Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is inviting everyone to get involved with the 24th annual European Heritage Open Days (EHOD) taking place from the 6 - 12 September 2021.
The event will celebrate local architecture, history and culture. This year’s EHOD event has been extended from the usual weekend to a full week of online events, with access to heritage buildings on the weekend of 10–12 September.
Over 250 heritage buildings will be opening during the weekend free of charge. A number of these properties are not normally open to the public, so EHOD offers an opportunity for everyone to explore many hidden treasures.
Minister Hargey launched the EHOD e-brochure, which details the exciting programme of events, at one of the participating properties, the Linen Hall Library in Belfast. The library will be hosting a digital event especially for EHOD ‘Stories of Hidden LGBT History at Linen Hall Library’ presented by Dr Richard O’Leary.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Hargey said:
“The European Heritage Open Days theme this year ‘Inclusion – Exploring our hidden history together’ is about celebrating inclusiveness and diversity, a chance for everyone to appreciate the wonderful shared cultural heritage right on our doorstep.
“European Heritage Open Days remains a continued success due to the efforts of a wide range of communities and individuals which help deliver a largely volunteer-led programme. EHOD is for everyone - as the theme this year reflects - and I would urge people to take a look at the e-brochure and events listings and plan out your EHOD experience.”
There will be a wide range of events for everyone to take part in and enjoy: join storytellers on a guided tour of the Giant’s Causeway along the fully wheelchair accessible Green Trail; mingle with costumed guides at Castle Ward and learn more about its lesser known Women’s, LGBTQ+ and Mental Health histories; or if music is your thing why not enjoy a musical history walking tour of Omagh, with Strule Arts Centre.
Whilst all events are free many require pre booking. For more information check out Discover Northern Ireland where you can download the EHOD brochure and view the listings of the range of events and activities on offer for you to enjoy right across Northern Ireland.
Notes to editors:
1. This is the 24th year that Northern Ireland has joined forces with countries across Europe for the European Heritage Open Days (EHOD). This event raises awareness of the many values of our common heritage and the continuous need for its protection. That ties in with the aims of the Department for Communities’ Historic Environment Division (Love Heritage NI brand) who coordinate this event in Northern Ireland.
2. Follow us on Facebook @LoveHeritageNI Twitter @LoveHeritageNI Instagram @LoveHeritageNI for updates and information relating to EHOD.
3. Photo captions: Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is pictured at Linen Hall Library launching this year’s European Heritage Open Days, which run from 6th to 12th September, with Dr Richard O’Leary and Scott Edgar, Assistant Arts and Cultural Programmer at the Linenhall Library.
4. For media enquiries or images please contact the DfC Press Office via email: 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.
5. Some highlights for European Heritage Open Days 2021 include:
Brown’s Square Heritage Trail: historical walking tour by professional tour guide and citizen of Brown’s Square Francis Higgins MA.
Grand Opera House: Find out about the fascinating history of Belfast’s Grand Opera House
Maritime Mile Photography Tour: This 90-minute photo tour will take you off the beaten track capturing some of Belfast’s heritage giants. The Maritime Mile shoot locations include the Titanic Slipways, the Great Light and the iconic H&W Headquarter Building and Drawing Offices, now Titanic Hotel Belfast.
Stories of hidden LGBT history at Linen Hall Library (online): Master storyteller and historian, Dr Richard O’Leary, shares some of his true fairy stories. A personal selection of stories from Ulster which he has uncovered from the archives of the Linen Hall library’s LGBT collections.
Highlights County Antrim:
Explore the Hidden History of Dunluce Castle, Town and Gardens: Join Andrew Gault HED Senior Archaeologist on special tours of the iconic Dunluce Castle,
The Giant’s Causeway National Trust: Join storytellers for a guided tour along the fully accessible Green Trail and hear some of the lesser known stories associated with the Giant’s Causeway.
Virtual underground mine tour and live geologist Q&A (online): A virtual underground tour of Lyle’s Hill iron mine and find out more about the vast mining heritage of Co. Antrim.
