The weekend of 12 and 13 September will mark the eighteenth year of Northern Ireland’s participation in the European Heritage Open Days event. For County Armagh alone, there are forty-two entries in the Department of the Environment’s brochure, encouraging people to visit buildings, take part in walking tours and view exhibitions. The City of Armagh will have sixteen places and events involved in this special weekend and the Hill of Armagh will play its role.
Armagh Public Library and No 5 Vicars’ Hill, the former registry, as well as St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, will all be open for visitors, free of charge, during the day on Saturday and again on Sunday afternoon. Visitors will have the opportunity to view eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings and to learn how they are used today.
At the Cathedral, tours will include the crypt, its thirteenth century foundations, and burial place of former archbishops and landed families. A visit to Armagh Public Library will include five hundred years of books and art in a Georgian setting, while No 5 will show early and pre-Christian antiquities, and aspects of eighteenth century life in Armagh.
There will be activities for children to carry out during their visit, including a children’s tour of the Cathedral on the Saturday, touch screen quizzes in No 5, and a treasure hunt in the Library.
The Dean of Armagh and the Keeper of Armagh Public Library, the Very Revd Gregory Dunstan said: “One of the original purposes of European Heritage Open Days was to encourage people to take an interest in places in their own locality which they had never visited. We all of us on ‘The Hill’ look forward to welcoming those who would like to explore this heritage at the heart of Armagh. Our staff and volunteers will be on duty to welcome our visitors and answer questions. Refreshments will be available at ‘4 Vicars’.”
Information on all the buildings open for EHOD can be found on www.discovernorthernireland.com/ehod