Heritage open days 2012 – what will you discover?

THE National Trust, Northern Ireland’s largest conservation charity, will open its doors for free on Saturday 8 September as part of European Heritage Open Days organised by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

The Trust looks after some of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful places and amazing spaces and the open day celebration is designed to encourage people of all ages to discover our rich and diverse architecture and heritage.

Come along and explore spectacular landscapes, grand mansions and beautiful gardens. Pull back the curtains of these special places with behind-the-scenes tours, family fun activities and inspirational walks.

Many National Trust places will be open for free on Saturday 8 September including Castle Ward, where there will be sporadic re-enactments of the quarrel between Bernard and Ann Ward on how the house came to have two quirky architecturally different facades – Gothic and Classical; Florencecourt, Castlecoole and Crom will be offering a walk with the ranger to discover more about these fascinating estates. Also open are Hezlett House one of the oldest thatched cottages left standing in Northern Ireland; The Argory a handsome Irish gentry house by the River Blackwater and Springhill, described as one of the prettiest houses in Ulster. Mount Stewart will be open on a free flow basis and visitors can make their own way around the house with a guide in each of the rooms or enjoy a wander around Rowallane Garden or Patterson’s Spade Mill.

So whether you fancy visiting your local National Trust places to visit or making a day of it and going further a field, there’s somewhere and something for everyone. Come along, enjoy the experience and see for yourself the work that the trust does to preserve and protect Northern Ireland’s heritage for future generations to enjoy.

As a conservation charity, the trust relies on the support of members, visitors, volunteers and donations to help protect our special places for ever for everyone. On Saturday 8 September there will be a special membership offer of three months free for anyone joining the National Trust.

For further information on places to visit during European Heritage Open Days see www.discovernorthernireland.com/ehod.


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