The 17th-century Market House, with 19th and 20th century additions.
© Copyright ILC&LM.
Welcome to the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum. Originally a museum focusing on the local history of Lisburn and the Lagan Valley, the museum expanded in 1994 with the opening of the Irish Linen Centre.
The Museum and its collections are housed in the old Market House, an late seventeenth-century building, since heavily modified. The town’s merchants sold their wares and produce and sought shelter in and around the ground floor of the building, and John Wesley preached here in 1756 and 1789. The first floor Assembly Rooms played an important role in the social and political life of Lisburn, hosting regular soirees, balls, dance classes and political meetings throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
The surrounding Market Place was first laid out in Sir Fulke Conway’s plan of the town in the 1620s, and was the later site of the city’s bustling linen market. Here weavers sold vast quantities of brown, unbleached, linen. William of Orange, on his way to the Boyne, ‘took refreshments’ in Market Place in 1690, while United Irishmen swung from gallows erected here following the unsuccessful rebellion of 1798. At an entry just off nearby Castle Street, James Wallace installed Ireland’s first steam engine, from Watt’s factory in Glasgow, in 1790.