Celebrate European Heritage Open Day This Weekend at Kirkistown Castle!

Wednesday 7th September 2022

Following the sad news of the death of the sovereign Queen Elizabeth II, this event has now been cancelled.

A group of men and women are holding a string of colourful bunting. They are standing in front of a small castle.

Ards and North Down Borough Council, in partnership with the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division (HED), is offering an afternoon of activities in the grounds of the castle to celebrate this historic milestone.

Between midday and 4pm, HED will facilitate visits inside the castle where you can find out more about this historic building with traditional tales and storytelling provided by Willie Drennan and Janice Witherspoon.

Outside the grounds, you will hear the clashing of swords as the Medieval Combat Group go to battle, and you can witness a historical re-enactment by Valhalla Street Theatre as they bring the plantation era to life for visitors to the site.

There will also be children’s craft activities, pole lathe woodturning and traditional rope-making demonstrations. Musical interludes will be provided by the atmospheric trio of musicians Seefin and the talented members of Ards Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Ards CCE).

Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey, said:

“I am delighted my Department has been able to support this event. This is an opportunity for people to come together to explore our heritage and learn more about this historic monument which is not normally open to visitors. I would encourage both locals and visitors to the area to take this opportunity to visit the site where they along with their families can also enjoy a range of entertainment and activities.”

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Karen Douglas, said:

"I am really looking forward to celebrating Kirkistown's Castle's 400th anniversary on European Heritage Open Day. It will provide a rare opportunity for families to see inside this historic monument and appreciate our heritage while also taking part in lots of fun activities."

Tea, coffee and ice cream will be available to purchase, and visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket and a picnic to enjoy the afternoon’s entertainment.

To access the venue, a Park and Ride will operate from the car park at Cloughey Pavilion between midday and 4pm. There will be no direct vehicular access to the site.

For more information, visit Kirkistown Castle 400: European Heritage Open Day | AND Culture

Photo caption: Pictured outside Kirkistown Castle with bunting made by children at Portavogie Summer Scheme are Councillor Robert Adair, Reverand Neil Stewart (Trinity Presbyterian Church, Cloughey), Councillor Karen Douglas (Mayor of Ards and North Down), Michelle Stewart (Trinity Presbyterian Church), Councillor Nigel Edmund and Martin Keery (Department for Communities). Trinity Presbyterian Church has provided additional funding for the event.