Cave Hill is a very recognisable and distinctive mountain in the Belfast skyline. The mountain is 368 meters above sea level, and has been nicknamed Napoleon’s nose, due to its strange shape. It gets its name from the five caves on the cliffs of the mountain, which are believed to be early iron mines.
Cave Hill is believed to have had one of the earliest settlements in the area. It offered shelter for Stone Age settlers, its steep slopes protecting them from rival tribes and wild animals. It has also been used throughout history as a watch out for invaders coming through Belfast Lough. During the Second World War the lower caves and gullies were used to shelter from bombing raids.
Seen as an area of outstanding natural beauty, a Country park was established in 1992 at the site and also includes Hazelwood, Bellevue, Belfast Castle and Carr’s Glen. For animal lovers, peregrine falcons, ravens and kestrels can be seen hunting around Cave Hill.
It is believed that Jonathan Swift, who travelled to Belfast to court Jayne Waring, saw Cave Hill which in turn inspired the idea of the giant in the famous novel Gulliver’s Travels.
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