Belfast Castle is set on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park  400 feet above sea level with stunning views overlooking Belfast Lough. Belfast’s original Norman castle built in the 12th century in what is now the city centre. It was destroyed by fire in 1707 and is only remembered by the name ‘Castle Street’. Belfast remained without a castle until the 19th century until this one was built in 1870.  In 1863 the 3rd Marquis of Donegall, a descendant and heir of the Chistester family, decided to built himself a castle as a ‘suitable’ residence. The original budget was £11,000 and the Lanyon architectural firm was responsible for it’s plans and construction. It was inspired by Balmoral Castle and is a typical example of 19th century gothic revivalism called ‘Scottish Baronial. Typical features of this style are the cone-capped towers, the bartizans (towers perched half way up the building) and the ‘crow-stepped’ gables. During this Victorian era many buildings that called themselves ‘castles’ were really only exquisite mansions as a castle in it’s true sense was built for a defensive purpose.

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