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County Down
Grid reference: NW486254
Local Government

Lisnabreeny is a hamlet in County Down, embracing an estate of natural beauty a delight to the eyes. It takes its name from a hill fort, or 'rath' on the summit of the hill. The estate is owned by National Trust and opened to public enjoyment.

Lisnabreeny takes in wooded glen, estate and a path runs up through green fields to the summit of the Castlereagh hills on the eastern edge of Belfast, where the hill fort is to be found. The path hugs the sides of Cregagh glen as it climbs through pools of sunlight cast by the trees. The dappled sunlight, the toying of the leaves and gentle sound of a waterfall charm the sense, and in springtime the woods burst out in a carpet of bluebells and wood anemone.

While the rath speaks of ancient, long-forgotten conflict, near the top of the glen is a more recent reminder: a memorial marking a temporary graveyard for American servicemen during the Second World War.

Up into the hills and as the countryside opens out, there is a fine view reaching from the Mournes to Scrabo.

At last at the sumit of the hill is the rath that gives the area its name, an ancient fortified homestead encircled with trees.

Lisnabreeny House

Lisnabreeny House, past which the National Trust's path runs, was once the home of poet Nesca Robb. It was briefly a youth hostel and army headquarters before restoration as part of Lagan College. Its garden has ivy-strewn walls, and a natural play area is provided.