History and heritage combine under one roof

Date published: 26 April 2024

A combined public archive which brings together several thousand years of Northern Ireland’s history and heritage has been officially unveiled in Belfast this week.

Communities Minister Lyons looks at some of the HERoNI artifacts on exhibition at PRONI

Communities Minister Gordon Lyons opened the new shared space for the Historic Environment Record of Northern Ireland (HERoNI) at 2 Titanic Boulevard. 

HERoNI is now co-locating with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), utilising a purpose-built archive centre in the heart of the Titanic Quarter.  HERoNI holds information on all elements of Northern Ireland's historic environment in the form of databases, written records, maps, photographic, drawn and digital material.

Communities Minister Gordon Lyons visited PRONI this week and viewed some of the HERoNI archives.  Minister Lyons said:

“This is a welcome co-location bringing together two archives into one purpose-built centre in the Titanic Quarter.  This move combines these two important archives under one roof, housing a wealth of Northern Ireland’s history and heritage. In doing so, it will facilitate ease of access for the public and provide a comprehensive resource for interested researchers.

“The HERoNI archives hold information on thousands of years of Northern Ireland’s historic environment.  A taster of what is on offer includes records, images and drawings relating to archaeological sites, listed buildings, Industrial and defence heritage, to name but a few.

“I would encourage anyone interested in history to visit and explore the HERoNI and PRONI historic documents.”

Over the past 12 months, HERONI archivists have been carrying out the extensive task of documenting and transporting all the items held in their collections.

HERoNI also brought along its library, a fantastic resource with publications covering all aspects of Northern Ireland’s historic environment.  This is the first time that the library will be open for public browsing.

You can visit a special exhibition which is showcasing some of the fascinating collections held in HERoNI.  These include:

  • artefacts excavated from Deer Park Farm;
  • an early Medieval rath in County Antrim;
  • designs from local stained glass firm ‘Clokey’s Belfast’, which was in operation from the mid1800s until the 1970s; 
  • the reconstructed Donaghmore high cross standing at over five metres tall.

Find out more about HERoNI and the resources available.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption:  Communities Minister Gordon Lyons with Acting Director of PRONI David Huddleston and HERoNI’s Rhonda Robinson stand at the reconstructed Donaghmore high cross currently being exhibited at PRONI.
  2. Photo caption:  Communities Minister Gordon Lyons examines some of the HERoNI artifacts on exhibit at PRONI.
  3. To find out more on HERoNI and the work of its staff an exhibition will be running on site at Titanic Boulevard until 31st May 2024.
  4. To visit HERoNI’s archives book an appointment by emailing or telephoning on 028 9056 9701
  5. HERoNI and PRONI are both part of the Department for Communities.
  6. This is a co-location project, part of the overall repurposing of Northern Ireland Civil Service accommodation.
  7. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office on email 
  8.  Follow us on Twitter/X @CommunitiesNI
  9. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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