More spooky shenanigans from Jacqueline at for this week across NI.


On Thursday 31st October, North Down Museum and Coffee Cure at the Museum will be staying open until 9pm for some Hallowe’en fun – torch-lit tours of the Museum will tell of some of the myths and legends in the area, you can meet reptiles and owls up close, and members of the Northern Ireland Paranormal Research Agency will be on hand to talk about how they investigate strange happenings. There’ll be storytelling sessions and a fancy dress competition too, and best of all, it’s completely free!


In preparation for Halloween, Cookstown District Council is inviting everyone to get into a spooky party mood on Wednesday 30th October and get their Halloween celebrations off with a bang with Fun, Food and Fireworks at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena Cookstown, from 7pm to 8pm.   For the kids there is free spooky storytelling and face painting taking place from 7pm – 8pm inside a covered marquee. Also for the kids, a fancy dress competition – so encourage your little ones to get on their spookiest costume to be in with a chance to win a prize!


Halloween Howler – Family Fun Days Share Halloween Howler is back with a bang this year with more spooktacular treats and ghostly goings on! Thursday 31st – Saturday 2nd October at 4pm with Fireworks at 8pm.


Brace yourselves for the Return of The Disenchanted Forest Halloween Trail – an all ages adventure with tricks and treats along the way. Dress warm and bring appropriate footwear. Booking essential. From Wednesday 30th October to Saturday 2nd November. Situated in the Glebe Woods on the outskirts of Draperstown, a scary mix of ghosts and ghouls for a four day delight over Halloween.


On Saturday 2nd November the Market Place Theatre presents “Faerie Stories”.  A man and a Goblin [both bookworms] meet in a library. In their hunger for stories together they weave three enchanted tales from a string of dusty books. Whatever may come of it?  Fusing  Scottish Gaelic culture with puppetry, music and physical theatre, this wonderful show transports audiences into the magic and mystery of ancient faerie worlds. ‘Faerie Stories’ is a spine-tingling new production created by Round String Theatre suitable for ages 5+.

Portballintrae Resident’s Association present their 8th Annual Hallowe’en Festival. On Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st October enjoy the Arts and Crafts Fair from 11am to 5pm. Children’s Fancy Dress Party with Babcock and Bobbins, face painting and much more on Friday 1st November.   Fancy Dress, Samba Band, Fireworks and live entertainment in the evening. Booking essential and spaces are limited


Spend a spooky night out at the Crescent Arts Centre as Gothic meets Slapstick in a fun-packed show, presented by ISOSCELES.  ‘Dracula – the Panto!’ has become a true family favourite all over the country – it’s full of irresistibly scary fun in true panto style.  Only the Dame and a songsheet stand between the naughty Count and world domination.  Songs include the fiendish favourites: ‘Bat out of Hell’ ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and ‘In the Midnight Hour’.  ‘Fun, fangs and other fab treats – a delight’  London Metro.  Every day until 2nd Nov at 7pm,  plus Saturday Matinee, 3pm Suitable for ages 8 – 80.


