Dozens of Mid Ulster’s heritage properties free to see this weekend

Lissan House
Lissan House

Hundreds of heritage properties will be open free to the public this weekend, including a number across Mid Ulster.

Ranfurly House Visitor and Arts Centre, Lissan House and Benburb Castle are just some of the great attractions involved in this weekend’s event in celebration of European Heritage.

Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “I am pleased that so many of DCAL buildings are open as part of the European Heritage Open Days. This weekend gives the public the opportunity to see behind the scenes in some of our buildings such as PRONI where the tours include a visit to the stores.

“This weekend allows DCAL to showcase some of the fabulous architecture on our buildings and the public can see behind the scenes. I encourage everyone to get out and about this weekend and see what gems they can discover.”

Some things to do in Mid Ulster

Eel Supper

Where: Crosskeys Inn, Toomebridge

When: Saturday & Sunday 3-5pm

Booking required: 028 796 50694 or email

Crosskeys Inn, Lough Neagh Fisherman’s Co-op and Kinturk Cultural Centre all have a strong heritage connected to Lough Neagh. Crosskeys Inn, dating from 1654, is the oldest thatched pub in Northern Ireland.

Share the delights of the heritage eel fishing with the great flavour of fresh eels fried with freshly baked soda bread. There will be traditional music, refreshments, storytelling and a talk about eel fishing

Peter Francis Fahy at Benburb Castle

Where: Benburb Castle, 89 Millburn Road, Benburb, Dungannon, BT71 7L3

When: Saturday: Dramatisations at 2pm & 3pm, (45 mins. with short interval)

The Seduction of Etain, comes alive on the walls of the historic building. Told entirely in rhyme, illustrated in a movie storyboarding

style and enlivened by anime scores, this event is a must-see for fans of art, animation, music and mythology.

Woodrow Wilson Homestead

Where: 28 Sprout Road, Dergal, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, BT82 0EB

When: Saturday - Guided tours at 3pm. Sunday - Guided tours at 1pm & 4pm (1hr 30 mins)

The Ancestral home of Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, will be open for two afternoons of storytelling, craft demonstrations and short talks. Join us in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains for a memorable and fun filled afternoon. On-going demonstrations by costumed staff will include open hearth cooking, flax spinning and corn dolly making. Food samples on offer.

Ram’s Island

Sandy Bay Marina, Lough Neagh, BT28 2LQ

An opportunity to visit this intriguing island and learn about its diverse history and wildlife. All of the attractions will be explained in this fascinating tour that includes the new interpretive centre. Bring a picnic. Whilst the tour on the Island is free to visitors, a ferry operated by the Rams Island Heritage Project will leave from Sandy Bay Marina at 12noon at a reduced rate of £5 for EHOD return journey (usually £10). Visit or contact 028 9054 3022 for booking and further details.

Opening Times: Sat 12-3pm; Sun 12-3pm

Both days: Tour starts on the Island at 1pm (Ferry £5).

Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey

11 Ballymena Road, Portglenone, BT44 8BL

Bethlehem Abbey, built in the late 1960’s is home to a community of monks of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. The buildings, though modern in concept and material, epitomize the austerity and simplicity of the Cisterian vocation to make space for

God. Leaflets available and Monks will guide tours.

Opening Times: Sat 10.30-4.30, Tours at 10.30am, 11.30am, 3pm, 3.45pm (45min)

Hill of The O’Neill & Ranfurly House Arts and Visitor Centre

Where: 26 Market Square, Dungannon, BT70 1AB

Ranfurly House Arts and Visitor Centre is the perfect starting point for an exploration of Dungannon and Tyrone. Located in the former Belfast Bank, a beautiful mid-Victorian centrepiece at the heart of Dungannon town, it sits beneath one of Ireland and Europe’s most important heritage sites, Hill of the O’Neill. The multi-media exhibition narrates the Hill’s importance in Irish and European history, its links to the O’Neill’s and the subsequent Flight of the Earls and Plantation of Ulster. Guided tours on Saturday.

Opening Times: Sat 10-4pm, Guided tours available, given by Living History staff Sun 1-5pm