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New installation celebrates 50 years of the Europa as the heart of Belfast

Thursday, October 28, 2021.
The floor to ceiling display tells the story of Belfast, the fascinating history of the world-famous hotel and showcases artefacts including a letter from
50 YEARS OF THE EUROPA HOTEL…James McGinn, General Manager of the Europa Hotel is joined by colleagues Callum Dickson, Martin Mulholland, Lynsey Monaghan, Kyle Greer and Aine Finnegan as the world-famous hotel unveils a permanent lobby installation to celebrate its 50th birthday. Picture by Philip Magowan / PressEye

Northern Ireland’s most famous hotel, the Europa, has unveiled a permanent lobby installation to celebrate its 50th birthday.

The floor to ceiling display tells the story of Belfast, the fascinating history of the world-famous hotel and showcases artefacts including a letter from President Clinton, an interactive TV screen with video footage from over the last 50 years, quotes from well-known guests and a quiz giving people the chance to guess some of the celebrities who have stayed.

The iconic Europa Hotel sign, that can be seen across the city, has also been replicated for that perfect Instagram moment.   

Guests can look back at the famous Penthouse Poppets, find out why the Europa was often referred to as the ‘Hardboard Hotel’ and how much a pint of beer and a bedroom cost in 1971.  It also pays tribute to the late Sir William Hastings who had the vision to purchase the Europa at a time when so many would not.

The Europa has such a captivating history and we felt there was no better way to mark our 50th birthday than with a permanent installation to celebrate the story of this much-loved hotel,” said James McGinn, General Manager of the Europa Hotel.

The doors opened in 1971, in the midst of a worsening political and social situation as the Troubles gripped Northern Ireland, and it is still standing strong and thriving today.

The installation showcases lots of interesting snippets of information about the Europa over the last five decades and the important role it has played in the transformation of Belfast.

Celebrities such as Lionel Richie, Bono and even the Dalai Lama have visited the hotel and while it is no stranger to the stars, it is the regular visitors who fuel the Europa’s uniquely Belfast spirit.

It is very much the heart of Belfast city and is loved not only by visitors but by locals alike. Most weekends you will find a group of friends, now in their 80s and 90s, who have been coming here for tea for so long they’ve been affectionately dubbed ‘Our ladies’ – this encapsulates the sentiment of this special hotel and something that has been brought to life through the installation.

As part of the 50th birthday celebrations, the central finials down the front of the outside of the hotel have changed to golden, there is an exclusive golden Hastings Hotels duck and a special 1970’s menu and cocktails available.

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