The Irish FA’s Education and Heritage Centre is looking forward to another action-packed year and its number one aim is to enhance the visitor experience further.
Thousands of visitors came through the doors last year - it now sits at second spot in TripAdvisor’s Top 20 visitor attractions in Belfast list - and centre manager Stephen Garrett is keen to build on its success.
“We have lots of exciting plans for the year ahead, from launching a new digital experience to providing an information booklet for everyone who visits the centre,” he revealed.
Special celebrations are also being planned to mark its second birthday in early March.
The centre, which is housed within the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast, tells the unique story of Northern Ireland football using a variety of media, interactive displays and key artefacts from the 1880s to the present day.
Visitors are able to relive the atmosphere of famous nights, gain insights into the drama on and off the pitch and feel the rush of emotions shared by everyone inside the stadium - win, lose or draw.
The centre showcases the Irish FA’s vision of promoting, fostering and developing football for all in Northern Ireland.
The new digital experience will focus on iconic moments down the years, Northern Ireland players who have earned 50 caps, Northern Ireland’s various managers and team pictures from the archives.
It is due to be launched in March alongside a new information booklet which will look at how Northern Ireland has made its mark on the beautiful game.
Back in the autumn the EHC launched a search for memorabilia so that the history of the game here can be preserved for future generations.
Some fine items were uncovered, however Garrett explained: “We are always on the lookout for memorabilia to enhance our displays, especially more unusual items.”
As well as visits from individual and family supporters, the centre hosts visitor groups ranging from schools, youth clubs and football clubs to corporate hospitality, conferences and birthday parties.
The centre has a number of trusted volunteer tour guides who have received extensive training to deliver a top visitor experience.
Garrett continued: “Volunteers are key to the success of the centre. Their passion, commitment and knowledge of football in Northern Ireland is second to none and I’d like to thank them all for their role in our success so far.”
To book a visit to the Education and Heritage Centre click here.