The core of Belfast is the stately, though often traffic-clogged, Donegall Square. In its centre stands the City Hall, a vast, Neoclassical bulk. Completed in 1906 and made of bright white Portland stone, its turrets, saucer domes, scrolls and pinnacle pots are all representative of styles absorbed by the British Empire. In front stands an imposing statue of Queen Victoria, the apotheosis of imperialism, her maternal gaze unerringly cast across the rooftops towards the Protestant Shankill area. At her feet, sculpted in bronze, stand proud figures showing the city fathers’ world-view: a young scholar, his mother with spinning spool and his father with mallet and boat, the three of them representing “learning, linen and liners”, the alliterative bedrock of Belfast’s heritage.

 

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