National Trust’s Free Weekend

– National Trust welcomes visitors to its special places for free –

This spring the National Trust is opening its houses, gardens and industrial heritage sites across Northern Ireland for free, for an entire weekend!

On Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 April, everyone will have the opportunity to explore some of Northern Ireland’s special places, absolutely free. With winter behind us, the Free Weekend provides an opportunity to reconnect with the great outdoors, step back in time at an historic mansion, see and hear our industrial heritage at work or just relax and enjoy some tasty refreshments or a spot of retail therapy!

Heather Thompson, National Trust Director for Northern Ireland, said:

“Our free weekend is the perfect chance to escape the stresses of our busy lives and get outdoors to breathe in the springtime fresh air or take inspiration from the beauty and unique stories associated with many of our special places. We hope many of you, with your friends and family will visit us and discover that we really have something for everyone.”

The National Trust is encouraging everyone to share memories of their special places on a new innovative Facebook app. The free weekend provides the perfect opportunity to choose your special place and enter the Facebook app competition. The lucky winner will be treated to a stay at a National Trust holiday cottage and also take part in a photo shoot with a professional photographer at their special place.

Spend some free quality time together in fun spaces and take advantage of further great savings with two months free membership on offer when you join the National Trust during the free weekend.

To plan your free weekend visit and download a free voucher today for the location of your choice. Some spaces and places are excluded from this promotion, so please check the website for further details.

To explore National Trust places and find or discover new special places log onto

Register your special place and tell everyone why you love it at and #specialplaces


Cosy Cultural Vibe in a Beautiful Seaside Village

This coming bank holiday weekend, 3-6 May, the Antrim Coast village of Cushendun would like to welcome you to its first ever Big Arts Weekend.

The four-day celebration, including a jazz night, choral concert, drama, poetry, exhibitions and hands-on workshops, is being organised by Cushendun Building Preservation Trust to mark a milestone in the Cushendun Old Church project. The programme has something for everyone and many of the events are free.

The Big Arts Weekend will not only celebrate the signing of a lease on the disused Cushendun Old Church but will also give a taste of what may be on offer there when the 170-year-old building is restored as an arts and community space.  The weekend will bring visiting performers and artists to the village and will also showcase local talent.

The Old Church itself will be open and hosting the ‘Swallows Make a Summer’ art installation. Other events are being held in a range of cosy village venues including the local school and pub, as well as the National Trust owned Glenmona House, exceptionally open to the public for an exhibition of paintings. All the performance venues are small, so for the three ticketed events – jazz with the Victoria Geelan Trio, a drama double bill with An Grianán Theatre and Lurig Players, and Voices Chamber Choir – early booking is essential. To see the full Big Arts Weekend programme and to book tickets online, visit

In 2006, thanks to huge support locally and further afield, Cushendun Old Church won the Northern Ireland heat in BBC2’s Restoration Village. Since then, much essential behind-the-scenes work and negotiation has taken place and the lease was finally signed in December 2012. The Big Arts Weekend promises to recapture the enthusiasm for turning the dream into reality.

CBPT Chair Monica Morgan said: ‘We are grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for supporting the Arts Weekend and also to Cushendun and District Development Association and Moyle District Council.’

Full Big Arts Weekend programme follows.

For more information call the Big Arts Weekend team on 07879543090  or e-mail

Tickets are available online at or from Theresa’s Tearoom, Cushendun

or  Cushendall Development Office.


FRIDAY 3rd Jazz at McBrides with the Victoria Geelan Trio,  Mary McBrides  8.30pm  Tickets £5 ✷

SATURDAY 4th Music Workshop for 11-18 year olds,  Glenmona House, 10am-1pm  FREE ✷ Share a Poem,  Randal’s  2pm  FREE ✷ On the Camel’s Hump by Guy Le Jeune,  A ‘Sense of Memory’ project produced by An Grainán Theatre, and The Duck Variations by David Mamet performed by Lurig Drama Group, St Ciaran’s School,  Knocknacarry  8pm  Tickets £5 ✷ Exhibition: Swallows Make a Summer,  the Old Church  4th-6th May 12-5pm FREE ✷ Exhibition of work by local artists, Glenmona House  4th-6th May 12-5pm FREE ✷

SUNDAY 5th Sand Sculpture Competition – Registration riverside carpark from 1.45pm  Prizegiving 4.15pm FREE ✷ Mermaids and Pirates Craft Workshop for age 3+, Glenmona  House 2-5pm  FREE ✷ Music  for a May Evening – Choral music performed by Voices Chamber Choir directed by Loreto McAuley, St Patrick’s Church 7.30pm  Tickets £3 ✷

MONDAY 6th Unveiling of the Fuldiew Seat, riverside carpark  2pm  FREE ✷ Vintage films  The Devil’s Rock + Earlybird,  Randal’s  4pm


Alternatively, why not like us on facebook  – Cushendun’s ‘Big Arts Weekend’ 3rd to 6th May 2013 –  where details of all events and activities are available.

