European Heritage Open Days this weekend

Mark Lusby of Holywell Trust's City Walls Heritage Project, showing visitors the views from the Plinth on Royal Bastion. A key part of Derry Walls, with stunning views of the cityscape, which has been closed to the public for 40 years, was opened just for  Saturday by the Holywell Trust as part of European Heritage Open Days. In Audust 1973, Walker's Pillar was demolished in an explosion and the Royal Bastion on which it  was located has been closed to the public ever since. In a bold move, the General Committee of the Apprentice Boys of Derry recently  leased  the Plinth on Royal Bastion to Derry's  Holywell Trust. The Plinth is all that remains of Walker's Pillar.  However this Saturday  Derry people got a chance to enter the Royal Bastion and ascend the Plinth to gain a unique perspective of the Walls and the wider Cityscape.  This is part of longer term plans by the Holywell Trust to secure funding from NITB and NIEA to enable the Plinth to be opened permanently in time for next year's tourist season.'END

Mark Lusby of Holywell Trust's City Walls Heritage Project, showing visitors the views from the Plinth on Royal Bastion. A key part of Derry Walls, with stunning views of the cityscape, which has been closed to the public for 40 years, was opened just for Saturday by the Holywell Trust as part of European Heritage Open Days. In Audust 1973, Walker's Pillar was demolished in an explosion and the Royal Bastion on which it was located has been closed to the public ever since. In a bold move, the General Committee of the Apprentice Boys of Derry recently leased the Plinth on Royal Bastion to Derry's Holywell Trust. The Plinth is all that remains of Walker's Pillar. However this Saturday Derry people got a chance to enter the Royal Bastion and ascend the Plinth to gain a unique perspective of the Walls and the wider Cityscape. This is part of longer term plans by the Holywell Trust to secure funding from NITB and NIEA to enable the Plinth to be opened permanently in time for next year's tourist season.'END

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The Tower Museum and the Guildhall are to throw open their doors this weekend, September 12 and 13, as part of European Heritage Open Days, along with more than 400 other venues across Northern Ireland.

The weekend offers the opportunity for people to explore the historical gems right on their own doorstep and join in a free celebration of heritage across the country.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, is encouraging local people to get out and about and explore some of the hidden heritage treasures scattered throughout Derry and Strabane.

“When it comes to heritage, Derry has a fascinating story to tell, and so many beautiful buildings to explore, including our 400-year-old Walls,” she explained.

“I would really encourage parents to bring their children along to the Tower Museum, the Guildhall, St Columb’s Cathedral and some of the many local heritage centres and sites open this weekend, to enjoy some of the captivating accounts, artefacts and archives which will be on display. It’s a real opportunity for all of us to find out a bit more about who we really are.”

Michelle Murray, Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Visitor Services Manager, said she was delighted at the opportunity to showcase both the Tower Museum and Guildhall as part of the celebrations.

“So many of us know more about the history of the places we visit on holiday as we make a point of visiting heritage sites and exploring visitor attractions,” she said.

“But we often overlook the fascinating historical artefacts and architecture right on our own doorstep.

“European Heritage Open Days are a reminder that we should celebrate our local history and our personal links with the past. And with free entry it’s a great excuse for a day out with the family.”

More than 400 buildings and monuments will open across Northern Ireland on Saturday and Sunday, including The Playhouse, St Augustine’s, Ashbrook House, Prehen House, The Museum of Free Derry, St Eugene’s Cathedral, and other buildings of historical significance, as well as free tours of the Walls, Ebrington Barracks and the Shirt Factories.

To find out more about other historical monuments and buildings open across the North and beyond go to www.heritageopendays.org.uk