I am grateful to the Northern Ireland Forestry Service for providing me with photographs of Belvoir House, Newtownbreda, Belfast, which enables me to share my passion and fascination of Belvoir with others.BELVOIR HOUSE was a large, three storey, mid-18th century mansion set in a demesne of 6,348 acres in 1876.
The top storey was treated as an attic, above the cornice.
It had a seven-bay front and a three-bay break-front centre with four giant Doric pilasters supporting a pediment, flanked by two oculi.
There was a curved bow on the eastern side elevation.
At the apex of the pediment the Bateson baronets' coat-of-arms was prominently displayed, their crest being a bat's wing; and their motto Nocte Volamus.
The great mansion boasted an impressive staircase hall and the stairs had a cast-iron balustrade.
The original owners of Belvoir were the Hill-Trevors, Viscounts Dungannon, who, in turn, sold the estate to the Batesons, Barons Deramore.
Lord Dungannon's seat at Belvoir was probably the largest and grandest private dwelling in Belfast, and remained thus until its deplorable demolition. The only other possible contenders would have been Lord Donegall's Tudor-Revival pile at Ormeau Park; or Orangefield, residence of the Houston family of bankers.Belvoir House was demolished on the 18th February, 1961, by the NI Forest Service.
Today the forest park extends to 185 acres.
Belvoir House was considered a candidate for the new Parliament of Northern Ireland as a possible seat of Government before the Stormont Estate was chosen.
The picture at the very top shows the west entrance front, which was opposite the present stable-yard where the RSPB has its office.
The west side of the house was long, so the actual door entrance would have been beyond the stables (the rear courtyard buildings and the conservatory attached to the House, at ground floor level, cannot be seen in the picture).
The Irish Aesthete has written about the house and posted several good images.
Ben Simon has published A Treasured Landscape: The Heritage Of Belvoir Park.
First published in May, 2009.