Fabulous Vintage Fair Frocks Back Into Lisburn

This spring, Northern Ireland’s favourite vintage event the fabulous Frock Around The Clock Vintage Fair, will be making a welcome second visit to Lisburn on Saturday 27th April with another extravaganza of vintage treasures for sale and a big helping of timeless glamour, reminiscence and fun.

This popular event took Lisburn shoppers by storm last September when it visited the City for the first time and visitors turned out in their hundreds to shop for quality vintage, handmade and upcycled treasures from a fantastic line-up of handpicked Irish vintage dealers, designers and crafters.

This second outing of Frock Around The Clock to Lisburn promises not to disappoint with an amazing line-up of 40 Irish vintage dealers and creative designers offering a fantastic array of vintage and handmade fashion, jewellery, furniture, homewares, collectables, sweet treats art, crafts, gifts and much more – it’s the hottest shopping destination to find the coolest stuff on the planet for your wardrobe and home.

The impressive exhibitor list will include Norma Jean Vintage with vintage dresses & fashion accessories, Silver Jewellery handcrafted from antique spoons by Loving Spoonful, Alfie Loves Design offering vintage and restyled furniture, homewares and soft furnishings, Strictly Vintage, specialists in high end American costume jewellery from the 1920s to 1960s, The Optimists specialising in antique and vintage dolls, toys and bears, Lizzie B Vintage showcasing their beautiful vintage china, linens and teacup crafts, Scarlet & Crimson Flowers with stunning floral arrangements and vintage accessories, and Life Is Sweet selling scrumptious home baked cakes, pies and desserts.

Visitors will also be able to relax and revive on the day in the pop-up tearoom run by Molly’s Parlour, and be entertained with live music from singer and songwriter Della Storm.

Frock Around The Clock organiser Becky Moore comments ‘we are very excited to be bringing Frock Around The Clock back to Lisburn as we received such a warm and excited welcome from hundreds of visitors when we were here last September and it was a wonderful day for shoppers and sellers alike. We are delighted to announce that thanks to our sponsors Lisburn City Centre Management and South Eastern Regional College (SERC) we are once again able to make this a free admission event so visitors can come in and browse without it costing them a penny. But don’t forget your purse as you will be blown away by the unique vintage treasures and local designs on offer!’

Frock Around The Clock will take place on Saturday 27th April from 11am to 5pm at Castle House, opposite Castle Gardens, on Castle Street Lisburn, and admission to the event will be free.

More information on the event and the exhibitor list can be found online at and


Horse racing fans can travel from only £36* per adult to the Scottish Grand National

LEADING ferry company Stena Line has raised its stakes by offering horse racing fans a fantastic travel deal from £36* to The Coral Scottish Grand National Festival in Ayr on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 April.

Race fans and novices alike can look forward to 15 highly competitive races at Scotland’s richest racing extravaganza with more than £500,000 in prize money available. The highlight of the Scottish racing calendar, the Scottish Grand National takes place on Saturday and will include some of the UK and Ireland’s top horses and jockeys.

Enjoy a great day’s entertainment with a day trip by coach where you can choose to watch the racing from the main grandstand or punt for the Club enclosure with its prominent location and greater choice of bars and restaurants.

Enjoy the Grandstand day trip from only £36* on Friday or £39* on Saturday or make the most of the Club Day Trip from only £43* on Friday or £55* on Saturday per person. Both day trips include return Superfast ferry travel, return Ulsterbus coach transfers to the racecourse and admission for the day.

For more information or to book log on to , call 08447 70 70 70 or visit your local Stena Line office or travel agent.

* Terms & conditions apply. Subject to availability. .

EU Funding Boost for North Down’s Tourism

North Down Borough Council have recently been successful in drawing down funding from the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) under the INTERREG IVA Programme Tourism call.

The grant, totaling over £200,000, will see a number of tourism projects take place over the next two years as part of East Border Regions Tourism Development Plan.  The total value of the Tourism Development Plan is in excess of £2.7 million which will support a range of projects throughout the East Border Region.

The European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme aims to support strategic cross-border co-operation for a more prosperous cross border region and improve access to services so as to enhance the quality of life for those living in the eligible area. In particular the Programme will focus on developing a dynamic economy, supporting infrastructure and promoting innovative ways of addressing specific cross-border problems.

Under the call projects in North Down will see developments work in Christian Heritage, Maritime and Visitor Servicing projects.