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

  • World Kickboxing Tournament, Ebrington Pavilion, Co. Londonderry, November 1 – 30.  The biggest kickboxing event to be held in Ireland featuring ISKA world professional champions along with current European Amateur Champion Damien “Dee” McGuinness and undefeated professional K1 fighter Vaidas Natkus, featuring on the main event of the night.
  • Caught in the Net, The Alley Theatre, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, November 6 – 7.  The story about the life of a two-timing taxi driver who keeps two separate families.  When his teenage children from the two different families meeting in an internet chat room, John has to try and keep his double life a secret.
  • Newtownabbey One Act Drama Festival, The Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, November 7 – 9.  Presenting three nights of the best one-act plays from amateur dramatic groups around Northern Ireland.
  • Cakes and Bakes, Belle Isle Cookery School, Co. Fermanagh, November 8.  Enjoy a hands-on course and learn how to make delicious cakes and bakes that you can recreate with confidence in your own home.
  • Ulster Orchestra: Homage to Music, Ulster Hall, Belfast, November 8.  A pairing of two Viennese composers, Strauss and Mahler, and two Englishmen, Parry and Elgar, is a reminder of the legacy of the Austro-German tradition all over the United Kingdom in the period that came to be known as the ‘English musical renaissance’.
  • Women of the World, The Playhouse Theatre, Co. Londonderry, November 8 – 10.  A weekend of talks, debates, music, film and performances that celebrate the formidable strength and inventiveness of amazing, inspirational girls and women.  It will also address themes and issues affecting women of all ages.
  • Echo Echo Dance and Movement Festival, Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, Co. Londonderry, November 8 – 17.  This is the first dedicated dance and movement festival in Northern Ireland.  Strong local performance and participation will be developed through three new individual artist commissions, artistic development intensives and an education and outreach programme.
  • Festival of Light, Mount Stewart, Newtownards, Co. Down, November 8 – 10, 15-17 and 22-24.  Experience the magic of Mount Stewart as the grounds and lakeside are brought to life like never before with magnificent colours and mesmerising music which will showcase the natural beauty surrounding this historic mansion.
  • Straw Crafts and Mummers Masks, Market Place Theatre, Co. Armagh, November 9.  ‘Mumming’ is an ancient Irish tradition of singing, dancing and playing music while wearing a mask or disguise.  In this workshop children will have the opportunity to make and decorate a traditional mask. 
  • Diwali with The Dhol Foundation, The Ulster Hall, Belfast, November 10.  Diwali returns in 2013 with an exciting musical concert from the world renowned Johnny Kalsi and The Dhol Foundation.  There will be a wonderful blend of classic Indian music with global rhythms and thumping contemporary beat.

From Page to Stage: Theatre at The Mill turns two classic novels into sparkling Christmas treats

This year Theatre at the Mill is producing two magical shows for Christmas: Hunchback The Musical from 2 to 14 December and Eternally Scrooged from 17 December to 5 January.

This year’s musical spectacular at Theatre at The Mill will be an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece The Hunchback of Notre Dame, who also wrote classic novel Les Misérables, famously adapted into a sweeping musical. Set in medieval bustling Paris, with gypsy dancers and juggling circus performers, Hunchback The Musical will be a vibrant show, with an energetic cast, live music and a live band, all making a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

Hunchback The Musical, written and directed by Ballyclare-born writer and director Paul Boyd, (Hansel + Grettel, Pinocchio, Molly Wobbly) will be filled with all the familiar themes in Hugo’s novel, unrequited love, friendship and forbidden desire.

This year’s Christmas comedy at Theatre at The Mill will be Eternally Scrooged, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Christmas Carol. Writers Andrea Montgomery and Anthony Toner have transformed Ebeneezer Scrooge into Evangeline Scroogé, with an 80s twist, a romance writer with a heart of stone.

Starring Nuala McKeever (BBC NI Give My Head Peace) as Ms Scroogee, Caroline Curran (Fifty Shades of Red, White and Blue) as Bobbi Cratchit and comedy actress Abigail McGibbon (Can’t Forget About You, Lyric Theatre), Eternally Scrooged will be filled with big laughs, big hair and big shoulder pads!

Hunchback The Musical runs at Theatre at The Mill from Monday 2 to Saturday 14 December and tickets cost £25, £23, £20, £15. Eternally Scrooged runs from 17 December 2013 to 5 January 2014 and tickets costs £20, £18, £16, £14. Book online for both shows at or phone Box Office on 028 9034


AUTUMN has arrived and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) is encouraging everyone to pull on their walking boots, take a stroll in the crisp air and enjoy some of the most spectacular landscapes of the year.

Minnowburn, Belfast.

There are many different types of walking routes available right across Northern Ireland from forest trails to mountain hikes which will enable you to discover the stunning surroundings with your family, partner or friends.  NITB’s Destination PR Officer Pauline Gormley says it is a wonderful time of year to take a walk in the great outdoors.

“Autumn is the most colourful season of the year and it is a great time to explore the spectacular natural settings we have here in Northern Ireland including hills, woodlands, mountains and riversides,” said Pauline.

“Whether you want to go for a stroll in your local forest park or a more energetic workout along a mountain trail there are options for everyone.  Many of the routes are clearly marked while others enable you to go off the beaten track and to get up close to nature.

