The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland over the next week (July 1 – 7).

  • The Lost Planet, W5, Belfast, June 29 – September 1.  Get your competitive juices flowing with a game of laser tag and go on a mission to recover the data from the lost probe which has crashed and landed on a distant world which is known as the Lost Planet.
  • Geopark Safari by bus, Marble Arch Caves Geopark, Co. Fermanagh, July 1.  Magical mystery tour of some of the best Geopark sites that span more than 340 million years of geological time.  Starting point is Market House in Blacklion and the tour will last approx three hours.  Booking essential.
  • Pond Dipping, Carnmoney Hill, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, July 2.  Discover an exciting variety of crazy creatures living in the pond at the bottom of Carnmoney Hill.  Trays and nets will be provided along with help indentifying what you might find.
  • American Independence Celebrations, Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, July 4 – 7.  Where better to celebrate the 4th of July than in Frontier America?  Be transported back in time as the British Redcoats and Woodland Indians battle American Militia Sharpshooters in the American War of Independence.  Also enjoy live Bluegrass and American Folk music, traditional Punch and Judy Shows and American games.
  • The Art of Craft Exhibition 2013, Market Place Theatre, Co. Armagh, until July 6.  An exhibition aimed at challenging and informing the public perception of craft, applied art and design featuring the work of 16 national and international artists.
  • West End Walk, Rathlin Island, Co. Antrim, July 6.  Rathlin is Northern Ireland’s only inhabited off-shore island with a population of around 90 people.  Join NIEA for a guided walk and experience the sights and sounds of Rathlin’s beautiful west end.  Don’t forget your picnic, binoculars and cameras.
  • Pirates of Portrush, Portrush, Co. Antrim, July 6.  Enjoy a day of family fun with Portrush’s historic pirate Tavish Dhu as well as a street parade, re-enactments, a pirate treasure hunt, a fancy dress competition and live music.
  • Groomsport Music & Fireworks, Groomsport, Co. Down, July 6.  Come along and enjoy a summer of love, seaside and celebration with music from the Balmoral Swing Band, food and drinks, a fun-fair and a fireworks display.
  • Graffiti Jam, Derry city centre, July 6 – 7.  Some of the world’s leading street/ graffiti artists from USA, Germany, Ireland and Britain will join local artists for a two day graffiti jam which will result in an impressive 250ft-long themed cityscape.

Sunday Treats by the Festival of Fools, various locations, Belfast, July 7 – August 25.  Sundays in Belfast are about to get a whole lot better with eight weeks of the finest and funniest street theatre happening every Sunday afternoon this summer in the Cathedral Quarter and the city centre.

Summer Entertainment returns to The Bandstand!

You know Summer has arrived in Bangor when the Sunday music returns to The Bandstand in Ward Park. North Down Borough Council’s popular Summer Entertainment programme has been running for 8 years now and has become a Sunday staple amongst it’s regulars who are looking forward to kicking back in the sunshine and enjoying some quality music acts.

Kicking off this year on Sunday, 7th July, then running every Sunday for the whole of July and August,  this year’s programme features an eclectic mix of jazz, blues, rock n’roll and classical. The programme includes old favourites like Anthony Toner, Ronnie Greer and Tony Martin and will debut new additions like Meilana Gillard, Marion Jordan and The Arco String Quartet.

Opening the programme on July 7th, is The Sinead Conway Band. Previously of ‘The Conway Sisters, who reached the final 6 on ITV’s “X Factor” and have supported Westlife on tour, Sinead’s timeless vocals encompass all music styles, perfect for a lazy afternoon’s entertainment. Sinead has a wealth of experience in the music industry as a vocalist with The Hothouse Big Band and Anything Goes and is also a member of the Dublin Gospel Choir. For her Ward Park performance, she will be taking her repertoire from the Great American Songbook, playing a string of hits from the golden era of song.

