Monday, 24 August 2015
This fine civic park, originally the Wilmont Estate, was conveyed as a gift to the City of Belfast in December, 1959, by Edith, Lady Dixon, DBE, in order to perpetuate the long association of her husband (the Rt Hon Sir Thomas Dixon Bt) and herself with the City.
It comprises 134 acres.
The mansion house of 1859 still stands, in reasonably good condition; though its future seems uncertain, since it lies disused and apparently unwanted by the city fathers.
The surrounding parkland is delightful, with mature trees and woodland, and the River Lagan.
A large section of the grounds is now used for the international rose trials, established in 1964.
The stable block now houses a ground-floor café.
The walled garden is a haven of peace and tranquillity, with a number of park benches donated by the families of deceased loved-ones, their details on metal plaques.
The fruit and vegetables which flourished here are long gone, though some original paths remain and the garden now thrives with fine flora.
On an outside wall of the walled garden, at one corner, there are three mural memorials to pet dogs.
The canine memorial above must have been erected by the Reade family, who sold Wilmont to the Dixons in 1919.