The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland over the next week (April 21-27).

  • Brian Boru Festival, various venues, Armagh, Co. Armagh, April 22 – May 4. The ancient Cathedral City of Armagh will commemorate the life and times of Brian Boru, in this the 1,000th anniversary of his death, with events including a warrior re-enactment, Viking long-boats, a Viking tented village and more.

  • Pan Celtic Festival, various venues, City of Derry, April 22 – 27.  The festival attracts visitors from across Ireland and the Celtic nations with events including the Festival Parade, harp, fiddle, piping, choral and traditional singing competitions along with themed nights and a Camogie Blitz.  

  • The Single Speed European Championships, Castlewellan Forest Park, Castlewellan, Co. Down, April 25-27. Single speed mountain bikers and friends can enjoy a fun weekend of sporting action as well as camping, food and drink and entertainment.

  • Cookstown 100, various venues, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, until April 26. A host of events are set to take place in the build up to the Cookstown 100 including a Vintage Vehicle Run, Classic Bike Run and a Practice Day.

  • Bangor Easter Parade & Fun Day, town centre, Bangor, Co. Down, April 21. Enjoy a family Easter day out in Bangor with variety of entertainment including the Easter Parade, Lego Live Show with talented motor bikers and a Spring Fair.

  • Thai Belfast Festival, T13 Urban Sports Academy, Belfast, April 27. The festival offers a colourful and vibrant fusion of culture with traditional music, fashion, glamour and cuisine as well as Thai dancing, Muay Thai boxing and relaxing Thai massage.
  • Picnic in the Park, Forthill, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, April 21. Enjoy an Easter picnic at Forthill with friends and family and explore and discover the beautiful Victorian park along with music, an Easter Egg trail and family games.
  • Easter Walk, Glenarm Forest, Glenarm, Co. Antrim, April 21.  Families can get their walking shoes on this Easter and add a spring to their step with various walks available from the traditional Easter Egg Trail to more advanced walks with trained leaders.
  • Thrills and Spills, Roe Valley Country Park, Limavady, Co. Londonderry, April 23. A day of exciting adventure for the family with orienteering through the park followed by a picnic lunch to refresh ahead of a thrilling abseil down O’Cahans Rock.
  • The Legend of Luke Kelly, Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, April 26.  A popular tribute show to the iconic Luke Kelly of The Dubliners featuring the vocals of Chris Kavanagh as he takes you on a journey through Luke’s numerous hit songs and music.

Here are Jacqueline’s pick of family events taking place this weekend across the North.


Sunday 20th April, Family Fun at Cockle Row Cottages, Groomsport Harbour.

Easter fun with  Ark Open Farm, Easter crafts, Glitter Tattoos, Bun Decorating and Traditional Live Music, 2pm-4pm. Cottages open to the public 11am-5pm. Free admission.


There are only a few tables left for the upcoming Masquerade May Ball at the Glenavon House Hotel on 3rd May in aid of the Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group and Cancer Focus. With entertainment from Rodd Hogg, compered by Daybreak’s Rita Fitzgerald and dancing to James Huish and his band – this is a night not to be missed.  Contact masquerademayball2014@gmail.com for tickets.


A day with a difference this Easter at Share Discovery Village Sunday and Monday. Hunt for your egg around the site following the clues, once you find your egg you can decorate it and then have a go at rolling it down a hill! After completing all the tasks you will receive an Easter Egg.  Then cruise aboard the bunny boat with Balloon Modelling, Face Painting and Games. Free Tea and Coffee for adults.  Prices – £6 per Child, £10.00 per Adult, £28 Family ticket.


On Monday 21st April the beautiful Ballyscullion Park Bellaghy will host  an afternoon of craft displays, Easter Egg Painting, nature walks, bluebell trails and an Eggscellent Easter Egg Hunt in the fabulous Walled Garden!  (Event is free but some of the participating attractions may charge a fee.)  Gates open at 11.30 for parking and access.


Are you looking for somewhere amazing to visit during the Easter holidays?  Then make the trip to Armagh Planetarium and visit the stars! Beginning on Monday 21 April until Friday 25 April they have a thrilling line-up of Digital Theatre shows on offer as well as many ‘eggciting’ activities to keep you entertained!