“Walkers should remember to wear suitable clothing and footwear while they are out,” said added.
To help you take a step in the right direction, NITB has highlighted a range of walking routes and autumn events taking place this year;

Belfast Castle Estate

Belfast Castle estate is situated on the lower slopes of Cave Hill Country Park in north Belfast and offers superb views of the city from a variety of vantage points.  Follow the blue waymarked ‘Estate Trail’ for a 2.4 mile for a walk through its woodland and parkland which will take in the Millennium Maze, the Volunteer’s Well and Belfast Castle.

Barnett Demesne

Explore this historic estate with a 1.5mile walk which takes in Malone House, meadows, woodland and the River Lagan.  Start at Malone House car park and follow the path round the front of the house and downhill while admiring views over the Lagan Valley, across Minnowburn Beeches and the wildflower meadow.  Along the way you will discover the old Shaw’s Bridge and a disused kissing gate.


Carnfunnock Country Park, Larne

This country park offers walkers a whole host of great routes to explore the picturesque surroundings of Carnfunnock Country Park.  The walking paths overlap each other in places and it is possible to follow any one.  There are five waymarked trails with take in the Walled Garden with unusual sundials and wooden sculptures, a maze the shape of Northern Ireland, an ice house, woodland and wetland as well as great views of the coast.


A hidden gem at the north eastern tip of Islandmagee, Portmuck is a stunning little harbour with fabulous views of the Antrim Coast.  The National Trust owns and manages the coastline on either side of the harbour and has provided excellent trails for visitors to enjoy the scenery and dramatic views.  There are two linear routes on either side of the harbour – the Northern route to the left and the Southern route to the right.  


Gosford Forest Park, Markethill

The Castle Path circular walking route in Gosford takes in the Arboretum and southern end of the Walled Garden before reaching the boundary of the privately owned Gosford Castle.  From here the path leads through oak and Norway spruce plantations returning to the car park by the Rare Breed and Heritage Poultry enclosures.  The trail is well signposted from the car park.

Peatlands Woodland Walk, Loughgall

The Woodland Walk is one of five lovely walks around this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Follow the path marked with the yellow arrows and watch for Cuckoos and birds of prey using the dead pines as lookout posts.  Annagarriff Wood is a National Nature Reserve with unique flora and fauna species, many of which are found nowhere else in Northern Ireland.


Meelmore and Meelbeg, Hilltown

A moderate 5.5 mile walk in the High Mournes, summiting two of the seven highest peaks in the region.  Walk up the stony track at the opposite side of the road from Ott car park until it splits in two.  Here take the upper path until the Mourne Wall.  At the wall turn left and follow the Mourne Wall up the summits of Slieve Loughshannagh (619m), Slieve Meelbeg (708m) and Slieve Meelmore (687m).  Retrace your steps 300m back down Slieve Meelmore and descend into the valley.  At the bottom of the valley pick up the Ulster Way which emerges onto the Slievenaman Road, 800m away from the Ott car park.

Nugent’s Wood

Once part of the Nugent’s Estate, this gentle walk is through a mature wood of mixed broad leaved trees. Visitors will enjoy spectacular views across the Strangford Narrows, towards Audleys Castle and Castleward and the Wood is home to Red Squirrels and badgers.


Lough Navar Forest Park, Derrygonnelly

From the main forest drive there are lots of short walks signed to various points of interest including lakes, viewpoints and places of historical interest.  This is a stunning forest with a variety of landscapes offering views over Lower Lough Erne and on a clear day the Sperrin Mountains and the west coast of Donegal.


Dungannon Park

The Park Trail is set amongst the beautiful backdrop of Dungannon Park – a 70 acre oasis.  The walk’s paths surround the grounds mature woodland, brightly coloured flowerbeds and the magnificent 13 acre freshwater lake.  High ground offers the walker splendid viewpoints of surrounding townland and countryside with views of Lough Neagh on a clear day.

Davagh Forest, Cookstown

Davagh Forest is a true hidden gem and lies approximately six miles north west of Cookstown in an untouched rural landscape of rolling hills and sweeping forests.  Here there is a range of walking and mountain biking trails available.  The two mile short circuit walk follows the black waymarker arrows along a pleasant riverside path which meanders through beautiful woodland.

