Search This Blog

Saturday, 7 April 2012


A friendly horse
 My original plans were the visit the Mourne Mountains and Tollymore Forest in Newcaste, Co. Down, however I woke up to grey skies and decided to venture closer to home. My dad drove us to Cave Hill, which is a large Basaltic hill overlooking Belfast. In hindsight I can see why I probably wanted to go there, it was on Easter Tuesday, 1941 that the luftwaffe bombed Belfast and those who lived in the city sough refuse on Cavehill.

My great granny was one of those people, she often told me that she slept on the hill that night. As you can see from my photographs, the city looks miniscule below. Can you imagine sitting up there on that night with the entire city ablaze with bombs? 

My great granny
Belfast was ill prepared for the Blitz, the British government informed Lord Craigavon, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland until his death in 1940, that N.I. would pose as no threat to the German army. Well, we all know what happened next.  Because little to no preparations were enforced in the city, when the bombing did happen it was a catastrophe, it is mind boggling to think there were no major provisions in place should an air raid happen.

On Easter Monday some people suspected that a Luftwaffe plane was circling high above the city, and those who felt it would be a threat decided to make plans to leave for the countryside. Of course, there were those who dismissed the fact that the Luftwaffe were sussing out Belfast. I am not entirely sure what my great grandmother felt about this, I only recall her telling me that on Easter Tuesday she slept on Cavehill. I asked her sister, my great great aunt Clara, and she told me that after the bombings they relocated to their uncle's house in the countryside. So it is plausible that my great granny was caught up in the chaos.

A small stream divided by a pathway

 We approached Cavehill from the country roads into Belfast, so really we started halfway up and reached the top which is known as Napoleon's Nose, it is 1200 ft above sea level. The pathway leading upward is very similar to the Moors, we even noticed some horses in various fields. The views are specacular, it was quite overcast today so we didn't see its full potential, but in the distance you can see the Mourne Mountains, and then of course, the drop is of the city.  On a clear day you can see Scotland and the Isle of Man.

The Mourne Mountains in the distance

Don't fall off the edge!

Harland & Wolf, where the Titanic was built

There are various different pathways which you can take. We decided to just keep walking upward to Napoleon's nose, which meant I missed the pathway for Belfast Castle.  You can also approach Cavehill from the Zoo.

View of the Irish Sea

Me & my dad

There's no health & safety!
Sadly it started to rain, but next time I am going to take the pathway for the Castle. Now that I know how to reach Cavehill I plan to return, I bet there's so much to explore! My next goal is to get some proper hiking shoes...very reluctantly...
Belfast Castle

The boat coming from Scotland


  1. Thank you so much for that post! I cannot imagine how terrified the people of Belfast must have been during the bombing, especially after the British government had told them Northern Ireland would pose no threat to the Nazis.

    1. I can't imagine how horrific it was on that night when the entire city was illuminated by the Blitz, and the people on Cavehill had a Birdseye view of it. I am going back on Tuesday if the weather stays dry, we're going to take the pathway for Belfast Castle.