2015 Past Events

Thursday 29th January 2015 at 7.30pm

Lecture by Professor James Stevens Curl

William Kent: An Appreciation

The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

Yorkshire-born William Kent (c.1685-1748), painter, designer, landscape-architect, and architect, was taken up by the Nobility early in his career, and in Italy met the fabulously wealthy Richard Boyle (1694-1753—3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork from 1704), under whose aegis his creative career blossomed.

A key figure in the Second Palladian Revival, his contributions to the design of the landscape garden were also immense and hugely influential, not only in these islands, but on the European Continent as well. Famously, he ‘leapt the fence and saw all Nature was a Garden’, but he was also significant in the evolution of the Gothic Revival, in furniture-design, and even as the architect of several stupendous Baroque funerary monuments. Professor Curl’s lecture will outline Kent’s achievements in several fields, illustrated with selected images, and spiced with pithy asides.

William Kent: An Appreciation was first given at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, as part of the major exhibition of Kent’s life and work shown there in 2013.

Wednesday 18th February 2015 at 7pm. 


The Seventeenth Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held at

Belmont Tower, 82 Belmont Church Road, Belfast


At the conclusion of the formal business - Our guest speaker will be Dr David Fleming Chair of the Irish Georgian Society.  After his talk those attending will be invited to adjourn for a glass of wine.


See a feature from The Liberties Press on our recent event, A Tribute to Maurice Craig.

Saturday 28th March 2015 Time 11.30am - 4pm

Derry/Londonderry - Walled City Treasure Hunt & tour of City

How well do you know Derry/Londonderry? Whether you're a native of the city or the occasional visitor, we invite you to spend some happy hours in pursuit of architectural features in the Maiden City.

Ryan Lusby has kindly donated copies of his book "If Stones Could Speak The Walled City Treasure Hunt" for this UAHS event. The book comprises a photographic record of 101 architectural details in the historic Walled City that are easily missed by the passer-by, and your task is to identify as many as you can in the allotted time.

Participation is in pairs or teams and you can go for it in a fiercely competitive spirit, stopping only for a sandwich at lunchtime, or take a more relaxed mode and meet up around 1.30pm for lunch (participants must provide their own lunch) before tackling the afternoon session. The event will finish with a late afternoon tea (not included in the cost of the event) at 4pm.

There will be a guided tour of the city by Mark Lusby from 11.30pm - 12.30pm for those who wish to learn more about Derry/Londonderry's architectural history.

An ideal event for families, a group of friends or perhaps for meeting new people, join us for the craic!


Saturday 25th April

Visit to Galgorm/Gracehill

On the outskirts of Ballymena lies the village of Gracehill, which was  founded by the Moravians between the years of 1759 - 1765. It is the only complete Moravian settlement in Ireland. The layout of the village remains very much as it was originally conceived. In 1975 Gracehill was designated a Conservation Area. A first for Northern Ireland, the village is considered important by virture of both its architectural and historic interest. The day will include a visit to the Moravian Church and graveyard (known as God's acre), the restored Old School, the former Single Brethern home, the Village Square and the 1787 Village Shop, the restoration of which is currently being planned.

Morning coffee will be served.

After lunch we will regroup to visit nearby Galgorm Castle Estate to see the regeneration of the Courtyard including the highly successful garden centre and hear about future plans for the estate.

Members should assemble at Gracehill Moravian Church at 10am. Members may bring a packed lunch or eat at one of the local restaurants. The day will conclude by 4pm.


Saturday 9th May 2015

Historic Houses of Co. Tyrone

Our day begins at 10am in Castlecaulfield where we meet for coffee at the home of Mr Peter Acheson. The house, set in beautiful grounds, is predominantly Georgian in style but sections of the building show evidence of a much earlier seventeenth century structure.

We then travel a short distance to Parkanaur, also in Castlecaulfield.This fine building began life as a two-storey cottage but was enlarged extensively under the direction of Newry architect,  Thomas Duff. The house is now used as a conference centre and popular wedding venue. A finger buffet lujnch will be provided.

