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Belfast Castle marks 90 years as a gift to the city

Date: 18 Apr 2024

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Ryan Murphy was joined by Mia Kingston and Cailen McMullan from Ben Madigan Prep School at Belfast Castle to mark 90th celebrations

One of Belfast’s most iconic landmarks is framing up to celebrate a major milestone.

This summer, Belfast Castle will mark 90 years since it was gifted to the citizens of the city. The 90th anniversary will be celebrated with an array of public events and activities, as well as the reopening of the Castle’s Cellar Restaurant.  

Perched on the slopes of Cave Hill Country Park, the imposing outline of the Castle’s towers and turrets has become synonymous with Belfast. The anniversary will offer locals and visitors the opportunity to delve into the iconic estate’s history and heritage. The new look Cellar Restaurant will invite visitors to step back in time and experience Victorian-style shop fronts and gas lights, common features when work on Belfast Castle was first completed.

Over the decades, the venue has played host to many receptions, dances, and high teas. Delving into this legacy, the celebrations will include a Céilí at the Castle and a Big 90th Lunch, allowing picnickers to enjoy the famous city views from the landscaped gardens.

Built in the 1860s, Belfast Castle was constructed by the third Marquis of Donegall, a descendant of the Baron of Belfast. It replaced the original Belfast Castle, located in the city centre and destroyed by fire. Today, street names like Castle Place, serve as the only reminder of the Castle’s original location. The new Castle was completed by the Marquis of Donegall in 1870, with construction costing much more than its original budget. The Earl of Shaftesbury funded the Marquis £11,000 to complete the building and eventually inherited the estate. Lord Shaftesbury held the role of Lord Mayor in 1907. On 26 July 1934, he donated the Castle and its surrounding estate to the city of Belfast.

Ahead of the special anniversary celebrations, Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Ryan Murphy welcomed the programme of events and activities: “From its commanding position on Cave Hill, Belfast Castle is a talisman for our city. We are pleased to mark this special anniversary with a range of public events and activities that offer a snapshot into its wealth of archaeological, historical, and natural features.  From a Dawn Chorus Dander on Cave Hill to a Tea Dance in the Ballroom, there will be opportunities for everyone to join the celebrations, further building on Belfast’s affinity with its Castle for generations to come.”

To find out more about the programme of celebrations including yoga, open-air painting, vintage car displays and visiting supercars, visit

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