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


The 1st Comber Harvest Fair and Motor Show takes place this Saturday 12th October. A Harvest Fair and Motor Show with fun for all the family including classic cars, motorcycles, tractors and much more. Admission free.


Oma Fair Lady presents ‘An Autumn Vintage Affair’ at the Silver Birch Hotel on Sunday 13th October. A fabulous and stylish day out of vintage fashion & nostalgia and a perfect opportunity to pick up some unique gifts for Christmas. It’s the place to pick up something Old/New and fabulously stylish that will bring joy to you and your home


Award-winning NI Opera returns to the Ardhowen Theatre on Thursday 10th October with Donizetti’s ever-popular romantic comedy, L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love).  A tale of passion, deception, and the triumph of love, the opera is famous for its spellbinding music and beautiful arias.  Oliver Mears directs this new production, which features a wonderful cast of British and Irish singers led by Anna Patalong (making her first NI Opera appearance in the same season as her Royal Opera Covent Garden debut) and John Molloy (who last sang with NI Opera in The Bear), as well as the Ulster Orchestra conducted by David Brophy (RTÉ Concert Orchestra Principal Conductor).


The hugely popular Jumping Clay Workshop is coming to Maghera Recreational Centre on Saturday 12th October. Make your own jumping clay model and bring home your own individually created artwork. Age 5+. Booking essential, please contact The Bridewell to book.  Two time slots: 2.30pm – 3.30pm or 3.45pm – 4.45pm.


In Celebration of the Great NI Walks, the head ranger will be hosting guided walks around the Argory estate on Sunday 13th October. Tours will contain a unique ‘behind the scenes’ insight into our wonderful walks which are a real treat at this time of year. Get into the real outdoors spirit and help the estate team plant snowdrops and daffodil bulbs for next spring. A day of fantastic outdoor fun for all the family. Suitable outdoor clothing and footwear essential.  Tours 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm.


Top Dolly Parton tribute act Donna Fleming is set to wow the audience at The Court, Newtownabbey this Saturday 12th October.  The spectacular Dolly NI show will see musical theatre star Donna Fleming transform into the pint sized Queen of Country Dolly Parton with a whopping 4 costume changes along with guest singers, a 4 piece band, ‘The Birds’ backing vocal harmony group, a local Choir and Dancers. The DOLLY NI show incorporates every big Dolly hit from 9-5 and Jolene to Coat of Many Colours and I Will Always Love You among many others.


See the Moscow State Circus at the Titanic Quarter until October 14th, with its latest and greatest production to date.  Superstar clowns  Pavlik & Klava invite the audience to Gorky Park, this wondrous & mysterious place, a place to romance, a place to stroll and take in Moscow at sunset and a place to see magnificent feats of human achievement, in many cases,  none of the which have ever been witnessed here before.  As their loveable buffoons reminisce about past times they are surrounded by a multitude of flying, back flipping, juggling and roller skating performers.  As the park changed in accordance with the mood of the new century, its traditions were the basis of the new concept of Park Gorkogo. These changes are reflected in the new show.  It swings from the award winning Flying Trapeze of Alievs White Birds to the whirlwind roller skating of the Veslovskis. From 3 bathing beauties on the revolving ariel ring to the vertical pole jugglers of the 4 Yakovleys. From the most elegant hand balancing of Vladislav Khostik to the gorgeous & gracious ariel sail of Natalia Goncharova. Add to the mix the Kozak whip crackers & the revolving Russian swing catapulting its 10 strong troupe high into the apex of the chapito at breakneck speed and you will see an amazing awe inspiring show,  created especially for its first ever European tour.

For more details on these and other events across Northern Ireland, news and competitions see www.whatsonni.com, follow us @whatsonni and like us at fb.com/www.whatsonni and remember to add your  events FREE OF CHARGE at www.whatsonni.

University of Ulster Celebrates Community Achievement

The University of Ulster has celebrated the success of its flexible access programmes for young people and adults at an award ceremony on the Jordanstown campus.

Pictured at the Celebration of Community Achievement evening are (l to r) Professor Richard Barnett, University of Ulster Vice-Chancellor; PSNI Superintendent Michelle Larmour; Professor Anne Moran, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Educational Partnerships and International Affairs), University of Ulster; Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton, MLA and Professor Alastair Adair, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Development) and Provost (Jordanstown and Belfast), University of Ulster.

More than 200 students were presented with certificates at the ‘Celebration of Community Achievement’ evening, which recognised each person’s commitment, determination and creativity within their module or project.

