A Photographer’s Guide to Belfast

14th February 2020 by Caoimhe Clements Share

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It has been a while since I got to write an article about adventures and treks to do around Ireland, due to being busy in other aspects in my life. But firstly, let me re-introduce myself.

My name is Caoimhe Clements and I am a Photographer and Artist from Kilkeel, Co. Down. I now attend the Ulster University where I currently study Photography and Video. Outside of my studies, I am a photographer for the UK-based charity The Woodland Trust and I am always working on my independent creative projects and solo exhibitions.

For this article plot I have decided to take the viewers on a trek around the City of Belfast.

Belfast, a city that everyone knows as the place the Titanic was built, which is also home to the iconic Harland and Wolff Cranes and plenty of beautiful Georgian architecture.

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Location one: St Anne’s Square

St. Anne’s Square is situated in the Cathedral Quarter in the north of the city. It gets its name from the cathedral opposite the square.

The square is home to the Mac Belfast, which is the Metropolitan Arts Centre. It has three gallery spaces and also offers live shows throughout the year.

Within the square you can find a multitude of restaurants, including Pizza Express and House of Zen. St. Anne’s Square is one of the most photographed places in the city.

Since I am a photographer who regularly photographs the city, I am always seeking out new ways to photograph a very popular area. These shots show the Mac on the left-hand side (the black building). Pure Gym is located on the right-hand side (the white building). Above Pure Gym are the luxury apartments of the square.

I captured this photo with a Nikon 50mm Prime Lens, lowered the camera to the ground a bit and used my flip screen to view and frame my photo before pressing the shutter. I always say to other people look up, see the detail of the buildings that you wouldn’t normally see if you didn’t stop to look at it.

If you’re trekking around this part of Belfast, continue on this path and go past these buildings until you reach the main road. Stand at the pavement and you will get to see the Obel Tower, Harland and Wolff and the Ulster University Campuses (one of them is still being built).

READ: 9 National Trust locations to visit this Spring.

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Location two: Custom House

You may know or have heard of Custom House Square, which is where a range of concerts and gigs are held every summer.

But in the square, there is an older Italian-style building called Custom House. It’s a 19th Century listed building, currently used by different government departments. Today it is used by HM Revenue and Customs, and most likely will be there until 2021 as planned.

This location is just two minutes from St. Anne’s Square.

Fact: when I took this photo, it was the first time I photographed this part of Belfast, even though I walk past this square a lot. I do plan on going back to get some better photos – I’m not a big fan of this photograph that I captured.

The idea of this picture was to see the Obel Tower in the back while Custom House was in the foreground. It was to show the two different types of architecture, historical and contemporary.

When trekking in this area, you are close to the Titanic Quarter. Walk out of the square towards the Obel Tower, you will see the River Lagan. You will also see two famous sculptures in Belfast: The Big Fish (also known as The Salmon of Knowledge) and the Beacon of Hope.

This leads us to our next location.

Location three: The Albert Clock

This is one of my favourite places in Belfast and it also has a pretty cool history. The land on which the Albert Clock is built is reclaimed from the River Farset, and Belfast got its name from this river.

You may have noticed that the Albert Clock is not completely straight. This is due to the land that is it built on. People often call the clock ‘Belfast’s own Leaning Tower of Pisa’.

Whether or not I have my Nikon in hand, I always look out for creative things. How do you view something? What stands out for you? Why do you like it, etc? These are questions anyone will ask you when you’re a photographer or an artist.

I am intrigued by low angles; it gives the world a whole different view (this is what I have done in the last image). I also adore night lights and night photography. The atmosphere at night in Belfast is totally different to during the day – I love it! The natural light is gone and it’s the man-made lights that brighten up the city. It’s so intriguing and interesting.

I used my 18 -50mm lens to capture and frame these photographs.

Belfast is a city for everyone, of all ages – young families to older people. There is always something for everyone. It’s an exciting city.

I hope you enjoyed this – until next time!

Contact me via:

Instagram and Pinterest: Message me on Instagram or Pinterest for any enquiries – I would love to hear from you.

Email: – feel free to drop me an email!


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