Now that many museums, exhibition sites and gardens are welcoming visitors again following the easing of lockdown restrictions, there is so much history and beauty to explore – right on our doorstep.
n Thursday August 13 the Ulster Folk Museum and Ulster American Folk Park will both reopen, while the following Thursday everything is on board at the Ulster Transport Museum where visitors will once again receive a giant welcome as they travel in time.
The announcement comes shortly after the successful reopening of Titanic Belfast, Ulster Museum, Navan Center & Fort and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.
Check these cultural experiences off your to-do list as part of your incredible adventures in the months to come, with plenty of world-class museums and heritage sites to explore:
Ulster Folk Museum, Co Down, reopening August 13
Step back in time and see what life was like in Ulster over 100 years ago. Stroll through the rolling countryside and bustling town of Ulster Folk Museum filled with authentic period buildings. You’ll find an old-fashioned photo house, post office, and corner store on streets inhabited by people in period attire. Try your hand at basketry or see a blacksmith at work. Take a ride in an old bus through the countryside, where whitewashed farms dot the fields. Meet some of the horses, donkeys and chickens that made the rural world go round. Book your tickets online in advance to secure your time slot, with a range of ticket options available. www.nmni.com/home.aspx
Ulster American Folk Park, Co Tyrone, reopens August 13
Delve into the history of the brave emigrants who crossed the Atlantic to America hundreds of years ago. Stroll the beaten paths of rural Ulster, with a bustling street and welcoming farmhouses. Integrate family life in thatched cottages, take lessons at school, see traditional craftsmanship come to life and taste good old-fashioned fayre. Board a life-size emigrant ship and discover the cramped quarters where hundreds of people lived during their 12-week Atlantic crossing. Book your tickets online in advance to secure your time slot, with a range of ticket options available. www.nmni.com/home.aspx
Ulster Transport Museum, Co Down, reopening August 20
If you are a railroad enthusiast, you will be in for a treat at the Ulster Transport Museum. There is an impressive collection of steam locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars to explore. Travel back in time and explore one of Europe’s most comprehensive transport collections. You’ll find majestic locomotives, horse-drawn carriages, vintage motorcycles and cars at the museum, as well as exhibits of historical materials including photographs of the Titanic. Book your tickets online in advance to secure your time slot, with a range of ticket options available. www.nmni.com/home.aspx
Titanic Belfast, reopened August 1
The Titanic Belfast in the shape of a sparkling star is the world’s largest and best-known ship experience. Take your time and enjoy the journey through nine interactive galleries featuring special effects, dark rides, and full-scale reenactments. Stroll through Victorian Belfast and meet the men who spent four years building the ill-fated ship before visiting the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, her final resting place. Prices include adults £ 19, children 5-16 £ 8.50, children under 5 free, family ticket £ 46.50. https://titanicbelfast.com/
Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Co Down, open since July 30
On a 45-minute tour of the elegant Georgian Castle, in the charming village of Hillsborough, you follow in the footsteps of world leaders and meander through lavish and lovingly restored State Rooms. There are many layers of history here, and your guide will share hundreds of years of stories about the celebration, entertainment, diplomacy, and negotiations. You can also enjoy the beautiful craft gift shop and award winning food at Yellow Door Cafe. You must pre-book your ticket. Castle and garden tickets: Adult £ 13.70, Child £ 6.80. www.hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle/
Ulster Museum, Belfast, open since July 30
Everywhere you look in Belfast there is history to see and the National Museums are a great place to start. The Ulster Museum, a world to captivate the curious, this treasure of the past and present offers something for art lovers, history buffs, excited children and simply curious. Immerse yourself in the areas of art, history and science as the museum’s impressive collections take you through Ireland to all corners of the world. Entrance to the Ulster Museum is free. www.nmni.com/home.aspx
Navan Center & Fort, Co Armagh, open since July 30
For a place where myth and reality meet, visit the Navan Center & Fort which is home to the legendary Emain Macha, an ancient ceremonial monument. Learn the skills of an ancient warrior or take advantage of the great tradition of storytelling. Visits are free for the month of August (open Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), although a pre-reservation is essential. Throughout the month, every week, their living history team will feature a new Celtic life theme with all the details available through their social media. www.visitarmagh.com/navan
The Titanic Belfast, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Navan Center and Fort, and all NI National Museum premises have been awarded the industry standard ‘We’re Ready to Go’, meaning that visitors can return safely knowing that museums are each adhering to the government and public health councils on Covid-19.
Everyone is also reminded that advance booking is mandatory and numbers will be limited in order to comply with social distancing protocols.
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