Accessing our built heritage
We have been recording our built heritage in Northern Ireland for over a century. There is a substantial archive which is still being developed.
Northern Ireland Monuments and Buildings Record
All the information is held in the Northern Ireland Monuments and Buildings Record (MBR) and includes databases, written records, maps, photographic, drawn and digital material.
You can arrange to view the material by writing, emailing or telephoning NI Environment Agency in Waterman House. You can drop in and use the public research facility.
Access to the MBR is free. However search fees may be charged for handling detailed or lengthy enquiries or those undertaken for commercial purposes.
- Monuments and Buildings Record (MBR) - NI Environment Agency website
- Waterman House contact details - NI Environment Agency website
Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record
The Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record (NISMR) holds information on over 16,000 archaeological sites and historic monuments. These include the remains of settlements, fortifications, ritual sites and tombs created over the past 9,000 years.
The NISMR can be viewed online through the Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record Database. The database provides information such as site type, grid reference, townland, parish, time period and any local site names. There is also a brief description of each site taken from early maps, historical sources and recent site visits.
Before beginning your search you must accept the terms and conditions.
Historic Buildings Database
Records of historic buildings are available on the Buildings Database. Further information on many listed buildings can also be found in the MBR.
- NI Buildings Database - NI Environment Agency website
- Accessing the Monuments and Buildings Record - NI Environment Agency website
Built heritage at risk in Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) sponsors a register of buildings that are under threat from neglect, ignorance or future development. This register is available in print or you can search Built Heritage at Risk in Northern Ireland (BHARNI) online.
Alternatively you can request a print copy from the address below:
Ulster Architectural Heritage Society
66 Donegall Pass
The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS) set up and maintains the register on NIEA's behalf . Contact UAHS first if you feel a building or structure should be added to the register or if you have further information about such a structure.
If you have a query about any information on the BHARNI Register, contact UAHS by telephone 028 9055 0213 or email email@example.com.
The Industrial Revolution had a major impact in Northern Ireland, leaving a legacy of sites from mills to mines, canals and railways. Many of our industries were important, not only locally but on the world stage. NIEA is currently working to incorporate information on these sites into the Industrial Heritage Record.
The Industrial Heritage Record lists more than 16,000 features, but only limited information is currently available for most. The Industrial Heritage Database can be viewed in the Monuments and Buildings Record (MBR).
Historic parks, gardens and demesnes
Historic parks, gardens and demesnes are important features in our countryside, contributing to the character and appearance of our landscape.
Many are distinguished by their carefully composed designs of trees, meadows and water, perhaps as a setting for a building. Some have valuable tree collections, shrubs or plants, while others may provide a significant historical record, either of a particular era or showing how the design has changed over the centuries.
However, it is a fragile heritage, for unlike other works of art, these gardens and designed landscapes are living, growing and evolving and require careful management.
The Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Archive contains a comprehensive record of over 700 historic parks, gardens and demesnes. The Heritage Gardens Inventory provides a list of the sites contained in the archive, with basic details.
There are many 20th century defensive structures dotted around the countryside and coast in Northern Ireland. These include trenches, gun and searchlight emplacements, pillboxes, observation posts, airfields, harbours, naval and flying boat bases and air raid shelters. Most are derelict, some have been reused or altered while others are in a state of decay.
Find out more about our defence heritage.