European Heritage Open Days 2008 – Part One

On Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th September Northern Ireland threw open many doors as part of European Heritage Open Day. During this weekend, we were given the opportunity to explore venues and grounds across the Provence not normally open to the public. There were 121 places in Belfast, Antrim and Armagh to choose from. Prior to this weekend, I am ashamed to say, I had only visited 22 of those on the list. I was determined to change that situation.

I decided to stay in Co Antrim and on Saturday I chose St John’s Church, Donegore

St John’s Church, Donegore, nestles against the side of Donegore Hill.

The parish was fortunate to receive the gift of this pipe organ from St Brigid’s Church of Ireland, Parish of Mallusk, Co. Antrim. It had started life in a Roman Catholic Church in the South of Ireland and spent some time in a Presbyterian church before the move to Mallusk. Many hands were needed to assist in the task of moving the seven hundred and eighty pieces from St Brigid’s Church to the horse lorry, and again from there into Donegore Church.

Pedals polished by regular footwork.

A view from the pulpit.

In the south-west corner of the churchyard is the watch-house, or corpse house, built in 1832 to foil the attempts of the “resurrectionists” at body-snatching. You can see it at the beginning of this little video clip.

Donegore Church is a Grade A Listed Building by the Historic Monuments and Buildings Branch of the Depratment of the Enviroment (N.I.) and the corpse house is also a listed building. As such, restoration and repair must be carried out to the highest standards and in sympathy with the architecture and history of the building.

8 thoughts on “European Heritage Open Days 2008 – Part One

  1. steph

    Hello Grannymar!

    Fancy meeting you here 🙄

    I’m real impressed at your effort! I’ve still to learn how to do that.

    You should get plenty of practice anyhow with the 98 more places you’ve still to visit 😆

  2. Ian


    Did they put the EU flag up to show they were part of the day?

    Ten years ago, when I was in the North, my church was one of the ones that opened on the Heritage Day. We were sent the blue flag, but had no flagpole (a wise decision by my predecessor – there was nowhere from which to fly flags in July). Anyway, there seemed some anxiety that the building should be marked by the flag, so it was hung out the tower window on a length of rope, as someone might hang a flag from their bedroom window during the World Cup . I’m sure people in the town thought that football hooligans had climbed the tower!

  3. Grannymar Post author

    @Steph – Are you at the cooking Sherry? Anyone would think you were going to your first dance!

    I had trouble with the video, 😆 Forgot I had to stick it up on YouTube first, then bring back the embedding code to the blog. Steven Spielberg your job is safe!

    @Ian – There was no sign of a Flag on Saturday. I’m with your predecessor when it comes to flags.

    On Sunday afternoon I went to Carrick and visited Carrick Museum, The Gasworks Museum and St Nicholas’ Church. I am sure you are familiar with the last one. The bell ringers gave us a welcoming call and for once I wished I had held on to th N95 phone.

    I will blog about these visits over the next few weeks.

  4. Nick

    Good for you taking advantage of the open days. Jenny and I went to Crumlin Road Gaol and discovered among other things that the Suffragettes were very active in NI. We had no idea! We also looked at the condemned prisoner’s cell and the hanging room with the gallows and trapdoor. Very creepy.

  5. Dorothy Stahlnecker

    I have always loved visiting churches and universities. Somehow while I’m at universities I think about what it might have been like to go to college. While I’m in the churches I am mesmerized by the architecture, and feeling I have every time I visit a church and pray. I love it even more if there is a place to light a candle. At heart I’m still very ceremonial..

    Dorothy from grammology

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