, St Anne’s Cathedral, a cathedral of the Church of Ireland, is even the setting of a series of Candlelight concerts.
The easiest way to get to this historic cathedral is by bus. Hop on the direct bus departing from Belfast Chichester Street and hop off on Belfast North Street. If you don’t have a car, this route only takes 8 minutes to bring you to the Cathedral Quarter.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about St Anne’s Cathedral
1. Serving two separate dioceses?
St Anne’s Cathedral is unusual in that it serves two separate dioceses (Connor and Down and Dromore), and as a result, has not one but two bishop’s seats.
2. Plenty of treasure to be found
The building is a treasure trove of decorative elements and historic pieces. Tourists flock to this architectural gem to visit the Tomb of Lord Carson (the Irish unionist and politician) the Titanic Pall (made in memory of the 1,517 lives lost in the sinking of the Titanic), and the Spire of Hope.
3. The Spire of Hope—a sign of progress and resourcefulness
Installed in 2007, the Spire of Hope proved to be an “unusual solution to a sticky problem”. Due to the mix of soft grey mud, silt and sand, it would have been impossible to add a traditional spire or bell tower to St Anne’s Cathedral as either would contribute to the subsidence of the structure. After holding a competition calling on architects to present ideas on creating a lightweight spire.
Colin Conn and Robert Jamison of Box Architects proposed installing a spire 250 metres above ground level that would be illuminated at night—therein began the story of the Spire of Hope.
St Anne’s Cathedral will be awash with hundreds of (flameless) candles, as live classical instrumentalists perform beautiful pared-back renditions of well-known melodies, from current-day pop hits to classical concertos, in front of the second-largest pipe organ in Northern Ireland. From ABBA to Whitney Houston, expect to hear much-loved hits, plus many others over the course of the performances.
What else can you do at St Anne’s Cathedral?
Aside from the obvious Church services taking place at 11am and 3.30pm on Sundays, visitors and tourists can come and visit the Cathedral (£2 admission charge) Monday to Saturday from 10.30am – 4.00pm for self-guided or accompanied tours. The beautiful Romanesque structure housing mosaics, artefacts, and sculptures is also available for private hire and events, and accommodates up to 500 people.
Whether you feel like spending some time admiring the striking architecture and design features at Belfast Cathedral or you regularly attend services, Candlelight concerts make for a magical evening out at this spectacular venue where King Charles III attended a moving service in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2022. You will be amazed by the subtle emphasis a candlelit setting can put on some of Belfast’s finest venues.