History comes to life at European Heritage Open Days 2019

Date published: 05 August 2019

The Department for Communities today invited the public to get involved in this year’s European Heritage Open Days (EHOD) Weekend which takes place on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September 2019.

EHOD Launch Photo
EHOD Launch HMS Caroline

History and culture will be brought to life and celebrated across Northern Ireland with over 340 properties taking part. European Heritage Open Days is one of Northern Ireland’s largest free annual events and provides a unique opportunity for everyone to see ‘behind closed doors’ at a variety of historic places, many of which are not normally open to the public.

There is something for everyone to enjoy with a host of cultural events and activities taking place at properties reflecting this year’s theme of Arts and Entertainment, from puppet shows and treasure hunts to living history re-enactments, film screenings and art displays.

European Heritage Open Days are the most widely celebrated participatory cultural events shared throughout Europe. Now in their 22nd year in Northern Ireland, their popularity has continued to increase year on year.

This year’s event was launched at HMS Caroline in Belfast, one of the venues participating in this year’s event.

Speaking at the launch, Moira Doherty, Deputy Secretary at the Department for Communities, said: “The Department for Communities aims to help communities to appreciate and realise the value of our rich historic environment. European Heritage Open Days are a key opportunity for everyone to do this, whether by visiting a new place or taking part in a new activity.

“I believe that this year’s theme of Arts and Entertainment will appeal to all ages and would encourage everyone to take this opportunity to visit the wealth of historic properties involved and take part in the many free events and activities happening across Northern Ireland to celebrate our heritage.

“European Heritage Open Days is going from strength to strength each year with over 75,000 people turning out last year. This year’s offering is more varied than ever, reflecting the depth and diversity of our heritage. From living history re-enactments at Devenish Ecclesiastical Site founded in the 6th century, to a Titanic Taster Photography Tour exploring Titanic Quarter’s maritime heritage, there is something for everyone.

“Brochures are available from Visitor Information Centres, libraries, council offices and are available to download at Discover Northern Ireland.”

Whilst all events are free, some require pre-booking. To avoid disappointment check out Discover Northern Ireland, EHOD on Twitter and Facebook, and Love Heritage NI on Instagram.

Notes to editors: 


1.    Some highlights for European Heritage Open Days 2019 include:

Children's Puzzle Challenge, Belfast City Hall - Do your little ones enjoy puzzles and treasure hunts? Why not come along to City Hall and try our children’s quiz. Explore the City Hall Visitor Exhibition to discover the heritage of Belfast, its individuals and industrial past.

Twilight Theatre at Kilclief Castle, Strangford - Twilight Theatre returns to Kilclief Castle to dramatize the myths and legends of ancient Ireland!  A team of actors will appear in period costumes and retell the tales of Etain, Deirdre of the sorrows, Grainne and the Morrigan in the sonorous style of lyrical storytelling.  This live action show combines poetry, music, drama and storytelling to entertain audiences of all ages and to share the unforgettable stories of Irish myth and legend.   

Treasure Hunt, The Guildhall, Londonderry – Get your walking shoes and thinking caps on and join us at the Heart of the City, the Guildhall, for clues to our museum and visitor services treasure hunt. Find out some fascinating facts about this historical city while enjoying a family day out.

Red Sails Memory Share, Portstewart Town Hall – The picturesque seaside town of Portstewart celebrated the 50th anniversary of its annual ‘Red Sails’ July Community Arts Festival in 2018, where many happy family memories have been created. To celebrate this priceless piece of Portstewart’s heritage, Portstewart Community Association is hosting a Memory Sharing day. There will be a display of memorabilia dating back to 1968 and you’re invited to come along and share photographs, videos and memories of the festival.

Walking Tour of Cookstown – Do you know where the Factory Lane, Blacks Clock or the Flax Market are located? This is an opportunity to re-imagine Cookstown and share your memories. 

Northern Ireland’s Secret Bunker, Portadown – Find out how our country would have coped if the Cold War had ever turned hot. Guided tours will be given by original crew members dressed in period uniform.  

2. This is the 22nd year that Northern Ireland has joined forces with countries across Europe for the European Heritage Open Days weekend.

3. European Heritage Open Days brochures are available from local Visitor Information Centres, libraries and council offices. Download the brochure from Discover Northern Ireland. Pre-booking is required for some events so book early to avoid disappointment. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.

4.  Photo captions: Department for Communities Deputy Secretary, Engaged Communities, Moira Doherty; Department for Communities Director of Historic Environment Division, Iain Greenway, with Rhys Chesnutt and Chelsea Chesnutt, marking the launch of European Heritage Open Days 2019 at HMS Caroline.

5. For updates on the Department for Communities follow us on Twitter.

6. For media enquiries or images please contact the DfC Press Office on 028 9082 3532 or out of office hours contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.



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