#IXD302 – Hill Street Research

Before I even think about creating a proposal I need to look at Hill Street as a whole and find out as much information as I possibly can about the area which includes history, culture businesses, etc. In order to conduct a knowledgeable and informed proposal.

First of all, what is Hill Street?

Hill Street is a tightly-knit street located in the Cathedral Quarter section of Belfast. It is a major commercial in Belfast bolstering a diverse range of businesses. It finds itself in profound succusses due to its close proximity to Belfast city centre.


Located at the junction with Waring Street. In the 17th century, the street was originally called pott-house lane referring to the pottery works that was located at the junction to Hill Street. By the 1790’s it was then known as Foundry Lane, after Stewart Hadski’s iron foundry which was the first of its kind in Belfast. This information can be found on an iron placard located at the entrance of Hill Street. Many of the buildings that can be seen throughout Hill Street retain their original and restored appearance thus prescribing an old essence onto the street. The cobblestone road also furthers this essence although it was a modern additive. Additionally, the now bar/restaurant ‘The Dirty Onion’ is Belfast’s oldest building, dating back to 1780. The building still shows remnants of its history bearing a giant red painted ‘N’ on the bricks of the building (this references its old name Stack N). However, the street remained relatively quiet until the past recent decades where it has undergone massive commercial developments.


Many opportunities and leisurely activities reside on Hill Street. They have all been incorporated to nurture the essence of Hill Street through a mix of old and modern styles. An example of this is yet again is The Dirty Onion which takes on a modern identity while retaining a sense of a traditional Irish Pub through redefined European architecture (This is similar to the cobblestone streets). Many business and street displays often promote very modernist and progressive values, this can be seen via LGBTQ flags/events (black box) or art displays such as ‘Still Waters’ representing past societal tensions.


Hill Street is no stranger to events it boasts a wide range of outdoor out displays, live gigs at Harp Bar & other venues. However, The Black Box offers numerous and frequent unique live performances accessed via tickets. Additionally, tours, flash mobs and parades are also hosted in this street creating a more lively and unique experience.


The Businesses

There is a variety of businesses on Hill Street that all offer unique and quality experiences. In order to get first-hand experience of what Hill Street is all about I decided to take a trip there one afternoon to capture the look of the street.

Below shows some of the photos I took while venturing through Hill Street:

My Experience 

In order to understand what Hill Street has to offer, I will mention what I felt while walking through Hill Street.

Accessing Hill Street can be tricky enough unless you know where it is as it is in an awkwardly located part of town. As soon as I walked into the street I was met by a variety of eateries, bars, businesses and shops. Each with their own individual identity as some had modern LED neon lights while some looked old and boutique while others retained the best of both worlds. Although old, the buildings were engulfed with artistic displays on every turn embodying the essence of the street further. The narrow cobblestone street made me feel like I was somewhere foreign yet futuristic at the same time. Although, I could be biased on this one as I love old cobblestone streets. All businesses felt like they had a connection with each playing a unique and profound role in the identity of the street.


Businesses in Hill Street


The Thirsty Goat


The Dirty Onion and Yardbird


44 Hill Street

Toast Office

Established Coffee

Hill Street Hatch



A mixture of elegant, modern and high-end alcoholic establishments.

The Black Box

The Muddlers Club Restaurant

Harp Bar

Friend At Hand (Off-licence)


The Dirty Onion



A variety of quality businesses including media, law and construction. 

IN2 Design Engineering Limited

Beannchor Limited

Quigg Golden Limited

A V Browne Ltd

Apex Pictures

Visual Narrative Ltd

Jetta Lazza

John MacMahon & Co



A diverse range of leisurely and fun activities

Flow Studio – Yoga

Outburst ARTS Festival


The People 

Hill Street contains a variety of high-end and modern businesses that mainly cater to adults.

The area hosts a wide range of diverse bars and nightclubs that attract both a young and mature audience alike such as the Black Box and The Harp Bar. Many high-end restaurants such as forty-four offer a more luxurious and expensive audience while The Thirsty Goat can attract a casual audience. Although most businesses are for a mature audience the modern art displays and events can attract families both young and old alike.


Understanding what Hill Street is about is a must when creating a proposal on Hill Street. However, researching this location allows me to understand more about what goes on thus ultimately allowing me to talk with a clear and professional understanding about Hill Street.






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