Errigal Glen Trail, Garvagh

The Errigal Glen Trail is one of two waymarked trails in the picturesque Glenullin region, three miles south west of Garvagh.  The route follows woodland trail, country roads, forest road and open hillside.  Points of interest include the ancient remains of the Errigal Old Church and the Gortnamoyagh Inauguration Stone.
Downhill Forest, Castlerock

Downhill Forest is a small mixed woodland of 83 hectares just inland from the North Coast of Northern Ireland.  The Forest was originally part of the estate of Frederick Harvey, the 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, which included Downhill Castle.  A walk through Downhill Forest will allow you to view one of Northern Ireland’s fattest Sitka spruces, an Early Christian Promontory Fort and an old water powered sawmill with its blade running round the small lake in the middle of this woodland.  There are two waymarked paths in the forest, one is just over a kilometre long while the other is two kilometres in length and the Ulster Way also runs through part of the forest.


There are a number of events taking place as part of the National Trust’s Great NI Walk festival which is running until November 3;

Red Squirrel Day, Mount Stewart, Co. Down October 12.  Join the rangers to learn all about red squirrels and hopefully see some of these wonderful mammals on a guided walk of the Mount Stewart estate. You will hear about the Trust’s work to protect squirrels at Mount Stewart and across the Ards Peninsula.  Time: 10am-12 noon

Walk on the Wild Side, The Argory, Co. Tyrone, October 13.  The head ranger will be hosting guided walks around the estate with unique ‘behind the scenes’ insight.  Get into the real outdoors spirit and help the estate team plant snowdrop and daffodil bulbs for next spring.  Tours: 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm.

Remarkable Trees, Minnowburn, Belfast, October 19.  Meet some of the most remarkable trees and explore the mysterious worlds of woodland history, myth and folklore.  Find out about traditional woodland crafts and management and learn about the art of green woodworking.  Time: 11am-12.30pm.

Coastal Walk, Orlock, Groomsport, Co. Down, October 26.  One of the National Trust’s least known beauty spots, Orlock is rich with historical interest and teeming with wildlife.  Join the ranger for an enjoyable stroll and discover some of the area’s fascinating secrets.  Meet at the lay-by south east of property.  Time: 10am-12 noon.

Autumn Walk, Murlough NNR, Dundrum, Co. Down, November 3.  Enjoy a five mile coastal walk around this National Nature Reserve, as part of the Newcastle Challenge Trail and Lecale Way.  Bring a picnic.  Booking is essential.  Time: 11am-1pm.

For more information on walking routes click on or visit your local tourist information centre.  A short break in Northern Ireland starts from £49 per room.


Prestigious Grub Club serves top accolade to The Merchant’s Great Room Restaurant

Marco Marro, food & beverage manager for The Merchant Hotel and Johnny Leake, head chef at The Great Room Restaurant pictured with their Grub Club Best Restaurant Award. Established over 30 years ago, the Grub Club is an exclusive private dining club, which scours the whole of Northern Ireland to find the very best restaurants that the region has to offer. This recent accolade comes hot on the tails of The Merchant being named the first AA hotel for Northern Ireland in late September and following newly released Tourist Board ratings, which make The Merchant officially Belfast’s only five-star hotel.

Belfast’s multi award-winning Merchant Hotel is celebrating once again, as its Great Room Restaurant is named The Grub Club’s Restaurant of the Year.

Established over 30 years ago, the Grub Club is an exclusive private dining club, which scours the whole of Northern Ireland to find the very best restaurants that the region has to offer. With strict criteria to select its winner based on the excellent calibre, integrity and innovation of its entire food, beverage and service offering, the Grub Club celebrates culinary excellence at its best.

This recent accolade comes hot on the tails of The Merchant being named the first AA hotel for Northern Ireland in late September and following newly released Tourist Board ratings, which make The Merchant officially Belfast’s only five-star hotel.

Commenting on the Award, Marco Morro, food & beverage manager for The Merchant said:

“The Grub Club is renowned for recognising only the very best dining experiences, so it really is an honour for The Great Room to be chosen as their Restaurant of the Year.”

