Castle Fete with the Campbells, Part II

Castle Fete with the Campbells, Part II

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Belfast Castle, North Belfast






01min 08sec





black and white


Campbell Family Collection


Campbell family, Fiona Campbell Hicks

Rights Holder

Fiona Campbell Hicks

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In the second part of this fete, performances are in full swing on the lawn of Belfast Castle, with a view of Belfast Lough in distance. Irish dancers, girl guides and monks all perform and entertain the crowd. A line of nuns descend the Italian-style serpentine staircase and are followed by what appears to be a group of Knights Templar. The staircase was added to the castle in 1894 by the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury as a gift to his mother. 

The film was probably shot by John Dermot Campbell and it is part of the Campbell Family Collection.   


Belfast Castle, a 19th Century Scottish Baronial style mansion, sits in a prominent position near Cavehill. The castle was passed, via marriage, to the Shaftesbury family and in 1894 the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury added an Italian-style serpentine staircase as a gift to his mother, the Dowager Countess.

The Shaftesbury family was very generous donor to Belfast, supporting many charities and hosting garden fêtes such as the one in this clip, in the castle grounds. The ninth Earl became Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1907 and chancellor of Queen's University in 1908. The Shaftesbury family presented the castle and its estates to the Belfast Corporation in 1934. During the Second World War it served as a base for the Royal Navy Admiralty. The slopes of Cave Hill were also used as a refuge by local families during the blitz.


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