European Heritage Open Days bringing history to life

Date published: 06 September 2017

European Heritage Open Days (EHOD) (Saturday 9 to Sunday 10 September) offers the opportunity to visit historic buildings and places of interest, free of charge - some of which aren’t usually open to the public. This year’s event will see a cast of characters at many of the sites, bringing history to life.

County Antrim

Pogue’s Entry, Antrim

Childhood home of author Dr Alexander Irvine, the cottage gives a rare insight into how many Irish working class families lived in the latter half of the nineteenth century. There will be living history, storytelling, and traditional craft activities on offer and gardeners will be on hand to answer your questions.

Carrickfergus Town walls

Carrickfergus Town walls are the oldest stone town walls in Northern Ireland, building started in 1608. Although parts of them have been removed over the years, the circuit can still be traced around the town centre. Meet the man-at-arms on Saturday 9 September as he patrols the walls.

County Armagh

Navan Centre and fort

Enjoy a flavour of the historic Navan Centre and fort.  Be welcomed to Navan by the Celtic characters, learn of the myths and legends of the Ulster Celts in a short tour. 


GI’s Jitterbug NI War Memorial Museum

Visit the museum to learn about Northern Ireland’s role in WWII and the 75th anniversary of the arrival of US Forces.  An American Red Cross Club dance will be recreated, sample American candy, listen to 1940s music played on a gramophone, and take part in swing dances with the Ballroom Blitz Formation Team.  

Discover Ulster Scots Centre

Come and discover Ulster Scots music, dance, history, and heritage in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter. Visit the spacious exhibition gallery with live folk music performances, Highland and Scottish ceilidh dance workshops, or try on some period costumes from the early 1600s.

County Down

Ballycopeland Windmill

Meet the miller who will explain how the daily grind was done for the farmers of the Ards peninsula and filled the breadbaskets of County Down - 18th century high-tech engineering requires skill and hard work.

Dundrum Castle

Meet the Norman man-at-arms and survey his armoury of weapons, perhaps try on some chain mail, and feel the weight of a sword.


Come and meet the Cistercian monk who walks the cloister and tends the herbs, vow of silence temporarily suspended…

Bangor Castle

Experience a behind-the-scenes escorted tour with a costumed guide to see the main rooms originally used for entertaining on the ground floor level, as well as a chance to see 'downstairs' as a comparison.

Visitors will also have the chance to see some of the local council's painting collection, some of which are original to the castle.    

County Fermanagh

Devenish Island

This island community was founded in the sixth century, burned in 1157 by vikings, and in the Middle Ages it flourished as the parish church and St Mary's Augustinian Priory.

Best known for its intact round tower, there is lots to see and explore. Meet the early Christian monk and saint, and see how you would have fared as a scriptor monk copying holy texts with a goose quill pen, inks and pigments.   

Tully Castle

A fortified house and bawn built in 1619 for the Scottish planter Sir John Hume. He occupied the house until 1641 when it was captured and burned on Christmas Eve by Rory Maguire. A place of beauty with a tragic history, you can meet living history re-enactors who will bring this castle to life once again.

County Londonderry

School master's treasure hunt

The year 1617 saw a Free School built within Derry Walls. Follow a trail of hidden clues and help the school master find his salary. Seek help from living history performers along the way and discover another story connected with the building of the Walls. You could win great prizes too. Part of Derry Walls Day 2017. 

Martello Tower

Meet the 19th century artilleryman as he patrols the tower and explains the importance of this strategic lookout post, and his role in keeping the big guns ready. See uniforms, field kit, and hand weapons of the Napoleonic soldier. 

Bellaghy Bawn

Once used as a doctor’s surgery, come and meet a barber-surgeon from the 17th century and see how his medicine compares to modern methods. Cures for the plague and the pox guaranteed! 

County Tyrone

Benburb Castle

Meet the soldiers who lived here, see weapons demonstrations, and hear the history of this amazing place. A new exhibition, 'Wildlife of the Blackwater Valley', will be open; take a wildlife walk with experts, and spot some of the creatures in the Valley Park. Something for all the family.

European Heritage Open Days

If you want to find out more about what and when properties are opening, what events are on, and if you need to book, you can get information and download the brochure at the following link:

Keep up-to-date with European Heritage Open Days on Facebook and on Twitter (@ehodni).

The weekend promises to have something for everyone so why not come along and enjoy a little bit of history right on your doorstep?

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