After lunch we travel to Killeeshill Glebe, home of Drs. Cathal and Claire Cassidy. The eighteenth century Glebe is grand in scale with equally extensive farm buildings at the rear. Our visit concludes at approximately 4pm following afternoon tea.



Thursday 11th June 2015

Architectural Pub Tour

The hospitality of Belfast City and its people is legendary and there's no better way to enjoy the 'craic' and take in a bit of the architectural and social history of the city, than through the UAHS pub tour. So many old, traditional pubs remain in the historic core of Belfast. We are taking an evening to highlight and celebrate these with you.

From the Art Deco to the Art Nouveau, from the traditional Irish snugs, to the old avertising mirrors; hopefully even us locals will experience and gain a new architectural perspective of some of the original pub features, adding a somewhat new dimension to the usual pub crawl.

The tour will start at McHughs bar in Queen's Square and finish in the Crown Bar, Great Victoria Street with many great stops along the way including The Duke of York, Whites Tavern and the John Hewitt.

Come along and take in the sights and atmosphere of our historic public houses, while enjoying a little bit of banter along the way. 


Thursday 25th June to Saturday 27th June 2015

IGS/UAHS Summer School Conservation without Frontiers: Historic Buildings of Armagh and Monaghan in Context.


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Saturday 4th July 2015

Visit to Counties Cavan and Monaghan

Our coach trip to Cavan includes visits to three historic buildings. Our first stop is at Cabra Castle, near Kingscourt. Now run as a hotel, the castle still retains much of its original character and many of the reception rooms richly allude to their Regency past.

From here we continue our journey to Ballyhaise House. This fine early Georgian building was built for the Newburgh family in the 1730s, but since 1906 has been home to Ballyhaise Agricultural College.

Our final venue is Corravahan House, Drung. Designed  by William Farrell in 1836 for the Rev Marcus Gervais Beresford and used as a rectory until 1870. Since 2003 it has been the home of the Elliott family who have undertaken a sympathetic restoration of both house and garden.

The cost of the outing is £35 and covers the cost of coach travel, morning coffee, afternoon tea and entrance charges. The coach departs from Belfast at 9am and returns at approximately 6.30pm. There will be pick-up points at Portadown and Armagh.


Saturday 18th July2015

A Central Belfast Walkabout with Marcus Patton

It is over twenty years since the UAHS published its historical gazetteer of Central Belfast, and a new edition is in the pipeline. As a preamble to its publication author Marcus Patton will lead a walkabout of some key streets, looking in particular at the changes that have occurred in the intervening years. The ceasefires ushered in an era of new development, further fuelled by the property boom in the early years of the century, and buildings that had survived the Blitz and the Troubles began to topple under development pressures. 

A number of postwar buildings are now listed, while others have been replaced by newer and bigger blocks. Churchill House had its proponents, but the much newer dome over Victoria Square is probably more popular. The Ulster Bank in Waring Street has become a fin-de-siècle hotel; the Ulster Hall has had a major refurbishment; and the old Tech is becoming student housing. Twenty years ago St George's Market was run down and threatened, while the Waterfront Hall was just a building site - today the Market is thriving and the Waterfront is a major conference centre.

There is no doubt that Belfast is a much more peaceful and flourishing city than it was in 1993. To many young people the Troubles is history. The sight of a tourist with backpack and map is no longer a curiosity, and cruise ships arrive by the day. They come with a curiosity about the Troubles, the night life, the Titanic and the Game of Thrones - much of which is filmed in a building that would have been demolished twenty years ago if it hadn't been so massively built. Those of us that have known the city over that period are aware how much has been lost, but many of our visitors are surprised by how many historic buildings Belfast has. 

There are still derelict buildings of course, and buildings under threat. But gradually they are being restored to new uses - such as the plan to restore the extraordinary Riddel's Warehouse as a home for the Royal Ulster Academy - strengthening the identity of a place that has seen massive changes and yet is still our own wee city. 

We will meet at the front of the City Hall Belfast, at 10.30am and finish at Riddel’s Warehouse. The tour will last approximately 2 hours, and cost £15 per person. Numbers are limited to 20. Please be aware a lot of walking is involved in this tour.

