These are the people and places nominated as Northern Ireland's first Heritage Angels

Vote now on the inaugural awards shortlist celebrating historic local sites and individuals involved in restoring them to their former glory

Newly restored Central Hall Floor at Mount Stewart

The search for Northern Ireland’s Heritage Angels is moving forward following the announcement of nominees for the first Heritage Angel Awards. The annual awards aim to celebrate unsung angels of local heritage – individuals or groups, who have rescued an historic building or site, worked as craftsmen or apprentices, or recorded and interpreted a historic place.

The Angel Awards are not only about heritage recording and rescue and restoration, but the people who make heritage projects happen, showcasing what is possible when people take interest in and get involved with the care and consideration of our heritage.

Comprising 12 projects across four different categories, the shortlist showcases a range of diverse heritage initiatives across Northern Ireland. The 2017 shortlist includes private owners; volunteers; community groups, commercial owners, apprentices, craftsmen and young people. All of whom have developed their interest in heritage, in different ways and applied their interest into quality schemes in Northern Ireland.

The overall winner in each of the categories will be named at the Northern Ireland Heritage Angel Awards ceremony on Tuesday, November 7 at the Grand Opera House, Belfast. The event will also celebrate ‘Heritage in Song’, where artists including Brigid O’Neill; Duke Special, Anthony Toner and Gareth Dunlop will perform bespoke material around the heritage theme. Tickets are free and can be booked online at www.uahs.org.uk/events. Watch the video below to see the final awards shortlist.

The 2017 Heritage Angel Award Shortlist is:

Category 1: Best Rescue of a Historic Building

  • House at Main Street, Moira - Anthony & Eleanor Damoglou
  • Sion Mills Stables - Hearth Revolving Fund
  • The Dirty Onion - Bill Wolsey

Category 2: Best Contribution to a Heritage Project by Young People

  • Red Brick Belfast (run by Community Arts Partnership) - The participants
  • AmmA Centre, Armagh - Minecraft Project participants
  • Belfast Hills Community Archaeology Dig - Tom Meharg

Category 3: Best Craftsmanship or Apprentice on a Heritage Rescue or Repair Project

  • Ballycopeland Windmill - Chris Balmer, George Irwin & Kieran Loughran
  • Mount Stewart - Callum McCaffrey
  • Ceiling Rose Restoration, Fitzroy Avenue - Bernard Cunningham

Category 4: Best Rescue, Recording or Interpretation of a Historic Place

  • Cleenish Island - Bellanaleck Local History Group
  • Newry Canal - Inland Waterways Association of Ireland
  • Mills of Northern Ireland - Sebastian Graham

Organisers are asking members of the public to cast their vote for their choice from the shortlist online at www.heritageangelawards-ni.org.uk.

The awards are funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation; the Department for Communities and the Heritage Lottery Fund. An overall UK winner from the three award schemes, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, will be selected and celebrated at the London ceremony on Monday, November 20.

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Nicola McVeigh, Chief Executive Ulster Architectural Heritage Society: 'We were truly overwhelmed with quantity and quality of applications/nominations received in this the first year of the Heritage Angel Awards in Northern Ireland, which has highlighted the strength of interest in preserving our historic buildings and sites for future generations. The awards will run for a further two years and I would encourage anyone who has been unsuccessful this year to reapply in 2018. 

'Our judges now have the difficult task of finding our overall winners. I’m looking forward to celebrating the success and hard work of all our finalists on 7th November.'

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber: 'Protecting architectural heritage is a vital part of cultural life. Architecture is the most vulnerable art form and one that I have been passionate about all my life. I’m delighted my Foundation can support the Heritage Angel Awards in Northern Ireland and shine a spotlight on those who have made a significant contribution towards protecting the country’s heritage. By raising awareness of the impact individuals can have, our aim is to inspire others to get involved and work together to save and protect Northern Ireland’s heritage for our future generations.’ 

Full details and films on each of the shortlisted nominees for the Northern Ireland Heritage Angel Wards can be viewed at https://www.heritageangelawards-ni.org.uk/.