Historic landmarks and hidden gems to be showcased during European Heritage Open Days 2023

Date published: 09 August 2023

The Department for Communities is encouraging the public to embrace and explore Northern Ireland’s historic landmarks and hidden gems as part of European Heritage Open Days 2023.

Historic landmarks and hidden gems to be showcased during European Heritage Open Days 2023

Now in its 26th year, more than 200 buildings, venues and sites will be opening free of charge on September 9th and 10th in a weekend long celebration of local architecture, history and culture.

Digital offerings will also run throughout the week from September 4th to 10th.

Launching this year’s event at 2 Royal Avenue, a cultural hub in Belfast and one of this year’s participating venues, Department for Communities Permanent Secretary Colum Boyle said:

“European Heritage Open Days 2023 is the perfect opportunity for us to explore our rich and shared heritage by visiting historic buildings, monuments, landmarks and hidden gems, many of which aren’t normally open to visitors.

“This year’s event offers a packed programme of virtual and in-person activities and its ongoing success is thanks to the drive and enthusiasm of such a wide range of communities, individuals and volunteers.

“I would encourage you to download the WebApp or e-brochure and start planning your European Heritage Open Days adventure for 2023.”

The WebApp or e-brochure for European Heritage Open Days 2023 is available to download:

Highlights this year include:

  • A guided tour of Northern Ireland’s Secret Bunker, a relic of the Cold War, on the outskirts of Portadown.
  • A walk with ‘strict warden’ Mrs McKinley through the gloomy cells and ancient graveyard of The Bridewell, a former gaol in Magherafelt dating back to 1839.
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the restored Templemore Baths, the last surviving Victorian baths in the country, which were originally built in 1893.
  • Experience the magic and mystery of ancient Irish mythology at Kilclief Castle as famous Celtic characters tell their story through poetry, music and drama.
  • Florence Court is a fine example of a grand 18th century Irish country house, surrounded by lush parkland and Benaughlin Mountain rising in the background.
  • A guided tour of Omagh’s musical heritage highlighting the sites of significance from the County Tyrone town’s Showband era.

A digital brochure including a list of venues and events can be found here

For further information, e-mail

Notes to editors: 

  1. Image Caption – Pictured at the launch of European Heritage Open Days 2023 at 2 Royal Avenue in Belfast are Department for Communities Permanent Secretary Colum Boyle and Sarah-Jane Montgomery (Director of MayWe Events who manage 2 Royal Avenue).
  2. 2 Royal Avenue, a former bank dating back to the 1860s, is now a community and cultural hub providing a free creative space in the heart of Belfast.
  3. European Heritage Open Days events take place across 49 countries Europe-wide in late-August and early-September.
  4. In Northern Ireland, European Heritage Open Days is run by Department for Communities with the support of the Council of Europe and the European Commission.
  5. For media enquiries please contact the Department for Communities Press Office
  6. Follow the Department on Twitter @CommunitiesNI
  7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekend and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.     

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