The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 12 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland over the next week (December 3 – 9).
Sleeping Beauty, Market Place Theatre, Co. Armagh, December 1 – 23. The Ulster Theatre Company performs this Christmas spectacular combining wonderful music, song and dance and lots of audience participation.
Christmas Demonstration with Noel McMeel, Belle Isle Estate, Lisbellaw, Co. Fermanagh, December 4. Get inspired with the annual Christmas cookery demonstration where Lough Erne Resort’s executive chef Noel McMeel will inspire your senses and delight your taste buds.
An Evening with Eilidh Patterson, Ballymoney Town Hall, Co. Antrim, December 6. Songstress Eilidh Patterson makes a welcome return to Ballymoney with an intimate solo show, following the success of her previous performance.
Craft Fair at Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, Co. Down, December 6. The Cancer Research Christmas craft fair will take place in the grand surroundings of the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel.
The History of Christmas, Falls Road Library, Belfast, December 6. Patrick Greer of West Belfast Historical Society presents a talk on the history of Christmas. The event is free and everyone is welcome.
Open Mic Comedy Night, Millennium Forum, Co Londonderry, December 7 – 8. Regular host Danny McCrossan waxes lyrical about a multitude of things and is joined onstage with local and national wannabes who are keen to give it a go.
Fermanagh Choral Society, Castle Coole, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, December 7 – 8.Join the Fermanagh Choral Society as they perform Christmas songs from the 50s as Castle Coole comes to the end of its diamond celebrations.
St George’s Christmas Craft Fair, St George’s Market, Belfast, December 7 – 9. Pick up stunning, homemade Christmas presents, enjoy some delicious food or get arty and make your own personalised Christmas cards at this festive fair.
Causeway Speciality Market, The Diamond, Coleraine, Co Londonderry, December 8. Enjoy quality gourmet food and drink, seasonal fruit and vegetables from organic farms, custom-made accessories and one-off jewellery pieces.
Tyrone Design Guild, The Alley Theatre, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, December 8. Don’t miss an excellent chance to pick up a unique gift from an exciting selection of craft work and art from local artists including carved wood, stoneware and handmade furniture.
The Snowman, Ulster Hall, Belfast, December 8. Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film adaptation of Raymond Brigg’s enduring Christmas tale as the Ulster Orchestra and Christopher Bell perform Howard Blake’s uplifting music live while the film is shown on the big screen.
Yuletide Market, Rowallane Garden, Saintfield, Co Down, December 8 – 9. Soak up the atmosphere with craft and food stalls, Christmas trees and wreaths made by the Rowallane gardening team and lots of family festive fun.
Get into the festive spirit and join the National Trust at Rowallane Garden, Saintfield for the popular Yuletide Market on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 December, from 12 noon to 5pm.
Come and soak up the Christmas atmosphere with craft and food stalls, Christmas trees and wreaths made by the Rowallane Gardening team. Join in traditional family festive fun and even Santa will be roaming around!
Look out for old-time Christmas favourites such as traditional hot home made mulled wine and music from the local Cahard Band.
The garden now has new visitor facilities for you to explore, which include a vibrant café and shop. So, on your journey around the stalls why not take the weight of your feet and pop in for a cuppa and a winter warmer with our homemade soups, and a nosy round our bespoke shop.
We look forward to welcoming you at the Yuletide Market, where you will be able to do all your festive shopping in one!
Normal admission and National Trust members free admission to the Yuletide Market.
Incredible savings* off High Street prices this Christmas
LEADING ferry company Stena Line aims to take out the stress and put the fun back into festive shopping this Christmas by offering customers a Shopping Cruise on the popular Superfast ferry for only£5, where bargains can be found much, much cheaper than the High Street!
Until 19 December, customers can enjoy a non landing trip from Belfast to Cairnyran and enjoy huge discounts off a wide range of fragrances from Marc Jacobs to Gaultier, Calvin Klein to Clinique, as well as super savings on jewellery, chocolate and stocking-fillers for loved ones in Stena Line’s onboard shop.
Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Route Director for Belfast to Cairnryan, said: “We have incredible offers in our onboard shop and hope that this non landing cruise will make bagging a bargain even more accessible to the Northern Ireland public. With a fantastic fare of only £5 per person, (less than the price of a bottle of wine!) shoppers enjoy a great day out with a difference and avoiding the queues on the High Street.
“As well as great savings, this unique trip takes the stress out of the festive rush by offering a more relaxing approach to buying the perfect gift,” continued Paul. “Make it a fantastic family day out by feasting on a Christmas Fayre in Taste restaurant from December 1st and sample the delights from the new winter menu designed by celebrity chef Kevin Woodford.”
