Sunday, 5 July 2020

Hillsborough Forest

Hillsborough Fort. Image: Timothy Ferres, 2020

Hillsborough, County Down, is undoubtedly one of the pleasantest and most interesting villages in Northern Ireland.

It has been ages since I last paid Hillsborough Forest a visit, so I wasn't disappointed today.

Hillsborough Forest Lake. Image: Timothy Ferres, 2020

The Fort, former home of the Hills, Earls of Hillsborough and Marquesses of Downshire, stands overlooking the lake in the forest.

It seems to be in good order, and the old stone steps leading down through the undergrowth towards the parish church can still be seen.

The church and fort are adjacent to each other.

It was a joy to see so many young families with their toddlers and children enjoying the forest walks and the swans, geese, and ducks feeding at the edge of the lake.

Today I walked around its circumference, then out through the gates, via Park Lane, to the Square; and down the main street to the junction where the parish church can be seen from its long avenue.

Image: Timothy Ferres, 2020

The statue of Arthur, 4th Marquess of Downshire, KP, faces the church directly from across the road.

The town-houses on the hilly main street, with their courtyards and mews, are simply charming; as are the little artisan shops and gastro-bars.

Image: Timothy Ferres, 2020

At the top of the main street, on the Square, stands the old court-house, which itself stands opposite the main entrance to Hillsborough Castle, former home of the Downshires, then the Governors of Northern Ireland, Royalty, and Secretaries of State.

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