European Heritage Open Days 2017 on the Hill of Armagh
This year Northern Ireland marks the 20th anniversary of European Heritage Open Days (EHOD). Since the start the venues on The Hill of Armagh will have contributed to seventeen EHOD weekends. Armagh Robinson Library and No 5 Vicars’ Hill are open during the day on Saturday 9 September and the Sunday 10 September in the afternoon. St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral will be open on both days. Visitors will also be welcome to attend the Sunday services. All are free of charge.
On the Saturday of EHOD, all three places on the Hill will offer free guided tours of thirty minutes each. The tours are offered at separate times, to allow visitors to take part at all three venues. During the Cathedral tour, visitors will visit the crypt, its thirteenth century foundations, and the burial place of former archbishops. No 5 Vicars’ Hill, designed to look like a dwelling house, was the registry for church and civic records for hundreds of years. The guided tour will refer to No 5’s architecture, its original use and what is now held in the 1772 building.
The third tour, in Armagh Robinson Library, formerly Armagh Public Library, will tell visitors about the original building, changes made to it over the years, and the collections which it holds. The Library’s founder, Archbishop Richard Robinson, paid for the 1771 building to be built and gave the Library many of its collections, including books, manuscripts, coins, prints and gems. The current temporary exhibition shows accounts of travel over three centuries and includes adventurous travel books, practical guidebooks and reflections on meeting new people.
There will be children’s activities available, including a special tour of the Cathedral on the Saturday, touch screen quizzes in No 5, and treasure hunts in the Library. The Library and No 5 will also have toys and books for the under fives, as part of the ‘Playful Museums’ initiative.
The Dean of Armagh and the Keeper of Armagh Public Library, the Very Revd Gregory Dunstan said: “The Hill of Armagh was once a steep-sided little place, standing out among the drumlins of County Armagh. From it, you would have seen the length of the Sperrins. Ever since the foundation of the first monastery, centuries of building have changed all that, but the Hill is still the heart of the city that traces its origin to St Patrick.”