Evolve Exhibition opens at the Market Place Theatre, Armagh

‘Evolve’ is a new art exhibition on display in Armagh’s Market Place Theatre, created in a variety of mediums by the service users and staff of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust. The artworks suggest how works of art and people evolve over time.

The Arts Care Artists-in-Residence in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Jill McKeown, Eddie Rafferty and Gwen Stevenson, facilitate participants to create artwork for themselves and to enhance their environments.

This work is a testimony to the impact art has on staff, service users, family and visitors to the Southern Health and Care Trust. The exhibition will run from Saturday 25 January – Saturday 29 February.

To keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/marketplacearmagh) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/mptarmagh) where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.

Playful Museums Festival at Museum at The Mill

Let your little ones unleash their creativity this February as part of the Playful Museum Festival 2020. 

This programme of weekly interactive and educational events for children aged from 3 months to 5 years will take place each Saturday during February at Museum at The Mill, Mossley Mill.

These playful sessions have been chosen specially to encourage social development skills in young children as well as creativity, imagination and enjoyment while learning in a relaxed museum environment.

Kicking of these five fantastic weeks of fun is Sensory story telling with Vicky McFarland and Tig the Dragon. These sensory sessions are active with no books, no sitting just lots of play, making them ideal for babies, tots and early years. The festival continues with Lego, Jo Jingles Music, Messy Play and Clay making workshops which are sure to enthral and delight your children.

For more details and bookings please visit antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/museumplaydays or call Box Office T: 028 9034 0202

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Under The Hawthorn Tree Returns To The MAC

The acclaimed production Under The Hawthorn Tree is returning to Belfast in a presentation by the award-winning children’s theatre company, Cahoots NI and the MAC, featuring a star-studded cast of exceptional performers including Frankie McCafferty and Julia Dearden.

Based on the internationally acclaimed book by award-winning author Marita Conlon-McKenna and published by The O’Brien Press, Under the Hawthorn Tree follows the journey of three brave siblings as they fight for survival during the Potato Famine in Ireland, 1845.

Running in Belfast from January 30th until February 9th before touring Ireland, there are already limited tickets for some shows.

The story is told alongside compelling music and song and is suitable for children from seven years and up.

It is the tale of three children, Eily, Michael and Peggy. When their father goes to find work and their mother leaves to find him, the trio, starving and faced with the workhouse, embark on a treacherous journey to find the great aunts they have heard of only in stories.

Directed by Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney of Cahoots NI this remarkable story of endurance, in a defining moment of Irish experience, is told like never before in the play by Charles Way, with a stirring live original score from Garth McConaghie.

Paul said that the response to Under the Hawthorn Tree has been phenomenal.

“We knew that this was a special show,” he said. “That we received such a great response the first time it was performed was overwhelming. That so many tickets have been sold ahead of this run is an outstanding tribute to Marita’s story, Charles’ adaptation and all involved in bringing it to the MAC.”

Frankie McCafferty, who plays Mr O’Driscoll, will be familiar to TV and film audiences with appearances including BBC One’s ‘Death and Nightingales’, ‘Ripper Street’ (S2), ‘Vikings’ and ‘Middletown’.

“Under The Hawthorn Tree is such a compelling piece,” he said. “The adaptation brings the story from the pages to the stage in a work that is sure to entertain and educate.”

With Frankie the cast includes Julia Dearden, Adam dDougal, Colette Lennon Dougal, Conor O’Donnell, Philippa O’Hara and Maeve Smith.

Julia has appeared extensively on stage, with TV credits including ‘After Life’, ‘The Fall’ and ‘Line of Duty’.

The three siblings are played by Adam Dougal (Michael), Maeve Smith (Eily), and Philippa O’Hara (Peggy). 

Author Marita Conlon-McKenna said the production of her award-winning book delighted her.

“Cahoots NI and Director Paul Mc Eneaney have done a marvellous job with this truly innovative production which combines music, song and story to help tell the story of The Great Irish Famine,” she said.

“The play surpassed all my hopes and expectations and I was overwhelmed by the reaction of kids, families and lovers of the book, to the show. The hard work and effort of the cast and crew have resulted in a very memorable stage production which I promise is different from anything else most of us have seen.”