Jonny Leake, head chef at The Great Room Restaurant believes his team’s attention to the smallest detail is the reason they scooped the top prize:

“The Great Room’s menus unite influences from around the world, whilst honouring the best of traditional Irish, British and French classics. We showcase food as it should be; using the best of local produce that reflects the changing seasons, complimented by a carefully constructed seasonal wine list – each and every element of our food and beverage offering is put under close scrutiny to ensure the final results are first-class.

“We are thrilled that The Grub Club has chosen The Great Room Restaurant as its Restaurant of the Year, from what I’m sure was an extensive list of exceptional restaurants across Northern Ireland.”

Diners wishing to get a taste of The Great Room’s award-winning cuisine can do so in style at a forthcoming wine dinner next Thursday, 24th October 2013.

The event, hosted by celebrated New Zealand winemaker, John Forrest of The Forrest winery – one of the first 10 wineries in the Marlborough region – offers a sumptuous seven course meal with five carefully matched wines. The special menu is priced at £59.50 per person. Places can be booked by calling The Merchant Hotel on 028 9023 4888.

The Merchant Hotel is owned by the Beannchor Group, which boasts a portfolio of over 50 pubs, hotels and restaurants across Northern Ireland. Earlier this month, the group opened the doors to its latest venture – The National Grande Café in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast. A further venue, Patisserie Mimi, is set to open at the beginning of November in the neighbouring building on High Street, Belfast, with a third venue – The Dirty Onion also scheduled to open in the Cathedral Quarter later this year.

Traffic Information for Hallowe’en Metro Monster Mash this Sunday

Belfast`s Metro Monster Mash Hallowe`en celebrations take place at The Slipways, Titanic Belfast this Sunday (27 October) from 2.30pm – 6.30pm.

Adam Webb gets in the mood for Belfast City Council's annual Hallowe’en Metro Monster Mash which is taking place at The Slipways, Titanic Belfast on Sunday (October 27th). All sorts of creepy goings-on are guaranteed to chill the sturdiest of souls in the afternoon. There will be street theatre, wacky workshops, face-painting and breath-taking fire shows. The skies will also be lighting up with a spooktacular fireworks display – one of the biggest in Northern Ireland – to keep the crowds mesmerised. More information can be found on the council website at

Translink Metro, event sponsor, is providing a complimentary free shuttlebus service (every 15 mins) from 2.15pm – 5.45pm from the city centre to the venue. Pick-up point will be near SS Moore’s on Chichester Street and the drop off point will be on the Queen’s Road, the same side as Titanic Belfast. Returning services will operate until 7pm approximately.

If using the free bus service from the city centre, carparking will be available at any of the DRD carparks in Charlotte Street, Corporation Street, Corporation Square, Cromac Street, Dunbar Street, Exchange Street, Frederick Street, Hope Street North, Kent Street, Little Donegall Street, Little Victoria Street, Station Street, Lancaster Street and Great George`s Street, as well as the Eastside and Northside Park And Ride facilities, will be open and free to use. There are also approximately 1,200 free on-street parking spaces available in the city centre.

Motorists should expect large volumes of pedestrian traffic in the area near The Slipways but parking is available at carparks in the Titanic Quarter and Queen’s Quay as well as in Titanic Belfast and the Odyssey car park. On street parking however is not available on the Queen’s Road or Sydenham Road at any time on Sunday.

For anyone who lives in the Lisburn area, two buses will be running to the event from 3pm to 8pm. They will be leaving Dundrod Drive/Ballycreen Drive to The Slipways approximately every half hour on Sunday. More details on the bus service are on the PSNI Lisburn Facebook page.

Events kick off for the Metro Monster Mash at The Slipways from 2.30pm on Sunday. All sorts of creepy goings-on are guaranteed to chill the sturdiest of souls in the afternoon. Citybeat will be hosting a special roadshow with Breakfast presenters Stephen Clements and Sara Neill. There will be street theatre, wacky workshops, face-painting and breath-taking fire shows. Brilliant prizes are also up for grabs for the most ghoulish of costumes in Citybeat’s ‘Best Dressed’ competition.

