Category Archives: Tourism

‘Our Loyalty is Not for Barter’ Festival Success

‘Our Loyalty is Not for Barter’ Festival Success

‘Our Loyalty is Not For Barter’

Portadown Heritage Tours hosted a very successful Orange Heritage Week in Carleton Street Orange Hall with ‘Our Loyalty is Not for Barter’ Festival.  The name of the Festival was taken from a quote in a letter that Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Ward William Blacker sent to the men of Seagoe Parish in the town on 4th September 1914.  Edward Carson first used the quote during a speech in Belfast a few days before.  The festival of events explored the transition of the 4thPortadown Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force into the 9thBattalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and their journey from enlisting at Carleton Street Orange Hall to fighting for King and Country.

Service of Remembrance

The Festival was officially launched on Monday 23rdSeptember with a Drumhead Service of Remembrance.  A plaque was unveiled by Grand Master Edward Stevenson, in memory of the men of the 4thPortadown Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force who enlisted into the 9thBattalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in Carleton Street Orange Hall in September 1914.

 

Exhibitions on Display

Every room in Carleton Street Orange Hall was transformed into a different exhibition.  Exhibitions included a Recruitment Office, Field Hospital, The story of Portadown men on the Western Front; which included personal stories and letters that had been sent home, Memorials to Sacrifice, The Blacker and Shillington families of Portadown, Women and the First World War; including Portadown Women’s Unionist Association and the members who went on to form the first Women’s Orange Lodges in the town between 1921 and 1923, The Home Rule Crisis, Unionist Clubs, Formation of the Ulster and Irish Volunteers and the story of the 36thUlster Division and the 16thIrish Division together at Messines in 1917 and also Portadown’s Memorial Arches.

 

Talks and Presentations

It was a busy week with living history displays and talks also taking place.  Mrs Carol Walker from the Somme Association delivered an excellent presentation and talk on the suffragettes and the role of women in the First World War.  Also, local Historian, Richard Edgar delivered an equally excellent presentation and talk on Portadown’s role in the First World War and explained personal stories and experiences about local men who went to fight for King and Country.

Bringing History to Life

In the early planning stages of the festival, Portadown Heritage Tours had looked at the events that happened in the hall after the volunteers had enlisted, but before they left to train and fight.  These events included tea dances for the soldiers and their families.  So, on Friday 27thSeptember, Portadown Heritage Tours hosted a Ladies Night with a Tea Party for the ladies of the local Women’s Orange Institution.  A ladies night was chosen to pay tribute to the local women who contributed so much towards the Home Rule Crisis and the War Effort.

Success

The festival was concluded on Saturday 28thSeptember with a family fun day, a more modern twist on the family events that where held in 1914.

The festival proved very popular with an excellent number of visitors recorded.  Local Schools and Boys Brigade also enjoyed the festivities.

Special Thanks

Portadown Heritage Tours would like to express their gratitude of thanks to everyone involved in the festival.

Star of David Accordion Band, Edgarstown Accordion Band, Pride of the Birches Accordion Band, Portadown Defenders Flute Band, Hilhaven Flute Band, Corcrain Flute Band, Colour Party Portadown Ex Servicemen’s LOL 608 and RBP 326, Royal Irish Fusiliers Association Portadown Branch, Piper David Hogg, Rev Maurice Laverty, Grand Master GOLI Edward Stevenson, Drew Rowan, Ashley Forbes WW1 Exhibits, The ladies of  Carleton over 50’s, David Weir and Craigavon Museum Services, Carol Walker Somme Association, Northern Ireland Historical Airsoft Society, Richard Edgar, Carleton Street Community Development Association, Brilliant Trails, Museum of Orange Heritage Belfast, Lodges and Individuals who kindly loaned artefacts, the Ladies of the local Women’s Orange Institution, Castle Kings Bouncy Castle Hire, Friendly Faces, Portadown District LOL No.1 and all our volunteers for all the hard work putting the exhibition together.

Summer Tour Bookings: All you need to know

Summer Tour Bookings: All you need to know

All you need to know about our Summer Tour Bookings.

Bookings for our summer season of tours are now starting to come in.  Since Portadown Heritage Tours was launched in 2017 we have had some great visitors from across the world with genelogical links to the town.

