Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Crown

October 9
This pub, built in 1849, is the "jewel of Belfast".  I was given the complete history by one of the bartenders this morning before it opened and had a rare opportunity to take photos without an patrons.  Amazing details.  Much of the work was done by craftsman who moonlited from their day jobs for the Harland and Wolff ship builders, known for such great ships as the Titanic and the Brittanic.  It still has operational gas lighting and a distinctive ambience which includes stall type privacy seating where privileged patrons could cavort without being noticed.  There are cast iron columns, ceramic tile work, hand painted glass, wood carving and inlays all of which make for a uniquely preserved eclectic atmosphere.  There was one mirror that had been damaged by an IRA bomb in 1993, that the historic trust had pieced back together and reinstalled.  The fact that this building has survived in its practically original state is remarkable and makes it truly special and one of a kind.  Each stall is designated with a letter and has a bell ringer when service is required. 

Certainly must have been something to be a patron back in the glory days of the late 19th century when manufacturing had brought great wealth to the city.  The original owners were apparently Catholics, but the wife had decided to name the bar "The Crown" to offer deference to Queen Victoria in particular.  The street in front of the bar is after all named "Great Victoria Street" and the royal cortege once proceeded down it.

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