£1m investment in Belfast historic buildings

Co-owners of Henry's & the Jailhouse Mark Beirne, left, and Jim Conlon
Co-owners of Henry's & the Jailhouse Mark Beirne, left, and Jim Conlon

An historic Belfast building which was the last holding place of Henry Joy McCracken before he was hanged in Cornmarket in 1798, is being revived as part of a £1m redevelopment set to bring 40 new jobs .

The building which adjoins McCracken’s Bar in Joy’s Entry off High Street has been derelict for many years.

Joy’s entry and its surrounding alleyways represent some of the oldest remaining parts of Belfast and they were the scene of a thriving residential and commercial community in the 17th Century.

McCracken’s has been a licenced premises since 1892 and the redevelopment will incorporate both the bar and the adjacent building where Henry Joy McCracken, whose family founded the News Letter, was held for two days before his execution as a member of the United Irishmen.

The redevelopment, will maintain the integrity of the site and will reflect its rich history and unique story, with ‘Henry’s’ replacing the existing bar and its adjoining building becoming the ‘Jailhouse’.

The project is being driven by Belfast entrepreneurs and publicans Mark Beirne and Jim Conlon.

“Having been involved in the redevelopment and transformation of a number of venues in Belfast over the last 20 years, this project is without doubt the most exciting,” said Mark.

“We see a unique opportunity to breathe new life into one of our City’s most memorable landmarks.”

Jim added: “It is incumbent upon us to do justice to the heritage of this venue and we are committed to maintaining the original architectural features while incorporating the vibrancy of 21st century Belfast.”