This year is no different.  We are already working on some genealogical research for visitors coming to the town this summer to research their family roots.  A lot of them have had family members in early generations who were in the Loyal Orders.  The family members may not have much knowledge on the Loyal Orders.  We take them on a historical journey and provide as much information as we can.

Tours available to book this summer.

We provide three main tours.  The tour of Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre, Portadown Town Walking Tour and The Siege of Drumcree Tour.  The Siege of Drumcree Tour and Carleton Street Orange Hall Tour are proving popular this year.  For the summer months only, we are offering these two tours as a package tour.  Within this package we provide refreshments to visitors.  We do recommend small bookings of up to four people to get the best experience.

The Portadown Town Walking Tour is a great experience to learn about the development of the town from the plantation years.  The tour follows the story of the ‘Hub of the North’ and the great industrial heritage that led to the town earning that title. Once again we do recommend small groups for the best experience.

General Information and bookings

We are finding that a lot of visitors now are booking all three tours together.  This is great to see although if you are doing that we recommend spreading the tours over a couple of days.  There is quite a lot to take in on the tours and it can be quite intense to do all three in one day.  Although if you thoroughly enjoy history some visitors may not mind this!

There are some dates throughout the summer that the tours are not available. This is due to cultural celebrations within the Loyal Orders.  Those dates are listed below:

  • Saturday 8th June
  • Thursday 11th July – Monday 15th July
  • Saturday 10th August
  • Saturday 21st September-Saturday 28th September

Portadown Heritage Tours operate through donations.  We do have set prices in place for refreshments provided. We have recommended donations for each tour.  For bookings and more information contact our office on 38332010 or book online at www.portadownheritagetours.co.uk.

Launching a new twist to the town tour for families.

In June we will also be launching a Family Fun Town Trail.  This will take the theme of a treasure trail and will be available on certain days throughout the summer.

 

 

Carleton Street Orange Hall is not your average Orange Museum….

Carleton Street Orange Hall is not your average Orange Museum….

Thinking of a visit to Carleton Street Orange Hall? It’s not your average Orange Museum….

Is your Lodge or Organisation looking somewhere a bit different to visit? Well Portadown Heritage Tours can offer you that very opportunity!

Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre is a unique opportunity which just so happens to be right at home in the Orange Citadel.  The foundation stone for this iconic building was laid on the present site in 1873 and was opened in 1875.

Carleton Street Orange Hall

Tour Packages with a difference.

Portadown Heritage Tours host tour packages to this iconic Orange Hall.  The Hall is fitted with i-Beacon Technology the first of its kind in any tourist building in Northern Ireland, thanks to Ballymena based company Brilliant Trails. This technology means the hall is fully equipped with an audio tour which works through the Portadown Heritage Tours app. Each room within the Hall is named after an Orangeman of Portadown District who had a great influence in the development of Portadown as a town.

We provide visitors with an iPad to use for the duration of their visit. Visitors can take their time exploring the rooms while listening to the rooms historical significance.  If your not comfortable working technology, don’t worry! We have tour guides on hand to offer guidance during your visit.

Group and Lodge Packages available.

Friendly Tour Guides on hand!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During your visit..

Our Lodge and Group Packages include the Audio Tour of the Hall along with very tasty refreshments and a room to hold your meeting in.  Portadown Heritage Tours provide guides who are Community Tour Guides.  We are a unique organisation in this sense. We are all local people telling the local stories that make up Portadown’s history and heritage!   Although all the guides are trained to WorldHost Standard, we definitely like to have the ‘craic’ along the way.

Why we highly recommend a visit to Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre!

Orange Heritage is definitely making its mark on the local tourism scene throughout Northern Ireland.  But Carleton Street Orange Hall is not your normal Orange Museum!  The Orange Culture itself is very much alive and vibrant no matter what view you may have of it.  Therefore the approach that Portadown Heritage Tours have took towards our tours of the Hall is very simple.  We have opened the doors of this iconic Hall so that absolutely everyone can come and explore the Orange Culture first hand in an actual Orange Hall.

Every room is part of the Heritage Centre in its own right. There is artefacts and documents on display in every single room.  But those rooms are still actively used by all sorts of organisations of the Loyal Orders, Bands and Community Groups.  We have took the term ‘Living History’ to a whole new level.  Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre is by no means just an Orange Museum. This iconic Hall is a living history showcase of the Orange Families Culture; past, present and future.  The hall is an absolute must see within the Orange Heritage sites of County Armagh, make it your first stop!

