Open days awaken new awareness

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Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is calling on Co Antrim property owners to follow the example of Drumalis Retreat and Conference Centre in opening their doors during 2013’s European Heritage Open Days.

This year Northern Ireland will play its part in showcasing the best of its heritage when many properties and monuments – get ready to open their doors to the public on September 14-15.

Commenting on their involvement in last year’s open days, Katrina Hartin of Drumalis said: Due to the nature of the work at Drumalis, we are not usually open to the general public - the European Heritage Open Days weekend presents a great opportunity for us to open our doors and invite visitors to come and learn about the history of this magnificent building on one Saturday each September.”

“Part of our site incorporates the beautiful family home of the great Presbyterian industrialist and philanthropist, Sir Hugh Smiley, built in the 19th century. As such, we have a very colourful history here and, and as is the case with many of the weekend’s sites, people have a new opportunity to see and understand more of our heritage from a source that they may not have been aware of previously.”

“We also find that we have repeat community groups that have been inspired by their visit on the day as well by our facilities.

“So not only does the weekend offer the benefit of seeing more of our history, it also broadens the public eye to lesser known sites and venues to the wealth of heritage at places such as our own.”

“We have been very lucky to be able to restore the building at Drumalis Retreat Centre and to reinstate our Victorian rose garden. Visitors are pleasantly surprised at how much there is to see, and we believe that this often applies to many of the wonderful sites available to visit throughout the weekend.”