There will be live music from Conor Scott who appeared in BBC One’s ‘The Voice’ programme and local band Freefall.

The skies will also be lighting up with a spooktacular fireworks display – one of the biggest in Northern Ireland – to keep the crowds mesmerised.

The Metro Monster Mash is organised by Belfast City Council and sponsored by Translink with the support of Citybeat Radio.

For more information on Translink Metro services, call 028 9066 3300 (7am – 8pm) or visit

Further details on the Metro Monster Mash can be found on the council website at


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

  • Turner Prize 2013, Building 80/81, Ebrington, Co. Londonderry, October 23 – January 5.  The Turner Prize is coming to Derry~Londonderry, the first time the award has ever been held outside England.  This is your chance to discover what is new and exciting in art right now with a free exhibition of current art.
  • Diwali Festival of Lights, various venues in Strabane, Co. Tyrone, October 24 – November 9.  This festival will bring Indian culture, arts, music and food to Strabane with Henna art, an Indian costumes fashion show and more.
  • Ghost of the Glens Festival, Cushendall, Co. Antrim, October 25 – 27.  Spend the weekend listening to stories during this annual festival which will be a feast of stories, songs and music with lots of the activities for all the family including a forest walk and many more spooktacular happenings.
  • Hallowtides Festival, Newcastle, Co. Down, October 26 – 31.  Newcastle will be filled with creepy and mysterious characters this Halloween with haunted house tours, a fancy dress competition, pumpkin carving, live music and one of Northern Ireland’s largest fireworks displays.
  • Midterm Family Festival, Titanic Belfast, Belfast, October 28 – 31.  Titanic Belfast is celebrating the midterm with four days of fun with face painting, arts and crafts and a fancy dress competition with great prizes to be won.
  • Dracula – The Panto, Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, October 28 – November 2.  Spend a spooky night out as gothic meets slapstick in a fun-packed show.  Dracula – The Panto is a family favourite full of irresistibly scary fun in a true panto style.
  • Halloween in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, October 31.  Come along to Ballycastle this Halloween for a fancy dress parade, prizes and fireworks at the seafront.  Festivities start at 6.30pm.

  • Halloween Howler, Share Village, Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh, October 31 – November 2.  The Halloween Howler is back with a bang this year with more spooktacular treats and ghostly goings.  Enjoy a ghost ship cruise, the haunted forest trail, pumpkin carving, a pumpkin paddle, face painting, fireworks and much more.
  • Teenage Kicks – The Punk Musical, Millennium Forum, Co. Londonderry, November 1 – 9.  Teenage Kicks is a musical about teenage lust and love, set in Derry~Londonderry during the late 70s, which features classic songs from the punk era.  Written by award winning novelist and screenwriter, Colin Bateman, the show is all about being a kid, rebelling against authority and about falling in love.
  • Faerie Stories, Market Place Theatre, Co. Armagh, November 2.  A man and a goblin meet in the library.  In their hunger for stories they weave three enchanted tales from a string of dusty books.  Fusing Scottish Gaelic culture with puppetry, music and physical theatre, this wonderful show transports audiences into the magic, mysterious and ancient faerie worlds.

Ulster Student scoops RTPI Joanne Mathers Award

Research into the importance of integrating public health issues with urban planning has secured a top award for a student from the University of Ulster’s School of the Built Environment.

Professor Greg Lloyd, Head of the School of the Built Environment, Alex O’Hara, student recipient of the Joanne Mathers Award and Carol Ramsey, Chairperson Royal Town Planning Institute (NI)

Alex O’Hara scooped the 2013 Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI NI) Joanne Mathers Award, presented in memory of the young mother who was shot dead by the IRA in 1981, as she collected census forms in the Gobnascale area of Derry~Londonderry.

The Award is given annually to the University of Ulster MSci Planning and Property Development degree student who has performed best in their final year research project.

Alex, from Ballyclare, graduated earlier this year and undertook his research with Belfast Healthy Cities, a citywide partnership working to improve the population’s health equity and wellbeing.

He reviewed a wide range of existing national and international publications to identify why planning matters to health.

