Carnmoney Hill is one of the Borough’s ancient, natural monuments. It’s one of a chain of hills — the Belfast Hills — which provide a striking backdrop to the city.
Archaeological gems remain on Carnmoney Hill, giving a flavour of times gone by. For example, two souterrains (man-made underground tunnels) have been found on the hill. These were probably used as escape routes from Vikings and other raiders.
A prehistoric rath or fortified settlement, known as Dunanney, provides evidence of human habitation on the hill some 1,200 years ago. In ancient times, fairs and festivals were held at Dunanney, with its wonderful views over Belfast Lough. Keep a lookout for the restored Victorian well.
Carnmoney Hill consists of a mix of habitats, including grassland, wetland and woodland. The woodland includes fragments of rare ancient woodland — that’s land continuously wooded since at least 1600. The Woodland Trust has planted more than 57,000 young native trees, which link and buffer the fragments of ancient woodland, providing an extended haunt for Carnmoney’s precious wildlife.
Bats, foxes and the Irish hare are just some of the mammals at home on the hill, while birds include breeding buzzards, sparrowhawks and long-eared owls.
The abundant wild flowers include stunning bluebells, purple orchids, wood anemone and wood sorrel, with primroses lining the ancient hedgerows. The hedgerows, mostly hawthorn, form quiet passageways and in the 1800s would have led to isolated farmsteads on the hill.
Carnmoney Hill offers breathtaking views. The best viewpoint is from the top of the hill, where you can drink in views over Belfast Lough, the famous Harland & Wolff cranes, south to the Mournes and north to the Antrim Coast. You’ll also get an excellent view of Cave Hill — Carnmoney’s impressive neighbour.
Information boards are in place throughout the site and offer detailed information on the Hill’s trees, birds and mammals.
Disabled toilets - There are disabled toilets in the Community Centre, at the bottom of the site, but are only available when the centre is open.
Car parking is available at the lay-by at Knockenagh Avenue.
Carnmoney Hill is freely open to visitors all year round.
From the M2 proceed onto the M5. At the end of the M5 you will see a roundabout; follow the sign for Carrickfergus. At the next roundabout take the first left signed to Glengormley. This is Station Road. Proceed straight ahead to the mini roundabout. Go straight ahead at this roundabout onto the O'Neill Road. Travel uphill and take the first right turn into Knockenagh Avenue. A short distance ahead, you will see the entrance to Carnmoney Hill on the left hand side. Park at the lay-by.
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