• I think that only daring speculation can lead us further and not accumulation of facts. Albert Einstein

Visit the Belfast Castle



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, later to become 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.

The castle and its estate was presented as a gift to the City in 1934 and was used as a venue for wedding receptions and grand events until 1978 when the council started a major restoration programme. The project cost over two million pounds and took over ten years to complete.