8 Fantastic European Heritage Open Day Sites to Visit Around Lough Neagh

Lough Neagh is home to some of the most unique Heritage locations. Here are 10 fantastic places which you should see during European Heritage Open Days 2016.

Lough Neagh has a fantastic variety of beautiful & historic buildings hidden throughout it’s Diverse landscape, The European Heritage Open Day 2016 is helping to celebrate this by allowing visitors from all over to experience the best and most interesting Lough Neagh architecture and history.

Ballyealy Cottage

This beautiful cottage, a restored gamekeepers lodge, will be open to the public on Sunday 11th from 10am until 4pm. The property is akin to something from a fairy tale, with its secluded location, gorgeous surrounding woodland and the wild deer that roam close to the property, it’s great for lovers of wildlife and nature. With the property also serving as a holiday home, it’s a perfect opportunity to view this charming property.

Website: Ballyealy Cottage


Cranfield Church

Resting on the shorelines of Lough Neagh a few miles from Randalstown is Cranfield Church, an enchanting site whose ruins are steeped with storied history. The 13th Century ruins are not the only attraction here, St Olcan’s well, said to possess magical healing properties, still stands to this day. There is more information available on site and it is really worth a visit to appreciate the true magic of the site.

Website: Cranfield Church

window cranfield

Pogue’s Entry Historical Cottage

Hidden quietly in the heart of Antrim Town, Pogue’s Entry is an unassuming yet fascinating place with an interesting history. Pogue’s Entry legacy comes in the form of one of its former residents, Alexander Irvine, who immigrated to New York and served as a pastor at the Church of the Ascension on fifth avenue. Irvine wrote a number of books, most famous of which is titled “My lady of the chimney corner”, a book detailing Irvine’s experiences growing up in post famine Antrim. The cottage serves not only as a fantastically maintained property of the era but also as a reminder of the hardships often faced by past generations.

Website: Pogue’s Entry

pogues entry

The Bridewell

A familiar site in Magherafelt, The Bridewell once served as a courthouse and gaol in Magherafelt. A guided tour will be available for visitors to learn about the history of the site at the now refurbished library and tourist information centre. A site brimming with history behind it’s modern façade, it’s an easily accessible venue for all to enjoy.

Website: The Bridewell

the Bridewell

St Catherine’s Parish Church

Nestled in the small county Antrim village of Killead, St Catherine Church is a treasure well hidden in this tiny parish. Due to it’s location on the outskirts of RAF Aldergrove, St Catherine’s has, for many years, served as a church providing services for military personnel.  The church which celebrated it’s 300 year anniversary in 2012 also contains a diverse range of fascinating Stained glass windows many of which are inspired by it’s role as a military church. The site is often subject to high security due to it’s proximity to RAF Aldergrove, regardless, it is a fantastically interesting and little-known site to visit.

Website: St Catherine’s Parish Church

st catherines killead

Ballance House

Balance House is a terrific Farm Museum which is run by the Ulster New Zealand Trust. Birthplace of the 14th New Zealand Premier, John Ballance, serves as a fantastic tribute to a progressive premier that helped to gain woman the right to vote along with being the founder of the liberal party in New Zealand. The restoration of the 19th century property is meticulous in recreating the atmosphere and charm of a property of its era and along with its exhibitions featuring traditional Maori weapons, the property is sure to prove an interesting trip.

Website: Ballance House

ballance house

Patterson’s Spade Mill

The only remaining water powered Spade Mill remaining in Ireland, Patterson’s Spade Mill is a relic of a bygone age. Entering the mill is like taking a step back in time to the industrial revolution, offering a fantastic insight into life at the time and how it was changed by the machinery that revolutionised so many production industries.

Website: Patterson’s Spade Mill

pattersons spade mill

Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey

A well-known site in Portglenone, Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey is one of the most easily recognisable landmarks in the Bannside village. The site is run and owned by the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance, an order who practice rather severe practices including strict silence, abstention from meat, early rising and physical labour. The site originally held a country mansion that was built in 1810, but in the 1960’s, the abbey was built in a very distinctive style of its own, one which is definitely worth the visit during EHOD 2016.

Website: Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey

our lady of bethlehem abbey

We hope that you take the time to explore and enjoy these fantastic parts of Lough Neagh’s heritage. Please note that although all of the events are free during EHOD 2016, some events may require booking.

See the full EHOD 2016 programme & booking information here: EHOD 2016

Visit our website for further information about Lough Neagh & Its Waterways: discoverloughneagh.com

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