Proposal at the Titanic Belfast!

Today at Titanic Belfast, Australian visitor Leo Nestor shocked his Irish sweetheart Joan Butler when he got down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage.

The 68-year-old former professional Aussie Rules player, was introduced to Dubliner Joan in D’arcy’s Bar in the Gold Coast by Fiona Logan, the sister of Ireland’s Eurovision Song Contest legend Johnny.

Leo chose his moment to propose in The Launch gallery that overlooks the famous Slipway on which Titanic was built.


The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland over the next week (February 4 – 10).

  • Mixed Marriage, Lyric Theatre, Belfast, January 30 – February 23.  Set in Belfast on the eve of the Ulster Covenant, Mixed Marriage is a poetic tragedy – with earthy humour – which dissects class and religious sectarianism through the breakdown of one ordinary family.
  • Newry Film Club Night – Incendies, Sean Hollywod Arts Centre, Newry, Co. Down, February 6.  A 2012 Canadian film which follows the journey of twin brother and sister as they attempt to unravel the mystery of their mother’s life.
  • Female Gothic, The Market Place Theatre, Co. Armagh, February 6.  The Victorian fascination with tales of mystery and the supernatural created an enduring legacy of Gothic fiction; but it is often the male writers that we remember.  Many thrilling and eerie stories from the great female writers of that era have gathered dust and been forgotten.  Until now.
  • Ultimate Eagles, Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, February 6.  The Ultimate Eagles recreate the music of The Eagles with reverence, excitement and with a new stage show that focuses its bright lights on the 1970s when the band was at its mightiest.
  • Ulster Orchestra JTI Lunchtime Concert Series Mozartiana, Ulster Hall, Belfast, February 6.  Fifty minutes of sublime and inspiring music performed by the Ulster Orchestra and local and internationally renowned soloists.
  • Glenelly Historical Society Presents: Glenelly Our Home, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, February 7.  An illustrated lecture depicting memories of the former homes of Glenelly.  Celebrate this unique historical culture and see images of homes that are now lying derelict or as wallsteads.
  • Féile Chaoimhín Uí Dhochartaigh, citywide, Co. Londonderry, February 7 – 10.  A four day celebration of the life of one of the best known figures in the traditional music scene in Derry.  The festival will feature an all-star line-up of musicians, teachers, and performers and includes an intensive Irish language course.
  • A Valentine’s Massacre – Murder Mystery, Grand Opera House, Belfast, February 9.  Some like it hot, and it can’t get hotter than being on the run from the mob after witnessing a St. Valentine’s Day massacre of the mafia’s making.  Comedy will accompany murder, mystery and intrigue.  Drinks reception and three course meal included as part of the evening.
  • Chinese New Year at Belfast Zoo, Antrim Road, Belfast, February 10.  Celebrate Chinese New Year at the zoo and learn more about the Chinese animals at the keeper talks and feeding times.  2013 is the year of the snake and visitors born in the year of the snake will also get free admission to the zoo for the day.

Here are Jacqueline’s pick of family events taking place this weekend across the North.


Want to have a bit of family fun but learn something crucial about the world around you at the same time?  Then Castle Espie is the place for you on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of February.  As part of World Wetlands Day 2013, WWT Castle Espie are hosting two days of fun talks. Come with the family and interact with science to discover the 6 secrets of wetlands and explore questions such as ‘What wetland plant feeds more than 3 billion people every year?’ – ‘Why does there seem to be more flooding incidents every year?’ –‘Why do we need clean wetlands to survive as a species?’ and many more.  Come and meet a collection of reptiles, amphibians and creepy crawlies and learn about their bodies, lifecycles, and adaptations.  Lectures take place at 12pm and 3pm each day. Pre-booking is essential as places are limited.


The Bardic Theatre Present Lionel Bart’s OLIVER! This musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic opens Friday 1st February 2013 – Nightly @ 8pm until 16th February. Box Office: 028 87 725 286 (Stewart’s Music Shop).


Dominic Kirwan, one of Ireland’s best and most popular concert performers, embarks on a nationwide concert tour with his excellent band to coincide with the release of his new album. Dominic’s show creates a wonderful atmosphere among his audience and everybody leaves wanting more. The concert at Ardhowen on Thursday 31st January features songs from his many albums as well as others from right across the country and pop music spectrum. All tickets are £20.00.


The Terrace Hotel Magherafelt is the venue for the upcoming “Take Me Out” fundraiser on Friday 1st February in aid of the Buddy Bear Trust. Organised by the students from Magherafelt Northern Regional College to raise funds for a Conductive Educational School for kids with Cerebral Palsy – the only one of its kind in N. Ireland, this promised to be a great night out! Tickets only £5.


