The popular Northern Ireland broadcaster and novelist, Roisin McAuley, award-winning Crime Writer, Brian McGilloway, and acclaimed Irish poet, Nessa O’Mahony, are among the top writers who will act as tutors for  the very successful Creative Writing Workshops to be held during the John  Hewitt International Summer School which is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Armagh City & District Council.

Nessa O'Mahony

Also among the tutors this year is Kimberley Lynne, an American playwright, novelist and teacher. Over thirty of her plays have been produced in New York, Washington DC, Baltimore and Minneapolis.

These popular writing workshop, which run from 28-31 July, will provide an unique opportunity for anyone in Armagh and surrounding  areas interested in different types of creative writing to take part in workshops led by highly-regarded, published writers who all have wide experience of directing writing workshops.

On 28, 29 & 31 July, at 2.15pm each day, there will be separate hour and a half long creative writing workshops in Poetry (led by Nessa O’Mahony & English poet, Paul Batchelor), Children’s Fiction (with the acclaimed English writer, Nicky Harlow), Memoir Writing (Maureen Boyle), Crime Fiction (Brian McGilloway), Prose (Roisin McAuley) and Playwriting for stage (Kimberley Lynne). The workshops being taken by Maureen Boyle, Nessa O’Mahony and Nicky Harlow are being sponsored by the Open University, while Kimberley Lynne’s course is being supported by the University of Baltimore

These attractive workshop opportunities are open to everyone interested in writing and there will be limited number accepted for each course, so early booking is advisable. Anyone interested must sign up for a course of three workshops in any of the areas on offer and remain within that course.

The workshops will take place at the Market Place Theatre, the AmmA Creative Learning Centre and Armagh Pipers’ Club and the JHISS organizers are pleased to be able to offer local people and others the opportunity to work with such a range of admired and respected writers.

There will be opportunities on Friday 1 August for some of those taking part in the workshops to read their work to others in the Studio Theatre at 2.15pm.and other workshop participants, as well as members of the public, will be welcome to attend this free event.

Places on each Creative Writing Workshop course at JHISS will cost £35 per course and these can be booked now at The Market Place Box Office on 028 37521821 or online at www.marketplacearmagh.com. Applicants are asked to indicate their preferred choice of course when booking. Details are available online at www.johnhewittsociety.org and in the Hewitt Summer School brochure available at the Market Place and in local libraries.

Summer Sundays return to Ward Park!

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 Sundays programme has been running for 9 years now and has become a weekly staple amongst its regulars who look forward to kicking back in the sunshine and enjoying some quality music acts. Summer Sundays will be even bigger this year with the arrival of speciality markets. Every Sunday there will be a market on site to browse, another great reason to come to Ward Park!

Kicking off this year on Sunday, 6 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, salsa and classical. The programme features old favourites like Ken Haddock and Dana Masters and will showcase new music like John Leighton, Los Dramatacos and The Avalon String Quartet and this year’s finale event will be the fabulous Open House Bluegrass Picnic taking place on the last Sunday in August.

Opening the programme on July 6, is My One and Only Love – The music of Johnny Hartman which will be performed by the amazing Ken Haddock on vocals,  world renowned saxophone player Meilana Gillard and the superb piano playing of Scott Flanigan. This talented trio will be recreating the legendary compilation of Coltrane and Hartman first recorded in 1963, sure to be a special trip down memory lane. Please note this event will run from 4pm – 6pm for this Sunday only.

Immediately following the music at 6pm, the F18 World Championships Opening Ceremony will be taking place in Ward Park. This prestigious sailing event is being hosted this year by Ballyholme Yacht Club and will feature sailors from all around the world. The ceremony will include a welcoming troupe of dancers followed by the flag parade with athletes from 11 nations taking part. There will be speeches of welcome from The Mayor of North Down, the Commodore of Ballyholme Yacht Club with a response from the President of the International F18 Class.

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 3 – 5pm.

Please note that Ward Park is an alcohol free zone.

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

Red Arrows set to perform at LegenDerry Maritime Festival

Red Arrows to provide a stunning send-off to Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race

The world-famous Red Arrows will take to the skies over the North West Coast of Ireland this Sunday to bring a spectacular close to the 2014 LegenDerry Maritime Festival.