The Bawn “Whitehouse” Bringing history to life (online): Designer Tom Quinn will host an online presentation of the Whitehouse set in June 1690 at the beginning of the Williamite Wars.
Highlights County Armagh:
Guided Vehicular Tour of Glen Ree (Valley of Kings): A guided vehicular tour of historic sites in Glen Ree (Valley of Kings) that link to the strategic significance of the three passes across the Glan Bog, which stretches from Newry to Portadown
Milford House: Tours are available throughout the day giving the opportunity to see behind the scenes conservation work that has been ongoing free flow access also available.
The Navan Centre & Fort: Immerse yourself in life 2000 years ago with a visit to the Navan Centre & Fort Walk in the footsteps of warriors as your guide explains the significance of the great temple of 95BC and shows you the remaining banks and ditches, before inviting you to meet the resident Celtic clan.
Northern Ireland Secret Bunker: 15ft below a field on the outskirts of Portadown lies a relic of the Cold War. Guided tours will be given by original crew members were available dressed in period uniform.
Highlights County Down:
Cultra Manor: Enjoy an in depth visit to Cultra Manor. Roger Dixon, NMNI’s chief Librarian will take guests on a guided tour of this grand house.
Legend at Kilclief Castle: A team of actors and musicians will revivify Irish legends and bring Celtic mythology to life with a dynamic mix of poetry, drama and traditional Irish music.
Portico of Ards: Portico, formerly Portaferry Presbyterian Church, is an outstanding Grade A listed, double-fronted, neoclassical temple dating from 1841. Designed by John Millar, it is widely regarded to be one of the best examples of Greek revival architecture in Great Britain and Ireland.
Highlights of County Fermanagh:
Virtual Gortmaconnell Jeep Safari (online): From the comfort of your own home, you now can enjoy one of the Geopark cherished heritage sites at Gortmaconnell. Virtually you will be able to jump on board one of the Geopark jeeps and explore the stunning scenery. The Virtual Gortmaconnell Jeep Safari will be provided in both English and Irish for you to enjoy as you wish.
West Side Story: Enniskillen Historical Walking Tour: An enjoyable and informative guided walk around the west end of Enniskillen. The scenic walk takes in key architectural features as well as social and boating histories related to the island town.
The Village Catalyst - Pat Murphy House: Ederney Community Development Trust (ECDT), Northern Ireland, has been working in partnership with Ederney Credit Union to restore the listed Pat Murphy House on the village Main Street. This project is part of an innovative Village Catalyst pilot, funded by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the Department for Communities, with support from the Architectural Heritage Fund. Guided Tour.
Highlights County Londonderry:
Guildhall - virtual (Online) For the European Heritage Open Days join us at 12.00 on 6–12 September for an exclusive live tour of the Guildhall. Get your media devices ready and join us virtually at the Heart of the City.
The Bridewell Living History Tours: An 1804 Courthouse and Gaol will be brought back to live with living history tours giving visitors the opportunity to experience life in the original cells of The Bridewell and participate in activities in the exercise yard.
Garvagh Museum: This is the largest permanently displayed museum collection in the Causeway area.
Creggan Country Park - Walking through history: Join local blue badge tour guide on a guided walk looking at the history and heritage of the park and its links to Earl Bishop Hervey, The Siege of Derry and wildlife that calls the park their home.
Highlights County Tyrone:
Beaghmore Stone Circles: One hour guided tour of Beaghmore stone circles to include: the history of Mid Ulster and the oldest known Neolithic permanent house found two miles from the site.
Guided Tours of Killymoon Castle: Built for James Stewart in 1671 and designed by the famous London architect John Nash. Recently it has had extensive restoration.
Ulster American Folk Park: Tells the story of Emigration from Ulster to the New World during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Enjoy the arranged lecture with onsite Curator Liam Corry.
Working with the past Coalisland Museum and Heritage virtual festival (online): An online festival of history, drama and music. During the week of the EHOD 2021 6-12 September, Lough Neagh Partnership, Craic Theatre, Coalisland Clonoe Comhaltas and Coalisland & District Development Association will be joining together to give everyone a unique, online insight into the industrial history and working lives of the people of East Tyrone.
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