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Launch of new DVD “Belfast, Birth of a City”

01 September 2009

A unique new DVD telling the story of Belfast’s early history has been launched. “Belfast, Birth of a City” travels through 8,000 years, exploring how the second largest city on the island of Ireland has developed from an ancient ford over the river Lagan.

 "As far as we know, there has never been anything produced like this before," said local historian Joe Curran. "Belfast people have a real love of history so we were surprised when we began this project to discover that no one had done this before us."


Joe Curran and James Rea formed Belfast Bohemian Productions in 2008 and have worked for the past year to put this fascinating story together.


Using a combination of dramatised scenes, old photos and present day footage, Joe expertly narrates the development of Belfast from its prehistoric origins through to the beginning of the 19th century and the Act of Union when Belfast was on the cusp of becoming a major city.


The DVD describes Belfast’s development against the dramatic backdrop of the Plantation of Ulster, the Glorious Revolution and the United Irishmen's 1798 rebellion. The film has a wealth of fascinating details on the lives of the early townsfolk and it also sheds light on how the streets and entries in the oldest parts of the city came to be named.


“People love to learn more about Belfast’s colourful past.  For example, there is now no trace of the original Belfast Castle which was once a defensive stronghold for Norman knights guarding an ancient, strategic ford over the river Lagan. Streets such as Castle Place and Castle Lane echo the location of the old castle but this DVD actually shows what the castle probably looked like and what happened to it.”


Belfast Bohemian Productions plan to produce a second DVD continuing the history of Belfast from 1801 through the Victorian period up to 1888 when it finally became a city.


“We really want to encourage people to delve into the history of the city. The DVD isn’t meant to be an academic thesis but more an entertaining, informative insight into the early development of Belfast,” he added.


The DVD is available now; For more information go to or contact James Rea on 07734406125.