Brought to the North West by a partnership between Donegal County Council, Limavady Borough Council and Derry City Council, the RAF Red Arrows will perform their thrilling flying display as the stunning send-off to the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race on Sunday 29th June 2014.

The distinctive red jets, which are this year celebrating their 50th display season, will execute their trademark formations, close-passes and dynamic loops and rolls at the mouth of the River Foyle between Greencastle in Co. Donegal and Magilligan/Binevenagh in Co. Londonderry.

Thousands of people are expected to descend upon the North West Coast to capture a clear vantage point of the Red Arrows’ stunning performance and celebrate the official Race Start of the Clipper 2013-14 Race at Greencastle, Co. Donegal.

The LegenDerry Maritime Festival, which continues throughout the weekend, has seen tens of thousands of visitors flock to the City’s quayside and marina, which has resembled a scene from Monte Carlo or Nice, with the Clipper Yachts moored alongside a race village featuring music, food & drink and family entertainment, as well as plenty of action on the water all week long.

For information visit: www.legenderrymaritimefestival.com or www.clipperroundtheworld.com.

Best-selling writers take to the stage at Theatre at the Mill

Some of the world’s most popular female authors will be revealing the secrets of their success in a unique new programme of literary talks at Newtownabbey’s Theatre at The Mill.

Best selling writers such as Philippa Gregory, Cathy Kelly and Jodi Picoult are taking to the stage in ‘Conversations at the Mill’, an exciting new series enabling them to talk about their new work, engage directly with fans of their novels in Northern Ireland and sign books.

Both Theatre at the Mill and its sister venue The Courtyard Theatre have played host to well known people who speak about their lives and this series will continue with writer/opera director/performer Jonathan Miller and politician Peter Hain in the autumn.

“Conversations at the Mill is something totally new and different for us. We’ve chosen some of the best-known writers to come to speak about their work. The theatre is an intimate space to really find out more about these authors and their new work. After each talk the authors will be signing their books as well,” explained Bernard Clarkson, Arts Centres Manager for Newtownabbey Borough Council.

The first of the Conversations series is on August 17 with Philippa Gregory, author of The Other Boleyn Girl, who is releasing a new book, The King’s Curse, just days before her appearance in Newtownabbey.

This is her 25th novel and tells the riveting story of Margaret Pole, daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, and one of the few surviving members of the Plantagenet dynasty after the Wars of the Roses. The book covers 40 years in the life of the last Plantagenet Princess, who was wrongly accused of plotting revolution.

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period. Her 2001 novel, The Other Boleyn Girl, was turned into a Hollywood film starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary, sister of Anne and mistress of Henry VIII, and a second TV series of The White Queen, based on her series The Cousins’ War, is currently being filmed.

The second event in the Conversations series will be on Oct 16 which will be billed as a Girls’ Night Out with two performances both hosted by author Jane Wenham Jones. At 7pm Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell will be speaking followed at 8.30 by  Cathy Kelly and Tasmina Perry.

On Nov 9 by Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of My Sister’s Keeper and The Storyteller, will make her first appearance in Northern Ireland. She is releasing her 23rd novel – Leaving Time – in October so this is a chance to hear about her latest work.

Bookings are now being taken for the Philippa Gregory event with tickets just £6/£4 on www.theatreatthemill.com or on 02890340202.

6th Annual Belfast City Blues Festival

Join the Cloth Ear Belfast for a Beautiful Blues Weekend as the 6th Annual Belfast City Blues festival gets underway this evening.

This event is now firmly established on the blues festival calendar throughout Ireland, promoting musical heritage whilst giving great opportunities to young musicians breaking through.

The musical weekend starts tonight in the Cloth Ear with Acoustic Soul playing from 6pm-9pm.

On Friday evening see Lee Hedley playing inside the Cloth Ear while the Cloth Ear team of chefs cook up a storm outside with the first ever  spit roast, with oak smoked beef pistol.  This spit roast will be served from 4.30pm – midnight, alongside this we will be offering great drinks promotions.

On Saturday the Red Hot Roosters will perform in the Cloth Ear from 2.30pm -5pm and On Sunday D.D. & the Delta Boys will perform from 2.30pm-5pm.

This weekend is a fun packed musical feast for young and old alike!

Keep up to date with The Cloth Ear events on facebook and twitter.

The highly anticipated Perform Boot Camp set to come to Ballymena in Summer 2014!

