Northern Ireland War Memorial

Situated in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter beside St. Anne’s Cathedral, the Northern Ireland War Memorial is an Accredited Museum which is a ‘must see’ for anybody with an interest in Northern Ireland’s role in the Second World War. The museum tells the story of the Belfast Blitz in 1941, the Ulster Home Guard, the role played by women in the war and the presence of US Forces from 1942 to 1944.

The centre-piece is a large bronze by John Sherlock of a mother and daughter escaping the blitz. A memorial screen recalls the names of over 1000 people who lost their lives in the Belfast Blitz.

The gallery is open Monday to Friday from 10:00am to 4:30pm.
Free Admission.


Visit the Museum to learn about ...

The Blitz
Visit the War Memorial to see objects from the Belfast Blitz. You can view a scrolling list of the names of those who were killed and also listen to audio recordings of people recalling their memories of the raids in April and May 1941.

Ulster Home Guard
After the fall of France in 1940, the United Kingdom braced itself for invasion.

This led to the formation of the Ulster Home Guard.  Men between the ages of 17 and 70 were encouraged to join. Towns and villages across the country formed companies and platoons.

By October 1939 over 27,000 had enlisted.  The Ardglass platoon had two French 75mm guns left over from the Great War to defend the airfield at Bishops court.  Later members of the Londonderry battalion were trained to man the anti-aircraft guns at the mouth of the Foyle.

Women of Ulster
There were a number of munition factories in Belfast. Mackies on the Springfield Road employed 4,000 women in making shells, ammunition and bomb components.

In the textile factories, women manufactured thousands of uniforms, parachutes and camouflage nets for the armed services. It is estimated that 90% of all shirts required for war effort were made in Londonderry.

The Civil Defence Service employed women in the operations rooms. Many thousands served in the Red Cross, St John Ambulance Brigade and Civil Defence Nursing Reserve.

Women joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) and served with the armed forces in war theatres overseas and at home. Members of the WAAF helped to staff the RAF operations room at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. Members of the WRNS ran a shore-to-ship signal station at Belfast Castle and were responsible for briefing convoy commanders in Belfast Lough. There were 300 WRNS in Derry. Women serving in the ATS operated searchlights at coastal defence sites like Magilligan.

The Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) helped families who were the victims of the Blitz. They clothed 7,000 people and served 70,000 meals after the Easter Tuesday air raid.

Women from churches and community groups ran canteens, organised dances and sent comfort parcels to soldiers.

American Presence
Part of the original War Memorial Building on Waring Street was named the Hall of Friendship in honour of the close bonds formed between the US Soldiers and people of Northern Ireland in World War Two. When the War Memorial moved to the new building on Talbot Street the main exhibition area was also named the Hall of Friendship in order to continue to honour the link. Come and learn more about the American Presence in Northern Ireland.

Objects on display include ‘A Pocket Guide to Northern Ireland’ which was given to every US Serviceman. It contains information about Irish customs and manners, differences in language and politics and advice about Irish girls.


Temporary Exhibitions
Temporary displays and exhibitions ensure that regular visitors will always see something different.
Visit our website to keep up to date with temporary exhibitions.

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