This dramatisation of Under The Hawthorn Tree is based on the book Under The Hawthorn Tree © text 1990 Marita Conlon-McKenna, published by The O’Brien Press, Dublin.

Under The Hawthorn Tree runs at The MAC from January 30 – February 9 before touring Ireland.

Tickets are available from themaclive.com or for more information go to cahootsni.com

10 things to do in Northern Ireland!

Here are ten exciting things taking place 27 Jan – 2 February 2020.

1.       Out-to-Lunch-Festival Out to Lunch Festival Belfast, 3 – 26 January. A lunch-based arts festival featuring the best in Comedy, Theatre, Literature and Music held in Belfast’s vibrant Cathedral Quarter. The 2020 edition features Badly Drawn Boy, Cerys Matthews, Janey Godley, Val McDermid, Joanne Harris and many more.

2.       4-Vicars-Burns-Night-Dinner  4 Vicars Burns Night Dinner Armagh, 25 January. Join 4 Vicars Catering for a Burns Night Supper on Sat 25 Jan. A delightful evening of food, drink, music and poetry. Wine, whiskey and fun and a club bar for the extra thirsty. The floor will be open for anyone to recite Burns poetry or their own composition. Musicians also welcome.

3.       Belfast-Gin-School Belfast Gin School Belfast, 25 Jan – 28 March. Through experiential learning, with master distiller, Ian, you will have the opportunity to see gin being distilled, learn about flavour combinations and make your own! Each participant will receive a goodie bag containing their own miniature bottle of gin to serve with their tonic of choice at home. A great afternoon with gin and cupcakes, what’s not to love?

4.       Tyrella-Point-to-Point Tyrella Point to Point Downpatrick, 25 January. Tyrella point-to-point is the perfect day out for all the family in the Irish countryside and where you will get to witness the future stars of the racing industry make their introduction into competitive racing.  Unlike most racecourses, spectators can stand beside one of the fences and feel the power of the horses as they jump a fence in full flight or get close to the winning post for a bird eye view of the thrilling action.

5.       Paranormal-Investigation Paranormal Investigation Belfast, 18 Jan – 31 March. On this four hour investigation you will be taken to the most active areas in the Gaol and will be given the chance to use equipment as used by experts while conducting your very own ghost hunt. The areas you will visit will include the reception, the condemned man’s cell, execution chamber, the tunnel and the flogging room.

6.       SimplyE-Exhibition SimplyE Exhibition Armagh, 2 – 31 January. Craftswirl @ Armagh Visitor Information Centre are delighted to showcase a beautiful exhibition by SimplyE for their January exhibition. SimplyE is a maker, designer and a weaver of bespoke leather and weave products for use within the home and fashion industry which are all individually hand woven from her design studio in County Armagh.

7.       Walled-City-400 Walled City 400 Derry~Londonderry, 18 February 2019 to 31 March 2020. Last year marked the 400th anniversary of the completion of the Derry Walls. Built from 1613-1619, the Walls are the largest ancient monument in Northern Ireland, the only remaining Walled City in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe.

8.       Life-Cycles-by-Lorna-Smyth Life Cycle by Lorna Smyth Enniskillen, 2 December 2019 – 18 April 2020. This showcase of new works, curated by renowned artist Lorna Smyth, encompasses the four seasons in one year. Lorna’s art emphasises the world around us, highlights her love of nature and captures a sense of belonging regardless of the place name.

9.       Lost-Childhood-Exhibition Lost Childhood Exhibition Derry~Londonderry, 2 December 2019 – 31st January 2020. This December, take a trip to the award-winning Museum of Free Derry to see one of their most poignant and affective exhibitions yet, ‘Lost Childhood Exhibition’.

10.   Philanthropy-Past-and-Present-Tour Philanthropy Past and Present, Tour of Clifton House Belfast, 10 January – 28 February. Clifton House is an impressive Georgian building, set in tranquil landscaped gardens in the heart of Belfast. Opened in 1774 by Belfast Charitable Society, the building was used as a nursing home and hospital for older people, now transformed into a unique event venue and visitor attraction. The January and February tours explore the city’s oldest working building, set up by philanthropic merchants as the Belfast Poor House. Hear stories of its work and those who sought refuge in its walls.

