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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 19:02 GMT
Writer's Square is literary treasure
The Cathedral Quarter is being developed
The Cathedral Quarter is being developed
Northern Ireland's rich literary heritage has been officially recognised with the opening of a Writer's Square in Belfast.

The area in front of St Anne's Cathedral, known as the Cathedral Quarter, has been transformed into a new urban park and arts centre.

The developers, Laganside, worked with the Creative Writers' Network to come up with the design for the area, taking into consideration its vibrant cultural heritage.

As a result, quotations from 27 deceased Northern Ireland authors have been inscribed in stone at various points across the square.


The new public space will be an important environmental asset to the area, creating somewhere pleasant to walk and relax

Mike Smith
Laganside

They include the poet Lois MacNeice and John Hewitt, novelists Sam Hanna Bell and CS Lewis and playwright Stewart Parker.

It is the first in a series of environmental improvement schemes planned for the Cathedral Quarter by Laganside.

The company's chief executive Mike Smith said: "We have always maintained that in order to be successful, regeneration must be about much more than bricks and mortar alone.

"This project is a perfect example of that theory put into practice.

"The new public space will be an important environmental asset to the area, creating somewhere pleasant to walk and relax.

"It is also an exciting new venue for outdoor performances and it celebrates the artistic personality which is at the core of the character of Cathedral Quarter."

Enhanced

The square, which links Donegall Street and North Street, is capable of holding up to 1,000 people at outdoor events.

Mr Smith said the company looked forward to seeing the public enjoy the area's ambiance.

He said he felt sure the "literary inscriptions will ensure that Writer's Square is welcomed as somewhere to enjoy, and a place to gather inspiration rather than pass through."

The square, which faces St Anne's Cathedral, has pedestrian access from North Street and via Church Street.

Existing trees planted by Anglican bishops from all over the world have been carefully preserved and retained to enhance the new city park.

Quotations from Writer's Square

CS Lewis 1898-1963

And that night there was a great fest in Cair Parual, and revelry and dancing,

and gold flashed and wine flowed, and answering to music inside, but stranger, sweeter, and more piercing, came the music of the sea people.

Roy McFadden 1921-1999

Ballyhackamore; Later my grief, and my pocketed love.

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