The Lisburn Road is now an extension of the "Golden Mile" with many shops, boutiques, wine bars, restaurants and coffee houses. The road runs almost parallel to the Malone Road, the two being joined by many side roads. It has established itself as an exclusive shopping destination within Northern Ireland. It is a busy traffic route without much strong architectural character. Most of the housing is made up of red-brick terraces, some with alterations. Some buildings along the road, however, are considered to be architecturally important and interesting.
Just beyond the most northerly end of the Lisburn Road lies Shaftesbury Square, a busy traffic junction which until 2010 featured a large TV screen billboard, prompting The Rough Guide To Ireland to dub it "a poor man's Time Square". Lisburn Road itself begins at the nearby Bradbury Place and runs to Balmoral Avenue, beyond which it becomes Upper Lisburn Road. The Upper Lisburn Road extends south to reach Finaghy, at which point it becomes Kingsway and then in Dunmurry it becomes Queensway, before finally becoming the Belfast Road in Lisburn.
The first record of the development of the Lisburn Road was when a property developer offered land for development 'West of the Lisburn Road' on 6 April 1813. His advert was placed in The News Letter on that date. The track that initially existed here developed and expanded, until pressure grew for a faster turnpike road to Dublin, to avoid the Malone Road hills and valleys. During 1817–1819 this road improvement scheme was implemented. The post office and toll booth stood, conveniently, at Shaftesbury Square, and presumably served both turnpike roads. At the top of Tate's Avenue, on the Lisburn Road side of the junction a second booth was in existence in 1857. One year later the toll business was abandoned, as the trains had taken over. Shopping habits have changed and the shopping population has moved from Shaftesbury Square, along the Lisburn Road.
Lisburn Road attracted shops and the nearby Malone Road was left residential. In the past, it was a predominantly working class area, but over the past 15 years it has developed into a cosmopolitan area. This is mainly due to the proximity of Queen's University, and a high number of expensive shops and restaurants. The Belfast City Hospital and the Queen's University Medical Biological Centre are also located on the road. The relative absence of sectarianism and the influx of many overseas nationals such as Chinese, Indians and Africans have all contributed to multinational population growth in the area.
In June 2009, having had their windows broken and deaths threats made against them, twenty Romanian Romani families were ejected from their homes in Lisburn Road. Up to 115 people, including women and children, were forced to seek refuge in a local church hall after being attacked. They were later moved by the authorities to a safer location. As a result of petty thefts gypsies were told to leave, they spent one night at QUB Elms Village at a cost of 40 pounds per room. Following the arrest of three local youths in relation to the attacks, the church where the Romani people had been given shelter was badly vandalised. Niall Colton and Kevin Briggs, who both attended QUB at the time of the attack, received police cautions after admitting vandalism of the Church. Police however stated that the vandalism was not racially motivated.
Notable landmarks along Lisburn Road include:
- Drumglass Park, Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 6JF
- Belfast City Hospital
- The Samaritan Hospital, Belfast
- Methodist College Belfast (which also fronts the Malone Road)
- Belfast Chinese Christian Church
- Windsor Park football ground
- King's Hall, Belfast (Exhibition and Concert Venue)
- Belfast Hypnotherapy Centre
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- "Racist attacks on Roma are latest low in North's intolerant history". irishtimes.com. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2009.
- Morrison, Peter; Lawless; Selva, Meera; Saad, Nardine; Wolfe Murray, Alina (17 June 2009). "Romanian Gypsies attacked in NIreland". guardian.co.uk. Associated Press. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
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