So if you fancy a lazy Sunday in the park, enjoying live music from the comfort of a deck chair, stick the dates in your diary, gather your family and friends, pack a picnic and head to Ward Park, every Sunday in July and August from 3pm – 5pm.

Keep an eye out in local press each week for details on each artist or for more information phone our Tourist Information Centre on 028 9127 0069 or visit: www.northdowntourism.com

“Please Sir, can I have some more theatre workshops?”

After many successful youth workshops, including Easter’s ‘Fiddler on The Roof’, Theatre at The Mill, Newtownabbey,  is now offering budding young performers the chance to work with West End directors in a wide range of Summer workshops, including the screen play ‘Oliver Twist’ running from  Monday 29 July – Sat 10 August.

Youngsters involved in the ‘Oliver Twist’ workshop for ages 7-18 will get the chance to work with Bronwyn Carr, director of West End productions and formerly of the National Theatre London, as well as directors from the prestigious Guilford School of Acting, Sean and Anna McNamara. The Charles Dickens classic has a great range of parts for the young people involved and will provide an in-depth focus on training and processes for stage performance as well as allowing those involved to make great contacts in the business and create friendships and long lasting memories for summer. There are no auditions and roles will be cast during the course.

When Sean McMamara, Guilford School of Acting director, last visited Theatre at The Mill he commented,

The young people here are more talented and focused than anywhere else we’ve worked before, it’s like working with professionals and putting a full production together in such a short time is an achievement for them all.”

Michelle Muise, whose daughter regularly attends workshops at Theatre at The Mill added,

“It’s a fantastic theatre in a beautiful setting, the workshops for children are fantastic. Theatre at The Mill really is a special place.”

The 2 week workshop is £175 which includes 7 free tickets to the performance on Saturday 10 August, so friends and family can see the great work the young performers have achieved over the 2 weeks. Places are limited, so don’t miss out and book your child’s place online at www.theatreatthemill.com or through box office on 028 9034 0202.

Jacqueline from whatsonni.com shares her pick of family events happening across the North this weekend.


The Bangor 400 Seashore Festival takes place on 29th and 30th June – a spectacular weekend of entertainment for all the family in Bangor Town Centre celebrating Bangor 400 years.  Enjoy a range of spectacular vehicles driving laps of Bangor, family activities, a Veteran’s Parade, Historical Re-enactments, Seafront Funfair & surprise characters along the pier.  HMS Bangor also docks for this special occasion.


This Saturday 29th June The Burnavon is pleased to pay host this year again to the CU Factor, a singing competition aimed at 12 to 19 years old organised by Credit Unions throughout Ireland. This year teenage talent from throughout the province will compete for the coveted title.  Join the compere for the evening radio and TV presenter Conor Phillips, a panel  of expert judges and this year’s contestants to see who will become the winner of the CU Factor Grand Final 2013!


Borderline Players are back on the 28th and 29th June at the Ardowen Theatre with the hilarious Ray Cooney comedy, It Runs in the Family. Set on the morning of the annual Ponsonby lecture in St Andrew’s Hospital, Dr David Mortimore is preparing for a career-making speech when his world is turned upside down by the surprise arrival of former flame and colleague Nurse Jane Tate. A cantankerous hospital chairperson, an unwelcome Police Sergeant and an unbalanced youth all add to chaos that ensues.


The LegenDerry Ladies  Three Day Craft Fair will take place  from 28th to 30th June on level 1 in the Richmond Centre with lots of homemade crafts for you to see and buy!  There will be over 45 stalls over the three days with an array of goodies! Everything from cupcakes and jewellery, to knitted goods and personalised gifts.


Libraries NI Big Reading Relay comes to Bessbrook and Brownlow Libraries this summer.  If you are aged 4 and over, exercise your eyes this summer on Libraries NI’s Big Reading Relay.  Challenge yourself to read between 2 – 25 library books during July and August. From 1st July, call in to any public library to get your Big Reading Relay Race Card. Each time you return your books, your Race Card will be stamped to keep track of your personal best.  Fun library events will be held and, if you finish your race, you will receive your winner’s certificate.  Why not encourage your mum and dad to enjoy the Big Reading Relay by taking part too?