Bell Room Photo credit: Tony Hendron

Whitten Room Photo Credit: Tony Hendron

Our Positive Reviews

Our Visitors book is busting with positive reviews. Visitors are genuinely blown away from the minute they step inside Carleton Street Orange Hall.  The first thing that will catch your attention is the iconic tilled floor of the hallway.  After that, room after room will surprise you.  We estimate an hour and a half for the tour of the hall, but you could easily get lost in its history for hours.

Thank you to you all for such an interesting afternoon.  The whole group absolutely loved it and we were all fascinated by different aspects of it.  The passion you all have for the history and culture of Portadown was evident and thank you for sharing it with us.

Ann

Book Now!

To Book a visit to Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre contact the Portadown Heritage Tours office on 028 38332010 or email shout@portadownheritagetours.co.uk.  For Lodges and Organisations we can build and mould a tour package that suits the needs of your group.

A Successful Orange Heritage Week 2018 in Portadown

A Successful Orange Heritage Week 2018 in Portadown

We Brought Orange Heritage Home to the Orange Citadel!

Futures Bright for Orange Heritage

Orange Heritage Week saw the release of our audio tours, using i-Beacon technology, the first of its kind in any tourist building in Northern Ireland.

 

The kids treasure trail was a big success and proved that Orange Heritage Week can be enjoyed by all ages.  The kids were given free rain of the hall and they throughly enjoyed their time exploring it and discovering a little bit of history along the way.  They enjoyed finding the treasure and their party afterwards with juice and treats.

Release of our Exhibitions

We had three Exhibitions open during Orange Heritage Week.  These included Portadown Orangemen on the Western Front, Orange & Industry and Drumcree: 20 Years on.  The exhibitions displayed local history and its connections to Orange Heritage within the town. Love it or hate it, theres no doubt about it, Orange Heritage runs deep into the history of Portadown.  The exhibitions took a while to get through, with visitors coming back over a couple of days to explore them.

 

Band Performances & Public Talks

We would like to say a big thank you to Star of David Accordion band for their open concert they performed on the Monday night.  It showcased the week nicely, highlighting the importance of music throughout Orange Heritage.  Also a big thank you to Historian Robert Wallace for his two very interesting talks on ‘The Williamite Wars in the European Context’ and ‘The Palaces of William and Mary’.  Both proved a very good insight into the beginnings of the Orange Culture and history.  Link Below for a short video of the bands performance.

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Spooky Times Ahead..

We have Ghost Tours running throughout October! To kick those of we had our first Ghost Tour of the season during Orange Heritage Week.  This proved very popular and we hope everyone had a good time, there was a few laughs along the way as well as the scary bits!

Finishing on a high!

To finish the festival off we had our MacMillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning! We are happy to announce we raised a total of £295.  We are delighted with the total and we have our visitors support to thank for that.

 

Its a Thank You from us!

We would like to thank everyone who supported us for our festival of events for Orange Heritage Week.  To all our visitors who attended your support is very much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

WorldHost trained Community Tour Guides

WorldHost trained Community Tour Guides

WorldHost Training

Portadown Heritage Tours community tour guides received their WorldHost certificates this week from Stephen Bill of Tourism NI.  This was part of an 18 month training programme which was done under the guidance and mentoring of Ballymena based company Brilliant Trails.  http://www.brillianttrails.com

Our WorldHost training was provided by the team at Customer Sense Training and Consultancy, a locally based company in Craigavon. http://www.customersensetraining.co.uk

The Tours

Portadown Heritage Tours officially launched in August 2017. This has led to the development of a number of tours around the local Portadown area. Inncluding the Portadown Town Walking Tour, Tour of Carleton Street Orange Hall and the Siege of Drumcree Tour.  We have more in development.  We aim to boost local historical education and bring tourism to the local area.  At the minute our community tour guides are all members of the Loyal Orders, we welcome everyone onboard.  As an organisation we are keen to promote cross community and new community relations.

We have all grew up in the local Portadown area and along the tour routes you’ll hear lots of stories from days of yore in the town, including a bit of folklore that has been passed down the generations and offers a bit of craic along the way.

We are publishing an event programme in the near future. Book a tour online at www.portadownheritagetours.co.uk