Belfast Castle is set on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland in a prominent position 400 feet (120 m) above sea level. Its location provides unobstructed views of the city of Belfast and Belfast Lough.
The tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower. The tower was completed in 1858 and had its 150th anniversary on 31 May 2009, during which celebratory events took place. The tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom and is often in the establishing shot of films set in London.
The original Belfast Castle, built in the late 12th century by the Normans, was located in the town itself, flanked by the modern day High Street, Castle Place and Donegall Place in what is now Belfast city centre. This was the home of Sir Arthur Chichester, baron of Belfast, but was burned down in 1708, leaving only street names to mark the site. Rather than rebuild on the original site, the Chichesters decided to build a new residence in the city's suburbs, today's Belfast Castle emerging as a result. The building that stands today was built from 1811-70 by the 3rd Marquess of Donegall. It was designed in the Scottish baronial style by Charles Lanyon and his son, of the architectural firm Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon. After Donegall's death and the family's financial demise, the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury completed the house.
It was his son, the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, who presented the castle to the City of Belfast in 1934. In 1978, Belfast City Council began a major refurbishment over a period of ten years at a cost of over two million pounds. The architect was the Hewitt and Haslam Partnership. The building officially re-opened to the public on 11 November 1988.
Belfast Castles sits high above sea level and has a magnificent view of the entire area below. The grounds are lovely and the gardens are beautiful, especially the rose garden. The staff are very friendly and the gift shop is small but is filled with nice souvenirs and delicious Irish snacks. The castle was built 1811 -1870 by the Marquis of Donegal and in 1934 was given to the City by the Earl of Shaftesbury.
The City recently restored the Castle and now it is available for special events like wedding receptions. This would be the ideal place for a reception or party as the interior is nicely furnished and the views from both the building and the grounds are breathe taking. This was a great visit to a small well maintained castle.