Little ones can enjoy the Curious George themed soft play area, a cinema and interactive zone while older children can sample the ultimate multi sensory experience in the new concept POD lounge which has all the latest in technology including iPads, Xboxes and surf stations and a futuristic living digital display on the floor.
The £5 Shopping Cruise offer is valid for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with departure on the 11.30 sailing from Belfast and return on the 15.30 sailing from Cairnryan.
Jacqueline from www.whatsonni.com shares her pick of Christmas Markets taking place this weekend and there is an abundance of local producers with a fantastic selection of Christmas gift ideas on offer!
North Down Museum’s Christmas Market 1st & 2nd December – buy something made locally by one of the area’s many talented artists and craftspeople! The Craft Fair will run during the Museum’s opening hours and will start your festive season off in an especially atmospheric style. Entry to the Christmas Market is free. North Down Museum has been sourcing local artists and craftspeople with something new and different to offer to you for that special Christmas present. They will be filling stalls dotted around the Museum with their work, and this is a great opportunity not only to find a unique gift, but to support craftspeople working in the area. Take a break in the Museum Restaurant and be entertained with a range of festive music. On Saturday 1 December, various school choirs from the borough will be joining us throughout the day, while local musicians writing and performing around the area will be setting the mood on Sunday 2 December.
Frock Around The Clock, a Very Vintage Christmas Fair will be a fabulous extravaganza of festive nostalgia and fun. This event will feature a Vintage and Craft Fair with 40+ exhibitors of vintage and handmade fashion, jewellery, homewares, collectables, crafts, gifts, and sweet treats as well as a pop-up tearoom by The Tea Boutique NI, festive entertainment from The Mystery Sisters New Old-Fangled Swing Show, children’s wartime Christmas themed activities from Time Steps Living History, a Christmas raffle, Lissan House Living History, and much more!!! Sunday 2nd December, 12 – 6pm Lissan House, Drumgrass Road, Lissan, Cookstown BT80 9SW Admission: Adults £7, Children £3, Family Ticket £16 (2 adults & 2 children).
Sat 1st December is the date for the Lisnaskea Christmas Market at The Corn Market (beside the Bank Of Ireland) 1pm – all stalls featuring handmade local products 2.30pm kids magic show – free admission 3.45pm Santa arrives 4pm Carol Singing 4.30pm Switching on of the Christmas Lights.
Magherafelt District Council will once again be serving up a treat with their Speciality Christmas Food and Craft Market on Saturday 1st December from 12noon to 9pm and Sunday 2nd December from 12noon to 6pm in the Old Market Yard, Rainey Street Magherafelt. The Christmas Market is a truly seasonal experience so come along and enjoy browsing and sampling the locally produced artisan food and drink. Take time to unwind in our heated lounge where you can experience a craft beer, hot mulled wine or even just sit and relax and catch up with friends. Complete with a bandstand where musicians, local carol singer and school children will perform over the weekend.
Join the National Trust at the Argory for their fantastic Christmas fair on the 1st and 2nd December with dozens of craft and food stalls and festive entertainment. They will be hosting afternoon tea in the festively decorated house and there will be a chance to see Santa and Mrs Claus in their winter wonderland.
Merville House Food & Craft Market on Saturday 1st December, Merville House will play host to a selection of local food and craft suppliers in what is hoped to be a monthly event for the community in Newtownabbey. On Saturday 1st December, Merville House will play host to a selection of local food and craft suppliers in what is hoped to be a monthly event for the community in Newtownabbey.
Brennans Bread teams up with Replay Theatre Company to launch free pop-up theatre for kids
THE family bread bakers Brennans is teaming up with Replay Theatre Company to offer families a break from the festive shopping rush by visiting a pop-up theatre in Belfast City Centre.
More than 1,000 children across Northern Ireland are set to enjoy a slice of live theatre for free from December 4 to December 9 with Replay’s production of ‘A Boy & His Box’.
The play, ‘A Boy & His Box’ centres around a child who discovers a world of fun with a disused box, imagining it’s a spaceship, racing car or robot rather than playing with expensive toys he has been given.
It’s based on the fact that according to a recent survey, 46% of parents in the UK say their children spend most of their time playing with unwanted boxes instead of toys and games.*
Local charity Replay are hoping that by putting on the production of ‘A Boy & His Box’, it will encourage mums and dads to take a break from festive shopping and enjoy quality time with their children, encouraging them to use their imagination this Christmas.
