Sunday, August 09, 2015

"The Cave Hills, near the Lough of Belfast", November 1st 1780 (by J. Nixon)

The Cave Hills Belfast 1780 640px HR

The Cave Hills Belfast 1780 640px v2 HR

This well-known engraving shows a single large dwelling on the shore of Belfast Lough. It has been suggested to me that this is the house built by Alexander George Stewart (1737–96) which he named Macedon, close to Whitehouse. He was descended from the Stewarts of Ballydrain, between Belfast and Lisburn, and whose family estate is today the prestigious Malone Golf Club. The Stewarts of Ballydrain have a brilliant story, from when they arrived in Ulster from Scotland in 1608. Alexander had a brother, Thomas, who lived at Whitehouse. If you're familiar with the urban and suburban sprawl of North Belfast and Newtownabbey you'll be amazed by how rural this scene is - it wouldn't be out of place in the Highlands of Scotland.

There is a pub at Ballydrain called Bob Stewart's, named after Robert Stewart, said to date from the 1620s.

Here is a map showing Macedon - and nearby Hazelbank (built by the Ulster-Scots McTear family, also in the late 1700s). Both houses are now gone, the area is now Hazelbank Park.