Check out five of our favourite events this European Heritage Open Day

9 months |

Check out five of our favourite events this European Heritage Open Day

Next in Love NI Ryan John Quinn – the shepherd hoping to bring home his flock

European Heritage Open Day is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary in Northern Ireland. Hundreds of special places open their doors to the public to offer free events on 9–10 Septmber. This year’s theme is ‘Heritage & Nature: A landscape of possibilities’. There are nearly 400 events to chose from this year. We’ve handpicked five of our favourites.

Boat Tour of ancient Christian sites on Lough Erne   

A FREE boat tour of the Fermanagh Lakelands? Yes please. Not only will you be treated to some of the most stunningly beautiful scenery anywhere on the island of Ireland but you’ll get to find out about some of it’s most ancient historical sites, including 6th Century Devenish Monastic site and the magical White Island which is home to archaic carved stone figures that are thought to be even older than those on Devenish. 

Too good not to miss! Did we mention, it’s absolutely free? 

Tour times:

Sun 09:00 – 16:00

Book in advance email: or tel: 028 6632 5000


More info

 Don’t just walk on the walls, sketch them!

Derry–Londonderry is home to the most complete example of historic walls anywhere in Europe and is the only walled city anywhere in Ireland that remains fully intact. The walls were built over 400 years ago as defences for English and Scottish settlers. A tourist hot spot, this is a chance enjoy a walking tour led by a historian combined with an artist–led sketching session. Bring your own Notepad and pencil. Don’t hang about as places are limited. 

OPENING TIMES Sat: 13.30 – 15.00

More info

600 million years of history explained through rocks

There’s recent history and then there’s ancient history. The folk at the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland are opening up their ‘core store’ to the public. Home to the national archive of rock samples, the team here will explain 600 million years of Earth’s history from deserts mountain building events, fiery volcanoes, swampy deltas, salty lakes and tropical seas that Northern Ireland has experienced during this time.

Tours at 10.00,12.00 and 14.00. 

BOOKING REQUIRED: 028 9052 0980 

Belfast Harbour commissioners is a beautiful building 

Copyright: Belfast Harbour Commissioner's office
Copyright: Belfast Harbour Commissioner's office

Like most of the places on this list, The Belfast Harbour Commissioners building doesn’t get the same levels of attention from the travel press that they probably should but we can’t recommend this place highly enough. Built between 1847–54, Belfast Harbour Commissioners is a stunning example of architecture reflecting that of an Italian Palazzo. Inside the place is dripping with fine art, marble, mosaics and all kinds of memorabilia historically significant to Belfast. Titanic enthusiasts are in for a treat. We’ll say no more. Go and see for yourself.

Opening times

Sat 13:00 – 17:00

Sun 13:00 – 17:00

Want to see a puffin in real life!?


Copyright: RSPB
Copyright: RSPB

If you do, then visit the RSPB seabird centre on a lighthouse on Rathlin Island. Situated 4 km off the north east coast, Rathlin is easily accessible by ferry from Ballycastle. Ideally positioned to offer breathtaking views of County Antrim (south), the Inishowen peninsula, Donegal (west) and Scotland’s famous Mull of Kintyre (east). Rathlin is home to around 150 humans who share the island with tens of thousands of rare and beautiful birds, including puffins, razorbills, guillemots and kittiwakes.

This is your chance to see and learn more about what the RSPB describe as ‘one of the most important seabird breeding sites in the UK and Ireland.’

Opening times

Sat 11:00 – 16:00

Sun 11:00 – 16:00 11.00 to 16.00

Last admission 15.00

We can’t emphasise this enough. Early booking is essential as some events are already fully booked. Don’t miss out!

Get weekly updates from Northern Ireland

Leave a comment