In conjunction with community partners, Ulster has developed a wide-ranging portfolio of flexible learning opportunities for adults, young people and those in the workplace.

Learning programmes such as Active Citizenship, Internet and Multimedia, Integration and Good Relations through Sport, Community Development and Social Networking were among the achievements noted at the awards ceremony.

The University supported these programmes as part of its Widening Access and Participation Strategy.

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA praised the programmes and said:

“This project has an extremely positive impact on the local communities in Northern Ireland. I congratulate all those who received an award this evening – their achievements will not only reap personal benefits, but make a significant and outstanding contribution to the communities in which they live.

“This evening has been an opportunity to honour those that have and are continuing to make a difference in Northern Ireland.”

Students were welcomed into the higher education community and encouraged to continue their lifelong learning journey by Ulster’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett.

He said: “One of the University’s corporate goals is to provide excellent, student-centred, flexible programmes of study which are accessible to all those who have the ability to benefit from them.

“Widening participation in higher education is a key priority, since it is vital in creating a fairer society, securing improvements in social mobility and supporting economic growth.”

Special guests at the celebration included representatives from community, schools and voluntary organisations such as the Sport Changes Life Foundation and the PSNI, which supports education in local communities.

Make a Date with The Mentalist!

If you missed his astonishing feat of levitation in Belfast’s busy Victoria Square, you can’t afford to miss David Meade when comes to Fermanagh for one night of mind boggling fun!

David Meade.

And in this exciting, fully interactive show, there’s a huge cash prize on offer if you can successfully lie to David!

To promote his recent TV series, Davis levitated 60 feet from the solid concrete ground floor below. 15,000 people turned out to watch him, within three hours David’s website had nearly 10,000 hits, over 2000 images had been posted to twitter, and in 24 hours one single image reached 1.1 million views on Reddit and other social media sites.

In a fantastic FLive highlight, the UK’s leading mentalist brings his most exciting show yet to FLive.

The show marks the BBC’s fastest rising star’s return to the stage, hot on the heels of his smash-hit TV series Make Believe, after three years of unprecedented success on national TV and a cross-country US tour that saw him pack houses in Boston, New York, LA and Las Vegas.

You’ll be wowed and amused in equal measure with a show that is as hilarious as it is jaw dropping. In David’s astonishing live show, he’ll reveal private PIN numbers, detect lies, reveal secret thoughts, and influence those around him with seemingly inexplicable results.

Do you think you have what it takes to outsmart a mentalist? For those who think they can lie, a substantial cash prize will be awarded on the spot to anyone who can successfully lie to David.

“The best thing to come out of Ireland in a long, long time!”

Sunday Times

“A staggering new talent, you’ve never seen anything like this – this guy’s going to be BIG”

Daily Mirror

You can catch the amazing David Meade Mentalist  on Saturday 5th October at Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, 8pm.Tickets are £20 (£15 concessions)

Find out more and book your tickets at FLive.org.uk, like facebook.com/fermanaghlive or follow @fermanaghlive on Twitter – #FLive2013.

FLive2013 is On Fire!!!

It’s free family fun for all when Falkor comes to town!

Everywhere else may be beginning to cool down but here in Fermanagh we’re just warming up!

While the main FLive Festival begins properly in the first week of October, Falkor our local dragon just can’t wait to turn up the heat!

So he’d love you to join him for family day of fun and festivities at the Dragon Parade. You’re invited to get all dressed up and be amazed as Falkor makes his fiery way to the Diamond, accompanied by a fiery Samba band and their rhythmic beat. At the Diamond, Falkor will meet a giant Trojan horse and you can watch the famous story of Troy take place right before your very eyes!

It promises to be a colourful spectacle, complete with puppets and props made by local school children, ably assisted by artists Genevieve Murphy and Jon Kelly.

After you’ve been suitably entertained, you’re also welcome to follow Falkor back to his grand home at Enniskillen Castle to enjoy fun and games, including at workshops, drumming lessons, face painting, archery and bouncy castles!

The Dragon Parade takes place on Saturday the 28th of September from 1.30- 5.00pm and is FREE event – find out more at flive.org.uk, like us on facebook.com/fermanaghlive or follow us on Twitter  – @fermanaghlive #Flive2013


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 7 – 13).