Join Mr Hullabaloo and Jingles at the Courtyard Theatre Ballyearl Arts and Leisure Centre this Saturday, on an exciting summer holiday adventure as they travel the globe meeting lots of new and friendly faces whilst visiting some exciting places.  During this all new interactive adventure young children will have the chance to act out some exciting stories and hear some music from around the world.


The Belfast School of Performing Arts present Seussical Jr. at Stranmillis University College this Friday and Saturday. The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing Whos, including Jojo, a Who child who gets in trouble for thinking too many “thinks.” Horton faces a double challenge–not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping, and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community are challenged and emerge triumphant!  SEUSSICAL JR. is fun for the whole family in this wildly unusual & exciting musical full of imagination!  This is an amateur production performed by the children of the Belfast School of Performing Arts.

Jacqueline from whatsonni.com shares her pick of family events happening across the North this weekend.


Newry & Portadown Branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI)  are holding their annual novelty Bath Tub raft race with junior and senior races and perpetual trophies this Saturday 22nd June. Race  will be followed by free family fun day in McClelland Park in association with sticky Fingers Early Years Arts. Other waterways events on the day.  For all our County Down events click HERE.


An Creagán’s Mid Summer Festival runs from June 21st to June 23rd with storytelling, entertainers, demonstrations and a spectacular bonfire to finish. Midsummer’s Eve is a time associated with magic, fairies and dancing.  On the eve of Midsummer’s Day, many bonfires were lit all over the country. This was in praise of the sun, for the days were getting shorter so people would light fires to try and strengthen the sun.  Sunday will see a gathering of wonderful sights and sounds from a didgeridoo playing story teller, a chainsaw carver, a woodland fairy, a mythological tree lady as well as a host of demonstrations from local crafters.  There will be lots for the smaller children as well including tumbletots, musical stars, bouncy castles and face painting.  The event will finish with a great wild bonfire and lantern parade.  For all our County Tyrone listings click  HERE.


The second Enniskillen100 Revival this Saturday 22nd June will feature parade laps by historic racing motor cycles, static displays, a PSNI BikeSafe event, displays of historic racing and rally cars and a selection of other attractions for motorsport enthusiasts and the general public alike. The sights and sounds of the 2013 Enniskillen 100 Revival at Enniskillen Airport will provide a unique mix of nostalgia and excitement for spectators and participants alike. Already confirmed to be attending is David Hailwood, son of the legendary ‘Mike the Bike’ Hailwood, who will be riding a Factory approved replica of his father’s famous Honda 500cc four cylinder machine.  Admission £10 adult, £5 12-16 year olds, Free U12. £25 family (2 adults & 2 teenagers) 12-5pm. For all our County Fermanagh listings click  HERE.


The Chocolate Lab in Kilrea are running a children’s chocolate class this Saturday 22nd June with the first class, Chocolate Bars and Lollipops, running from 11am-12.30pm  (under 7 year olds) and the second class  Chocolate Pizza Party, from 2.00pm to 3.30pm (over 6 years of age).  Refreshments will be provided. Spaces are limited and children must be accompanied by an adult. Free tea and coffee for adults.  For all our County Derry/Londonderry listings click HERE.


The Navan Fort and Centre is the venue this Saturday evening for King Conor’s Summer. At the invitation of the mighty King Conor, take your place at the lavish Supper table. King Conor promises a feast for the eyes, ears and stomach worthy of his important warriors and guests! The Supper is held in his feasting hall: a hall that will be filled with the sound of music from the internationally renowned Armagh Rhymers, stories from his bards and of course cheering and laughter! The Bards are ready, the servants are ready and King Conor hopes that you are ready too! This great value evening is not to be missed!   For all our County Armagh listings click HERE.


