Doors open on Tyrone history

Lissan House.
Lissan House.

Heritage and history will be brought to life at this year’s European Heritage Open Days across County Tyrone.

With over 300 venues taking part across Northern Ireland on Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9, this is one of the largest free events open to the public.

It is a celebration and appreciation of our rich and diverse culture and heritage where the ‘doors will open’ to historic buildings and monuments, some of which open to the public for the first time.

Adults and children will be entertained over the two days with living history, performances, arts and crafts and much more.

The theme this year is ‘The Art of Sharing,’ which means that venues will have the opportunity to share heritage stories of their buildings and their connections to locations and people through talks, tours, exhibitions, craft, art and performance or screen.

European Heritage Open Days, now in their 21st year, are the most widely celebrated participatory cultural events shared throughout Europe, and in Northern Ireland their popularity has continued to increase over the last few years.

Some of this year’s highlights in County Tyrone include: Gray’s Printing Press which will be taking part on September 8 from 12noon until 4pm and no booking is required to attend.

Visitors to this 18th-century printing press will be able to take a step back in time and discover a treasure trove of ink, galleys and presses hidden behind an 18th-century shop front in the heart of Strabane, once the famous printing town of Ulster. Gray’s Printing Press is now being staffed with local volunteers who have gained expert knowledge about the Press. Relax and unwind in the beautiful surroundings with afternoon tea or a delicious hot meal in Grays Tea Room.

Also taking part on September 8 from 10.30am-5.30pm and also on Sunday, September 9, from 11am-5pm will be Lissan House and Demesne and, again, no booking is required. Lissan House is situated at the centre of a 267 acre demesne of undulating parkland at the foot of the Sperrin Mountains in County Tyrone. Its name was derived from the nearby ancient Celtic site of Lois Áine, where the goddess of summer was celebrated, so it is hardly surprising that Lissan House has come to be known as ‘this golden place’.

The doors of Wellbrook Beetling Mill will be open on Saturday, September 8, from 1-5pm and you don’t need to book to view this working water-powered mill used in the manufacture of linen. Nestling in an idyllic wooded glen offering lovely walks and picnic spots this, the last working water-powered linen beetling mill, offers a unique experience for all the family.

Also taking part is historic Parkanaur Manor House. However, booking is required for viewing on September 9 from 2-4pm. To book or for more information on any of the Open Days across Tyrone or the wider province visit www.discovernorthernireland.com/ehod. Brochures are available to download at https://discovernorthernireland.com/ehod