Drama For Kids’ presents the classic tale ‘Puss In Boots’ in aid of Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice at The Market Place Theatre and Arts Centre, Saturday 2nd February.  Puss, an accomplished creature, with wit and ingenuity persuades his master, Tom, to pass himself off as the Marquis of Carabos, with profitable and romantic results. Meet a strong selection of fine characters; Perriwinkle, the foppish Court Jester, Princess Diamond, Dame Eyebright, Count Crusher, a wicked Ogre, and many more.


The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Tribute Show comes to the McNeill Theatre Larne on Saturday. The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Tribute brings audiences into the colourful worlds of Mickey Mouse and a whole host of characters children have loved down through the years, live on stage, right before their eyes in this exciting and fun filled musical production. Featuring fantastic costumes and colourful lighting, it will be an experience for all the family to remember and cherish.

Great News from Thana at Whoosh!

Hello Thai food lovers!

Keep up to date with Whoosh on facebook at

After 4 great years of event catering, hard work, blood, sweat and tears – we are delighted to present the new addition to our services, the Whoosh Thai & Vietnamese Street Food Café!

What is Street Food about?
[street food] is simply ready-to-eat, hot and cold, fast, fresh and deliciously healthy food – ours is served in a comfy casual and relaxed setting.

Our dishes are prepared with quality ingredients and served fresh on the day. At Whoosh, we are obsessive about food and always use the freshest ingredients available. Our menu is small yet varied, providing an element of surprise for our customers as new dishes are introduced on a regular basis.

Sourcing local quality meats, fish and vegetables are essential to us to produce good food. Our dishes are bursting with flavours and colours but contain no MSG, no additives and no preservatives – most of them can also be prepared to suit vegetarian and gluten-free diets. Our key ingredients: love, passion and respect for food. We simply love what we do and do what we love.

In the Southeast Asian culture, eating isn’t just about food but it is also about taking time to appreciate the little things in life and to share our stories, experiences or ups and downs with family, friends, neighbours, colleagues… This is the reason why at Whoosh we love meeting new faces, making new friends and learning from others. So, we never eat alone!

So, if you fancy a quick bite, lunch or a catch-up with friends… sit-in or take -out, eat Whoosh! Eat together!

When? Opening date: 4th February 2013
Opening hours: 11:30am to 5:30pm (Mon to Sat)
Contact us: DM us on FB or email info@

Where are we? Bellhouse Lane, Coleraine Town Centre (between First Trust Bank and Next), nearest car park: Mall Car Park.


A celebration of the very best in tourism and hospitality will take place on May 30th at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.

Aine Kearney, NITB Director of Product Development and Michael McCann, Country Director of Diageo Northern Ireland roll out the red carpet for the launch of The Northern Ireland Tourism Awards which will take place at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast on May 30th. Organised by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in association with Diageo Northern Ireland, the awards will celebrate the very best in tourism and hospitality and showcase recent success and a high profile year for the industry, as well as looking forward to the opportunities in 2013 with the UK City of Culture, World Police and Fire Games and G8 Summit. There are 11 award categories in total this year with two new categories for 2013 - ‘Customer Service Excellence’ and ‘Best ni2012 initiative’ and NITB is encouraging organisations and businesses of all sizes to apply. To enter visit and download the relevant entry form for your category. The closing date for entries is noon on Friday 1st March. For further information contact the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards event team on 028 9044 6292 or email

The Northern Ireland Tourism Awards, organised by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in association with Diageo Northern Ireland, will showcase recent success and a high profile year for the industry, as well as looking forward to the opportunities in 2013 with the UK City of Culture, World Police and Fire Games and G8 Summit.

2012 has been a hugely significant year for tourism in Northern Ireland, dominated by world class events and activity surrounding the ni2012: our time, our place campaign which included the opening of Titanic Belfast, the new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre and a sell-out Irish Open.

There are 11 award categories in total this year with two new categories for 2013 – ‘Customer Service Excellence’ and ‘Best ni2012 initiative’ and NITB is encouraging organisations and businesses of all sizes to apply.

Aine Kearney, NITB Director of Product Development said, “The ni2012 campaign helped to move tourism to a new level in terms of profile, economic impact and self-belief as the spotlight shone on Northern Ireland for all the right reasons.  Now is the time for organisations to celebrate their achievements throughout this significant year by entering the tourism awards.

“The awards will offer businesses the opportunity to review their performance and identify their core strengths.  For those who win it is an independent and prestigious endorsement of their organisation and the quality of their products and services,” she said.

“Everyone at NITB is looking forward to a wonderful night of rewarding excellence and celebrating the industry’s achievements,” she added.

