About the Area


The Dublin Road was obviously the beginning of the route linking the two major cities of Ireland, Belfast and Dublin. This has now been superseded by the M1 starting from the outer end of the Donegal Road, the M1 being built 60 years ago through what was then known as the Bog Meadows, very wet bog land, and up till that time was virtually impassable for most of the year.

In past times the road to Dublin was from the City centre via Dublin Road, through Shaftesbury Square to Bradbury Place where there was a Toll Booth. The main roads 200 years ago were TURNPIKE or TOLL roads paid for by the tolls lifted en route. From Bradbury Place the road then ran through what is now University Road and then on to the Malone Road and so to Lisburn and from there on to  Dublin. This initial route from Belfast was selected because there is a sandy ridge running in that area, so the ground was drier and so passable at most times of the year.


Formerly Carr’s Row, the name is derived from the sandbank which abutted the road that followed the high water mark from the flow of tidal water of the Lagan River Estuary.


is a name also linked to white sand as in Ventry, County Kerry. Like Sandy Row it was also close to the sand bank.


The Earls of Donegall took the family title from NW Ulster, and again they were an influential family in the development of Belfast, hence the names Donegall Square, Donegall Place, Donegall Road and Donegall Pass. The names Arthur and Ann also come from the Donegall family.

At one time there was no link from Cromac Street, the Ormeau Road and what is now Ormeau Park via the wooded areas that were then a feature of the Dublin Road. The land around the Lagan River was used for grazing cattle. Lord Donegall agreed to wide Avenues or Passes through the woods to pass from one road to the other.   Donegall Pass is the only such road to retain the name Pass.


The Shaftesbury Family were English by birth, were noted for their philanthropic interests, and had developed a huge involvement with Ireland especially Belfast. Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, was Lord Lieutenant of Belfast from 1904 to 1911, Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1907 and Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast from 1909 to 1923. He donated Belfast Castle to the City in 1934.

Lord Shaftsbury


leads to the Botanic Gardens opened in 1828 as a private garden, only open to the public on Sundays. This was the situation until 1895 when it became a Public Park under the Belfast City Council.


Once called Mylone or Myllon, the plain of the lambs, this was once open grazing country and part of the main road from Belfast to Dublin.


This joins Bradbury Place to the Malone Road. Queen’s University Belfast was chartered in 1845 and opened in 1849 as Queen’s College. Until that time there was no University in the Northern part of Ireland and, for example, Medical Students could only train by going to Dublin, Scotland, London or continental Europe. From the mid 1820s Medical Students could begin their initial training in the Royal Belfast Academical Institution before moving elsewhere to finish such training. The establishment of the University in University Road changed all that.