The area north of Waring Street has seen much redevelopment in recent years, with plenty of new restaurants and bars opening up – some of which offer a wide range of entertainment, such as the excellent John Hewitt – leading to its acquisition of the term Cathedral quarter to suggest a Parisian ambience, though one as far removed from the Left Bank as it’s possible to imagine.
A couple of hundred yards up Donegall Street you’ll find the most monolithic of all the city’s grand buildings, the Protestant St Anne’s Cathedral, a neo-Romanesque basilica started in 1899, but not fully completed until 1981. Entrance is via the huge west door, immediately to the right of which is the baptistery, with an intricately designed representation of the Creation on its ceiling consisting of 150,000 tiny pieces of glass. Most significant, however, is the cathedral’s only tomb, marked by a simple slab on the floor of the south aisle, which contains the body of Lord Edward Henry Carson (1854–1935). The symbol of Partition, he’s seen either as the province’s saviour or as the villain who sabotaged Ireland’s independence as a 32-county state.Read More
Lord Edward Carson
Lord Edward Carson
Lord Edward Carson is a name that Northern Ireland has never forgotten. A Dubliner of Scots-Presbyterian background, he took the decision in 1910 to accept the leadership of the opposition to Home Rule, which in effect inextricably allied him to the Ulster Unionist resistance movement. Yet, though this association is about the only thing for which he is remembered, his personality and integrity went far deeper than this. He abhorred religious intolerance, and behind the exterior of a zealous crusader was a man who sincerely believed that Ireland couldn’t prosper without Britain and only wished that a federalist answer could have involved a united Ireland. Nonetheless, this was the same man who, as a brilliant orator at the bar, and in the role he loved the most, brought about the humiliating destruction of Oscar Wilde at the writer’s trial in 1895.