Belfast Castle: A 12th Century Icon of Northern Ireland Culture and Tradition
As the name suggest, Belfast Castle can be found
in Northern Ireland in Ulster Province's Antrim County. Although Belfast Castle
is part of Northern Ireland, it is less than two hours from Dublin Airport by
You'll head north on the A1 for about an hour, and then you'll cross the
national border into Northern Ireland, following the M1 for about 45 minutes
before turning onto Lansdowne Road right to the castle's parking lot.
Things to Know About Belfast Castle
Here are some fun facts about this amazing Irish landmark. Hopefully they will entice you to pay a visit in person!
But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-loved attractions in Ireland.
- Arguably one of the
best-known castles in Ireland is Belfast Castle, built by the Normans in the
late 12th century.
- The castle is an iconic
symbol of the city of Belfast and of County Antrim, and it is referenced in
local art, pop culture and song.
- Today, the castle is often
used for events and weddings, but visitors can also stop by for a meal at the
onsite restaurant, tour the visitor's center and pick up some unique souvenirs
from the antiques shop located right inside the castle.
- Belfast Castle is located on the slopes of Cave Hill Country Park. Cave Hill is a natural landmark in Belfast that boasts five caves.
- If you're visiting the castle, you'll also want to explore Cave Hill. Natural rock formations like Napoleon's Nose and the White Stone are archeological monuments of historic significance.
- The Castle dates back to the 12th century. Originally, it was located right in the heart of downtown Belfast, overlooking what is now the high street.
- In 1708, the original Castle burned down. When it was rebuilt, construction began in the new location at Cave Hill.
- The current version was built between 1811 and 1870. Construction was overseen by the owner and resident during that time, the 3rd Marquess of Donegall.
- By the early 20th century, financial ruin meant that the Donegall family needed to sell the house. The new owner, the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, gifted the castle to the City of Belfast in 1934.
- Major refurbishment of the castle took place in the late 1970s. The Belfast City Council took major pains to ensure that the castle was historically accurate and safe for millions of visitors.
- If you want to upgrade your visit, you can dine at the onsite restaurant. The Cellar Restaurant is open daily, but it is best known for its marvelous Sunday roast lunches.
- While you're in the area, you might also want to check out the Belfast Zoo. The zoo is located within the Cave Hill Country Park, putting it just next to the castle.
- Visitors should start in the basement, where there is plenty of information about the castle. Then, head upstairs to explore the rest of the property, including the gardens, on a self-guided tour.
You can find more information at the official website here.
Want More Irish Castles?
It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish castles! The Emerald Isle is dotted with hundreds of these incredible structures.
Sharing pictures and stories about them gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!
We have captured the most amazing pictures and descriptions of Irish castles in an e-book we call "An Illustrated Guide to Irish Castles and Abbeys."
This fun, free guide is available to you to download. Answer two quick questions below to get instant access!
Then please send us a note or connect with us on Facebook, and let us know what you think!
That Was Fun! Where Can I Learn More?
Great question! As you can see, exploring the castles of Ireland offers many opportunities
for enjoying an Irish experience and expressing your personal Irish
For more information of this kind, you might pay a visit to our section on Ireland Sightseeing here!
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