Easter weekend in Portrush and The Causeway Coast Surf Festival offers surf competitions for all ages at national level (Open, Senior, Masters, Bodyboard, Womens, SUP, Under 18s).  Art and Photo displays from local surf and landscape photographers.  Surfers marketplace and stalls showing surf gear and equipment.  Activities include beach volleyball, skate & BMX demos, VW “Dub Surf” van & car display, surf school lessons, kids fun golf and more. Saturday evening (19th April) includes the Shore Shots Surf Film Festival with the best Irish and International surf movies being shown at Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart. 7pm-10pm.


This Easter Monday and Tuesday enjoy a 1.5 hour ride in a restored steam train from Belfast Central, along the shores of Belfast Lough to Whitehead and return. All ticket holding children receive a free Easter egg. Train departs Belfast Central at 11:00 and 13:30. Tickets must be booked in advance from Belfast Welcome Centre (02890246609) or online from www.steamtrainsireland.com.

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. Add your  events FREE OF CHARGE at www.whatsonni.

Newtownabbey Gears Up For The Giro d’Italia!

Saturday 10th May will see the second day of the Grande Partenza or the ‘big start’ of the Giro d’Italia race, pass through Newtownabbey.

As part of the Causeway Coastal Route, the cyclists will race through Glengormley at approximately 10.50am and along the Shore road at approximately 4pm as they near the finish line in Belfast.

To celebrate this historic event and to help everyone get into the spirit of the Giro d’Italiia, five family fun events have been organised to take place along the route:

Get into Glengormley for the Giro fun taking place throughout the town centre from 9am-1pm! The event will be jam-packed with activities for all the family including face-painting, arts and crafts, balloon modelling, street entertainment, bouncy castles and some children’s favourite characters on walkabout!

The caravan of promotional vehicles will be giving out goodies and creating a buzz in Glengormley at 9.20am so be sure not to miss out on this!

At Loughshore Park from 1-5pm, there will be amusements, inflatables and lots of family fun activities. Why not get in the ‘pink’ and try the sports on offer  – pink cycling, pink football and pink aerobics. Cycling enthusiasts will love the cycling challenges and cycle checks. With the exception of the amusements, all activities are FREE!

Whiteabbey Village will host an event from 2-4pm which will see the Really Rubbish Orchestra perform with instruments made from bicycle parts in the Presbyterian Church car park. The Templemore Silver Band will also provide entertainment while children’s activities such as face painting and balloon modelling will be available.

Fun days will take place at Rathcoole (Shore Road entrance) and Merville Garden Village fun from 2-4pm with free inflatables, face painting and balloon modelling and a performances by local bands.

In order to facilitate the race, the following road closures will be in place during the event:

Antrim Road 8am-11.30am and Shore Road 1pm-4.40pm.

Sandyknowes offslip at M2 will also have limited access during the times of 8am-11.30am.

Everyone is encouraged  to get into the carnival spirit that the Giro brings and ‘pink it up’ by dressing in pink, wearing pink wigs and making pink flags and banners! Look out for local food businesses offering Italian menus and admire the Giro themed window displays which will be on offer in Glengormley.

For more information on the Giro d’Italia, please visit www.newtownabbey.gov.uk/giro or contact Lisa O’Kane on telephone 028 9034 0052 or email  lokane@newtownabbey.gov.uk


Peter Duffy’s powerful theatrical performance of Patrick Kavanagh’s poem ‘The Great Hunger’ has been touring the country for the past year to popular and critical acclaim, and now the performance is heading to the stage of The Market Place Theatre in Armagh.

Generally considered to be Patrick Kavanagh’s finest work, its protagonist is bachelor farmer Patrick Maguire who has spent years at his mother’s beck and call. When she finally dies aged 91, he himself is 65 and has missed the boat in terms of finding a wife and having a family of his own, a source of acute sorrow and regret to him. Peter Duffy himself grew up on a small Monaghan farm so has a ready affinity for Kavanagh’s material which informs and shines through his absorbing interpretation of the work.

‘A finely-achieved and compelling production. Its conclusion was greeted with a standing ovation from the appreciative audience and the accolade was fully merited’ Galway Advertiser

‘The Great Hunger’ will be staged at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh on Saturday 26th April at 8pm. Tickets are priced £10 and £8 (concession), and can be booked by contacting the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at www.marketplacearmagh.com

And to keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/marketplacearmagh) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/mptarmagh) where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.

Grainne Duffy captivates The Courtyard Theatre

Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Grainne Duffy returns to The Courtyard Theatre for a night of dynamic music and entertainment on Sat 19 April.

