Nature at its best: Series 8 - Cave Hill Country Park in Northern Ireland
By Rey mos
22 Jun 2009
LIVING IN NORTHERN IRELAND for almost four years now, I can say that Lonely Planet, the well-known guidebook publisher is right to include this region as one of the 2007 must-see travel destinations. This British territory offers a friendly atmosphere, in contrast of what it has been projected due to the troubles in the past. It is a thriving nation with spectacular landscapes – from coast to countryside offering breathtaking nature setting for visitors to explore.
Being a nature lover, a visit to any unspoiled scenery is something to be remembered. Thus, I am happy to share another top nature spot for everyone to discover and the opportunity to get back to nature while visiting Northern Ireland. This is the home of Napoleon (Bonaparte)'s nose, the Cave Hill Country Park.
The park provides an excellent breeding ground for some wildlife, with look-out points and walk trails to enjoy and having a perfect panoramic view of the cityscapes of Belfast, including Belfast Lough (bay). It is also known as an inspirational sight for Jonathan Swift to write his Gulliver's Travels book.
Unfortunately, there is no available direct public transport route to the park, but it is recommended to visit this nature spot through the Belfast Castle or Belfast Zoo as these attractions are situated at the foot of the hill with regular bus trips from Belfast city centre. The locations of the castle and the zoo provide alternative access routes and walk trails to McArt's Fort, the main look-out point of the park.
For nature's enthusiasts, this country park has selected way-marked trails for everyone to choose from, namely: Castle trail (0.8 miles) - the shortest distance from Belfast Castle; Estate trail (2.4 miles) - with gravel paths and some steep ascents; and Cave Hill (4.5 miles) - the longest challenging route with un-surfaced paths.
Aside from being an impressive nature landmark in the northern Irish region, it is also surrounded by folklore - one of them is the story of the Cave Hill Diamond. The tale of this large diamond-shaped stone became popular until now and this item is currently on display at the Linen Hall Library (near Belfast city hall). Actually, there is a "twist" of this popularity - the precious stone is "not" real diamond, but its tale caught everyone's imagination since 1900s. Even myself did a short visit to the library just to have a glimpse of this mysterious item on display!
Make Northern Ireland your next nature-spot and holiday destination and experience the friendliness of its people.