Back to Belfast for our last day in Ireland, we decided to do something different and check out the city from an alternative perspective high up on the Divis Ridge Trail in the Black Mountain. This mountain forms a stunning backdrop to the city, it always seems to be looming large in the background and is perfect if you fancy a walk with a view. At one time this whole area was out of bounds, now in the hands of the National Trust there are stacks of well laid out trails and all come with the added bonus of amazing viewpoints. We picked the Divis Ridge Trail – a great choice.
Easy enough to find from the National Trust instructions, we drove part-way up the mountain, found the little car park and set off. A warm day down below, up in the hills an extra layer was most definitely appreciated. Directions weren’t necessary, we just followed the path keeping the Divis transmitter masts in front of us. The paths are relatively flat and either gravel or at times a wooden boardwalk so easy going for the 5 or so miles.
The mountains are home to a host of wildlife, Son was endlessly fascinated with the fluffy bog cotton which seemed to be everywhere.
At the summit we were blow away by the views. The Antrim Plateau to the south, Scotland to the east and the Mourne Mountains to the south with the icing on the cake being the city of Belfast spread out before you below. Tiny except for Samson and Goliath – the hulking and huge yellow cranes of the Harland and Wolff shipyard. The sea glistened, the winds howled and we hung around for ages taking it all in.
Back at the car we kicked off our walking boots and headed for the university area for dinner. We discovered a little place called Cafe Conor and booked a table – just as well, it was already busy at 5.30, seemingly full of locals keen to make use of the very good and very reasonable early bird menu. I loved it as soon as we stepped through the door – once the studio of a local artist William Conor between 1944-54 it had a lovely ambiance. Light, airy with a high ceiling and a portrait of the artist the surroundings were lovely. The food was top notch too – hearty dishes and excellent service. Just the thing for our last night in Ireland.