16/03/2011

Historical Centre Opened In Armagh

A new interpretative and historical centre was officially opened in Armagh as part of the city's St Patrick’s Festival celebrations.



The centre, dubbed 'No 5', is housed in the city’s former Registry on Vicars' Hill and was opened by the Tourism Minister, Arlene Foster.

The 18th century building has been fully restored and will display coins, prints and antiquities formerly held in Armagh Public Library, which owns the building.

The centre will also house historic church and public records for Armagh Cathedral and Dioceses.


Foster commented: "Armagh is one of the key clusters along the Saint Patrick's Trail. The Registry is an excellent example of the rich culture and heritage that the city has to offer. The completion of 'No 5', together with the other attractions in Armagh, will encourage visitors to come to the area, stay a while, and hopefully return in the future.



"Culture and heritage tourism has been identified as a key product development area in Northern Ireland, and 'No 5' is an excellent example of a project that brings the theory to life. Along with improved accessibility to the Library's collections, visitors to this new tourist attraction can find out more about the priceless collections and curiosities of Archbishops Robinson and Beresford."



The Registry Project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) as part of the St Patrick/Christian Heritage Signature Project.

NITB provided £181,459 towards the project and the Heritage Lottery Fund contributed £304,500. Armagh Public Library has contributed £30,000.



A spokeswoman for the HLF Committee for Northern Ireland, Jane Williams, commented: "It is wonderful to be here today to celebrate the success of this truly transformative project. The restoration of this historic building has created a focal point and hub for both the local community and visitors to the area and provided access to the gems of the Library’s collections for the first time. We are delighted to support this project which has ensured the preservation of No 5 for generations to come and has added to the wealth of heritage assets within Armagh." 



Foster added: "The Northern Ireland Tourist Board provided over £181,000 to support the Registry Project through the Tourism Development Scheme and I commend the other funders – the Heritage Lottery Fund and Armagh Public Library – for their commitment.



"The provision of on-site catalogue access will give visitors the chance to research family or history, music, architecture or art. This project has succeeded in showcasing a rich history we can all be proud of, while accommodating the ever evolving, more sophisticated needs of our visitors."

The Minister was welcomed to 'No 5' by Archbishop Alan Harper, Chairman of the Governors and Guardians of Armagh Public Library.



(JG/KMcA)

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