For more information on these events or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit www.discovernorthernireland.com

Jacqueline from whatsonni.com shares her pick of what’s on across NI this weekend.

Down

Portico Arts and Heritage Centre are delighted to welcome the new Director of Music at St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast to Portico for an organ recital this Sunday 26th January. 3.00pm to 4.30pm.

Antrim

This Friday, The Courtyard Community Choir celebrates its 7th year by entertaining you with a rich mix of popular songs and entertainment selected to help chase away those winter blues at The Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey, 8.00pm to 10.00pm.

Armagh

Don’t miss the George Michael Tribute Show at the Armagh City Hotel this Friday evening. This authentic high energy international tribute show dedicated to the music of George Michael has it all…The looks, the voice, the moves, it’s a show not to be missed, and is performed by award winning singer songwriter in his own rights, who has performed all over the world and appeared on National TV on BBC1.

Derry/Londonderry

Join The Chocolate Manor on Saturday 25th January for a Chocolate Extravaganza for the whole family!  A one hour session for adults and children in the Peter Thompson Hall in Castlerock – with a fabulous range of fun chocolatey activities.  On arrival all participants will be greeted by the master chocolatier and given an insight into where chocolate comes from and the journey the humble cocoa bean goes on to be transformed into our favourite treat!

Fermanagh

This Saturday 25th January, the Westville Hotel in Enniskillen will host a live performance by the hugely popular Brian Kennedy. The evening, which begins at 7.00pm, includes a 4 course dinner with tickets priced at £45 per person.  Accommodation available.


Tyrone

Saturday 25th January from 2.00pm – 4.00pm at Ranfurly House Dungannon, you can take a workshop covering the history and customs of the ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc / St Brigid’s Day. Participants will have the opportunity to make a variety of different types of St Brigid’s crosses that were found throughout Ireland in the last century. Admission only £5.

Belfast

Gaming & Geeking NI is hosting an official Catan UK National Qualifier Tournament this Sunday 26th January at the Harland and Wolff Staff Club.  Entry is £4, 15+ only. Participants may bring in their own food and drinks. For more information about the Qualifier, contact your Qualifier Host, Gaming & Geeking NI.

For further details on these events and to add your events free go to whatsonni.com. Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at fb.com/www.whatsonni for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

Book your seat now for ‘A Bump Along The Way’ in Portstewart and Limavady

A hilarious comedy set in Derry/Londonderry and starring home grown talent Bronagh Gallagher is coming to the big screen in Limavady and Portstewart.

A Bump Along The Way will be shown in Flowerfield Arts Centre and Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre in partnership with Film Hub NI.

It tells the story of Pamela a 44-year-old single mother who is trying to raise her teenage daughter, when she unexpectedly ends up pregnant after a one night stand. Major embarrassment ensues for her teenage daughter as well as much hilarity from the resulting family tensions.

The film has received high praise from The Guardian while The Independent described it as ‘sweet, sassy and gorgeous’.

Screening details

Thursday 30th January, Flowerfield Arts Centre, 8pm. Ring 028 7083 1400 to book.

Thursday 6th February, Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre, 8pm. Ring 028 7776 0650 to book.

Tickets cost £5 and group bookings are welcome. If you fancy something a bit different from the usual blockbuster then this is the perfect opportunity to get a group of friends together for a great night out.

Running time 95 minutes. Certificate 15.

OFFERS OF THE WEEK

Northern Ireland boasts a wonderful collection of places to stay including beautiful B&Bs, luxurious spa hotels and great value self-catering properties. Discover NI has selected the best offers of the week to help you plan a short break.

·         Break to the country at Lisnabra Farm, Ballymoney from £75

Enjoy a winter break to the countryside with this latest offer. Treat yourself to a relaxing break in a free house without any disturbance which includes four double/king sized beds for eight people to sleep. This rural property is located close to many tourist attractions including the Giants Causeway, the Dark Hedges and many local golf courses. To book call 07934377697. Offer available until 31st January.

