Hundreds of historic NI landmarks will open doors to public

The RSPB Seabird Centre on Rathlin Island will be open for the first time
The RSPB Seabird Centre on Rathlin Island will be open for the first time

A remote wildlife centre, a historic Presbyterian church and an Ulster-Scots heritage venue will be among some of Northern Ireland’s significant buildings and landmarks to throw open their doors to the public for free for the first time next month.

People are being invited to take a glimpse into the past by having a peek inside country manors, cottages, mills and forts that normally are not open to the public, as part of the two-day event known as the European Heritage Open Days on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10.

The Dunmurry Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church dates back to 1779

The Dunmurry Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church dates back to 1779

Some 370 venues will open for free as part of this year’s event, which marks the 20th anniversary of the hugely popular programme.

And there will be several notable newcomers this time, including the RSPB seabird centre, located at a lighthouse in the far west of rugged Rathlin Island.

Also making its debut is the Ulster Scots Discovery Centre in Belfast. Visitors can enjoy an exhibition gallery with live folk music performances, Highland and Scottish ceilidh dance workshops, or try on period costumes from the 1600s.

Elsewhere, the historic Dunmurry Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church has also been added to the roster.

Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy celebrates the life of the late poet

Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy celebrates the life of the late poet

It dates back to 1779, and the interior remains virtually unchanged. The pulpit was restored in 1976, as a memorial to Miss Andrews, daughter of Thomas Andrews who was lost with the Titanic.

Some of the other venues making an appearance for the first time include the Seamus Heaney HomePlace – an arts and literary centre celebrating the life of the late, great poet – and Dobbins Inn Hotel, a 13th century family inn located in the heart of Carrickfergus.

And for a second year in a row, the Museum of Orange Heritage at Sloan’s House in Loughgall, Co Armagh (where the Orange Order was formed), will be taking part.

For a full run down of all the venues and details about when to visit, go to www.discovernorthernireland.com/ehod