I initially intended to have a joint post between Belfast Castle & Cave Hill (given they’re effectively joined at the hip) but we took just too many great photos that day so I’m putting them up on separate posts instead (Cave hill next).
Belfast Castle is set 400 feet above sea level on the slopes of Cave Hill overlooking the city of Belfast, in many ways its more of a grand house than an actual castle in my opinion. It was built in a Scottish baronial style with the main part of the building set over two floors and having semi circular round towers at the corners. Outside the castle has a sweeping stone staircase overlooking the formal gardens and park.
Belfast Castle is open to the public daily with a visitor centre, antiques shop and restaurant, for families the castle even has its own adventure playground. The castle can host both wedding receptions and civil ceremonies in one of its private rooms (we saw a young couple getting their instructions on the day we were there).
The original Belfast Castle was built in the city centre by the Normans in the 12th century and was home to the Baron of Belfast, Sir Arthur Chichester, who later became the Marquess of Donegal. The castle was burned down in 1708 and rather than rebuild it on the same site it was decided to build a new castle within the deer park on Cave Hill many years later.
The new castle was almost completed in 1870 but due to the rising costs of the building and the loss of the family fortune it was unfinished. It was the Marquess’ son in law, Lord Ashley 8th Earl of Shaftsbury, who paid for the castle to be completed and inherited it in 1884.
There are amazing views from the front of the castle across the entirety of Belfast Lough and the city. And on a clear day, Scotland can clearly be seen to the east.
A magnificent March morning at Belfast Castle. You can see the lough in the distance.
Maybe it should be renamed “Belfast Cats-le” as there are many cats dotted around the grounds. See how many you can find.
You can see the lovely outdoor spiral staircase of the building on the second pic here.
More cats (I think my focus went off target for the little brass guy oops).
And even more cats! Make sure you look under your feet too as there are mosaic pictures on the floor. The little cat at the red door has been placed in remembrance for Audrey Beggs “A Cat Lover” and the plaque here tells the tale of the good luck of the white Castle Cat. Miaow!
Relections on a castle window, and…. do you see the cloud haha? Its not been doctored in any way, and given the castle is used very regularly for weddings, imagine capturing THAT behind you in your wedding photos? 🙂