The key message in his research supported the view that a quality built environment can greatly affect the standard of health and wellbeing of those who interact with it.

It also confirmed the view that health/environment links have ramifications for future decisions on improving wellbeing, giventhat some current development trends compromise health.

Alex’s research also showed that further work needs to be undertaken to improve the level of mutual understanding and integration between planning and health professionals.

Gavan Rafferty, Lecturer in Spatial Planning and Development, said Belfast Healthy Cities was delighted with the quality of Alex’s work.

He added: “His research provided added value to the organisation’s commitment to developing knowledge of building healthier cities. It also has the potential to inform wider practice in Northern Ireland, demonstrating the benefits of students undertaking ‘real life’ research projects.”

Professor Greg Lloyd, Head of the School of the Built Environment at Ulster congratulated Alex on his “well-deserved” success.

He said: “These are exciting and promising times for planning in Northern Ireland, with a reformed land use planning system in hand, the Review of Public Administration and the introduction of community planning to take place shortly – and this prestigious award reflects these ambitions.

“It is richly deserved by Alex and I wish him every success in his career. The School of the Built Environment is very proud of him.”

Fire Themed Fireworks at Seapark 26th October

This year’s Seapark Fireworks Festival on Saturday October 26th, is set to be the best yet featuring a fun fair, an even bigger food fair, live music and a spectacular fireworks display finale to finish the event in style.

This year’s music choice will be popular with all age groups ranging from Ellie Goulding to Elvis.

The fun will kick off at 4pm with the children’s fun-fair and a fantastic food fair with everyone’s favourite foods from fish & chips to hog roasts, Holywood’s favourite cinnamon scones, crepes and lots more. The perfect half-term outing for the whole family and all reasonably priced!

At 6pm, popular local band The Jukes take to the stage to entertain the crowds with their fantastic repertoire of hits guaranteed to get everyone dancing!

The event will draw to a close after the spectacular fireworks display at 8pm. Prepare to be thrilled as the sky above Belfast Lough will come alive with explosions of colour and sparkle.

Commenting on the event, Alison Stobie, North Down Borough Council said, “We’re looking forward to another great night at Seapark this year – good food, good music and spectacular fireworks – perfect ingredients for a fun night for all the family. Everyone is welcome to come dressed up in your spookiest Halloween costumes but make sure you wrap up warm and bring a torch!”

So come along and join the fun on Saturday 26 October 2013, from 4pm at the Seapark Recreational Grounds, Holywood. Admission is FREE, making this an event not to be missed!

If you fancy more Halloween fun, on the following day, Sunday 27th October, Cockle Row Cottages in Groomsport will be hosting a fun Halloween Day. This FREE event which runs from 1pm – 4pm will feature ‘Creepy Creatures’ including snakes, spiders and lizards as well as some more unusual animals such as skunks, possums and ferrets.  For those of a more timid nature there are spooky crafts and balloon modeling.  There will be live traditional music from North Down and Ards School of Traditional Music.  From 12.30 – 2.30 pm there will be a Trick or Treat Station and Walkabout Entertainment and from 2.00 – 4.00 pm a Stilt and Fire Walker.

For further information, please phone our Tourist Information Centre on: 028 9127 0069 or visit

Halloween Funday at Cockle Row Cottages, Groomsport

This Sunday, 27 October bring your little monsters along to Cockle Row Cottages, Groomsport for a ghoulish day of free family fun.

‘Creepy creatures’ including snakes, spiders and lizards as well as some more unusual animals such as skunks, possums and ferrets will be on show to test the courage of even the bravest of children!

For those of a more timid nature they can enjoy making spooky crafts and a balloon modeller will also be making weird and wonderful creations.

There will also be a Trick or Treat Station, Walkabout Entertainment and a Stilt and Fire Walker as well as live traditional music from North Down and Ards School of Traditional Music.

Set within the picturesque Groomsport Harbour, Cockle Row Cottages are the perfect place to spend an autumnal afternoon.

Cottages Open 11am – 5pm, Free Family Fun 1pm – 4pm.

For more information contact Bangor Tourist Information Centre, T: 028 9127 0069, E:, W: