This year European Heritage Open Days (EHOD) have over 400 properties and events across Northern Ireland opening FREE OF CHARGE and Tourism NI has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in throughout the event.
• Bus Tour Of Belfast Historic Buildings, Tour Departs From Athletic Stores, Queen Street, Belfast, September 11. Belfast Civic Trust will run a bus tour of the city telling the story of its history through its architecture. The tour will include buildings such as Belfast City Hall, St Peter’s Cathedral, St. Anne’s Cathedral, Clonard Monastery, Queen’s University, Customs House and other important buildings. Booking essential – telephone (028) 9054 3022.
• Giant’s Causeway Visitor Experience – Guided Tour, 44 Causeway Road, Bushmills, Co. Antrim, September 12. The award winning Giant’s Causeway Visitor Experience, designed by architects Heneghan Peng is an architecturally stunning and sustainable venue combining innovation, precision and craftsmanship to create a building that sits within the beautiful Causeway landscape. There will be two free guided tours of the Visitor Centre focusing on the architecture and sustainable features of this very interesting building. Architectural interest tours at 12pm and 2pm (40mins). Booking essential – telephone (028) 9054 3022.
• Carrick-A-Rede, Whitepark Road, Ballintoy, Co. Antrim, September 12. Suspended almost 100 ft (30 m) above sea level, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen 350 years ago. Today it is a popular tourist destination, attracting thousands of thrill-seekers (and birdwatchers!) to the North Coast every year. If you are bold enough to cross the 65 ft (20 m) bridge, stretching from the mainland to ‘Rocky Island’, you will be rewarded with fantastic views of Rathlin Island, Scotland and the Causeway Coast. Get a bird’s eye view of the clear, green water flowing around the ancient caves and caverns far below – if you dare to look down. Open Saturday 9am to 6pm with free guided tour at 10am (1.5 hrs). Booking essential – telephone (028) 2073 3419.
• Kevin McAleer, Omagh Library, Irishtown Road, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, September 8. Local comedian Kevin McAleer drops in to the library for an evening of vintage comedy in which he will attempt to condense thirty years of talking nonsense into an hour. His carefully worded scripts have been compared to the likes of Beckett or Flann O’Brien, while the timing and delivery are uniquely his own. Expect plenty of word play, bad puns and concentrated laughs from an original master of the comedy craft. Suitable for adults only. Booking essential – telephone (028) 8224 4821 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Argory, Moy, Dungannon, Co. Armagh, September 12. The Argory was built in the 1820s, a handsome Irish gentry house surrounded by a 130-hectare (320-acre) wooded riverside estate. The former home of the MacGeough Bond family, a tour of this Neo-classical masterpiece reveals it is unchanged since 1900. The eclectic interior still evokes the family’s tastes and interests. Outside there are sweeping vistas, superb spring bulbs, scenic walks and fascinating courtyard displays. A second-hand bookshop, adventure playground and Lady Ada’s award-winning tea-room provide retreats for children and adults alike. Opening times 12 – 5pm.
• The Inniskillings Museum at Enniskillen Castle Museums, Co. Fermanagh, September 12. A visit to the award-winning museum is a journey through more than 300 years of world history as encountered by two famous regiments. Be inspired by the heroism of the men and their families who served over the world and view a rich collection of personal stories, weapons, uniforms and regimental silver. You will be given the opportunity to use our handling collections and see uniforms and items that soldiers carried with them from different periods of time. Opening times 2 – 5pm.
• Springhill, Moneymore, Magherafelt, Co. Londonderry, September 12. Experience the beguiling spirit of this inimitable 17th-century ‘Plantation’ home, with its walled gardens and parkland, full of tempting waymarked paths. There are ten generations of Lenox-Conyngham family tales to enthrall you, as well as numerous portraits, much furniture to admire and not forgetting Ireland’s best-documented ghost, Olivia. The old laundry houses the celebrated Costume Collection, which features some fine 18th to 20th-century pieces that highlight its great charm and enthralling past. Opening times 12 – 5pm.
• Mount Stewart, Portaferry Road, Newtownards, Co. Down, September 12. Following a three year £7million restoration programme, this 18th Century house has been significantly transformed, making it a must-see attraction on the island of Ireland. On Saturday Mount Stewart will be offering free entry to all visitors giving them the opportunity to view collections of national and international significance. Visitors can experience and explore the house at their leisure and learn more about the family and the important role they played in local and international history. You can also take a stroll around the stunning formal gardens which reflect a rich tapestry of design and planting artistry, making them so unique. Opening times 10am – 5pm.
• BBC Screenings, Building Britain: Belfast – City Renewal, Belfast Central Library, Belfast. September 10. Glenn Patterson reflects on Belfast’s industrial heritage and plans for the future. His film includes interviews with architects and developers and footage of early building work at Titanic Quarter. Starts at 6.30pm.
• Ring Of Gullion Coach Tour, Bagenal’s Castle, Castle Street, Newry, Co. Down, September 12. Fully guided coach tour taking in the most impressive sights and monuments the Ring of Gullion has to offer. Una Walsh will lead you on your journey through the breath taking landscape of the area whilst enlightening you about the rich natural, built, archaeological and cultural heritage, not forgetting the many myths and legends in which the area is steeped. Booking essential – telephone: (028) 3082 8590. Opening times 10.30 – 4.30pm.
Please note most events require pre-booking. For more details on these and other events click on www.discovernorthernireland.com/events, visit your local tourist information centre or log onto www.facebook.com/discovernorthernireland.