In the last year Grainne Duffy has released her new album Test of Time to a wonderful reception from the press and fans worldwide. Still pioneering her first love the blues she has also found a voice in writing and playing in styles ranging from pop, soul and rock. Her live show is still as dynamic as ever and her band are a treat not to be missed.

Come along to another one of Grainne Duffy’s unmissable concerts at The Courtyard Theatre. Tickets cost £12 & £10 (Concessions) and are available online at www.thecourtyardtheatre.com or by contacting Box Office on 028 9034 0202.

Come to Bangor for an Awesome Easter Monday!

Looking for a family day out this Easter?

Why not come to Bangor this Easter Monday, 21st April, for a day packed full with FREE family fun at the annual Easter Parade and Funday where Bangor’s Seafront will have something to appeal to everyone from 11.00 – 6.00 pm. This year’s event will be action-packed featuring motorbikes, Lego and a spectacular carnival parade.

Starting at 11am on Easter Monday, at The McKee Clock Arena, eight of Ireland’s best trials riders will compete over a challenging course of giant colourful Lego pieces in the fantastic Lego Live event. Be prepared to be thrilled as these talented bikers showcase their amazing skills.

The Sunken Gardens will play host to the some very special visitors – The Giant Slinkies! Stretching to 6 metres high, twisting and curling into balls with playful and eye-catching performances. Also, in The Sunken Gardens, special Lego workshops are taking place, where children can come along and help build a mosaic of an iconic Bangor image.

On The Promenade, Bangor & Holywood Town Centre Management in partnership with North Down Borough Council will be hosting a Spring Fair where an array of local crafts and speciality foods will be available. Take the time to have a browse in this picturesque setting.

If you still have energy after all of that, Pickie Fun Park will be open all day with lots to do and see, take a ride on a swan, play in the play park or just have a coffee and relax in the refurbished café.

At 3.00 pm over 200 children and young people from local youth and dance groups across North Down will take part in the spectacular Buttercup Carnival Parade. The parade will have a distinctly different feel this year and will be a celebration of Bangor and the surrounding areas with a lively Spring theme. Look out for giant buttercups, butterflies and ladybirds, dance groups, live music, a Pickie Swan, boats and lots of other surprises! There will also be a “Lucky Buttercup Competition” taking place with lots of opportunities to win some exciting prizes from local retailers like The Flagship Centre, Easons, The Sports & Fashion Outlet and many more.

This year, The Parade will be led by the The Mayor of North Down, Councillor Andrew Muir who will be travelling in a very colourful rickshaw.  The Parade’s route will start at The Town Hall, then onto Main Street, along Quay Street, turning into High Street and making its way back up Main Street to The Town Hall – an extravaganza not to be missed!

Also, on Easter Monday, North Down Museum will be holding its annual Easter Egg Hunt from 11am – 1pm (cost £1) and there will be live music in Coffee Cure with “The Woodworms.” And at Bangor Aurora, Maurice Jay and the U105 Crew will be on hand to offer special prizes, games and family fun. Come and paint an egg in the café or enjoy the bouncy castle and colouring in competition.

There’s plenty happening at Project 24 over the Easter weekend too with the rescheduled “Out Of The Shadows” event which will take place from the April 18th – 20th.

So come on down to Bangor with your family and friends this Easter for lots of family fun!

For further information check www.northdowntourism.com

Sign up now for the Causeway Trek for Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke

This is the 9th year of Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s Causeway Trek.  With hundreds of participants taking part each year our increasingly popular trek is one event not to missed!

Join us for the 11 mile long walk which starts at the Giants Causeway and finishes at Larrybane Car Park situated at the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge.  You will be bused from Larrybane Car Park to your sign in point at the start where you will begin your walk.

Imagine one of the most picturesque walks in Ireland on a beautiful spring day. The views are wonderful – from the magnificence of the Giant’s Causeway to the windswept sand dunes of Whitepark Bay. On the way, you take in the picture postcard beauty of Dunseverick Harbour and stop to admire the smallest church in Ireland at Portbradden. And best of all, every step you take is improving someone’s life.

The funds you will raise by taking on the Causeway Trek challenge will support NICHS’ programmes of research in our local hospitals and universities into the treatment and prevention of these illnesses. You will also help us continue to provide a broad range of services in every part of Northern Ireland for people affected by stroke, respiratory diseases and heart conditions.