Michael McCann, Country Director of Diageo Northern Ireland said, “At Diageo we are committed to working with NITB and our other industry partners to drive visitor numbers throughout Northern Ireland and leave a lasting legacy for the growth and development of tourism.

“In Northern Ireland we have an unrivalled reputation of being great hosts, ensuring that those who visit us have a great experience and it is important that the people, places and organisations that make such a valuable contribution to our tourism industry are recognised and rewarded.

“At Diageo we are proud to support the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards and we are passionate about positioning Northern Ireland as a great location to visitors both at home and abroad,” he added.

This year’s Northern Ireland Tourism Awards gala ceremony will take place in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on Thursday 30th May 2013.  The evening will be a glittering celebration of tourism success over the past year with a sit-down gala dinner and entertainment showcasing local talent.

To enter visit and download the relevant entry form for your category.  The closing date for entries is noon on Friday 1st March. For further information contact the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards event team on 028 9044 6292 or email


The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland over the next week (January 28 – February 3).

  • Donaghadee Historical Society Talk, Donaghadee Community Centre, Co. Down, January 28.  The author Stephen Cameron will give a talk to mark the 60th anniversary of the Princess Victoria Ferry Disaster.  Proceeds will go towards the upkeep of the Donaghadee Lifeboat, the ‘Sir Samuel Kelly’ which brought survivors to shore.
  • Starlight Express, Millennium Forum, Co. Londonderry, January 28 – February 9.  One of the longest running musicals in British theatre history, Starlight Express has been specially designed for a new generation of audiences with an electrifying soundtrack and all-new dazzling sets and choreography.
  • The Young Americans, Waterfront Hall, Belfast, January 30.  The world renowned Young Americans have been the pinnacle of excellence in music and dance.  During this two act spectacular you will travel through time and across musical genres with vocal and dance showstoppers to rival any West End or Broadway production.
  • Made in Italy, Belle Isle Cookery School, Lisbellaw, Co. Fermanagh. February 1.  Learn about authentic Italian dishes using meat and fish and try your hand at making fresh pasta and ravioli filled with seasonal ingredients.  Discover the secrets of deeply rich sauces to enhance any dinner.
  • Oliver, Bardic Theatre, Donaghmore, Co. Tyrone, February 1 – 16.  Oliver was the first musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ work to become a stage hit.  It follows the story of an orphan who runs away from an orphanage and hooks up with a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor.
  • Sporting Traditions through the Ages in Newry and Mourne, Newry and Mourne Museum, Bagenal’s Castle, Newry, Co. Down, February 1 – 28.  This colourful exhibition of memorabilia will celebrate sporting traditions and achievements through the ages and will examine the important contribution sport has made to the social and cultural fabric of life in the district.
  • Be Wild about Wildlife, Beginner Birding – Seabirds, Murlough National Nature Reserve, Dundrum, Co. Down, February 2.  Come along and enjoy this great day out for bird beginners.  Meeting point is at the car park.  Suitable footwear is essential.
  • Snowdrop Walks, The Argory, Moy, Co. Armagh, February 2.  As winter melts away, take a self-guided walk through the estate, enjoy a warm refreshment, buy your own snowdrop plants and pick up some essential reads in the second hand bookshop.
  • Furniture Upcycling Workshop, Mossley Pavilion, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, February 2.  Pick a piece of furniture and learn how to transform it into something truly unique for your home.  Learn how to get the ‘chalk paint look’ and other craft techniques such as crackling and decoupage.  Furniture and materials provided along with an afternoon tea.
  • National Intermediate/ Master & Juvenile Development Cross Country Championships, Gransha, Co. Londonderry, February 3.  A 12-race programme of top quality cross country action with runners aged 10 to 80 years.  Local runners in particular will be trying to impress on home turf.

Here are Jacqueline’s pick of family events taking place this weekend across the North.


Ahead of this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch, RSPB invites you along to a fundraising coffee morning at Regent Street Methodist Church, Newtownards from 10am – 2pm on Thursday 24th January.  Admission is by donation and you are invited to enjoy a cuppa and some sweet treats and get involved in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch.  Ever wondered what wildlife visits your garden each day? Well this January we are encouraging you to get outdoors for an hour and take part in the world’s biggest wildlife survey. Once your hour is up simply get in touch and tell us what you have seen!   To entice more visitors to your garden on the weekend of 26 – 27 January we will be whipping up a delicious dinner for the birds which you can take home as our gift to you.

