DfC Historic Environment presents an annual HERoNI Lecture Series, providing an insight into our local heritage, archaeology and more. All of the HERoNI events are free to attend and will be hosted on Zoom at the date and times listed. To book your spot on any of the lectures just click on the Eventbrite link associated with your chosen event from the list below.

Although Coronavirus restrictions have eased, some regulations remain in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. To ensure the safety of the public and speakers, our 2021/22 HERoNI lecture series will be conducted online.

The Defence Heritage Survey-year one

Friday 10 September 2021, 1-2 pm
Speaker: Dr James O’Neill

Defence heritage is some of Northern Ireland’s most-recent but possibly least recognised collection of archaeological sites. The world-changing events of World Wars I and II, and the nuclear brinkmanship of the Cold War have all left their mark on the landscape, but these sites have faded into obscurity over time. Consequently, Historic Environment Division commissioned a new survey to systematically identify and record all that remains of the airfields, pillboxes, radar stations and nuclear bunkers. After a year in the field Dr James O’Neill discusses just what he’s found in the first year of the project.

125 Years of the Grand Opera House

Friday 15 October 2021, 1-2 pm
Speaker: Simon Goldrick

In December 2020, the Grand Opera House celebrated its 125th birthday, and in 2021 the Theatre will reopen following a £12.2 million restoration project. The Theatre’s story is worthy of any West End drama: while a succession of A-list entertainers from Laurence Olivier to Luciano Pavarotti have graced its stage, the Grand Dame of Great Victoria Street has had to endure floods, fires, bombs and the threat of demolition on its journey to becoming one of Northern Ireland’s most loved buildings, and one of the most beautiful performing spaces in the UK and Ireland. This talk will explore the history and architectural design of the Theatre, as well as stories of those who have performed here since 1895.

The Irish Architectural Archive – its role and collections

Friday 19 November 2021, 1-2 pm
Speaker: Mr Colum O’Riordan

The Irish Architectural Archive was established in 1976 to collect and preserve material of every kind relating to the architecture of the entire island of Ireland, and make it available to the public. As a cumulative body of material the holdings of the Archive represent the greatest single source of information on Ireland’s buildings and those who designed them.

This talk will provide a brief outline of the origins and purpose of the Irish Architectural Archive, including a history of the building it occupies It will also provide a glimpse into Ireland-wide collections housed by the Archive which now comprise in excess of 2.5 million architectural drawings and related documents, over 300,000 photographs and a reference library of some 30,000 items.

30 years of the Historic Environment Record of Northern Ireland (HERoNI): the story so far

Friday 21 January 2022, 1-2 pm
Speakers: Emma McBride and Philip Smith

HERoNI can trace it origins back to the 1882 Ancient Monuments Protection Act. Formally recognised in 1992 HERoNI is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Learn about the information held by HERoNI which consists of written records, photographs, maps and original drawings relating to over 45,000 heritage sites. The information embraces various aspects of our built heritage including archaeological sites and monuments, historic buildings, industrial, maritime and wartime sites, as well as historic parks and gardens.

The Marine Historic Environment in Northern Ireland: Discovery, Investigation and Protection

Friday 18 February 2022, 1-2 pm
Speaker: Mr Rory McNeary

UK marine legislation includes "the need to protect the environment" inclusive of "any site of historic or archaeological interest".

Historic Environment Division (HED) works with DAERA Marine and Fisheries Division and other key partners, to ensure significant marine archaeological sites are managed and protected through planning, licensing, designation, strategic investigation and the implementation of appropriate policy and guidance. By helping to protect and manage sustainably our most important marine archaeological sites, HED is ensuring that these sites can be enjoyed by future generations. Come along and find out more about Northern Irelands Maritime Record.

Heir-raising: Bringing up Children at Hillsborough Castle

Friday 18 March 2022, 1-2 pm
Speaker: Emma Lawthers

It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child; in days long gone by at Hillsborough Castle it took an entire wing of servants. Now a Royal residence and home to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Hillsborough Castle was built in the 18th century by Wills Hill, later Marquess of Downshire. As such the Castle is frequently associated with the heady world of power and politics, and it can easily be forgotten that it once housed lots of little Hills. This talk will consider what life was like for the children of the Hill family during the 19th century and, more particularly, for those who raised them. From posh parents to tyrannical tutors, grovelling governesses and, all too-often, nameless nursemaids, almost everyone in the Castle had a role to play in raising the heir and his siblings.

Tales of Transformation, Inspiration and Perspiration

Friday 20 May 2022, 1-2 pm
Speaker: Caroline Maguire

The majority of assets on the Heritage at Risk register are listed buildings. The Historic Environment Division works with owners, developers, heritage groups, building preservation trusts, local communities, and other stakeholders to find solutions for the issues faced by these assets and to help realise their latent potential. Once such structures are lost they are gone forever and it is important that we work together to seek solutions.

This talk will focus on Heritage at Risk and the work of the Historic Environment Division’s architectural team over the years.  A reminder of some of the many great ‘rescues’- large and small - in recent and not so recent times.  

The Pre-Plantation Archaeology of Lisburn; the Search for Medieval Origin

Friday 17 June 2022, 1-2 pm
Speaker: Aaron McIntyre

Lisburn is best known as a Plantation village first laid out in Sir Fulke Conway’s plan of the 1620s, and was the later site of a bustling linen industry, but what came before? This talk focuses on the earliest sites of settlement, occupation and industry in the area.

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