Once you sign up you will receive your fundraising pack, tshirt and contact from the Events Team.

For fundraising advice and assistance you can contact us on –

Telephone: 028 9032 0184
Email: events@nichs.org.uk

Pan Celtic Festival offers family entertainment at its best.

As the infusion of Pan Celtic traditions prepare to travel to Derry-Londonderry this month, Music City 2014 is delighted to host the vibrant family festival for the first time in its history.

A celebration of the cultural links between the Pan Celtic regions, thousands of visitors is expected to arrive in the city from 22nd -27th April for the festival which boasts a week of fun traditional music, language, competitions and craft events for all ages.

Mayor Cllr Martin Reilly, encouraging everyone to check out the programme for the full range of activities on offer said: “I am delighted that the Pan Celtic Festival has been incorporated as a key element within the Music Legacy Fund and to welcome this festival which will offer audiences not only some of the most exceptional performers from the Celtic nations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man to the city, but a complete range of exciting family-orientated events throughout the week promoting Celtic culture.”

Children can try their hand at the Celtic art of Straw Crafting, find clues written in different languages to win prizes at the Treasure Hunt on (Tuesday 22nd April) or get comfy and enjoy Tea & Tales in the magnificent mirrored Speigeltent in the Guildhall Square from (11am-3pm, Wed 23rd April).

Age restrictions do not apply and the whole family can catch the unique show of mummers and seasoned Glastonbury performers the Armagh Rhymers on the afternoon of Friday 25th April, they also offer 7-14 year olds an interactive and fun session to learn about the traditional art of Mumming from the mysterious characters themselves.

Geraldine Curran, current member of folk theatre ensemble Armagh Rhymers, speaking about what the children can expect said. “The Mummers are instantly recognisable by their distinct willow hats and have many talents.  Come join us in for our unique performances and series of workshops were we will entertain and delight the audiences with our old Irish Mumming traditions, telling stories through poetry, music, drama, song and dance.”

“Participation from the children is key – it is amazing to watch their level of self expression as the storytelling evolves through the performances.  In acknowledging the Arts Council of NI in their funding, I am delighted that we can bring the Mummers to Derry, come and enjoy our sessions which always promise high energy and lots of memorable fun. “

Families can watch the procession of the Parade of Nations, along Shipquay St and across Guildhall Square, led by a conglomerate of pipers marching as Pan Celtic Pipe Band (6pm, Fri 25th April). For those interested in the learning about the links and nuances between the Celtic languages, free taster courses relevant to children and young adults will be running throughout the week in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin and the Tower Museum.

Mayor Reilly continued, “From choral competitions to golf contests, language workshops and céilí dancing, festival clubs hosted by each Celtic region not to mention the world famous Speigeltent for the best in international live music, there really is something for everyone at this year’s Pan Celtic Festival.”

Tickets for individual events can be purchased online at www.culturlann-doire.ie or through the Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin box office. For more information on the festival, visit www.panceltic.ie or call +44 (0)28 7126 4132.

North Down Tourism events, this week and next…

THE WEEK AHEAD – 12 April-18 April

April – October

2014 Discover North Down: Walks and Tours

Whether you are interested in culture, history or nature, we are sure to have a walk or tour to suit you.

Our programme features a variety of walks that vary from free to those with a small charge. For a listing of the programme visit northdowntourism.com.

To book contact Bangor Visitor Information Centre on (028) 9127 0069. Pre-booking essential.

Until Sunday 27 April, North Down & Ards U3A Art Exhibition

North Down Museum, Bangor

This Exhibition showcases work of three thriving Art Groups of North Down & Ards U3A which celebrated its 15th Anniversary in 2013

Open Mon & Bank Holidays 10am-4pm, Tues-Sat 10am-4.30pm, Sun 12noon-4.30pm

Free Admission

Info: North Down Museum, (028) 9127 1200, museum@northdown.gov.uk, northdownmuseum.com

Until Wednesday 30 April,  Town Charters: Travelling Exhibition
North Down Museum, Bangor

This is a completed research project and exhibition, devised in partnership with the Ulster Historical Foundation and supported by the Ulster Scots Agency
Open Mon & Bank Holidays 10am-4pm, Tues-Sat 10am-4.30pm, Sun 12noon-4.30pm

Free Admission

Info: North Down Museum, (028) 9127 1200, museum@northdown.gov.uk, northdownmuseum.com

Saturday 12 and 13 April, Model Railway Exhibition

Bangor Grammar School

New Venue at Bangor Grammar School promises to be the perfect platform for weekend of planes, trains and automobiles.

