Belfast’s Old Town: Underground, Overground, What’s there to see?

You are invited to attend ‘Belfast’s Old Town: Underground, Overground, What’s there to see?’.  Just like the wombles of Wimbledon, this event is all about how we are ‘Making good use of the things that we find’.


This event aims to bring together people from all walks of life who are interested in deepening their knowledge of the built heritage of Belfast city centre and exploring how that heritage can be protected and enhanced.


You will hear about what has been discovered under the ground through archaeological digs, the learnings gained through the conservation of buildings, the challenges of planning for future development and the history that is intertwined with these built structures. At every juncture there will be the opportunity to ask questions and add to the discussion.

As this event is also about making connections with people who share your interest, it will start with lunch and finish with a walking tour, and maybe a pint.


2 Royal Avenue was bought by Belfast City Council in recent years and is being used as a community and cultural hub. The building, designed by WJ Barre between 1864 and 1869, was originally the head office of the Provincial Bank of Ireland but in more recent times was a Tesco metro.


1pm Lunch

1.40pm Underground – What has been found?

  • An insight into the archaeological digs that have taken place in Belfast’s city centre from Ruairí Ó Baoill, Excavation Director at QUB’s Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork.

2.15pm Overground 1 – Architecture

  • Case studies of conservation projects in the city centre from Graeme Moore, Associate at Consarc

2.45pm Overground 2 – Planning

  • Balancing conservation and development in the city’s historic core by Michael Gordon, Head of Planning at Turley

3.20pm What’s there to see? – walking tour

  • Public historian, Sean Napier of The 1798 Belfast Walking Tours journeys through Belfast’s hidden and illustrious past.

4.30pm Close

This event is part of the Conservation in Common series which is a partnership between the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA),the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA), the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland (IAI), the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) Ireland, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Ireland, Building Control NI (BCNI), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities.