Belfast Charitable Society to host Christmas Tours

Some things haven’t changed at Christmas in Belfast that’s according to Paula Reynolds, Chief Executive of Belfast Charitable House.  

With Clifton House, the home of Belfast’s first charitable society, opening its historic doors this December to host a series of unique tours telling the history of ‘Christmas in the Poor House,’ Paula Reynolds explains what is taking place: “Poverty and need still exist in today’s society but likewise so does the generosity of people; that hasn’t changed either. 

“The work that we do in the Belfast Charitable Society incorporates philanthropic giving and it’s easy to see why given many of the generous acts in years gone by. We’ll be telling their stories and others in Christmas Tours at Clifton House in the coming weeks.” 

Running for two weeks from 12th December to 20th December, the Poor House Tours explore how the festive period was celebrated by the residents of Clifton House since the doors opened in 1774. 

Paula continued: “You can see what life would have been like in the Poor House for yourself as our experienced tour guides bring those days to life. They’ll be using original research from the archives to tell the real stories of the people responsible for bringing festive cheer into the house in the mid 1800s. 

“Being able to tell the stories of ‘Christmas in the Poor House’ this December is a privilege. The Belfast Charitable Society is such an integral part to the history of Belfast, it is always wonderful to be able to tell these factual stories to those who are interested in this era, Clifton House and its place in history. 

“Life and indeed Christmas was very different in the mid 1800s but thankfully there were good people, like Mr Murray Suffern, who would offer entertainment and Christmas dinner at his own expense and even attend the dinner too. We have one letter from 1852 detailing a dinner of roast beef and plum pudding with ale and a supper of tea to be given to the inmates at a cost of £14 17/6. 

“There is much information about the Poor House and its activities around this time and our professional and knowledgeable tour guides will ensure you are submerged in the history of the building you tread in. I would encourage everyone to come along and learn about a very different Christmas.”

Learn about the Christmas celebrations in the Poor House, about life as one of the most underprivileged citizens of society during the Irish Famine, and about some historic traditions that continue to this very day in this fascinating tour that takes you through the Georgian, Victorian and modern eras of history in a Poor House in Belfast. 

The tours will take place at Clifton House every Thursday and Friday (12th, 13th, 19th, 20th available) in December at 3pm at a cost of £6.50. For more information or to book, call 028 9099 7022 or email[email protected]. Please note that due to demand, booking for the Christmas Tours is essential.

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