The Spring Farm Machinery Show Fintona will be taking place on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th January at the Ecclesville Centre in Fintona.  This event attracts over 12,000 farmers and contractors from across the UK and Ireland to view the latest machinery, gather technical information and network with the industry. It has always been the largest of its kind in Ireland and this year it promises to be bigger and better than ever with the Ecclesville centre expanding yet again allowing room for an extra 60 exhibitors. As well as having once again grown in size, this show will have even more attractions for visitors making it the place to be in 2013.  This is an extremely popular annual event showcasing all the latest and best agricultural equipment and machinery the industry has to offer.


The Westville Wedding Fair at the Westville Hotel takes place this Sunday afternoon, 27th January from 1.00pm to 5.00pm.  Come along for a chance to view the hotel and the facilities on offer for your special day, we well as an opportunity to meet lots of local wedding suppliers.


The Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre Limavady will celebrate Burns night in style on Thursday 24th January. Willie Drennan and his band, with special guest John Trotter, will sing the songs, recite the poems and play the music of Rabbie Burns while explaining the Scottish Bard’s connection with Ulster.  Willie and John will also play some popular high energy songs and tunes from their days with the Ulster Scots Folk Orchestra and Nae Goat’s Toe.  A special traditional Burns supper will be provided for all those attending.  Don’t miss this exceptional evening celebrating the life and work of the Bard, Rabbie Burns!


Spend some time with your family at Gosford Forest Park, where you will discover some of the rarest breeds of farm animals. (Parking charge applies). Gosford Castle boosts a walled garden, red deer park, poultry collection and ornamental pigeons in docecote. Off A28, near Markethill, Armagh 7 miles, Newry 12 miles. Nature trail, barbeque site, café. Open all year. Toilet and shower facilities available on site.


On Saturday 26th January The best of Northern Ireland One Act Amateur Dramatics compete for the honour of representing Northern Ireland in the British Festival in 2013.  Three productions from the regional One Act Play festivals will perform at Theatre at The Mill for this winning title. Further information on the plays and presenting groups will be detailed closer to the festival on

Three is the magic number for Stendhal Festival of Art!

“It sounds like a bizarre fairytale and to be honest, it isn’t far off.” AU Magazine

Stendhal Festival of Art is delighted to announce that the third instalment of the most all encompassing music and arts festival in Northern Ireland will take place at Ballymully Cottage Farm, Limavady, on August 16 and 17, 2013.

Having steadily gained momentum over the past three years, the 2013 event will see the return of everything that has proven so popular with festival goers who have attended in the first two years along with a few new additions which aim to delight and inspire.

Stendhal Festival is accepting submissions from bands and artists via their own website and this year will also be working in conjunction with New York based ReverbNation who will also be accepting applications to play at the event from January 21 until April 30.

Organiser Ross Parkhill said: “We are delighted to be partnering with ReverbNation in order to accept band submissions this year. They have a huge audience and it will no doubt open doors for us in terms of getting the festival noticed not only in Northern Ireland but the entire UK and further afield.

“It also gives us a much broader range of bands to look at when it comes to piecing the programme together, so hopefully it will unearth a few gems for us.”

Erik Bernotas, Vice President of ReverbNation’s Live Group added: “We’re thrilled to be working with Stendhal Festival, as we look to expand our presence in the UK.”

Anyone wishing to submit an application to play please fill in the application form on before midnight on April 30.

To apply through ReverbNation simply click on the link found on or go to www.reverbnation.comand search Stendhal Festival of Art in the search box, the closing date on ReverbNation is also April 30.

If your band does not already have a ReverbNation Press Kit, you will be able to follow links on that page to create one.

Early bird tickets for the August event are expected to be on sale in February.


The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland over the next week (January 14 – 20).

  • Walls 400! Ebrington, Co. Londonderry, January 1 – 31.  Walls 400! will mark the quarter-centenary of the city walls with a series of activities to explore the contested history that the city walls represent and celebrate Derry’s walls as a present-day national heritage asset.
  • Kieran Goss in Concert, Ranfurly Arts and Visitor Centre, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, January 12.  Long hailed as one of Ireland’s leading songwriters and performers, Kieran Goss has many fans across the globe but if his songs have made him a star, his live shows have made him a legend.
  • Fiona Cassidy – Author in Residence, An Creagán, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, January 14, 16 & 18.  Bestselling author Fiona Cassidy will be taking up residence at An Creagán to offer a series of creative writing workshops for adults.
  • Newtownards Market, Conway Square, Co. Down, January 19.  This traditional weekly market caters for all your needs with a diverse range of stalls selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, tools and household goods. 

  • An Evening with Dominic Kirwan, Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, January 19.  One of Ireland’s best and most popular concert performers embarks on a nationwide tour with country, pop and album hits.

