Clarion Hotel Carrickfergus
75 Belfast Rd.
Belfast, XB BT38 8PH
Phone: (44) 289 3364556
Fax: (44) 289 3351620
Arts & Museums
Flame is the only complete Victorian Gasworks in Ireland and Carrickfergus Gasworks has the largest surviving set of horizontal retorts in Western Europe. Built in 1855, it initially produced gas to light up the town's streets. It wasn't until the end of the 19th Century that gas for domestic purposes was produced. You can see the sights and hear the sounds of Belfast's industrial past on a visit to this museum. Educational packs are available for school visits and group bookings are welcome. Tours are also arranged. Call the museum for timings.
The parents of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, lived at Boneybefore in Carrickfergus before migrating to America. Their son was born in South Carolina and served two terms as president from 1829 to 1837. The ancestral home, a single story thatched farmhouse with an open fireplace, has been reconstructed and is typical of local homes of the period. At the center you can enjoy an audiovisual show covering the emigration of the Ulster Scots, including the Jackson family, to America and see craft work demonstrations and exhibitions. The Jackson's cottage is located less than a mile from the town center just off the Larne Road.
Carrickfergus is officially twinned with Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where the ship the Ranger was built before it sailed off to its encounter with H.M.S. Drake near Carrickfergus in 1778. Much later came the connection with the U.S. Rangers who were based in Sunnylands Camp in Carrickfergus during the Second World War. Under their first commander Major William O. Darby, the Rangers were officially trained as a combat unit, acting as a spearhead force for the invasion of the continent. The U.S. Rangers Centre is located in the garden of the Andrew Jackson Centre at Boneybefore and the exhibition shows uniforms, photographs, documents and equipment. There is also a video to let you experience what it was like to be a U.S. Ranger.
This museum constitutes the largest transport collection in Ireland, housing everything from carriages to cars to fighter planes, as well as the definitive exhibition on the Titanic. The second half of this museum is an open plan village from about a 100 years ago. Discover how a small rural community in Ulster survived, interacted, educated children and worshiped God. Some cottages evoke nostalgia, especially when you see the delicately carved cribs and the beautiful quilts; others are bare and cramped. This is a world rendered with loving care and attention to detail. The museum opening times change seasonally.
If taking a trip through a Victorian sewer museum is for you, you should plan a visit to the Clean and Green Wastewater Centre. You'll learn all about how your body eliminates waste, how they failed to eliminate waste in the days when there was a "Big Stink" in Belfast and how the Water Service of Northern Ireland eliminates waste today. You'll come away feeling more grateful for modern sewage systems than you would ever have thought possible. This is a well thought through exhibition with a proactive environmental ethos. The center is closed the last Thursday of every month.
Emer Gallery is a spacious gallery offering a solid representation of what's popular in Irish painting. Ballard, Markey Robinson and Dara Valley are all featured here. Recent one-man shows from Steven Darragh and artist Comghall Casey have attracted a lot of attention. Gift shoppers as well as serious collectors will find this gallery space worth a browse, as will those who like a more modern, minimalist style. The Emer Gallery also houses sculptures and offers an in-house framing service.
This impressive architectural attraction opened on March 31st 2012, to commemorate the famed Titanic. It functions as a museum with interactive displays, including nine galleries, dark rides and special effects. There's also conference center facilities and several luxury banquet halls. Overall it's an excellent spot to visit for tourists and locals alike.
W5 refers to "who, what, where, when and why," and is the name of this latest museum to open in the city. Meant for kids, this is the place to bring them on a rainy day. Have a go at playing a laser harp, building a robot, defying the lie detector or just try hanging out in the wind tunnel. You will find W5 inside the Odyssey, Belfast's millennium landmark project and the latest architectural addition to the spectacular waterfront skyline.
Creative Exchange Artist Studios was born in 1996 when artists in East Belfast decided to do something about the absence of a studio space in that area. This led to the setting up of this studio for working on sculptures, paintings, digital media, printing, painting etc. Collaborations with international art associations see some of the best artworks displayed here. Community workshops are also conducted for those interested in taking up a particular skill. Check website for more details.
The Crumlin Road Gaol, or Her Majesty's Prison of Belfast, is located in Northern Belfast on Crumlin Road. Established 1846, this prison was the most advanced of its time, and was often regarded as the Alcatraz of Europe in its heyday. Although the building last functioned as a prison in March 1996, some claim that a few men (who were executed here, some hundred years back) are still imprisoned within these gloomy walls and they make their existence pretty evident by various sightings and weird happenings around the place. Exceeding interesting and mysterious, this old prison makes for a thoroughly entertaining visit! The first tour begins at 10a and the last tour starts at 4.30p.
Located a bit further from the city center in the 'sailor-town' area of Belfast in an old mill, the Golden Thread Gallery has given a boost to the visual arts scene since 1999. Although there is no permanent collection as such, this spells good news for emerging artists who now have a chance to feature in their well-received ongoing exhibitions. Check website for a list of upcoming events.
Royal Ulster Rifles Museum is a must for anyone interested in military history. Ulster was heavily affected by both world wars suffering enormous losses in battles of the First World War, particularly the Somme, and sustaining the heaviest Blitz damage of any UK region outside London in the World War II. Artifacts from the uniforms and weapons of the Royal Ulster Rifles and its predecessor foot regiments are collected here, charting its impressive history through the wars that have shaped the 20th Century. Admission is free.