The production is part of the theatre company’s partnership with Brennans Bread, using empty retail space on Belfast’s High Street, to provide free shows throughout the week. There will also be sampling opportunities of free toast and drinks available, as well as a video booth and box for children to create their own production.
Eimear Henry, executive director of Replay Theatre Company, said: “We’re aware that Christmas can be a hectic time for parents struggling to keep the kids entertained on tight budgets and we’re hoping we can come to their aid by offering an innovative new play for free.
“We’re working alongside our partner Brennans, using empty retail space right in the city centre to create a pop-up theatre, so it doesn’t have to disturb mum’s Christmas shopping and she can come along and enjoy the play too.
“The theme of this production is all about children using their imagination and hopefully everyone who sees it will be inspired to think outside the box this Christmas!” she added.
Colin Todd, business development manager of Brennans Bread is encouraging parents from across Northern Ireland to visit Belfast during the festive season and take some time out to enjoy free theatre.
“Brennans is delighted to be partnering Replay to deliver free theatre for families this Christmas,” said Colin. “In the run-up to the festive season it can be difficult to take some time out as a family and the pop-up theatre offers a fun, creative way to relax.
“I would encourage everyone to make sure they catch a production as it will be available for one week only and step in from the cold and enjoy some of the creative games, not to mention the delicious Brennans toast that will be on offer,” he added.
Brona Whittaker, Arts Manager of Arts and Business, funders of ‘A Boy & His Box’ said, “We are delighted to support this project which is a perfect example of how business and the arts can work together. Transforming an empty space into a pop up theatre in the city centre is a brilliant use of space at this busy retail time of year.”
A Boy & His Box will be showing for free at the pop-up theatre on 18 High Street, Belfast on Tuesday December 4th at 3.30pm and 5pm, Thursday 6th and Friday 7th at 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm and 7pm and on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. For further information visit www.replaytheatreco.org. Booking not required.
North Down Museum is excited to announce that, for the first time, it will be opening its doors for ”A Night At the Museum” on Friday 23 November 2012. The Museum will stay open until 9pm, offering the opportunity for you to discover the story of Bangor and the surrounding area in an entirely new way! Entry to Night at the Museum is free. The Museum Restaurant will be staying open for high tea, so you and your family will be able to fortify yourselves ready for the nights’ activities. Activities include Torch-lit tours that will run half hourly from 6pm round the Museum’s permanent collections, storytelling, craft demonstrations, films in Ireland’s smallest cinema, and advice on antiques and collectibles.
The Winter Craft Fair at the Burnavon Cookstown celebrates its 6th year this weekend, with a better than ever selection of quality crafts and foods, featuring many well known familiar producers alongside a selection of exciting newcomers. Running over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday you will have all the opportunity you need to browse and shop for the perfect Christmas presents for your family and friends, or just treat yourself to something special.
Little Castle Playgroup has organised a Ladies Pampering Night on Friday evening 23rd November at 8.00 pm at the Trinity Hall, Lisnaskea. On offer will be Henrietta Fawcett using The Body Shop at Home products, Couture Bridal NI specialising in handmade bridal/formal wear jewellery, fascinators, wedding stationary, with light refreshments of available – mulled wine/cheese. Have a relaxing evening at a cosy venue. Enter in a pamper raffle to win make-up, jewellery and other luxurious gifts.* And a chance to purchase some great presents for Christmas! Admission £3 per person.
The Maghera Christmas Carnival promises to be a fun filled family day out. Back by popular demand, the Maghera Traders Association presents “Christmas Carnival” this Saturday 24th November. Music concert in a Marquee starting at 12.30 with Kenny Paul & Niamh McGlinchey on stage. Santa arrives shortly after with an opportunity to have your picture taken with him in our first ever human snowglobe and receive a gift for the kids. MC for the day is our very own local celeb Emma Louise Johnston who will be joined by comedian Tim McGarry . There will also be kids zumba dancing and carol singing, local craft stalls, face painting, funfair stalls, free prize draws and Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Georgian Day in Armagh is one of the most exciting and unique events of the Christmas calendar. It sees the city of Armagh transformed this Saturday 24th November with market stalls offering stunning indigenous crafts and food to excite the Christmas shopper seeking that special gift. The scent of warm mince pies and mulled wine combined with the sound of local musicians ensures a truly unique atmosphere for the whole family to enjoy.