  • Arenacross, Odyssey Arena, Belfast, January 19.  The crazy indoor off-spring of motocross racing.  The racing is short, sharp and shockingly spectacular with huge triple jumps, killer mogul sections and fast, banked corners, all designed to provide high-octane sensory fun.   

  • Woodland Workout, meeting at Craigavon Museum car park, Waterside House, Oxford Island, Craigavon, Co. Armagh, January 19.  Start the New Year in the great outdoors and help stack rotten timber to create habitat piles for insects, coppicing hazel trees and give your brain a workout as you learn about the native flora and fauna and local folklore.  Sturdy footwear and warm waterproof clothes are essential.
  • Man of Aran, Ulster Museum Lecture Theatre, Belfast, January 20.  Robert Flaherty’s new digital restoration of the classic 1934 documentary ‘Man of Aran’ – an Irish documentary following the hardships of daily life experienced by a family living and working on the Aran Islands, just off the west coast of Ireland.
  • Nature Tales, the MAC, Belfast, January 20.  Conjure up fantastic fairy-tales and stories in this workshop for 4-6 year olds.  With help from the sculptures in Claire Morgan’s amazing exhibition, storyteller Mary-Frances will conjure up fantastic fairy-tales and stories about animals and nature, before asking you to make up your very own animal stories.  

  • A Very Grand Canal, Waterways Ireland Headquarters, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, until January 31.  An exhibition of prints, sound, film, music, photography and literature all of which have been inspired by the Grand Canal in Offaly.  Artists include Geraldine O’Reilly, La Cosa Preziosa, Mixed Bag Media, Eugene O’Brien, Veronica Nicholson and Wayne Brennan. 

Here are Jacqueline’s pick of family events taking place this weekend across the North.


Saturday 12th January sees the Kirkistown Racing Circuit host a short circuit karting meeting by the 500 Motor Racing Club of Ireland, featuring direct drive junior and senior classes. This event is round 3 of a 4 round Kirkistown Karting Winter Series. Admission is free.


A long time ago in the far off city of Old Peking, lived a boy called Aladdin – join him on a magical carpet ride for this classic Christmas pantomime. Get ready for another treasure-filled adventure produced by Stewartstown Dramatic Society. Its pure panto genie-us at the Burnavon Theatre Cookstown from 11th to 26th January. Tickets are £10 (£8 concession).


Roll out of bed on Saturday mornings and join the mountain biking enthusiasts at Corralea. Mountain bikers are welcome to use the trails and a qualified Trail Cycle Leader will be on site to assist and advise anyone present on skills, techniques, bike setup and where to go. The session is open to Mountain Biking enthusiasts who have their own gear (bike in working order, gloves, helmet etc..) or novices who want to experience the tracks. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Bike hire is available and includes helmet and gloves (minimum 12 years).


Roe Valley Arts Centre Limavady are delighted to present James Ivory’s adaptation of Peter Cameron’s novel, starring the superb Anthony Hopkins, Laura Linney and Charlotte Gainsbourg on Saturday 12th January. 28-year-old Kansas University doctoral student Omar Razaghi wins a grant to write a biography of Latin American writer Jules Gund, but Omar must first get through three people who were close to Gund – his brother, widow, and younger mistress—in order to write it. Travelling to South America to persuade this dysfunctional ensemble of oddball characters awakens a greater journey in the young writer.  Never before screened in the UK, this beautifully filmed Merchant Ivory production was made following Ismail Merchant’s death. The screening will be introduced by a member of the Merchant Ivory Board and complimentary refreshments will be provided. This special screening also launches the Roe Valley  January-April Film Programme.


Step back in time in style and enjoy Victorian Afternoon Tea in style in the Dining Room of Milford House Museum. Visitors can book Afternoon tea in the Dining Room where you will partake of Tea using silver and china while the Mc Crum family portraits look down on you. Enjoy delicious  sandwiches cut in strips (no crusts!), smoked salmon, scones with fresh cream and jam, cakes and buns. You will be served by our guides wearing genuine nineteenth century clothing who will instruct you in the art of etiquette of Victorian Afternoon Tea. This is followed by a guided tour. Visitors can also book a living history tour set in the year 1899.


Join the Belfast Barge for our new monthly event, Kids Second Saturdays.  Every second Saturday of the month, kids (ages 3-10) are invited to come and take over the barge. The day is filled with hands-on activities, storytelling and kid-friendly tours of the maritime museum.  Each month we will feature a new theme and January’s Theme is SAILORS SALUTE!  Entry: £4 per child, £2 per adult.  11am-4pm (Last entry at 3pm). Storytelling at 12pm & 2pm