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Home > 7 Must Visit Art Galleries in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s art scene is thriving. From the famous Belfast Murals to the evolving landscape of contemporary art spaces in Londonderry, there are so many places worth checking out for art fans. If you’re after a bit of culture on your Irish vacation, be sure to add a few art exhibitions to your itinerary. Here are 7 of the best galleries to visit when you’re in Northern Ireland.


Located in the city’s Cultural Quarter, The MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) is one of the most prestigious galleries to visit whilst in Belfast. This venue incorporates three different galleries in one, spread across six floors within its contemporary building. Inside, you’ll find a fine mix both of local and international talent, as well as theatre, shows and events for the whole family. If you’re traveling on a budget, this venue is ideal as there’s free entry every day of the week.


This gallery was founded in 1983 by a group of local photographers. Their aim was to create a space where they could engage with the local community and tell their story through the medium of photography. The venue houses contemporary collections, as well as an image archive taken of the Troubles. For anyone interested in learning more about Northern Ireland’s recent past, this is a great place to come.


If you’re staying over in Derry, make sure you pop into VOID on Patrick Street. This artist-led contemporary art venue boasts two gallery spaces, six studios, and learning and education space, and a conference room. It is located less than a 10-minute walk from the historic City Walls and the Peace Bridge. It’s also just around the corner from The Quay, making it the perfect gallery to include in a day of sightseeing.


The Centre for Contemporary Art on Artillery Street is one of the premier galleries in the city. There are rolling exhibitions throughout the year, as well as workshops, talks and seminars. The art space supports emerging talent, and many of the featured artists have a connection with the local region, so the pieces you see will be wonderfully unique and meaningful.


For something completely different to the classic art galleries we all know, head over to Catalyst Arts at College Court in Belfast. If you prefer traditional landscapes, this may not be for you. But if you appreciate abstract concepts and experimental genres, this simply cannot be missed. The gallery is run by volunteers and features unique exhibitions, like nothing you’ve seen before.


Set within Buildings Eighty81, the former army barracks, this creative media venue focuses on the moving image, photography and digital arts. This gallery space is the only climate-controlled venue in the entire city, and it hosts numerous events across the year. It is open from Tuesday to Saturday (11am-5pm), and every Sunday (1-6pm).


The Golden Thread Gallery is Northern Ireland’s leading venue for contemporary visual arts. It features both international and local works, and has hosted collections from top artists over the years. Names include as Colin Darke, Locky Morris and Paul Seawright representing Northern Ireland talent, as well as world-renowned artists such as Tracey Emin, Delcy Morelos and William Kentridge. It is located in the Cathedral Quarter of the city, and there is public parking 30 meters away from the gallery.


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