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Linenopolis, the Flax and the Linen Heritage of Belfast

27th September 2023 – 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm



Between 1870 and 1914 Belfast was the city at the heart of Ireland’s undisputed reputation as the home of linen production. This reputation earned it the name ‘Linenopolis’. In this illustrated talk you will hear more about the importance of linen to the growth of the city, the plant which provided the yarn to weave the linen and the buildings where the cloth was made, embellished, and traded. The creativity and hard work of so many people lives on in references to flax and linen on the magnificent facades of some of the cities’ buildings. 

About Fiona McKelvie

Textile specialist Fiona McKelvie has had a career in textiles for more than 30 years, much of that time with Liberty of London. Originally from Belfast, she has a particular interest in Irish Linen, collecting since the 1970s.  Fascinated by the history and heritage of the industry Fiona has spent many years researching the connections and legacy of Irish linen, flax and textiles.  In 2013, she launched her website, specialising in the sale of antique and vintage Irish linens. She has contributed to the British Textile Biennial via the Cloth Cultures podcast with Amber Butchart and worked closely with R-Space Gallery in Lisburn on the heritage aspects of the first Northern Ireland Linen Biennale in 2018. She has recently returned from London to live permanently in Co Down.

About the Linen Biennale  

The Linen Biennale Northern Ireland makes its much-anticipated return in August 2023. The themes of this year’s event, Renew & Revive, seamlessly intertwine as the organisers strive to deepen the understanding and admiration for the timeless legacy of flax and linen. Participants will explore the enduring value of these materials in the present and their potential significance in the future. Proudly brought to you by R-Space Gallery, the Linen Biennale Northern Ireland promises to be a captivating celebration of art, history, and culture. Find out more.


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27th September 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


The Linen Hall
17 Donegall Square North
Belfast, BT1 5GB United Kingdom


The Linen Hall
+44 (0)28 9032 1707
View Organiser Website

Booking is essential for all events including free events. All event tickets are non-refundable. Please view our Customer Service Policy.