For an unsurpassable overview of the whole city and lough, a climb up Cave Hill, to the north, is a must. Several paths lead up from Belfast Castle’s estate to the hill’s summit – a rocky outcrop known as “Napoleon’s Nose”. From here you can’t help but appreciate the accuracy of the poet Craig Raine’s aerial description of the city in his Flying to Belfast as “a radio set with its back ripped off”. Cave Hill was once awash with Iron Age forts, for there was flint (for weapon making) in the chalk under the basalt hill-coverings. In 1795, Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken and other leaders of the United Irishmen stood on the top of Cave Hill and pledged “never to desist in our efforts until we have subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted our Independence”.

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