·         The winter supplement, one night stay at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast from £60 per person sharing

An overnight stay in the Stormont Hotel with dinner and glass of wine in La Scala Bistro followed by full Irish breakfast in the morning. The perfect short break in a luxurious and cosy setting. This offer includes overnight luxurious accommodation, one course evening meal in La Scala Bistro plus a glass of red or white wine, full Irish breakfast, complimentary customer car parking and Hastings Hotels duck. To book call 028 9065 1066. Offer available Sunday to Friday until 31st March.

·         Relax and wind down at 17 Arthur Street, Hillsborough from £155 per unit

Enjoy two nights or more in the historic village of Hillsborough at a discounted rate. Bookings for two nights or more can avail of 10% discount on the normal price and a free bottle of Prosecco on arrival. To book call 07802541779 or email arthurcottages@gmail.com quoting the promotional code “Prosecco” (subject to availability). Offer available until 31st March.

Employers invited to ‘discover fresh thinking and talent’ during NI Apprenticeship Week

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, together with Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Northern Regional College, is delighted to be hosting an Employer Breakfast during the inaugural NI Apprenticeship Week, being held across the region next month.

Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week 2020 is a new initiative offering opportunities, through a dedicated week of events and promotional activity, to demonstrate how apprenticeships work for individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

Discussing arrangements for the inaugural NI Apprenticeship Week are front row (L-R): Paul Gordon, Northern Regional College; Lisa Mulholland, Department for the Economy; Rhonda Lynn, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council; Shirley Swift, Department for the Economy; Michelle Bellingham, Northern Regional College. Back row (L-R): Martin Clark, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council; Sean McAleese, Northern Regional College and Alastair Law, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

Employers attending the ‘Discover Fresh Thinking and Talent’ breakfast will hear from local businesses and apprentices and gain a better insight into the types of apprenticeship available and how they can help meet the skills needed in priority sectors.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Sean Bateson said: “We’re committed to helping optimise economic outcomes for businesses across the borough and to increasing employment.

“Through partnership events like this with our neighbouring councils and college, we hope to ensure that our local businesses have the support they need to introduce new talent to their workforces and provide pathways for our young people to gain the skills and experience to build the foundations for their career pathway.

“This initiative is an excellent opportunity to make connections, get advice, and find out how apprentices can bring fresh thinking and talent to your business.”

The free Employer Breakfast will take place on Thursday 6th February 2020 in The Braid, Ballymena and is open to all employers. To register please visit: www.mea-apprentice.eventbrite.co.uk

Jacqueline shares her pick of what’s on this weekend across NI

Down

This Friday 17th January, The Belfast Operatic Company presents Songs From The Shows at St. Philip and St. James Church,  Holywood.  Tickets  are only £12 and available from the Parish Office. Proceeds in aid of the church organ fund.

Antrim

Rock ‘n’ Roll Years is back! After last year’s smash hit tour this wonderful nostalgic musical hits the road again, and will be at the Island Arts Centre Lisburn this Saturday 18th January.  Journey through the musical decades of the 50s and 60s paying homage to the lives and music of the stars of the era

Armagh

This Saturday evening join the Market Place Theatre on a journey through the music from the Beatles. A 9-piece band of multi-instrumentalists will passionately recreate all the classic Beatles hits as well as some hidden gems that showcase The Beatles absolute mastery of song writing.

Derry

This Sunday 19th January, Arbutus at the Crannagh, Coleraine on Sunday will host their Wedding Show from  2.00pm to 5.00pm.  You will be welcomed with champagne and canopes.  View the Marquee, talk with select wedding exhibitors, take in two catwalk shows and meet the Wedding Team at the Crannagh. Admission is free.

Fermanagh

Lakeland Players present Snow White at the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th January. Glamorous killer Queen Caligula, so used to being called the fairest in the land by the spirit of the mirror Speak True, discovers a rival for the title in the shape of her step-daughter Snow White. Book early!

Tyrone

This Friday evening celebrate Burns Night with a Supper and Ceilidh at the Royal Hotel in Cookstown. Tickets are £22 and include a three course meal, whiskey toast, raffle and a superb line up of entertainment. Dress code “A touch of tartan”.

Belfast

Planning your summer getaway? Don’t miss this weekend’s Holiday World Show, now in its twenty-eighth year. This is the biggest and most influential holiday showcase – a three day travel fest to be enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors. 17th – 19th January.