Saturday 25th July 2015

Teddy Bears Picnic at Marlacoo House, Portadown

The Wilson family invites members of UAHS, accompanied by children under 11 years of age, to join them for a Teddy Bears’ picnic and an afternoon of fun.

There will be a treasure hunt, races - including egg & spoon and sack races - and an opportunity to play in a tree house or jump on a trampoline as well as tours of Marlacoo House. A picnic tea will be provided for adults, children and teddy bears!

This event is open to children, grandchildren, friends and relations of UAHS members. All children must be accompanied during the afternoon by an adult as well as a teddy bear! The charge is £10 for adults and £5 per child over 3 years of age (there is no charge for children under 3) and the organisers must know the names and ages of the children attending



Saturday 22nd August 2015

Historic Houses of Fingal

Our visit to County Fingal begins at Newbridge House and Demesne, Donabate.  Built in 1736 for Archbishop Cobbe, this gracious Georgian house still displays original furniture, paintings and other fine works of art.

The morning will start with a coffee in the courtyard followed by a guided tour of the house.  There is then time to explore at your leisure Newbridge traditional working farm and the landscaped grounds which form one of the finest 18th century parklands in Ireland.

We will then travel half an hour to Malahide Castle and Gardens, Malahide.  There will be time on arrival to have lunch availing of either those delights to be found in the Avoca Café or if you prefer bring a picnic to enjoy in the surroundings of the beautiful walled gardens.

After lunch we will explore by a guided tour the magnificent 12th century castle which has been home to the Talbot family for over 800 years. The visit will conclude at approx. 4.15pm.

Cost per person is £25 which includes entry to both properties and guided tours, also morning coffee. It does not included lunch or afternoon tea.   Numbers are limited to 40.

Thursday 27th August 2015

The Annesley Inheritance: Castlewellan, Mount Panther & Donard Lodge

Lecture by Terence Reeves-Smyth.

Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, 7.30pm

Archaeologist and Architectural Historian Terence Reeves-Smyth has spent over two decades researching Ireland’s historic parks and gardens. In this illustrated lecture he will give an overview of the history of the Annesley family and their three important properties – Castlewellan Castle, Mount Panther and Donard Lodge.


Sunday 13th September 2015

European Heritage Open Days: Revealing Riddel's Warehouse.

Hearth and the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society

For nearly 100 years Riddel’s warehouse stored everything the Musgrave Foundry could produce, from nails to girders! As the building has remained empty for 50 years, acting as a buffer zone to the nearly police station, remnants of this industry can still be seen throughout.  These include the weigh bridge, crane mechanism and  pigeon holes. 

Hearth acquired the property in 2014 and will soon begin the process of sensitively restoring it to create gallery and office space for the Royal Ulster Academy and other arts organisations. This is a unique opportunity to visit the building before these important works commence.

Come and meet with representatives of Hearth and their partner organization, the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society to learn more about this fascinating building and others in Belfast City Centre. Tours of Riddel’s Warehouse will be available for over 16’s every 30 minutes from 11 am- 1pm, and from 2pm-5pm. These will be led by Marcus Patton, Director of Hearth and the UAHS. A self-guided heritage trail of Belfast City Centre will also be available for children and families.   

Click here to book online.

Friday 25th to Monday 28th September 2015

Weekend in South Oxfordshire

This promises to be an interesting and entertaining visit to Abingdon, Blewbury, Dorchester-on-Thames and much else besides! We will be guided by Marianne Suhr (remember the delightful co-presenter on the Restoration programmes?), Professor Malcolm Airs (eminent architectural historian and author of several books including The Tudor and Jacobean Country House) and Lydia Inglis (nee Wilson). Lydia has been attending UAHS events since she was a few weeks old and her passion for the built heritage came from those early visits to buildings in Ulster.

