Tuesday, August 30, 2011

European Heritage Open Days - Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September - across Northern Ireland #ehod11

European Heritage Open Days are only around the corner. The time of year when buildings through open their doors and allow the public in for free to see inside buildings that are often out of bounds to casual observers.

Organised by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (part of the Department of the Environment), more than 300 events and properties are being offered on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September.

Freemasons Hall in Arthur Square (formerly known as Cornmarket) beside the Squiggle

Last year, Littl’un and I took in a tour of Linen Hall Library, explored Freemason’s Hall in Cornmarket Arthur Square (and enjoyed a really cheap cup of tea with an amazing view), and wandered around the oldest church in Belfast, First Presbyterian (non-subscribing) in Rosemary Street.

This year there are numerous tours around Belfast: looking at the hidden history underneath Belfast’s streets; an architectural treasure hunt (organised by PLACE); tours of the newly restored Central Library; a walking tour around Victorian and Edwardian buildings by Young and MacKenzie architects (who designed Crescent Arts Centre); touring BBC Broadcasting House; as well as a look inside Stormont Castle (home of the NI Executive) and Parliament Buildings (home of the NI Assembly).

The Prisioner

First Church of Christ, Scientist (University Avenue/Rugby Road) was designed by Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect behind Portmerion which served as the backdrop for the original Prisoner series. Previous visitors rate it highly.

The rebuilt Lyric Theatre is offering three tours of its expanded premises – booking essential.

One novel addition to the normal schedule is a private home at 47A Ravenhill Road describing itself as ‘a family home build to a modest budget in a rational modernist idiom referenced to vernacular form’. Telephone pre-booking essential.

The Lock Keeper’s Cottage at Newforge is open … you could stop for a cup of coffee in the nearly Lock Keeper’s Inn café if you’re feeling thirsty!

Many of Lisburn’s city-centre churches are open on Saturday (with the majority paradoxically closed to visitors on Sunday). C J Lowry’s jewellery shop at the junction of Market Square and the top of Bridge Street has recently been restored.

Hillsborough Castle and Grounds are open to the public, as well as the nearby Court House, Fort and Friends Meeting House.

Armagh County Museum, Court House, Gaol, Public Library (treasure hunt for children), Observatory and Planetarium are all open, along with the Charles Lanyon-designed Tourist Information Centre on English Street – CANCELLED and the ‘flamboyant’ Gospel Hall on Mall West (which started out life in 1884 as a Masonic Hall).

Tours of the Maze / Long Kesh site are being organised on the Saturday. Pre-booking essential.

Some National Trust properties are open too – waiving their normal entrance charges.

European Heritage Open Day 2011 postcard

Copies of the EHOD brochure are available in local libraries as well as some arts venues. You also download the sections for Belfast, County Antrim, County Armagh, County Down, County Fermanagh, County Londonderry and County Tyrone.

This year, EHOD are also promising some free audio tours to download covering Belfast, the walled city of Derry and the Causeway Coastal Route. Warning: I didn’t have much success unzipping them on a Mac. You may have more luck on a PC.

Something for everyone … including the thousand or more delegates at Sinn Féin’s Ard Fheis which will be in Belfast over the same weekend.


Timothy Belmont said...

Ta for reminding me, Alan.

I'm wondering where I'd pick up a catalogue...


Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Ballyhack library? I picked up mine in Black Box.

Timothy Belmont said...

I called at the Arches Library an hour ago and they aren't in yet (though they are expected).

Hill St would be a good place cos their GHQ is there!

Gary Potter said...

Got one in the Welcome Centre today... try there if your past