We are a product of our history. The hill forts, cairns, and passage tombs of prehistory; the ruins of ancient monasteries and early churches; the farm houses and low stone walls built into the landscape; the functional red brick terraces and mills; the Georgian spires and Victorian edifices presiding over our towns. Each tells a part of our story.

Our heritage is our authentic voice and distinctive character. It is the basis for our confidence, our prosperity, and our health. It binds us together, attracts investment, and improves our quality of life.

Why are investors pouring money into new hotels near Portrush? Because the Causeway Coast is drawing crowds of tourists. Why are they coming? The area is not only beautiful, but has a rich and  varied historic environment. Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-Rede, Mussenden Temple, and Bushmills Distillery are only the brightest stars in the constellation of heritage sites on Northern Ireland’s north coast. It would be diminished without these riches. They create a sense of  place, a feeling of pride.

Heritage creates value through tourism, but that’s only its most obvious benefit. Nurturing a living past is essential to health and wellbeing, cultural and economic regeneration, and a shared sense of optimism. History and place lie deep in our psyche. There is an outcry when old buildings are demolished to make way for new developments because we understand that when some things are gone,  they are gone for good.