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Parliament Buildings - A Journey of People, Politics and Peacebuilding

The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission has launched a new permanent display of items and images in Parliament Buildings. The images and items on display reflect on a complex history, highlighting some of the significant events that have occurred over the years. 

This page only has room for a snapshot of what you can see and there are 100 images and items on display in the Great Hall through to the Assembly and Senate Rotundas. Whether you are interested in the history of this building or our political process, we hope you enjoy this look at the life of Parliament Buildings from 1921 to the present day.

You do not need to be part of a tour to come to Parliament Buildings to view the displays. The building is open to the public from 9:00am to 4:00pm each weekday exluding public and bank holidays.

Caption: The opening of Parliament Buildings in 1932

Parliament Buildings – A Journey of People, Politics and Peacebuilding includes a range of original and copy portraits, photographs, items and storyboards, that document the key figures and events linked to the parliamentary and political institutions here since 1921.

The display is open to the public and includes portraits and images of major figures from all political perspectives and key events from the Northern Ireland Parliament and subsequent legislatures, from 1921 onwards. 

A number of figures are being depicted in Parliament Buildings for the first time and a number of items owned by the Assembly Commission are being moved out of storage or non-public areas. The portraits of former First Ministers, deputy Speakers and Speakers have also been relocated to the Great Hall.

What's on display

Around 100 different images and items are now on display in Parliament Buildings. These include key figures from the original Northern Ireland Parliament such as all six unionist Prime Ministers, nationalist and republican leaders and representatives from the smaller parties. 

 

Portrait of James Craig, Lord Craigavon (1871-1940)  First Prime Minister in the Northern Ireland Parliament.

Portrait of Arthur Griffith (1871-1922)
He was one of the founding members of Sinn Féin. He was elected in 1921 to the Northern Ireland House of Commons as the MP for Fermanagh and Tyrone.

Portrait of Dehra Chichester, nee Kerr Fisher (Later known as Dame Dehra Parker) (1882-1963). First female Cabinet Minister to be appointed in Northern Ireland in 1949.

Portrait of Michael Collins (1890-1922)
Elected in 1922 to the Northern Ireland House of Commons, representing Armagh.

Portrait of John Millar (JM) Andrews (1871-1956) Second Prime Minister of the Northern Ireland Parliament

Portrait of Joe Devlin (1871-1934)
Led the Irish Parliamentary Party between 1918-1921 and the Nationalist Party from 1928-1934. Elected to the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921 for Belfast West.

Key moments in history...

The Northern Ireland Parliament was officially opened by King George V on 22 June 1921. The Parliament first met in Belfast City Hall and then re-located to Union Theological College in South Belfast while a dedicated Parliament building was being constructed (Parliament Buildings was opened in 1932).
In 1998 David Trimble and John Hume, were jointly awarded the Noble Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway for their work in negotiating the Good Friday/ Belfast Agreement.  The award symbolised the recognition given to the Agreement as an international treaty.
On 1 July 1998, David Trimble and Seamus Mallon were nominated and elected First Minister and Deputy First Minister designates respectively. On 2 December 1999, power was devolved and Trimble and Mallon formally took office.
On 13 October 2006, the St Andrews Agreement was reached following extensive negotiations in St Andrews Scotland, between the British and Irish Governments, and the political parties in Northern Ireland. The Agreement set out a framework for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland. On 26 March 2007, DUP leader, Ian Paisley and President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, held their first meeting in the Long Gallery of Parliament Buildings to confirm that their parties would enter into a power-sharing government together.

Key items on display...

Maces are a common feature in many parliaments across the world. These two silver Maces displayed were specifically commissioned for the Northern Ireland Parliament (1921-1972), and bear the Red Hand of Ulster motif. 

In June 1986, police were called to Parliament Buildings when Democratic Unionist Party politician Ivan Foster seized the Mace in an attempt to prevent the official ceremonial closure of the then Northern Ireland Assembly taking place. 
This indenture (deed or ageement) shows the purchase of Stormont Castle and surrounding lands for the purpose of making provision for the accommodation of a Parliament in Northern Ireland.

When the Northern Ireland Parliament was established in 1921, the first Government commissioned Sir Arnold Thornley to design a permanent home for the Parliament.  Parliament Buildings was officially opened by HRH Prince of Wales, Edward VIII on 16 November 1932. 

Viewing the display

This page only has room for a snapshot of what you can see and there are 100 images and items on display in the Great Hall through to the Assembly and Senate Rotundas. There are public tours of Parliament Buildings running at 11.00am and 2.00pm Monday through Friday. You can book tickets for the tours by using the "Book Your Tour" button below.

However, you do not need to be part of a tour to come to Parliament Buildings to view the displays. The building is open to the public from 9:00am to 4:00pm each weekday exluding public and bank holidays.

Public Tours of Parliament Buildings

Useful information for Visitors to Parliament Building

Public
Tours

11.00am and 2.00pm Monday through Friday (excluding Public and Bank holidays). Book your tickets using this link.

Planning your visit to Parliament Buildings

Directions, public transport options, and car parking to help you plan your visit to Parliament Buildings. Follow this link for more information.

Disability
Access

Wheechair access to Parliament Buildings is via ramps at the front, east and west entrances. Parking for blue badge holders is available in the upper car park. Please phone 028 9052 1900 to ensure availability before your visit.