For further details on these events and to add your events free go to whatsonni.com. Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at fb.com/www.whatsonni for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things taking place 13 – 19 January 2020.

1.       2020-Arenacross-Tour- 2020 Arenacross Tour Belfast, 17 – 18 January. The fastest motocross racers flock to the six-round series to take part in the UK’s richest off-road series. With bragging rights and a well-paid jackpot up for grabs, the riders leave nothing on the line resulting in knuckle to knuckle non-stop racing on the arena sized dirt battlefield. Cheer on local riders as they battle the international superstars from the age of seven up to the professionals.

2.       So-Sing-On-with-Sean-Keane So Sing On with Seán Keane Magherafelt, 17 January. Traditional Irish, folk and even country and blues songs all lend themselves to his unique style and unforgettable voice. Growing up among singers and musicians, Seán learned the sean nós style of singing in the heart of his family. Today, Seán Keane continues to delight audiences all over the world with his live performances and innate vocal artistry.

3.       Out-to-Lunch-Festival Out to Lunch Festival Belfast, 3 – 26 January. A lunch-based arts festival featuring the best in Comedy, Theatre, Literature and Music held in Belfast’s vibrant Cathedral Quarter. The 2020 edition features Badly Drawn Boy, Cerys Matthews, Janey Godley, Val McDermid, Joanne Harris and many more.

4.       SimplyE-Exhibition SimplyE Exhibition Armagh, 2 – 31 January. Craftswirl @ Armagh Visitor Information Centre are delighted to showcase a beautiful exhibition by SimplyE for their January exhibition. SimplyE is a maker, designer and a weaver of bespoke leather and weave products for use within the home and fashion industry which are all individually hand woven from her design studio in County Armagh.

5.        Midleton-Whiskey-Experience Midleton Whiskey Experience Belfast, 15 January. Guests will enjoy a cocktail on arrival and canapés as the expert whiskey ambassador takes you through the Midleton range. Be one of the very first people in Northern Ireland to attend a guided tasting of the Midleton Very Rare 2019, as well as delighting in the Midleton Very Rare 2018, the Midleton, Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy and a Midleton Dair Ghaelach.

6.       Walled-City-400 Walled City 400 Derry~Londonderry, 18 February 2019 to 31 March 2020. Last year marked the 400th anniversary of the completion of the Derry Walls. Built from 1613-1619, the Walls are the largest ancient monument in Northern Ireland, the only remaining Walled City in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe.

7.       On-Refusal-Representation-Resistance-in-Contemporary-American-Art On Refusal: Representation and Resistance in contemporary American Art Belfast, 25 October 2019 – 19 January 2020. Proposing the body as a site of political enquiry, ‘On Refusal’ explores a return to figuration in the practices of a generation of artists currently working out of the United States, and examines the political impetus for this reinvestment in the body and notions of embodiment as a subject of art in the context of contemporary America.

8.       Life-Cycles-by-Lorna-Smyth Life Cycle by Lorna Smyth Enniskillen, 2 December 2019 – 18 April 2020. This showcase of new works, curated by renowned artist Lorna Smyth, encompasses the four seasons in one year. Lorna’s art emphasises the world around us, highlights her love of nature and captures a sense of belonging regardless of the place name.

9.       Lost-Childhood-Exhibition Lost Childhood Exhibition Derry~Londonderry, 2 December 2019 – 31st January 2020. This December, take a trip to the award-winning Museum of Free Derry to see one of their most poignant and affective exhibitions yet, ‘Lost Childhood Exhibition’.

10.   Philanthropy-Past-and-Present-Tour Philanthropy Past and Present, Tour of Clifton House Belfast, 10 January – 28 February. Clifton House is an impressive Georgian building, set in tranquil landscaped gardens in the heart of Belfast. Opened in 1774 by Belfast Charitable Society, the building was used as a nursing home and hospital for older people, now transformed into a unique event venue and visitor attraction. The January and February tours explore the city’s oldest working building, set up by philanthropic merchants as the Belfast Poor House. Hear stories of its work and those who sought refuge in its walls.

For more information on these events or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit www.discovernorthernireland.com