Over 1000 years ago this was the homestead of a farming family in the Castlereagh Hills above Belfast and above what would eventually become the site of the castle. There is a large circular earth bank, planted with trees, with a ditch on the outside. The rath would have contained round huts and been a containment for animals (typically cattle), which could have been herded in for protection. Such earthworks were common on the heights above Belfast, and there are still ten in this area of Castlereagh.
Situated as it is on hills overlooking Belfast, the Lagan Valley and the approaches from Strangford, it may have been in a position to witness the arrival of the Vikings towards the end of the first millennium and possibly the advance of John De Courcy towards Carrickfergus on the north shore of Belfast Lough at the beginning of the second millennium.
Over the past two hundred years the surveyed site has undergone a number of changes to the approaches and seen the enclosure change from being an integral part of a farmyard in c.1800 to being separated and protected in terms of Statutory Protection. With the National Trust having ownership of the land on which this monument stands it will be maintained, protected and presented to the wider public for many years to come.
The path leading up to the monument is part of the Ulster Way, a meandering circular route some 900km long which explores many of the rural areas of Northern Ireland including rivers, loughs and farming land. There is a small car park alongside on the Lisnabreeny Road, and a “kissing gate” gives access to the pathway to the rath. This pathway continues downhill through fields, passing Lisnabreeny House and descending beautiful Cregagh Glen to the A55 Outer Ring at the top of the Cregagh Road.