Live out an almost regal fantasy by visiting Belfast Castle. This extraordinary mansion has plenty of stories to tell and is a dream venue for anyone planning a wedding, meeting, or other event. As well as hosting celebrations, the castle is also home to the wildly popular Candlelight series. Nothing quite compares to the way Candlelight’s sea of candles bounce off the historic walls during a live music performance.
If you have yet to behold Belfast Castle in all its glory, it is easily accessible from the M2 and from Belfast City Centre via the Antrim Road. You’ll also find plenty of parking on site (first-come first served basis). However, if you want to travel by bus, hop on the Translink Metro Bus Route 1 leaving from Upper Queen Street in Belfast city centre.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about Belfast Castle
1. Scottish baronial style
Considered to be one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful castles, Belfast Castle was built within the third Marquis of Donegall’s deer park. Architect John Lanyon completed the striking building in the Scottish baronial style. This type of architecture of 19th century Gothic Revival is inspired by medieval castles and tower houses. Characteristics of Scots baronial style include tourelles, conical roofs, and battlements with Machicolations.
2. The Shaftesbury family
After the death of the third Marquis of Donegall, the castle and its estate was passed on to the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, Lord Ashley. The Shaftesbury family were known for their generosity and are immortalised in many of Belfast’s street names, such as Donegall Place, Donegall Road, Donegall Square, and Shaftesbury Square.
3. Napoleon’s Nose?
McArt’s Fort sits atop Cave Hill and thanks to the imposing profile of the cliff, the land on which the fort sits is nicknamed ‘Napoleon’s Nose’ by locals. Looking up at the side of Cave Hill from a distance, the curve of Napolean Bonaparte’s becomes clear.
Candlelight concerts at Belfast Castle
Candlelight invites everyone to listen to some of their favourite music at an intimate concert in Belfast. A combination of thousands of flickering candles and the interiors of the castle creates an incomparable atmosphere. Whether you’re a fan of Vivaldi’s Four Season’s or contemporary hits, there is a Candlelight concert for every kind of music lover.
What else can you do at Belfast Castle?
Although the castle is undoubtedly a one-of-a-kind setting for celebrating a special occasion, there are other things attracting visitors. Follow a walking route and let the kids run free at the Cave Hill Adventurous Playground. While the Cellar Restaurant is currently closed, you can enjoy a meal at Castle Tavern. Tuck into a pancake stack or club sandwich after a long walk.
Be sure to keep an eye on their website for upcoming events such as Christmas Chronicles at the Castle or an evening with a Psychic Medium. The castle is open from 9am to 6pm every day and the visitor information centre is open to 5.30pm.
Attending a candlelit performance at this impressive venue is a unique experience. What’s more, the Candlelight series is also illuminating other venues across the city. Get to know some of Belfast’s finest venues under the glow of a new light thanks to Candlelight.