The Department for Communities has launched the 20th year of the European Heritage Open Days (EHOD) Weekend on 9 and 10 September 2017.
The theme for the 2017 event is Heritage and Nature: A landscape of possibilities. History and culture will be brought to life at over 370 properties, some of which are only open on this weekend, and a wide range of events. All events are free of charge and many are family friendly, meaning that everyone can take this opportunity to explore. This year’s programme features a wide variety of special events such as walking tours and history re-enactments.
The programme was launched by the Director of Historic Environment Division at the Department for Communities, Iain Greenway, at the Belfast Harbour Commissioners Office. The Harbour Commissioners Office is a Grade A listed building with significant antique furnishings and artworks. Built in 1854 and extended in 1895, the Harbour Office’s style of architecture reflects an Italian palazzo with impressive stained glass windows depicting industry, commerce and enterprise and mosaic floors on the ground floor and first floor lobby.
Some highlights for European Heritage Open Days 2017 include:-.
Ram’s Island – Sandy Bay, Lough Neagh – you can take a free tour of this intriguing island and learn about its diverse history and wildlife. Features of the island include a round tower from the remains of a 1000 year old Celtic monastic settlement, and the ruins of the O’Neill family’s nineteenth century summer house, the caretaker’s cottage and a 200 year old exotic planted garden.
Northern Ireland’s Secret Bunker, Portadown – Find out how our country would have coped if the Cold War had ever turned hot. Tours by original crew members dressed in period uniform, WWII ‘Battle of Britain’ equipment and uniforms and expert demonstrations of how the Observer Corps intercepted enemy aircraft.
Adults’ Cryptic Challenge & Children’s Puzzle Challenge, Belfast City Hall – Are you and your family partial to puzzles? Kids crazy for conundrums? Test your brain power and explore the grounds for a cryptic challenge.
Guided Bus Tour of Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark – a guided tour of some of the major sites within the UNESCO Global Geopark, including The Cavan Burren, Cornagee Viewpoint, Blacklion, Hanging Rock, Claddagh Glen with optional nature walk. Includes a guided tour of Marble Arch Caves.
The Director of Historic Environment Division at the Department for Communities, Iain Greenway said: “In this the 20th year of European Heritage Open Days, I am delighted that over 370 properties are opening free of charge during the weekend of 9-10 September, many of which do not usually open to the public. I hope you enjoy the variety of our historic environment on offer. EHOD provides a great opportunity to see behind closed doors and I would encourage everyone to visit the properties on offer. Brochures are available at tourist information centres, libraries and are available to download at https://discovernorthernireland.com/ehod”
When the European Heritage Open Days began, 67 properties opened and now in this, our 20th year, 370 are opening. Last year over 60,000 people came to visit the properties so why not join us this year?
Whilst all events are free some require pre-booking. To avoid disappointment check out www.discovernorthernireland.com/ehod or @ehodni on Twitter.