Friday, 12 July 2013

First Presbyterian Church in Belfast

A wee nugget from back home...

This is Belfast's First Presbyterian Church, photographed a couple of days ago on Rosemary Street. Just out of shot is an eastern European chap seated at the main gate with an electronic keyboard busking for a living, with one song, and one song only, playing it repeatedly, over and over and over... (you get the point!). And yes, if it was your birthday, he was singing it for you! :)

There has been a Presbyterian congregation meeting at the spot since 1644, although the current building was erected in 1783. Alongside the congregations of the 2nd Presbyterian Church (also on Rosemary Street) and 3rd Presbyterian Church in Belfast, the members of the 1st congregation contributed to the radical ideas that gripped many within Ulster's Presbyterian communities in the late 18th century and swept them towards rebellion, as their brothers and cousins had previously done in America. The United Irishmen rebellion of 1798, which was particularly strong in County Antrim, was ruthlessly crushed, with the result being the forced assimilation of Ireland into a 'United Kingdom' with Great Britain in 1801, with Northern Ireland still a part to this day.

For a more detailed history of Rosemary Street's presbyterian churches visit, whilst the Internet Archive has a copy of Historic memorials of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast : prepared in connection with the centennial of its present meeting-house (1887) available for free at

For the history of Presbyterianism in Ireland, you can also read a handy account from 1867 at And don't forget the excellent four part BBC NI series An Independent People, telling the history of Ulster's Presbyterians and their links to Scotland, is available to watch on You Tube - the first part is at

We'll soon get ye learned...! :)