Enjoy free, family fun before Top Cat switches on the Christmas tree lights this Saturday in Ballyclare. 3pm & 4.45pm – Live entertainment with local radio presenters Stuart Robinson and David McCammond. 3.30pm – Live band performance from Peach. 5pm – A short programme of Christmas readings, carols and music. 5.30pm – Arrival of Santa with Top Cat and the Mayor to switch on the Christmas tree lights. 2-5pm in the Town Hall car park – Bungee trampoline, rodeo bull, ‘The Flying Snowman’ simulator experience, face painting and festive tattoos – ALL FREE! Kids can also visit Santa’s Grotto; £4 per child which includes a gift from Santa with all proceeds in aid of the Mayor’s charities.
Celebrated scriptwriter, comedian, novelist, actor and television presenter, Michael Palin will be at Eason’s new flagship store in Belfast on Friday 23rd November from 12.30pm to sign copies of Brazil, the book to accompany his latest travel series.
Michael Palin has now written eight travel series books – with most having been No 1 bestsellers, including;
Around the World in 80 Days; Pole to Pole; Full Circle; Hemingway Adventure; Sahara; New Europe; and Himalaya which enjoyed the No 1 spot for 11 weeks.
In Brazil, Michael charts another incredible journey across one of the four new global super powers with its vast natural resources and burgeoning industries.
Half a continent in size and a potent mix of races, religions and cultures, of unexplored wildernesses and bustling modern Cities, it is also one of the few countries Michael Palin has never fully travelled. The book chronicles his journey as he explores in his inimitable way this vast and disparate nation. From the Venezuelan Border and the forests of the Lost World where he encounters the Yanomami and their ongoing territorial war with the gold Miners; he follows Teddy Roosevelt’s disastrous expedition of 1914; he journeys by river to the headwaters of the Xingu; by plane over huge tracts of forest, by steam train and by road along the Trans-Amazonica allow him to reach a Kaleidoscopic mix of peoples: the indigenous hunter-gatherers of the interior, the descendants of African slaves with their vibrant culture of rituals and festivals and music, the large community of German descent who celebrate their patrimony at the biggest beer festival outside Munich, and the wealthy guachas of the Pantanal amongst them.
His journey ends at the border with Uruguay and the spectacular Iguacu Falls. Jonathan Johnston, Store Manager of Eason’s flagship store in Belfast, said: “Michael Palin always pulls in great crowds and as we start the countdown to Christmas we are delighted he is coming to Eason in Belfast to give his army of fans here in Northern Ireland the chance to get their copy of Brazil signed – it’s the perfect gift!
“Friday’s event is one of a number of high profile signings taking place in Eason’s flagship store in the coming weeks and we’re delighted to be able to bring these great opportunities to our customers. To find out more about forthcoming events visit our website at www.easons.com.
Passenger figures rise 9% and freight 60% in first year of service
ON the 21st November 2011, Stena Line began services on its new Belfast- Cairnryan route by introducing two of the largest ferries ever to sail between Northern Ireland and Scotland. The £200M investment, one of Stena Line’s biggest in Europe also provided a new state-of-the-art Loch Ryan Port at Cairnryan, one of the most modern port facilities in the UK.
One year on, despite challenging economic conditions the new route has delivered a strong 9% year on year increase in passenger numbers and a 60% increase in freight volumes. The new route has now firmly established itself as an increasingly important passenger and freight link between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Route Director for the Belfast – Cairnryan service said: “When we announced our decision to invest £200M in the new Belfast-Cairnryan route, trading conditions were and remain tough but as we have always said, we take the long term view when we make investments of this magnitude.
I’m delighted to report that after our first year of trading on the new route, despite difficult economic conditions, the new route has now firmly established itself as an increasingly important passenger and freight link between both countries. Our new port and ships have created new flows of traffic in both the passenger and freight market and while 2013 will remain challenging I’m confident that we can continue to make steady progress next year.”
Stena Line operates up to 6 daily return sailings between Belfast- Cairnryan with its Superfast vessels completing the crossing in 2hrs 15 mins. During 2012, Stena Line has also improved its reliability and punctuality, a key element for customers when deciding which ferry company to use.
Paul Grant added: “The results have shown that when do you do offer something more than the competition whether it be a Nordic Spa with onboard saunas, relaxing family cabins, free-wi fi, high-end onboard shopping or fine dining options from celebrity chef Kevin Woodford then the market does respond positively. We have tried to take ferry travel to a new level and the figures show that this ambition is being realised.”
“Now that we have a formidable mix of modern ports and ships on the Belfast-Cairnryan route, we are concentrating our efforts on trying to drive our onboard customer service levels even higher. We have invested heavily in improving key elements of our ‘customer experience’ and will continue this commitment to provide the best in class customer service throughout 2013.”
The Belfast invention Doodle Bread, launched in 2008 by young designer Rose Kane with the backing of major investor Esynergy, has received the go-ahead to launch as a major brand for Christmas 2012.