Open Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 1pm-5pm

Admission charges apply.

Info: Bangor Visitor Information Centre, (028) 9127 0069, tic@northdown.gov.uk, northdowntourism.com

Thursday 17-Saturday 19 April, Circuit of Ireland

Info: circuitofireland.net

NEXT WEEK – 19 April-25 April

April – October

2014 Discover North Down: Walks and Tours

Whether you are interested in culture, history or nature, we are sure to have a walk or tour to suit you.

Our programme features a variety of walks that vary from free to those with a small charge. For a listing of the programme visit northdowntourism.com.

To book contact Bangor Visitor Information Centre on (028) 9127 0069. Pre-booking essential.

Sunday 20 April, Family Fun at Cockle Row Cottages

Groomsport Harbour

Easter fun: Ark Open Farm, Easter crafts, Glitter Tattoos, Bun Decorating and Traditional Live Music, 2pm-4pm.

Cottages open to the public 11am-5pm. Free admission

Info: Bangor Visitor Information Centre, (028) 9127 0069, tic@northdown.gov.uk, northdowntourism.com

Monday 21 April, Easter Monday in Bangor

Bangor Town Centre

It’s going to be Awesome! Lego, Motorbikes, Spring Fair and so much more AND the ‘Buttercup Carnival’ Easter Parade.

Activities 11am-6pm, Parade starts 3pm

Free event

Info: Bangor Visitor Information Centre, (028) 9127 0069, tic@northdown.gov.uk, northdowntourism.com

Monday 21 April, Easter at the Museum

North Down Museum, Bangor

Easter Egg Hunt (cost £1) 11am-1pm, Live music by ‘The Woodworms’ in Coffee Cure 12.30pm-2pm.

Free Admission

Info: North Down Museum, (028) 9127 1200, museum@northdown.gov.uk, northdownmuseum.com


The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland over the next week (April 14-20).

  • Causeway Coast Surf Festival, West Bay, Portrush, Co. Antrim, April 19-20. Enjoy a fun day at the beach as surfers take to the waves competing in contests while spectators can soak up the atmosphere with music, film, photography, art, activities and more.

  • Easter Celebrations at the Folk Park, Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, until April 21.  Stallholders, shopkeepers, travelling journeymen and entertainers will keep you amused along with traditional crafts of spinning, basket weaving and rope making while young visitors can help feed the spring lambs and young chicks.  

  • Easter Festival at Titanic Belfast, Titanic Belfast, Belfast,April 19-22. Experience  some family fun over Easter at Titanic Belfast with lots of family activities in the main atrium from face painting to seasonal themed crafts.

  • Arts In The Woods, An Creagan Visitor Centre, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, April 16-18. A family friendly workshop encouraging children of primary school age to explore their creative abilities using a combination of arts and storytelling.

  • Circuit of Ireland Rally 2014, Titanic Quarter, Belfast, April 17-19. This year’s rally is the 4th round of the FIA European Rally Championship, beginning and ending at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, competitors will also visit Newtownards and Lisburn with 19 challenging stages in Counties Antrim and Down.

  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh, Co. Armagh, April 19-22. Enjoy a great family day out at the Navan Centre, enjoy a farmyard trail, have your face painted and make a headpiece with a goat theme as you set off on an adventure with the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
  • Full Moon Kayaking on Strangford Lough, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Strangford, Co. Down, April 16. Take in the beautiful surroundings with a truly unique experience of paddling on Strangford Lough by moonlight. Learn kayaking skills and have fun under the watchful eye of expert instructors.
  • Llama Trekking Tuesdays, The Jungle NI, Moneymore, Co. Londonderry, April 15.  Experience the rare delight and therapeutic pleasure of Llama trekking through the enchanting forest, this novel activity is suitable for all ages.
  • Eggstreme Egg Hunt and Bunny Cruise, Share Discovery Village, Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh, April 20-21. A day with a difference for the family as you hunt for Easter bunnies on an orienteering egg hunt then cruise aboard the bunny boat with balloon modelling, face painting, Easter egg hunt, games and prizes.
  • Grainne Duffy, The Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, April 19.  Enjoy the sounds of Grainne as she returns with her dynamic live show following the release of her new album Test of Time which features various musical styles ranging from pop, soul and rock.