  • Moscow State Circus, Waterfront Hall, Belfast, October 2 – 13.  The world’s most famous circus brings Russia’s greatest and most talented circus performers to Belfast.  You’ll be amazed by the breakneck speed, juggling, back-flipping and trampoline frolics.
  • Public Lecture, Armagh Public Library, Co. Armagh, October 10.  Come along to this public lecture by Professor Thompson from Queen’s University Belfast on the theme of Anglican Book Collectors in Ireland.
  • Belfast FASHIONWEEK, Ulster Museum, various venues in Belfast, October 10 – 13.  This season’s chic events and runway shows will take place across the city with nightly shows featuring the very best independent designer boutiques, local designers and top names from the high street.
  • Beginner’s Crochet, Home Craft Revival, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, October 12.  Learn all you need to know to make some lovely items.  The morning is spent practising the stitches and then you will have lunch before starting the afternoon project.  Everyone will go home with a finished article – usually a hat.
  • Morning and Afternoon, The Playhouse Theatre, Co. Londonderry, October 12.  Glistening with moments of visceral self-searching and unexpected tenderness, this play fatefully reconnects the lives of two very different men in two intensely personal stories unpinned to Derry~Londonderry’s recent past.
  • Man on the Moon, Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, October 12.  Sean Doran has just been fired from his dead-end job.  His girlfriend and child have left him, and the bank has repossessed his house.  Alone by the Half Moon Lake, Sean tries to fashion sense of his terrible day, taking us on a soul-searching journey through life, love and death via his past, present and future.
  • Autumn Pumpkin Fest and Scarecrow Pageant, Castle Ward, Co. Down, October 12 – 13.  Choose from over 2,000 pumpkins which are ready for you to scoop out and carve.  Find the Pumpkin People in their trail, browse an extensive display of local crafts and bring along your very own scarecrow creation to enter into the Scarecrow Pageant.
  • Fermanagh Walking Festival, various locations in Co. Fermanagh, October 12 – 14.  Guided family, intermediate and advanced walks are available during the festival and will be lead by members of the Fermanagh Ramblers, Cooneen Ramblers and Knockatallen Ramblers Walking Club.
  • Apple Press Day, Ardress House, Portadown, Co. Armagh, October 13.  Set in the middle of Orchard County, this is the ideal location to hear all about Armagh’s famous apples and have some family fun.  Have a go on the apple press, discover the apple trail and make some apple crafts.
  • Spooky Candy and Chocolate Apple Show, Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory, Castlereagh Road, Belfast, until October 31.   Watch scary lollies being made, make your own chocolate apples and take part in the missing finger quiz.

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


Red Bull Foxhunt is back and it’s bigger and better than ever! Once again, downhill mountain-biking legend, multiple World Cup winner & favourite for the 2013 title, Gee Atherton returns to Northern Ireland this October for the innovative downhill-pursuit challenge where the hunters become the hunted! Red Bull Foxhunt will take place over 2 days, with qualifier time-trials taking place on the 5th and the event proper on Sunday 6th of October.


This year’s Flann O’Brien Literary Festival, which takes place in Strabane and Lifford from Thursday 3rd October to Saturday 5th October, will celebrate the life and works of one of the major players in 20th century Irish literature, Flann O’Brien, who was born Brian O’Nolan in Strabane on 5th October 1911.


Experience Fermanagh’s finest live entertainment and visual arts this autumn when the county’s 5th Arts Festival; Fermanagh Live takes place from the 3rd to the 6th October 2013.  Embracing music, drama and visual arts, Fermanagh Live is a celebration of many great events highlighting both local and other innovative talent while promoting Fermanagh’s culture and heritage.  This is a unique opportunity for audiences to experience an exciting and exhilarating programme with an eclectic mix of events that are not to be missed!


Meadowbank Sports Arena Magherafelt is the venue on Saturday 5th October for the town’s Multi-Cultural Event celebrating our local culture and the cultures of our new residents, with an associated children’s fun day from 12pm to 4pm. Admission is free.


The Moscow Ballet perform Sleeping Beauty at the Market Place Theatre on Saturday 5th October. Once upon a time…[as all good fairytales begin], in a faraway land beyond imagination, Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous music fills the air and wondrous characters come to life before your very eyes. Fairytale characters abound alongside a King, a Queen, Good and Evil Fairies, Fairies of Gold, Silver, Diamonds and Sapphire plus the handsome Prince, all weaving their magic to present this timeless tale of Princess Aurora, The Sleeping Beauty – a story lovingly repeated throughout generations but never before performed so magnificently as with this colourful spectacle of Russia’s finest – Moscow Ballet.