The first project, currently underway, will see a research study into the areas Christian Heritage including the foundation of Bangor Abbey through to the travels of the Abbey’s most famous Saints, Columbanus and Gall, who spread Christianity through much of modern day Europe. In addition the study will look at the potential developments for tourism in relation to our local Christian Heritage offering, this at a time when Christian Pilgrimages are on the increase.

Following on from and utilising the historical content from this study, North Down Museum is to benefit from a complete refurbishment of the Christian Heritage exhibition room, with interactive materials, new displays and interpretation bringing to life the story of Bangor Abbey and its legacy.

On a maritime front the Eisenhower Pier is to receive a maker over with new street furniture and infrastructure to complement the town’s upcoming Public Realm works. Two new murals are to be installed to add to those already in place along with interpretational signage bringing the pier to life and improving its use as an event space.

Finally, visitor servicing is to receive added dimensions with money invested in new technologies and signage to assist visitors and tourists to the local area.

The projects are all due to be completed by the end of 2014.


You’d better shape up, because the Millennium Forum will be holding auditions on Friday 19thand Tuesday 23rd April 2013 from 4:00pm-8:00pm for its annual youth production.

This year, Jim Jacob’s and Warren Cassey’s Grease will be recreated for a three-night run at the Forum from 25th to 27th July and they want you to help make it happen!

Calling on male and female 14 – 21 year olds who can act, dance and sing, the Forum hopes to find its Danny, Sandy, Frenchie, Rizzo, Kenickie plus all other Rydell High students for this energetic and fun new production. At the audition you will be required to dance, sing and deliver a short dialogue of the script.  If you are one of the lucky ones to get a part, it is vital that you can commit to rehearsals from June right through to the public performances in July.

Kate Guelke, Education & Outreach Officer at the Millennium Forum, encourages all those with a desire to perform to audition:

“For those who make the final cast, you will become a part of an unforgettable and truly inspirational project. Judging by the high standards of previous year’s auditions for Return to the Forbidden Planet, Sweeney Todd, Chess, Les Miserablés and West Side Story, the Forum anticipates roles for Grease to be highly contested roles for the 2013 production.”

Featuring such pop chart-toppers as “Greased Lightnin’”, “Summer Nights” and “Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee”, Grease is a classic rock’n’roll musical with an edge. The Millennium Forum’s seventh consecutive youth musical looks set to be an automatic, systematic, hydromatic hit!

This 2013 amateur production of Grease is presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Ltd.

If you are aged 14 – 21 and believe you have what it takes to be onstage in the Millennium Forum’s production of Grease, telephone 028 7127 2776 to book your audition or Booking is essential.

The auditions will take place at the Millennium Forum on Friday 19th (from 4:00pm) andMonday 23rd April (from 4.00pm).  Following intensive rehearsals, Grease will be staged at the Millennium Forum from Thursday 25th to Saturday 27th July 2013. Tickets are now on sale priced at £8.00/£10.00, available from the Box Office on T: 028 7126 4455.

This project is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts & Business and Foyleside Shopping Centre.


Millennium Forum

Friday 15 & Saturday 16 November 2013

Tickets go on sale Friday 12 April at 9.30am

Available from the Millennium Forum Box office Telephone (028) 71 264455

National treasure and Irish music icon CHRISTY MOORE has confirmed he’ll return to play 2 Shows at the Millennium Forum on Friday 15 & Saturday 16 November.  Tickets go on sale Friday 12 April at 9.30am and will be available from the Millennium Forum Box Office Telephone (028) 71 264455.

These new shows are added to extra live dates already announced for 2013 including 2 Belfast shows at the Waterfront on 3 & 4 May and a record-breaking 9th appearance at this summer’s Cork Live At The Marquee on 6 July.

Christy began 2012 with sell out shows at Dublin’s Grand Canal Theatre, followed by a televised performance at the BBC Folk Awards in February, where his rendering of Morecambe Bay, Kevin Littlewood’s description of Chinese cockle pickers caught unawares by the rising tide, was nominated for Best Original Song.

In the spring, Christy and Declan appeared in a series of dates around Ireland, before embarking on a 10 day tour of the UK which included two sell out shows at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

On their return to Ireland, they kicked off the summer with an appearance at the Live at the Marquee concert series – the only Artists who can claim to have played every year in the Cork tent.

July found them delivering a rousing stand-up set to a packed audience in the Big Top at the Galway Arts Festival.

The big summer shows were rounded out by their exhilarating performance in front of a euphoric crowd in the Crawdaddy tent at last year’s Electric Picnic festival.

Christy Moore will perform at the Millennium Forum on Friday 15th and Saturday 16thNovember. Tickets go on sale at 9.30am from the Box Office on Friday 12th April. Telephone 71 264455 or visit for bookings.