The Antrim Dragon Boat Race is an exciting new event in the fundraising calendar, which will take place on Sunday 23 June from 12noon – 5pm. It guarantees to test the stamina of the competitors taking part and also promises to be a fantastic day of fun and frolics for all the family!  The Dragon Boat race is in aid of the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and yound people, CLIC Sargent. Money raised will go towards the Northern Ireland Homes from Home appeal to provide free self-catering accommodation for children receiving cancer treatment and their families, within walking distance of the hospitals in Belfast.    For all County Antrim listings click HERE.


The Creative Legacies WOMAD Belfast Schools Showcase event takes place on the 21st June 2013 10am – 3pm at T13 Shared Space, Queens Road, and Titanic Quarter. Schools attend free but must register. Public can attend with a requested £1 entrance donation.  For all our Belfast events listings click HERE.

Don’t forget to enter our competitions -we have some great prizes up for grabs – go towww.whatsonni.com/competitions and good luck!

Special Car Show Marks Bangor 400

2013 marks the 400th Anniversary of Bangor’s town charter with a year-long programme of events to celebrate the cultural history of the town.

A treat for motoring fans! As part of Bangor's 400th Anniversary celebrations, there will be a special car display of 400 cars taking place outside The Town Hall on Saturday 29th June.

An exciting motoring event, special celebration concerts and light shows are some of the highlights of the planned programme.

If you love cars make sure you come along to Bangor Town Hall on Saturday 29th June.  From 12pm onwards there will be a display of 400 cars, from vintage to performance. As well as an impressive selection of the finest modified cars that the country’s got to offer, there will also be interesting and varied vehicles from all sorts of clubs including the vintage, classic, military and biking fraternities. At 6pm the closure of the event will be marked by a special “Car Parade” around the town centre, led by the Central Band of The RAF.

Speaking about the event, Jim Caldwell from organisers Showerks said: “We are very excited to be organising this special event to mark Bangor’s 400th Anniversary. We will have a huge array of cars on display and are welcoming anyone with an interesting vehicle to take part. Entry is £10 per car but passengers and spectators at the event are free.

The online booking form is now live on our website and we encourage you to get your entries in as soon as possible so that you don’t miss out…space is already filling up fast! This year proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the NI Hospice.”

Other highlights from the weekend include, The HMS Bangor which will be moored alongside the Eisenhower Pier, armed forces activities on The Pier, a fabulous street theatre programme, children’s crafts and lots more.  All of these activities will be taking place on both the Saturday and Sunday.

On Sunday 30th June at 3.00 pm over a hundred veterans will parade through the Town Centre to pay tribute to this special anniversary.  The Parade will leave The British Legion at 3pm, then make its way around the town to Ward Park where a special Service of Remembrance will be held.

Other Town Centre attractions that weekend will be the return of the ever popular Fun Fair at The McKee Clock Arena and a special food fair featuring lots of local food traders which will be taking place in The Sunken Gardens and along The Promenade.   Family activities will also be happening at Project 24 and of course there’s the usual range of entertainment at Pickie Park.

To book a car into the car display please visit: http://www.showerks.com/main/?page_id=21531

Giant’s Causeway needs local votes to win major award !

The Giant’s Causeway has been shortlisted in this year’s prestigious National Lottery Awards. The National Lottery Awards reward and recognise the inspirational impact of National Lottery funded projects across all sections of society.

National Lottery players raise more than £35 million for good causes throughout the UK every week.

More than 900 good causes from across the UK were nominated in this year’s Awards. The Giant’s Causeway has made it through to the final seven in the Best Heritage Project category, with a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy and a £2,000 cash prize[1] up for grabs if they get the highest number of public votes in their category.

National Trust is appealing for public support for the Giant’s Causeway as it bids to make it all the way to the star-studded awards ceremony in September which will be broadcast on BBC One.

Eleanor Killough, Community Engagement and Volunteering Officer at the National Trust, said: “The Giant’s Causeway is a world-renowned visitor attraction and one of the jewels in the crown of Northern Ireland’s natural heritage.  Our visitor centre provides a world-class experience for the hundreds of thousands of people who come here each year from across the globe.

