Historic buildings open their doors for European Heritage Days

Old Bridewell now the Magherafelt Library, HB08-15-004 - Laura Shiels images, June 2010
Old Bridewell now the Magherafelt Library, HB08-15-004 - Laura Shiels images, June 2010

Communities Minister Paul Givan MLA has invited the Magherafelt public to enjoy European Heritage Open Days (EHOD) on Saturday 10 and Sunday September 11.

History and culture will be brought to life with over 300 property openings and events throughout Northern Ireland.

A host of historic buildings will open their doors to the public, many for September 10 and 11 only.

This year’s programme features a wide variety of special events such as walking tours, history re-enactments and film screenings.

With all events free of charge and many family friendly, everyone can take the opportunity to step back in time.

Minister Givan said: “Organised by my Department, it is very apt that this year’s theme across Europe is ‘Heritage Communities’.

“Nurturing such communities is vital if we are to ensure that our heritage is well protected into the future and able to support community cohesion and a strong economy.”

Locations in the Magherafelt area opening for the weekend include the Bridewell and Maghera Church.

The Bridewell is the old Gaol and courthouse, and was built by the Salters Company from London during the Plantation of Ulster.

It is a familiar landmark at the bottom of Magherafelt’s Broad Street and will host a day of living history.

A guided tour will take you through the experience of what life was like for the prisoners.

Maghera Church dates back to the 10th century and stands on the site of the sixth century monastery founded by St. Lurach.

It was used as a parish church until early 19th century.

The graveyard and church tower will be open for tours.

Minister Givan concluded: “The weekend is going from strength to strength each year with over 52,000 people turning out last year.

“Whilst all events are free some require pre-booking.

“To avoid disappointment check out http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/ehod and @ehodni on Twitter now.”