A tour to Belfast Castle

April 2003

All pictures taken by my mother Svanhild

My parents visited me in Belfast during the 2003 Easter Holiday. They stayed for a week in Belfast and had a very special experience, according to themselves. Northern Ireland was just recovering from a 30 years long civil war and we visited a lot of the historic places. We also took a round around Belfast and ended up at Belfast Castle. This is the pictures from this round.

The round started with a ten minutes short walk up to the old and well renowned Queen's University.

The Queen's University

We had a sniff around the area and then took a ten minutes long taxi ride over Milltown Cemetery. This is where IRA and the republican organisations buried their dead volunteers during The Troubles. It is also the scene of the The Milltown Cemetery massacre in 1988 where 3 men was murdered during a funeral in a gun and hand grenade attack by Michael Stone. The whole event was recorded by television news cameras. I watched it back in Norway in 1988 and the memories of that attack always sends chills down my spine. My parents also remembered the attack vividly and they felt not comfortable at the graveyard. It is a haunting, desolate place. I was pretty happy when we left the place and went down the Falls Road towards the city centre.
After a long walk past fortified police stations, murals and other memorial plaques dedicated the republican losses during The Troubles, we then took another taxi the fifteen minutes long journey up to Belfast Castle.

Belfast Castle from the park

The building

Belfast Castle is more of a grand building than a castle. I did not see any fortifications there. The building itself has a museum and some nice rooms with ancient furnitures. It is much used for weddings and other events. Belfast Castle really dominates Belfast Lough and large parts of Belfast.

The view from the castle

As a viewpoint, Belfast Castle and it's surrounding garden/park is superb. There is also several (very steep) footpaths from Belfast Castle to Cavehill. I really liked Belfast Castle and I hope to be back soon.

Belfast Castle is highly recommended.