“Naturally we are delighted to have made the finals of the National Lottery Awards 2013 and will appealing to all those who treasure and enjoy the Giant’s Causeway to vote for us and make us winners.”

To register your vote for the Giant’s Causeway call 0844 836 9696 or log on to www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards.

TV star and actor John Barrowman, presenter of The National Lottery Awards, said: “National Lottery funding helps transform communities and changes lives for the better. National Lottery players should be proud that their contribution to good causes makes such a positive difference to arts, sport, heritage, community and voluntary groups across the UK.

“I would urge everyone to get behind The Giant’s Causeway and do their bit to ensure they get further recognition for their world-class visitor experience and wonderful preservation of a unique part of our natural heritage.”

Jackie O’Sullivan of National Lottery Good Causes added: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries for the National Lottery Awards.  Each week National Lottery players raise over £35 million for good causes.  The impact of National Lottery funding at the heart of communities cannot be over-estimated.”

“The 49 good causes competing for public votes are just a snapshot of the life-changing influence of National Lottery funding.  Now for the hard part, every one of the nominees is a winner in their own right but it is up to you, the public, to get behind your good cause and make sure they pick up the top prize.”

There are seven nominees in seven categories in the Awards, reflecting the main areas of Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, health, environment, education and voluntary/charity.

Voting for The National Lottery Awards starts at 9am on Wednesday 19 June and ends at midnight on Wednesday 24 July.  You can vote at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards and follow voting on twitter: hashtag #NLAwards


CultureTECH, the week-long festival of digital culture and technologies taking place in Derry-Londonderry this September, has today released a limited number of Early Bird festival passes on a “Pay What It’s Worth” basis, ahead of their full programme launch on July 9th.

The limited “Pay What It’s Worth” ticket includes access to over 150 events across the week, including the CultureTECH conference, a full week of workshops, music events, film screenings, arts exhibitions and even a free CultureTECH t-shirt.

Festival Director, Mark Nagurski explained the decision to allow people to set their own ticket price: “We’ll be launching the full festival programme on July 9th but we’ve already started adding chunks of the programme to the website. The idea of the “Pay What It’s Worth Ticket” is partly about making the festival accessible to everyone and partly an experiment.”

“The full ticket price after July 9th will be £99 – which is still incredibly inexpensive for a week of events – but we know that many people will simply want to come for a day or two and this is the perfect way for them to judge what that’s worth to them. We also want to make sure that anyone, no matter what their budget, can come and get involved in the festival.”

The festival, now in its second year, is the largest digital media and technology event in Northern Ireland and expects to attract an estimated 1500 conference delegates and a total audience of some 30,000 across the week.

Elements of the programme already announced include the main conference on Wednesday, September 11th, the Belfast Media Festival, the DANI Awards at St. Columb’s Hall and a 3-day video games tournament and expo. Further events include dozens of music events, theatrical performances, art exhibitions and a week-long schools programme in partnership with Seagate.

The “Pay What It’s Worth” Early Bird ticket is now available for a limited period via the website at www.culturetech.co before the full programme release on July 9th.

Part-Time Study At Magee

Ever considered studying part time to boost your career skills?  You should, according to University of Ulster career consultant Davina Roche.

Next week, the University of Ulster is hosting an Information Day at the Magee campus to showcase the vast range of part-time study options available on the campus – from short courses in the latest creative technologies to full-scale undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

The event, hosted on Tuesday 18 June, between 4 and 7pm in the Martha Magee room of the Main Building, will allow visitors from Derry and further afield to find out about the first-class courses and learning facilities on offer at Magee.

Attendees will be able to meet with staff and existing students, get detailed information about part-time courses and speak to advisors about finance and student support.

As well as sixth-form students and recent school leavers who may prefer to study part-time, the event is aimed at mature students, people coming to university with Access Diplomas and anyone else thinking of undertaking part-time study.

