Mary Ann McCracken 250 Calendar of Events

To celebrate 250 years since the birth of the social reformer, activist and abolitionist Mary Ann McCracken, a series of events will be held across the city this June and July. For more information about these events, click on the calendar below.

Through the lens of Mary Ann: Clifton House & Cemetery Tour

Explore the links and legacies of the extraordinary Mary Ann McCracken, and her family, in the Poor House and beyond. This tour will encompass Clifton House & Clifton Street Cemetery as your tour guide explores her life.

Find out more »
£9.50
Clifton House, 2 North Queen Street
Belfast, BT15 1ES
+ Google Map

Through the lens of Mary Ann: Clifton House & Cemetery Tour

Explore the links and legacies of the extraordinary Mary Ann McCracken, and her family, in the Poor House and beyond. This tour will encompass Clifton House & Clifton Street Cemetery as your tour guide explores her life.

Find out more »
£9.50
Clifton House, 2 North Queen Street
Belfast, BT15 1ES
+ Google Map

Through the lens of Mary Ann: Clifton House & Cemetery Tour

Explore the links and legacies of the extraordinary Mary Ann McCracken, and her family, in the Poor House and beyond. This tour will encompass Clifton House & Clifton Street Cemetery as your tour guide explores her life.

Find out more »
£9.50
Clifton House, 2 North Queen Street
Belfast, BT15 1ES
+ Google Map

Mary Ann McCracken and the Influence of Mary Wollstonecraft, with Dr Myrtle Hill

Join us at the Linen Hall as we mark 250 years since the birth of the social reformer, philanthropist, radical, and one-time Linen Hall member, Mary Ann McCracken. Historian Dr Myrtle Hill will explore the influences of women’s rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft on Mary Ann, in particular her book A Vindication of the Rights of…

Find out more »
£5
Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North
Belfast, BT1 5GB United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Mary Ann McCracken character led tours of the Linen Hall Library

Step back in time with Mary Ann McCracken as she guides you around the historical Linen Hall Library with extraordinary tales of the past. Wednesday 24 June, 1pm • General Lending Desk, Linen Hall Library • £5 #MaryAnn250      

Find out more »
Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North
Belfast, BT1 5GB United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Mary Ann McCracken character led tours of the Linen Hall Library

Step back in time with Mary Ann McCracken as she guides you around the historical Linen Hall Library with extraordinary tales of the past. Thursday 25th June, 1pm • General Lending Desk, Linen Hall Library • £5 #MaryAnn250      

Find out more »
Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North
Belfast, BT1 5GB United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Writing Mary Ann: Creative Writing Workshop

Writing Mary Ann: Creative Writing Workshops inspired by Mary Ann McCracken, with creative writing facilitator Joan Carberry. Friday 26 June, 10am-12pm • Performance Area • £5 #MaryAnn250

Find out more »
£5
Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North
Belfast, BT1 5GB United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Writing Mary Ann: Creative Writing Workshop

Writing Mary Ann: Creative Writing Workshops inspired by Mary Ann McCracken, with creative writing facilitator Joan Carberry. Friday 26 June, 1-3pm • Performance Area • £5 #MaryAnn250

Find out more »
£5
Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North
Belfast, BT1 5GB United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Through the lens of Mary Ann: Clifton House & Cemetery Tour

Explore the links and legacies of the extraordinary Mary Ann McCracken, and her family, in the Poor House and beyond. This tour will encompass Clifton House & Clifton Street Cemetery as your tour guide explores her life.

Find out more »
£9.50
Clifton House, 2 North Queen Street
Belfast, BT15 1ES
+ Google Map

 

The Mary Ann McCracken Foundation

The Mary Ann McCracken Foundation was set up by Belfast Charitable Society (BCS) to celebrate Mary Ann’s life and to build on her legacy today. As a Belfast-born social reformer and activitist, Mary Ann McCracken made a huge contribution to life in Belfast, and beyond, including the Poor House, today known as Clifton House.

The Foundation has two main objectives:

• To advance education of the public about the life and works of Mary Ann McCracken, a leading social reformer and philanthropist.

• In the spirit of the legacy and work of Mary Ann McCracken; to advance education, to prevent or relieve poverty, to advance human rights and promote equality.

Who was Mary Ann McCracken?

Mary Ann McCracken was born in Belfast on 8 July 1770 to Captain John McCraken and Ann Joy. Mary Ann  had close family links to Belfast Charitable Society. Her uncle, Henry Joy, raised the money to construct the Poor House  and his brother, Robert, was responsible for managing the construction works. Her father also served on the Board.

Mary Ann McCracken was an abolitionist, social reformer and activist who fought for the rights of women and championed Belfast’s poor throughout a long life that encompassed the most turbulent years of Irish history. However, her legacy is overshadowed by her brother, Henry Joy McCracken – the executed United Irishman – despite outliving him by 68 years.

Through the Poor House Ladies Committee, she helped educate the children and secure apprenticeships that would provide them with livelihoods. Mary Ann was President of the Ladies Industrial School and campaigned to abolish the use of climbing boys in chimney sweeping. She was involved in early women’s suffrage campaigns and prison reform schemes. Mary Ann was also a life-long abolitionist founding the Belfast Women’s Anti-Slavery League. In her late eighties, she could still be found on the docks, handing out anti-slavery leaflets to emigrants embarking for the slave-owning United States.

The motto of this remarkable woman, which accurately sums up her character, was it is ‘better to wear out than to rust out’. But her radical, humanitarian zeal and generous strength of character were indefatigable, and her contribution to Belfast life is still felt and celebrated today.

Re-Published: The Life and Times of Mary Ann McCracken

The first major piece of work of the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation was republishing a revised edition of Mary Ann’s biography, The Life and Times of Mary Ann McCracken, 1770-1866, A Belfast Panorama (2019) by Mary McNeill. The Foundation believed the 250th anniversary of her birth was the right time to bring the story of this remarkable women to a wider audience. Author Mary McNeill was also a member of Belfast Charitable Society, and therefore this revised edition recognises both these women and their pivotal roles in the Belfast of their day.

The revised new edition (2019) of the classic biography of Mary Ann McCracken is available to purchase from Clifton House, home of the Belfast Charitable Society or online via Amazon.