26 Aug Belfast Castle, County Antrim
The Scottish Baronial pile that stands on the lower slopes of Cave Hill was begun in 1862 and completed in 1870, to replace Belfast’s earlier castles that had burnt down in the 12th and 18th centuries. It was designed by W.H. Lynn for the 3rd Marquis of Donegall, and obviously with Scotland’s Balmoral very much in mind.
A tower of six storeys dominates the building, and an elaborate staircase, added in 1894, winds upwards from attractive formal gardens. Inside the castle, the oak-panelled rooms, ornate fireplaces and a grand ballroom echo he lifestyle of the previous owners, including the 9th Lord Shaftesbury, who was Belfast’s Lord Mayor in 1907. Lord Shaftesbury presented the Castle and grounds to the city in 1934.
Belfast Castle is a must see on your tours of Ireland.