Davina explains: “This event is open to anyone interested in part-time study at the University.  This includes school leavers considering part-time study in place of full-time undergraduate options, to employees wanting to study part-time to fit around their job and further their career.

“It will also appeal to those who did not take the opportunity of third level education the first time around, or are hoping to return to work and feel they would benefit from qualifications – usually through the Access Diploma route.

“Finally, if someone just wants to return to study for the pure enjoyment of learning – maybe they have some free time, maybe they have retired – we have a range of qualifications from short courses through to full master’s degrees – there’s something to suit everyone.”

Part time study at Magee certainly worked for local Derry woman Joanne Toner. A bank branch manager, she is enhancing her career by studying for a Bachelor’s degree in business – enabling her to earn and learn at the same time.

“A part-time course allows me to study for me degree in the evening so lectures don’t interfere with the working week. My course is just as intense as full time study, and I can immediately apply what I learn to my current role as well.”

Next week’s special event, the first of its kind at Magee, showcases the opportunities open to local people to gain a top flight qualification from a leading university, right on their doorstep and in a way that fits around their lifestyle.

Part-time courses at Magee are offered in the broad areas of Business, Creative Arts and Technologies, Computing and Engineering, Education, Irish Language and Literature, Law, Nursing, Psychology and Sociology and Applied Social Studies.

For further information please contact Davina Roche, Career Consultant, on 028 7167 5784 or visit www.ulster.ac.uk/up


The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland over the next week (June 17 – 23).

  • Music City!, various venues, Co. Londonderry, June 21.  The streets will be alive with the sound of rock, pop, trad, jazz, electronic, classic and opera for Music City! which promises to be one of the most memorable days of 2013.
  • Songs and Stories from the Mills, Ulster Hall, Belfast, June 21.  This event will commemorate the rise of the labour movement and trade unions and the role they played in shaping industrial Belfast as we know it today.  The McPeake Family will be performing songs and stories of the mills with free admission and refreshments included.
  • Summer Festival of Racing, Down Royal Racecourse, Maze, Lisburn, June 21 – 22.  Experience Northern Ireland’s most sophisticated event of the year and with several hospitality packages on offer there is no better way to spend a summer evening.

  • Mid Summer Concerts, Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, Castlerock, Co. Londonderry, June 21 – 22.  Enjoy an evening of classical music in the unique surroundings of the spectacular Mussenden Temple with a buffet supper included.
  • Explore Upper Lough Erne, Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh, June 21 – 23.  Come along and enjoy a weekend of land and water based activities on Main Street in Lisnaskea and the Boat Club at Derryadd.
  • Carrickfergus Armed Forces Day, Carrickfergus Waterfront, Castle and Town Centre, Co. Antrim, June 22.  Northern Ireland’s Armed Forces Day returns bigger and better than before and will feature interactive and static military displays, naval vessels, helicopters, exhibitions, tours, live music and much more.
  • Experience Ards – Copeland Island Boat Tour, departs from Donaghadee Harbour, Newtownards, Co. Down, June 22.  This tour will depart from picturesque Donaghadee harbour and will sail out to the Copeland Island where you will hear interesting stories about the many different travellers this piece of water has seen over the centuries.
  • Best of the 1980s, The Burnavon, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, June 22.  A show which will take you back to the 1980s – the decade that saw the birth of MTV and success of stars like Madonna, The Bangles, Cyndi Lauper and Belinda Carlisle.  Fingerless gloves and legwarmers are optional.
  • Primate Weekend, Belfast Zoo, Belfast, June 22 – 23.  Swing by with your little monkeys and learn more about the zoo’s primates at the keeper talks and feeding times.  There will also be other activities taking place including face painting, crafts and a trail around the zoo.
  • Tour of the Orchard County, Co. Armagh, June 23.  A unique event which is based in Northern Ireland’s Orchard county – Armagh – during this event cyclists will have the chance to experience some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Ireland and enjoy an after-event BBQ.