McWilliam Gallery opens its doors for open day

THE FE McWilliam Gallery will be one of over 56 buildings across County Down opening their doors this weekend as part of European Heritage Open Days (EHOD).

This popular celebration of our built heritage, organised by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), is your chance to see inside many buildings that aren’t usually open to the public. Over 310 buildings and special events such as walking tours, boat trips and historical re-enactments are taking place across Northern Ireland – all free of charge.

This year’s list is longer than ever, including a number of castles, walks and buildings opening for the first time in County Down such as Tullymurry House in Newry, Killough Guided Walk, St John’s Lighthouse, Killough, Audley’s and Strangford Castle. A number of modern buildings such as Robinsview, the BBC House of the Year 2012, are also included.

Commenting on the wonder and beauty of our historic environment Environment Minister, Alex Attwood said: “Visitors to Banbridge and surrounding area will be able to see inside many buildings such as F E McWilliam award winning Gallery and Studio, Drumnahare, the spectacular Hillsborough Castle and Grounds, Hillsborough Court House which dominates the centre of the town and Hillsborough Fort.

“This is the fifthteenth year that EHOD has taken place in Northern Ireland and it has become the largest built heritage cultural event in Northern Ireland with over 58,000 people taking part last year. It provides an opportunity to see behind the facades of some of our historic buildings that would not normally be open to the public and also illustrates the importance that built heritage has in our daily lives.”

Concluding Minister Attwood added: “I extend a big thank you to all the building owners, volunteers and the whole host of people who arrange activities. Without them, these open days would not be possible.”

European Heritage Open Days brochures are available from your local library or Tourist Information Centre or alternatively log on to www.discovernorthernireland.com/ehod to find out more about the properties opening near you.