Historic Environment Division is responsible for Northern Ireland's defence heritage, both in its conservation and its protection.

Northern Ireland's defence heritage

To commemorate the centenary of WW1 the Department of the Environment (DOE) launched phase 2 of the Defence Heritage Project, organising community led-engagements and a range of public events.  

Northern Ireland’s defence heritage represents a significant period in our history. There are many 20th-century defensive structures dotted around the countryside and coast of Northern Ireland. These include training trenches, gun and searchlight emplacements, pillboxes, observation posts, airfields, harbours, naval and flying boat bases, air raid shelters, and many other related structures. The majority of these are derelict, some have been reused or altered, and others are in a state of decay or have been demolished.

Conserving our defence heritage

Historic Environment Division work with local councils, heritage bodies and interested community groups to conserve our defence heritage. Grey Point Fort situated in Crawfordsburn Country Park, County Down has been managed by the Department of the Environment since 1971. In 2010 the fort was formally recognised as an Historic Monument in State Care.  The Fort was in use in both World War I and World War II, protecting Belfast Lough from potential naval attacks. Certain buildings on the site have been conserved and are open to the public with displays on the history of the Fort. A booklet on Grey Point Fort is available to download on the following page:

Protecting Our Defence Heritage

Historic Environment Division works to protect sites of interest through both legislation and policy. The most appropriate form of protection is identified on an individual site basis.

A number of sites have been scheduled for protection under the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995. These include a fighter pilot dome trainer, which is unique in Northern Ireland, and a variety of pill boxes.

Other sites have been Listed for protection under the Planning (NI) Order 1991, such as the control tower and associated buildings at Langford Lodge, Crumlin.

We also work with District Councils to ensure defence heritage sites are given due consideration when dealing with new development applications.

Structure and contacts

View the Historic Environment Division structure and contacts

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