30 Aug 2023
by Sarah Holloway

Logo design of a silhouette of a woman dancing surrounded by a circle of stars and a line of music.

Over 50 countries across Europe take part in the joint initiative by the Council of Europe & European Union. Each runs the festival a little differently but all aim to bring you new, often exclusive, opportunities to explore our fantastic heritage. This year the European theme is ‘Living Heritage’, so look out particularly for events exploring the practices, knowledge and skills that have been passed down the generations.

Northern Ireland – European Heritage Open Days

9-10 September + online events 4-10 September - Organised by Dept. for Communities

Discover N.I website / NI EHOD Web app / NI EHOD Digital Brochure

  • Step back in time at Cockle Row Cottages: In this village by the sea immerse yourself in the past lives of the fishing community with a wonderful range of activities celebrating their language and culture, including: dancing, piping, soda bread making and even falconry!
  • A showband stroll: Explore some of Ireland’s rich musical history in this walk looking at Omagh's Showband heritage, highlighting sites of significance from rehearsal rooms to ballrooms.

Cutting edge history

Explore a centuries old skill in this special workshop with Tyrone Crafted Glass where you will also have the chance to cut your own piece.(© Tyrone Crafted Glass)

Scotland – Doors Open Days

Throughout September - Organised by Scottish Civic Trust with Scottish Archaeology Month

  • Meet the maker: Textile artist, Ceri Biddle, is opening up her studio in Orkney. Stop by to see her beautiful work and learn more about the craft skills of dyeing, printing and quilting. 
  • The ancient art of stained glass: Ten windows, two artists, one talk.  Discover the stories and craftsmanship behind the beautiful windows at All Saints in Challoch in this special talk. 
  • If trees could talk: Join a Highland Ranger for a ramble that may change your view of the trees you pass every day. Learn their Gaelic names, how to identify them, and what they have been used for in ages past.

Music through the ages

In Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall you will find a world class collection. So as well as marvelling at the acoustics and beauty of the building take extra time to explore musical instruments from across the ages and listen out for the demonstrations. (© The University of Edinburgh)

Wales – Open Doors Days

Throughout September - Organised by CADW

  • Waterways: Stop by The Lengthsman’s Hut in Llangollen for a peek into the past. These huts were used as stores and shelters for the workers who maintained the canals. This one has been restored to look as if the lengthsman has just popped out to work and will be back soon.
  • Step in to the Mayor’s Parlour: Set into one of the towers of Tenby’s medieval town walls is the room where the council meets. Full of memorabilia the door will be open for you and knowledgeable volunteers on hand to answer questions.

‘Meadow of the Rays of the Sun’

The beautiful translation of this house’s name (Dolbelydr) conjures up its tranquil site. Once the home of a famous Welsh scholar, take your time to soak in the atmosphere and learn more about the history of this 16th century house and its restoration. (© Jill Tate)

Highlights from further afield

  • POLAND - Carters' Glove Day: Weaving workshops, quests and quizzes will help you explore this special tradition. The weaving of warm, waterproof gloves for carters was an essential skill for the people of the Highlands. Its unique importance has recently been recorgnised by its inclusion on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • NETHERLANDS - Dialect Walk: Stroll through a world of words as you take a walk through Kerkrade.

Ancient buzz about bees

SPAIN: A family friendly workshop to construct your own hive inspired by the long tradition, dating way, way back into prehistory of bee-keeping in the Ayora Valley.

Find out more