European Heritage Open Days Northern Ireland 2018

4th September 2018

On the second weekend of September each year, hundreds of historic properties in Northern Ireland open for European Heritage Open Days giving free access.

European Heritage Open Days 2018

In 2018, European Heritage Open Days take place on 8th and 9th September with many sites relating to World War Two open to the public.

At WartimeNI, we have no affiliation to Discover Northern Ireland or the Department for Communities or any other organisers involved in European Heritage Open Days 2018.

We have put together this guide to help you find some sites relating to World War Two although there is much more to explore across Northern Ireland.

EHOD 2018 in Co. Antrim

Carrickfergus Castle
Carrickfergus Castle is a stunning example of Norman architecture in Co. Antrim. When the Luftwaffe threatened attacks in 1940 and 1941, the people of Carrick took to the vaults under the castle for shelter. Nearby stands a Churchill Tank.

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Gartree Parish Church
Gartree Parish Church near Crumlin, Co. Antrim was part of the huge Langford Lodge base used by both the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Force in World War Two. Big band leader Glenn Miller once played the church organ.

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St. Catherine’s Parish Church
St. Catherine’s Church at Killead, Co. Antrim stands close to what was once RAF Aldergrove and RAF Nutts Corner. Several young Royal Air Force crew members killed in training accidents or incidents on the base lie in the churchyard.

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Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall has a long and varied history. Throughout wartime, it welcomed visitors such as Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and General Eisenhower. After enduring the Blitz of 1941, people celebrated outside on VE Day in 1945.

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Campbell College
Campbell College in East Belfast transformed during World War Two. The boarders shipped off to the north coast to continue their education while the old school building became a military hospital. Many troops and POWs received treatment there.

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HMS Caroline
HMS Caroline is near Belfast’s famous Titanic visitor centre. A survivor of the Battle of Jutland, in World War One, HMS Caroline would once again see service in World War Two. Providing a base for the Royal Navy, it greeted Royal visitors.

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Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum
The Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum in Belfast’s cathedral quarter is a wonderful exhibition space. It tells the story of the Belfast Blitz, the American GIs in Ireland, and the Ulster Home Guard. Exhibitions change throughout the year.

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Public Records Office Northern Ireland
PRONI is the place to access thousands of historic documents including census records for Ireland and Northern Ireland. They hold many documents that provide unique insights into life in wartime Northern Ireland.

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St. Anne’s Cathedral
St. Anne’s Cathedral is a survivor of the Belfast Blitz when the Luftwaffe devastated the land around the historic church building. Inside you can find many military flags and standards, as well as memorials to those who served in World War Two.

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Ulster Hall
The Ulster Hall is one of Belfast’s most iconic entertainment venues. During the Easter Tuesday Blitz of April 1941, Irish balladeer Delia Murphy proved the show must go on. She sang to a sold-out crowd throughout the raid.

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EHOD 2018 in Co. Armagh

Brownlow House
Brownlow House is close to the public park in Lurgan, Co. Armagh. During World War Two, it was home to a large contingent of the United States Army. Today, it hosts a museum commemorating the stay of the American GIs between 1924-1944.

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Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum
The Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum in Armagh City, Co. Armagh tells the story of now defunct regiment throughout the years from their raising in 1881. The museum is located in a Grade B+ listed building in one of Northern Ireland’s most historic cities.

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Derrymore House
Derrymore House in Bessbrook, Co. Armagh is a National Trust property. During World War Two, it was a base for both British Army and United States Army troops. Queen’s University, Belfast conducted an archaeological survey on the base.

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EHOD 2018 in Co. Down

Castle Ward
Castle Ward is an 18th century National Trust property near the village of Strangford in Co. Down. It often welcomes groups of schoolchildren who can learn what life was like as an evacuee in wartime Northern Ireland.

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Dromantine House
Dromantine House near Newry, Co. Down is now a retreat and conference centre. During World War Two, like many large country houses, it was a base for the United States Army. It once housed 626th Ordnance Corps, one of whom was involved in a gruesome murder.

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Dundrum Castle
Like Carrickfergus, Dundrum has another stunning example of a surviving Norman castle. The Co. Down village housed elements of the Unites States Army 1st Armored Division in 1942. The nearby coast and mountainous terrain offered great training grounds.

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Grey Point Fort
Grey Point Fort is a unique piece of World War One history preserved on the banks of Belfast Lough at Helen’s Bay, Co. Down. The guns of the old battery offered protection to shipping once again during the Second World War.

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Meigh Nissen Hut
In the village of Meigh, Co. Down near the Ring of Gullion visitors can experience what life was like inside a Nissen Hut. Many of the troops from the British Army and United States Army stayed in similar huts in the surrounding area.

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Soldiers at Derrymore House, Bessbrook

Imperial War Museum Photo: H 8460 (Part of the War Office Second World War Official Collection). Local women serve tea to the crew of a Light Tank Mk VI of C Squadron, 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corps outside Derrymore House, Bessbrook, Co. Armagh on 25th March 1941. Photo taken by Lieutenant JR Bainbridge - Official War Office Photographer.

EHOD 2018 in Co. Fermanagh

Castle Coole
Castle Coole is a late 18th century neo-classical mansion near Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. Between 1942 and 1944, many different units of the United States Army found themselves based at the stately house. More regiments were at the nearby sister property of Florence Court.

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Crom Castle
Crom Castle in Co. Fermanagh dates back to 1820 and is home to the Creighton Family, the Earls of Erne. Now managed by the National Trust, it housed a large contingent of American troops between 1942 and 1944.

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Florencecourt Estate
Florence Court is an impressive stately home near Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. A sister property of the nearby Castle Coole, it also saw a spike of activity in wartime as American and Canadian airmen based at Castle Archdale resided throughout the area.

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EHOD 2018 in Co. Londonderry

Castlerock
The seaside village of Castlerock, Co. Londonderry provided an excellent training ground for many troops based in Northern Ireland during World War Two. The rugged coastline saw use by British and Belgian troops as well as by the United States Army.

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Springhill House
Springhill House in Moneymore, Co. Londonderry is a 17th century Plantation House. During wartime, it became a base for troops stationed in the area who stayed in Nissen huts on the ground. In recent years, the grounds have been used for World War II re-enactments.

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Tower Museum
The Tower Museum in the centre of Derry City, Co. Londonderry features a vast amount of local history from the first settlers to the recent Troubles. Visitors can find out lots more about the hard-fought Battle of the Atlantic, which brought many Navy and Air Force bases to the area.

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EHOD 2018 in Co. Tyrone

The Argory
United States Army 654th Battalion were among the troops briefly based at the Argory, a National Trust property in Co. Tyrone. They left their mark in more ways than one and some of their graffiti and painted artwork can still be seen on the walls.

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