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2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage

European Year of Cultural Heritage

2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage

The European Commission has designated 2018 as a Year of Cultural Heritage. It aims to encourage people to explore the rich and diverse cultural heritage across Europe, by celebrating, understanding and protecting its unique value and reflect on the place that cultural heritage occupies in all our lives.

What is happening in Northern Ireland?

Tourism Northern Ireland, the Historic Environment Division, and the Heritage Lottery Fund  are working together to leverage opportunities presented by the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

The year presents the Northern Ireland Culture and Heritage Sector with the opportunity to:

Galvanise - Unlocking the heritage potential through enlivening the visitor offer, reinvigorating interpretation and storytelling, animating sites, creating new products, events, partnerships and ways of working

Use 2018 as laboratory - To learn new insights and apply these to the heritage sector

Use 2018 to enhance marketing content and strategies going forward - that will promote and celebrate Northern Ireland’s rich heritage.

                                                         Peace Bridge
                                                         Peace Bridge - Image Courtesy of Invest NI


A range of activity is planned for throughout 2018 in Northern Ireland, including different events and a programme of Industry Development.

Events:  If you have an event that you would like to be included as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, you can do this at

Events will also be profiled at:

In addition to the programme of events, Tourism NI, Historic Environment Division and the Heritage Lottery Fund will be collaborating to pull together a programme of initiatives aimed at capacity building across the sector and building for the future – to raise the profile of Northern Ireland as a cultural heritage destination nationally and internationally.

(1) Funding for Northern Ireland’s Cultural and Heritage Sectors

The first initiative involved Tourism Northern Ireland, Historic Environment Division and the Heritage Lottery Fund coming together to fund an open call scheme, through HLF’s existing “Our Heritage” grant programme.

A funding pot of £500,000 was set up to help explore Northern Ireland’s rich cultural heritage in 2018, but is now closed to applicants.

This short term funding was made available to help the cultural and heritage sectors respond to the opportunities the European Year of Cultural Heritage brings and to explore Northern Ireland’s heritage in a variety of new and interesting ways.

The successful applicants were:

  • Great Lighthouses Unlocking our Maritime Heritage - £56,000, The Irish Landmark Trust
  • Walls Alive 400 – Bringing the Walls to life through Augmented Reality - £50,000, Derry and Strabane District Council
  • Linenopolis - £50,000, Linen Hall Library
  • Sea Gods Shipwrecks & Sidhe Folk – a treasure trail revealing the rich Causeway heritage - £56,500, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
  • Shaped by Industry – Shared with Pride - £50,000, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
  • One For The Heart Pilot - £65,000, Lagan Navigation Trust
  • Journeying Beyond Westeros: Warlords and Gallowglass – Adventures in Medieval Ulster - £42,000, Queen’s University Belfast & Strangford and Lecale Partnership
  • Museum Lates - £80,000, Northern Ireland Museums Council
  • Relating Histories - £50,000, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

Further Information:

(2) EYCH Industry Development Programme

  1. A Programme of Support is now being rolled out to the successful applicants of the EYCH funding opportunity.

  2. New Experiences across the Heritage Sector

If you are interested in developing new heritage tourism experiences, Tourism NI is tailoring a programme of Industry Development including facilitated workshops and coaching to help develop market ready experiences.

Please register your interest along with details of the proposed experience to:

     3. Immersive Technology Workshops

Two workshops will take place to focus on the potential of immersive technology to enhance the visitor experience at heritage locations.

Workshop Details:

  • Tuesday 25th September 2018 (10.00am – 12.00pm)
  • Tuesday 16th October 2018 (10.00am – 12.00pm)

To register your interest, email:
For further information, visit our Heritage Experience Development Support page.

How to get involved with the European Year of Cultural Heritage

Across the EU, the initiative is being co-ordinated by bodies on a national level.  The North of England Civic Trust is the national co-ordinator for the UK.

Information on how to get involved, including how to use the EYCH brand and to see what is happening throughout the UK can be found at

North of England Civic Trust
The Schoolhouse
12 Trinity Chare
Newcastle Upon Tyne
T:  0191 232 9279

In the Republic of Ireland, the European Year of Cultural Heritage is being coordinated nationally by the Heritage Council.  For further information, please visit