About Us

The Society was founded in 1821 to promote knowledge in the arts and  sciences and today provides a lecture programme based at the Old Museum Building, as well as a small publications programme.  It also supports research and publications about Ireland and Ulster’s cultural and material environment. The Society is custodian of one of Belfast’s finest neo-classical buildings, The Old Museum, in 7 College Square North and also has connections with the Ulster Museum, where its former collections are housed.  The Society provides a forum for debate on important cultural issues, reflecting the intellectual life of Belfast and Ireland.

Information from Secretary’s Report March 2014/2015

The Old Museum Building  

The steering committee continues to meet regularly to work primarily on our HLF application and to investigate other funding possibilities. Fortunately the building remains occupied by our tenant, Kids in Control.

DSD funding enabled the building frontage to be repainted as part of a city centre improvement scheme, in addition to the new railings and external lighting already installed.

Membership of the Society stands at approximately 150; new members joined in numbers at both the inaugural lecture and during the European Heritage Open Weekend in September 2014.

Publications Subcommittee. 

The late W.A.Maguire’s essay entitled Major General Ross and the Burning  of Washington has been republished in Familia , no 30/2014, in recognition of his long service to the Society. Our grateful thanks are due to Trevor Parkhill, council member and editor of Familia, for facilitating this tribute.



All lectures will take place at 6.30pm in the  Old Museum Building, College Square North,Belfast.


16th September  Dr Jim Bennett: “Thomas Romney Robinson: Science and Public Life in Nineteenth- Century Ireland

14th October  Dr David J. Asher:  ”Could an asteroid strike really happen ?”

11th November  Angélique Day:  ”Glimpses of Ireland’s Past: The mid-19th century Ordnance Survey in Ireland”.

9th December  Dr Jonathan Bardon: “Hallelujuah in Dublin: first performance of Handel’s Messiah”.


6th January  Paul Clements: “Romancing Ireland: Richard Hayward”.

10th February  Elizabeth McCrum: “Fashionable Dress in Belfast, from 1821 -1960″.

9th March  Professor David L. Livingstone: “John Tyndall, the British Association, and the Warfare of Science and Faith in Victorian Belfast”.

13th April  Professor Samuel J. Patterson: “The Riemann Hypothesis-The Murmuring of the Primes”.

May Outing 2016

To be advised

June Outing 2016

To be advised



The Society has agreed not to offer any further grants until the future of the building is secured.


Rosana Trainor, Honorary Secretary February 2015