The Society visit will be based at The Crown & Thistle hotel, and at Cosener’s House hotel, both in Abingdon, and will commence with dinner on Friday evening. Members might wish to spend time in the city of Oxford on Friday – there are excellent guides who will help interpret the city’s rich architectural heritage (and it is challenging to meet as a large group there). On Saturday we travel by coach to Blewbury, a historic village within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We will visit several interesting buildings with Marianne and Lydia, including Moray and Lydia’s home, Chapmans (a 17th century, timber-framed, thatched house and barn of humble origin, now adapted for ‘modern’ living). On Saturday afternoon we will travel to Kelmscott Manor, once the country retreat of William Morris.

On Sunday we will start the day in East Hendred, an ancient and well-preserved village which remains in the ownership of the Hendred Estate. After a picnic lunch, we travel to Dorchester-on-Thames, where Malcolm Airs will give us a tour of the architectural treasures in this beautiful village.

On Monday morning an architectural historian from the Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society will give us a guided tour of Abingdon, including its recently-restored, grade I listed 17th century Baroque market hall. It is expected that this will be finished by 11.30am.

Members are responsible for their own travel arrangements to Abingdon on Friday and return on Monday. There are frequent buses to Oxford from Heathrow and on to Abingdon. The visit, which includes 3 nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast, coach and entry to properties, will cost approximately £375 per person sharing (there will be an additional accommodation charge for single rooms). Places are limited to 30 people – UAHS members only.

If you wish to book please send a deposit of £25. When your place is confirmed, you can book your flight.


Saturday 3rd October 2015

Visit to the Yacht Club & Oratory, Dun Laoghaire

Dun Laoghaire grew from a small fishing port, which developed with the building of a major harbour and the coming of the railway, into a fashionable resort town with many fine architectural features.  It was visited by George IV in 1821 and named Kingstown.

Our day in Dun Laoghaire will encompass both the old and the new architectural aspects of the town, including a visit to a unique small chapel and a modern library.

We meet at 10.40am outside the Dart Station in Dun Laoghaire. We then proceed in small groups to the Oratory Chapel, which was saved when its adjoining convent was demolished to make way for a shopping centre.  It is a unique work of art, which was decorated over 19 years by Sister Concepta Lynch, in the Celtic Revival style.  The stained glass windows are by Harry Clarke.

There will also be an opportunity this morning to stop for a coffee or to visit the National Maritime Museum or the Shackleton exhibition in the Ferry Terminal Building near the Dart Station.

Lunch is at the National Yacht Club, the last of the fine Victorian clubs to be built.  A two course lunch will be served at approximately 1pm.

In the afternoon, we will explore the terraces and monuments of the town on a guided walk led by Mr John Holohan, a local resident and member of the Irish Georgian Society.  The tour will include a visit to the DLR Lexicon, a modern library and cultural centre.

It is expected that the visit will finish at around 5pm. For those travelling by public transport, the 8am Enterprise from Belfast Central arrives at Dublin Connolly Station at 10am. From there, members can take the Dart to Dun Laoghaire.  There are return trains to Belfast at 7pm and at 8.50pm.

Cost £45, including lunch.  Limited to 45 members.


Fri 9th, Sat 10th & Sunday 11th October 2015

Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Conference: "Architecture & Art in Garden Design"

by the Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Committee, (NIHGC) in association with the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.

Venue - Hillsborough Castle

Click here to book online through the NIHGC website.

Click here to download a booking form.

Thursday 5th November 2015


The War Memorials Lecture by Keith Jeffery due to take place on  5th November has been cancelled due to illness.

Instead Karen Latimer will be delivering a talk on International Trends in Library Building, at 7.30pm on Thursday 5th November 2015.  The venue is unchanged at The McClay Library, Queen's University.  

In a rather extreme change of subject but because of the location of the lecture, Karen Latimer, (Chair of Designing Libraries UK, former chair of the International Committee on library buildings and current secretary of the European Research Libraries architectural advisory group) will give a talk on International Trends in Library Building Design.  This will be followed by a tour of The McClay Library for those interested.

Lecture fee: £10 / Students £5. Open to non-members.

No advance bookings please pay at the venue.

Contact UAHS
The Old Museum Building
7 College Square North

T 028 9055 0213   
E info@uahs.org.uk

Supported by

Heritage Lottery Fund Historic Environment Fund

NI Charity Commission No: NIC101510

Company Reg No. NI 35582