310 buildings open for heritage weekend

Published Friday, 07 September 2012
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Hundreds of private buildings are being opened to the public across Northern Ireland this weekend to celebrate the region's rich heritage.

310 buildings open for heritage weekend
Hundreds of buildings will be open to the public this weekend. (© Getty)

Over 310 buildings and special events such as walking tours, boat trips and historical re-enactments are taking place - all free of charge.

This popular celebration of Northern Irelan'ds built heritage, organised by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), is your chance to see inside many buildings that aren't usually open to the public.

This year's list is longer than ever, including a number of buildings opening for the first time such as The Mac, Lissan House, Glenarm Castle and Grey Abbey House. A number of modern buildings such as Robinsview, the BBC House of the Year 2012, are also included.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said that promoting the region's heritage with activities such as the open days will help to grow tourism from a £500m to £31bn a year industry.

The rich diversity of our built heritage is illustrated in the vast range of buildings opening their doors over the weekend from the White House in Newtownabbey built over 400 years ago, to the new Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre, there is something for everyone.

Alex Attwood

"Visitors will be able to get inside many of Northern Ireland stately homes such as Baronscourt and Ballywalter Park but can also visit lesser known gems such as Strabane's Gray's Printing Press, The Balance House in Glenavy or Tullymurry House.

"This is the fifteenth year that EHOD has taken place in Northern Ireland and it has become the largest built heritage cultural event in Northern Ireland with over 58,000 people taking part last year.

"It provides an opportunity to see behind the facades of some of our historic buildings that would not normally be open to the public and also illustrates the importance that built heritage has in our daily lives."

This year the event will also celebrate the launch of the Titanic and commemorate the 100th anniversary of its sinking.

Visitors can enjoy maritime themed events such as a Titanic photography walking tour, Magilligan Martello Tower, Belfast Harbour Commissioners Office or a walking tour of Donaghadee.

"The scale, wonder and beauty of our historic environment here is unsurpassed on any part of these islands. I believe protecting and promoting our heritage can be done successfully and sustainably," the Minister added.

For a full list of buildings open this weekend as well as special events, download the European Heritage Open Days 2012 brochure.
© UTV News
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