North of Ireland hiking tour – Day 1

Start in Belfast, joining meeting at 10:30am

Finish at 12:00, check in or store bags then go for lunch

Drive to Cavehill (20mins, 5miles) & start hike

The tour begins today in the beating heart of Northern Ireland, Belfast. Belfast has been the capital of Northern Ireland since 1921. Belfast came to prominence in the 18th century during the industrial revolution with linen, tobacco and most famously; ship building being some of its most famous exports.

From the 1970s – 1990s Belfast went through violent times, Catholic Nationalists and Protestant Unionists along with the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary were engaged in war over civil rights and religion. However, Belfast is now a fantastic, safe place to visit, beaming with friendly citizens, shops and nightlife!

Today’s hike starts at Belfast Castle and Cavehill Country Park, the current castle was constructed in the 1862 by the Third Marquis of Donegall and rewards visitors with panoramic views across Belfast City and Belfast Lough.

The hike takes us up through beautiful mature woodland and onto the exposed basalt cliffs above. Cavehill is so called due to the 5 caves carved by man into the rock and these have been used by people for shelter throughout the ages. We hike past McArts Fort, thought to be named after Brian McArt, a prominent Irish military general that fought against the English during the Nine Years War of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

We follow the trail across the top of the mountain and back down through the woodland to the bus. Dinner tonight included

Hike: Takes approx 2-4hours, 3.2miles, Elevation gain 815ft, Route Type Circular, Walking is on gravel trail and path, Driving 40mins total