The Northern Ireland Potato Festival is a free family event taking place in the Glens of Antrim,  Innisfree Farm  and Portnagree House on October 4th, 5th and 6th. Italy has pasta, Spain has paella, Northern Ireland has…well, potatoes of course! Join in the fun at the North Coast at this three day festival to celebrate the mainstay of our culinary culture.

Wrestling Superstars are taking a break from their tours of America, Europe, Japan & Mexico to take part in a giant one-off extravaganza in Belfast City.  The Belfast Waterfront is the venue for this year’s must-see event where fans will have the chance to witness the passion of dedicated athletes perfecting their craft.  Wrestling Superstars will collide in an epic encounter inside the ring that’ll grip the audience’s attention like nothing you have seen before.  The spectacular event takes place on October 4th with doors opening at 7.30pm and show time at 8.00pm. Spectators will get the chance to get up close and personal with their favourite stars. This is a fantastic chance to have a great night out with friends and family at an affordable price. The action, excitement and fun cannot be matched.

For more details on these and other events across Northern Ireland, news and competitions see www.whatsonni.com, follow us @whatsonni and like us at fb.com/www.whatsonni and remember to add your  events FREE OF CHARGE at www.whatsonni.

A Spooky Special at the Crescent this Halloween

DRACULA is coming to Belfast!  The Count will creep into the Crescent Arts Centre from Oct 28th until Nov 2nd 2013 for some petrifying panto performances.

Performed by the Isosceles Theatre Company, ‘DRACULA – THE PANTO!’ has been a Halloween Family Favourite and has captivated and tickled both adults and children on its travels.  The show is full of big laughs, big songs and big teeth, all performed by Pat Abernethy and Dave Marsden.  It’s irresistibly scary fun for ages 8-80 in true panto style.

The naughty Count has shown his fangs to shrieks of delight across the UK, and now he turns his chilling stare on South Belfast.

The multi-talented Isosceles company has been touring to Northern Ireland for many  years, and ‘DRACULA – THE PANTO!’ has always been a big hit, returning to many theatres again and again.

‘Fun, fangs and other fab treats – a delight’ LONDON METRO

‘Fast, furious, and funny. Dracula makes perfect panto fare’ BIG ISSUE

‘Witty writing, easy rapport, expertly played, a remarkable example of highly professional skill – really great fun’ TAUNTON TIMES

Tickets are available from the Crescent Arts Centre Box Office on (028) 9024 2338 or online at www.crescentarts.org

Mon 28 October – Sat 2 November – 7:00pm

With Additional Saturday Matinee – 3:00pm

Suitable for ages 8-80


Family Discount Tickets Available

Migration season is here, Brent events begin at Castle Espie

We are gearing up for October here at WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre and, with the arrival of the Brent Geese, Autumn is finally upon us. So come and experience the wonders of migration with one of the following events:

The ‘Brent are Back’ event – this is the time of the year when 90% of the world’s population of Light- bellied Brent Geese comes to Northern Ireland with Strangford Lough being their favorite staging post… Our friendly guide will  bring you on a brent journey and explain to you how they feed on the vast expanses of eel grass exposed at low water along the muddy estuaries. Followed by how every year when the spring arrives these same small geese take on the largest migration journey of any goose travelling 2,900 miles from Ireland to the high Canadian arctic.

Photograph courtesy of Richard Taylor Jones

At the moment there are currently around 20,500 birds on Strangford Lough, feeding up after this long and hazardous journey. Visitors may be able to witness around 2000-3000 of these incredible migrants from the Limekiln Observatory and Brent Hide when they visit WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre. The event takes every weekend at 12 noon and 2pm during the month of October.

on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October join us for our popular ‘Tick & Twitch event’ – a fun competition to win a free family pass to Castle Espie (2 adults and 2 children). Simply turn up, collect your bird spotting sheets from reception, and head out around our grounds to try and tick off as many of the 20 birds you can find. Great fun for all, including those who don’t know their Starlings from their Cormorants.

Finally one not to be missed! join us after hours on Saturday 12th October for  our ‘Brent Dusk Event’. This includes an evening walk with our expert warden followed by supper in the Loughshore cafe and a slideshow in the Drumlin theatre. Costs £20 per adult and £10 for kids, 6pm – 9pm. Booking is essential. (weather permitted)

Events are included in the cost of admission and free to WWT members. Please refer to website for full events listings at wwt.org.uk/visit/castleespie alternatively contact us on 02891 874146.   WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre is open every day from 10am to 5.00pm and parking is free of charge. Follow us on facebook and twitter @wwtcastleespie.