A Weekend of Heritage, Architecture and Culture!

Saturday 13th - Sunday 14th September

European Heritage Open Days – one of my favourite times of the year.

European Heritage Open DaysThanks to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) I get to travel across Northern Ireland photographing and documenting some of our built heritage that is often hidden from sight.

Held annually in September the central principle is to throw open the doors to historic monuments and buildings, in particular those normally closed to the public.

The European Heritage Open Days in 2013 saw over 410 properties opening for FREE and holding events across Northern Ireland. Inspired by the City of Culture 2013 the programme was jam-packed with special cultural events. In 2014, the European Heritage Open Days promise to be just as exciting.


Every September, European Heritage Open Days give local tourists and international visitors to Northern Ireland an opportunity to discover new places, unearth hidden heritage, enjoy tourist attractions and destinations, and unlock Northern Ireland’s cultural doorways.

Greencastle Royal Castle. This castle stands on a rocky height beside Carlingford Lough.

We love the idea that we can bring you (virtually) with us on our journeys discovering places known and not so known – giving you a virtual prelude to the real-world experience that awaits you.

Check out our dedicated European Heritage Open Days Category showing all the properties taking part this year that we’ve visited with our 360° camera.

Martello Tower Magilligan. Built during the Napoleonic Wars this well preserved visitor attraction has walls over 9ft thick.

Two months before the event we sit down with NIEA and go over the many properties opening and highlight a selection to be part of our Panoramic EHOD Road Trip. We’re very excited about the places we’re going to bring you this year. Stay tuned to our home page for the latest updates.

Then it’s on to contacting and scheduling suitable dates for the photography with the property owners – many of which are new to our style of photography and are invariably most intrigued.

Museum at The Mill. Explore the history & heritage of this flax spinning mill in County Antrim

Once dates are in the diary then it’s time to hit the road.  We travel the length and breadth of Northern Ireland posting pics to our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ channels (look for the hashtag #EHODNI) and ultimately publishing 360° interactive panoramic pictures of the places we’ve seen.

 Helen’s Tower. Perched high above the rolling hills of Co Down

Armagh Public Library. 500 years of books & art in a Georgian setting. One of the oldest libraries in Ireland

European Heritage Days are held annually in September in 50 signatory states to the European Cultural Convention. The central principle was as simple as it was compelling: to throw open the doors to historic monuments and buildings, in particular those normally closed to the public.

One of the key requirements was to offer free access to all properties taking part in the European Heritage Days.

This is the 17th year that Northern Ireland has taken part in this FREE European-wide event. Each year EHOD is getting bigger and bigger, with last year seeing over 68,000 visitors across all of the properties!  Over 400 properties and events across Northern Ireland will be opening for FREE on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September.

The Grand Opera House. Belfast’s majestic theatre has delivered laughter, tears and applause since 1895

The European Heritage Open Days (EHOD) is, at its heart, a celebration of our built heritage and the history, stories and cultural impacts these have had and to raise appreciation for Northern Ireland’s rich and diverse cultural assets and their need for care and protection.

Harland & Wolff Drawing Office. Plans for Olympic, Titanic and Britannic were prepared here.

2014 marks the anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. In keeping with Northern Ireland’s ‘Decade of Centenaries’ EHOD has adopted the sub- theme of ’Anniversaries’ this year to both commemorate and celebrate culture, heritage, and the intangible markers of history that have shaped our historic built environment. Many of the openers have used this year’s programme to highlight special individual stories and events relating to their building’s past, and connected to WWI or other milestones.

Grey Point Fort. The gun fort has been in use in both WWI and WWII, protecting Belfast Lough from potential naval attacks.

There are also many creative ways for you to explore Northern Ireland’s built heritage, such as PLACE NI’s Architectural Photography tours. New this year is a partnership with FOODNI. Our picturesque mountains and glens also produce some of the finest ingredients in the world. This year EHOD and Food NI have been working together to showcase how our food culture and built heritage have come together. They have paired historic buildings with local food producers, providing us with some ‘food for thought’ on the importance of embracing our rich food heritage in Northern Ireland.

For more information:

Happy Heritage Hunting!

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Antrim Town

Antrim is the county town of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Antrim is a small town not frequently visited by tourists, yet it is one of the more historic towns in Northern Ireland with many interesting sights and buildings of historic note.

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