An online shop with its offices based in the regenerating and startup-friendly Twin Spires area of West Belfast, Doodle Cook is already a trending gift vendor for the Christmas season.
Set to become an online leader in kids cooking products and education, Doodle Cook has arrived at the right time and place. The company capitalises on the influence of a growing digital economy as well as a regional love for the tradition of cooking and baking.
A Forward-Thinking Outfit
The website www.DoodleCook.com carries a range of children’s products, perfect for the coming winter months that will drive kids and adults indoors.
The company blog is full of text and video tutorials, contests to win free products, printable educational materials for kids, helpful cooking tips, and posts on topics such “Why You Should Get Your Kids Cooking!”
The Doodle Cook company culture is one of play, invention and inclusiveness. “Cooking is a great way to learn creatively and to spend time with your family,” says founder Rose. “It’s a rewarding activity for everyone, not just women and mothers.” Most of the products are purposely gender-neutral.
Arriving at the Right Moment
Dreamed up by Rose, Doodle Cook is now driven by three creative women—a product designer, an interface designer, and a stand-up comedienne—who share her passion for “edu-tainment.”
“This is the right sort of company to launch in Belfast right now,” according to Doodle Cook’s Interactive Media and PR Manager Danielle Barrios-O’Neill. “We are positioned to capture both the global online social media market, and the family-focused market of Ireland and the UK.”
Currently Doodle Cook products are carried by House of Fraser, Moore’s and Beale’s, with agreements pending for trials in John Lewis and Selfridge’s stores in the Spring.
For current contests, product specials and to see the range of Doodle Cook products, you can visit their website at www.DoodleCook.com and follow the team on Facebook and Twitter (@DoodleCooks).
We’re always happy to provide more information through e-mail or interview. Press and online media queries should be directed to Danielle Barrios-O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 12 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland over the next week (November 19 – 25).
Broadway and Beyond, The Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, November 20 – 24. A unique blend of family favourites and the latest musical hits by the Fortwilliam Musical Society.
Belfast Beer and Cider Festival 2012, Ulster Hall, Belfast, November 22 – 24. With over 100 beers and ciders available in a range of styles, this festival will create the biggest bar in Ireland with traditional pub games, tutored beer tastings and live music.
Soapmaking – Handmade for Christmas, Hunters Lodge, Killinchy, Co. Down, November 23. An introduction to melt and pour soap making for beginners or those interested in making soaps for Christmas. This is a hands-on workshop and you will leave with your own beautiful creations.
Lady Windermere’s Fan, Ardhowen Theatre, Co. Fermanagh, November 23. A classic Oscar Wilde comedy. Parlours and parties, eavesdropping, misunderstandings, secret information, letters falling into unintended hands and the wooing of pretty young daughters. Does Lady Windermere learn about life, love and the society she thought she knew so well?
Christmas Switch On Illuminations, Lurgan Town Centre Plaza, Co. Armagh, November 23. A dazzling evening of Christmas festivities including festive stilt walkers, magical entertainment, carol singing and Santa who will illuminate the Christmas tree.
Lisburn Christmas Lights Switch On, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, November 23. Lisburn lights up with the annual Christmas lights switch on with lots of entertainment including carol singing and free giveaways.
Dickens Day 2012, Kilkeel, Co. Down, November 24. Celebrate the life and work of Charles Dickens with craft stalls, local schools singing carols, mince pies and mulled wine, a horse drawn carriage parade, and a light parade when everyone decorates their vehicles with lights and parades through the town.
Starling Spectacle, meet on the Lagan Walkway on the Albert Bridge, Belfast, November 24. Catch one of Belfast’s most spectacular wildlife sights as thousands of starlings gather to roost at the Albert Bridge.
Little Red Riding Hood, Ranfurly House Arts & Visitor Centre, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, November 24. A curious young girl weaves her way through the woods to her Grandma’s house. This is a journey full of surprises with a playful and imaginative re-telling of a timeless story.
Santa’s Grotto, Hillmount Nursery, Belfast, November 24 – December 23. This indoor grotto will be a delight for children of all ages with animated scenes and real reindeers and donkeys.
Georgian Day, Armagh City Centre, November 24. One of the most exciting and unique events of the Christmas calendar when Armagh will be transformed with market stalls offering indigenous crafts and food and local musicians.
The Nutcracker, Waterside Theatre, Co. Londonderry, November 25. A magical story about a little girl who falls asleep after the Christmas gift-giving party and dreams that one of her toys – the handsome Nutcracker prince – comes to life and takes her off to the land of sweets where they fall in love.