Through the Drinking Glass


Sandy Row is one of the oldest residential districts in Belfast, and while it thrived through the early 20th Century, it is now facing difficulties integrating with the rapidly developing Belfast City Centre.

Gilpin’s brewery is the biggest building in the estate, and holds great significance within the community.  Over the years, it has reflected the evolving status of Sandy Row itself.

The exterior of Gilpin’s in 2016

Through the Drinking Glass explores the connection between Gilpin’s brewery and the community of Sandy Row, recreating sounds reminiscent of the time in which the brewery was at its peak.  Industrial style recordings are played through bottles and kegs, taking you back to Sandy Row’s most historically significant structure during its busiest time.

Over 30 closed shop fronts now line Sandy Row

In this composition, residents of Sandy Row recall vivid memories of everyday sights and sounds from Gilpin’s and its surrounding neighbourhood, as well as the positive impact the building had on the community.

Gilpin’s pictured when Sandy Row was a thriving part of Belfast

‘Gilpin’s is a site which hold much cultural and historical significance for the community as a whole… we would really like to see this site developed into an economic and cultural hub around which economic and physical renewal would be focused.’      Garnet Busby

Residents spoke of how they admired the look of the building before it went into disuse

This composition displays how sounds can evoke memories and feelings from the past and hopefully bring attention to the opportunity to revive the community through the renovation of the old Gilpin’s building.

The walls surrounding the area have caused the community feel even more isolated from the City Centre. Many believe that renovating the Gilpin’s building could reconnect Sandy Row with the rest of Belfast. 
‘Through the Drinking Glass’ Installation on display at Street Society 2016


Composition and Installation by Daniel Gillespie, Emily McCabe, Francesca O’Connor, Sarah Herald and Simon Howard.


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