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