26th March 2023: 2.00pm

Artists and Activists: The Cathedral Quarter Changemakers’ Walking Tour
Take a guided walk around Belfast’s historic centre, now known as the Cathedral Quarter, to look at artworks and emblems that speak to the campaigning work of some of our changemakers across the years. These few streets bear witness to artists and activists from the 17th century to more recent days who have helped to bring about change, across many policy areas.

On an entertaining two-hour tour you will explore the area’s historic entries, open squares and historic buildings to examine sculptures, street art, written words and plaques. Your guide will help you to interpret what these works reveal. For example, the group will be introduced to Thomas McCabe who prevented Belfast from becoming a slave trading port in 1786; John Hewitt, a 20th century poet and campaigner for social change; members of a long-ago secret society; and Belfast’s ‘Godfather of Punk’.

On this new walking tour your guide will help you to see and appreciate more of what is in plain sight on our streets. This area, the heart of old Belfast town, is steeped in the history of those who wanted to bring about change. Your guide will also help you to interpret what is revealed by its sculptures and other public artworks, street art, commemorative plaques and written words.

Starting from Belfast’s oldest church, the group will take stroll down narrow entries, cross open squares, view historic buildings, examine street art and sculptures, learn the historical significance of some place names, and end beside one of the Cathedral Quarter’s lively pubs that is owned by a charity.

The entertaining ‘Artists and Activists’ tour will:

  • Introduce you to Thomas McCabe, an 18th century liberal Presbyterian who prevented Belfast from becoming a slave trading port.
  • Show you a statue of James Larkin, a key figure in the early trade union movement, who led Belfast’s major 1907 dock strike to improve working conditions.
  • Stop at Belfast’s contemporary music hub and explain how it came about.
  • Let you read words engraved on a square by a well-known 20th century poet and passionate social justice campaigner, John Hewitt.
  • Help you find some of the area’s major street art works and think about what they mean.
  • Point out where a secret society met in the 18th century to campaign for political change and equality and who some of its members were.
  • Indicate where Belfast’s ‘Godfather of Punk’ recorded songs important to Belfast’s punk music scene.

The tour will be led by Dolores Vischer of Creative Tours Belfast, a qualified Belfast Green Badge Tourist Guide.

Please arrive outside First Presbyterian Church, Rosemary Street, five minutes before the start time. Come prepared for all weather and to walk up to 1.5 miles, including on several cobbled streets. Age 14+.

Learn more:  creativetoursbelfast.com • Twitter • Instagram 

date & time

date & time

Sun. 26th March
Duration: 2 hours



Meet outside First Presbyterian Church, Rosemary St.




book tickets

Tickets for this event can be booked below, or on the event’s Eventbrite page.