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The City Hall dominates the city's skyline from every angle. The building's remarkable interior contains a marble grand staircase crowned by a domed ceiling of intricate plasterwork. The Grand Staircase is lit by seven stained glass windows and the Grand Hall is also adorned with several stained-glass portraits of British sovereigns, rescued from bombing during the Second World War. Guided tours of the building and grounds are available all year round; each tour lasts approximately one hour.
This library is situated opposite the City Hall. It has been awarded a considerable sum by the Lottery Heritage Foundation to expand the library collection and make a cultural center. Even though it is a private library, visitors too are welcome to read books or newspapers or to sit on one of the antique sofas that sprawl on every floor. There is an extensive genealogy section, the first port of call for anyone attempting to trace ancestors from Belfast. They also provide access to internet. There is a popular cafe too, so do enjoy books with a cup of coffee.
You'll spot the Neo-Romanesque facade of this cathedral long before you step up to the door. Inside you'll find lots of splendid marble and some impressively enormous mosaics. Lord Carson, leader of the campaign against Home Rule, is buried here. St Anne's Book of Common Prayer, written on cigarette papers in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, serves as a poignant reminder of human suffering. Some marvelous classical concerts are held here, and evensong on a Sunday afternoon is a beautiful musical experience, if nothing else. In recent years, the cathedral has been at the forefront of cross-community initiatives in Northern Ireland. People from any denomination, or none, are welcome to attend their weekly 'heal our land' services and to take communion here. It is open through the day for visitors.
A beautiful remnant of the city's Victorian past, the Botanic Gardens was established in 1828 as a private garden by the Belfast Botanical and Horticultural Society. After the Belfast Corporation purchased it in 1895, it has been one of the city's most loved public green space and meeting place for tourists and locals alike. Spread across 11.33 hectares (28 acres), the park is a vibrant medley of roses, rare oaks, exotic trees and blooms. The arched cast-iron glasshouse Palm House and the sunken Tropical Ravine are some of its prominent features. The gardens regularly play host to concerts, festivals and other live performances, making it an idyllic cultural venue as well. However, the one thing while visiting this place is that opening times vary.
This neo-classical palatial structure built between 1928 and 1932 was designed to house the Parliament for Northern Ireland after the partition of Ireland into North and South in 1922. Set in its own extensive grounds, the main building stands at the end of a majestic avenue, one mile long. This is a building weighted with the full gravitas of government, and with the heavy history of the region and peoples to whom it is responsible. Dissolution of Stormont as the seat of Northern Ireland's Parliament has always marked periods of political unrest. The Northern Ireland Assembly is currently up and running, however, and people here and all over the world are anxious that it continues to be so.