This exciting new drama course for young people aged 12 and upwards will run from Monday 21 July to Friday 25 July 2014 between 10am and 6pm.

This is a new summer course for performers who want to work hard and play hard at furthering their Stage Skills education. It will take place in the excellent state of the art Theatre facilities of The Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena.

The course is suitable for those at all different stages of their learning, whether joining as a newer first time performer, or one who is working towards potentially auditioning for a vocational course at a higher level.

By keeping the course size small Perform Boot Camp will give individual attention to those attending to ensure no one gets missed out or left behind. Over the course of the week the concentration will be on the three main disciplines of acting, singing and dancing with a strong focus on performance.

There will also be an opportunity for one-to-one feedback at the end of the week which is unique to this course. It is important for students to have the time to hear about their own personal strengths and weaknesses and how to build on them, with the emphasis on positive and constructive commentary.

The students will be split into three age groups, 12-14, 15-16 and 17+ in order to tailor the workload appropriately. Each group will work with each tutor in independent sessions.

To get the best tuition you need the best teachers, and the best advice is from those currently active in the industry.

Acting & Performance – Peter Corry, Peter is a world renowned actor, director and producer with years of Musical Theatre experience under his belt.

Dance & Performance – Fleur Mellor, Fleur has been greatly involved in the youth market particularly in Musical Theatre with all levels of experience.

Singing & Performance – Ashley Fulton, Ashley has worked professionally in music theatre and singing for the past 15 years as an award winning performer, vocal coach, director, producer and musical director.

The course costs £100 for a week of first class tuition and advice from the best in the business and is a fabulous opportunity to get a foot in the door of the performing arts business

Call The Braid Box Office on 25635900 to book

What’s on in North Down this week and next..

28 JUNE – 13 JULY

Until 6 July, Exhibition: ‘Where is Sleep?’

North Down Museum, Bangor

These illustrations are taken from a children’s picture book story written by local couple Jim & Laura Lavery, ‘Where is Sleep?’.  The story is about a little girl who is told to ‘go to sleep’ but she doesn’t know where it is or how to find it. Her adventures lead her to new ways of thinking about sleep. The story grew from their young daughter’s struggle with sleep.

Free admission.

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

Until 27 July, Exhibition: Brian Desmond Hurst

North Down Museum, Bangor

This exhibition explores the life and work of Northern Ireland’s most prolific director through a variety of fascinating images, objects and stories.

Free admission.

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

Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 June, Family Fun at Cockle Row Cottages

Groomsport Harbour

Free entertainment, 2pm-4pm.

Sat 28: Puppet Show
Cottages open to the public 11am-5pm. Free admission
Info: Bangor Visitor Information Centre, (028) 9127 0069, tic@northdown.gov.uk, northdowntourism.com

Groomsport Harbour

Free entertainment
Sat 5, 2-4pm: Glitter Tattoos, Children’s Crafts, Balloon Modeller, World of Owls
Cottages open to the public 11am-5pm. Free admission
Info: Bangor Visitor Information Centre, (028) 9127 0069, tic@northdown.gov.uk, northdowntourism.com

Groomsport Harbour

Free entertainment, 2pm-4pm.
Sat 12: Glitter Tattoos, Children’s Crafts
Cottages open to the public 11am-5pm. Free admission
Info: Bangor Visitor Information Centre, (028) 9127 0069, tic@northdown.gov.uk, northdowntourism.com

Sun 29: Science Show, Children’s Crafts

Sunday 29 June, Walking Tour: Historic Bangor (Re-enactment) Walk


Discover Bangor’s history, from Bronze Age settlements, Bangor Abbey and its European influence to the Vikings, World War II and Bangor’s development as a seaside town.

Tickets £3. Pre-booking your place is essential. Subject to availability.

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

Friday 4 – Friday 11 July, F18 World Championship

Ballyholme Yacht Club, Bangor

Ballyholme Yacht Club is the host for this summer’s prestigious F18 catamaran World Championship which will be sailed on Belfast Lough, one of the best sailing areas in Europe. The event, one of the largest in Ireland this year, will run from 4th till 11th July.

Info: 2014.f18worlds.com

Saturday 5 July, Harbour Hoedown

Groomsport Harbour

Live Music From 7pm

‘The Hardchargers’, ‘Flatville Ace’s and Headliner Act ‘Hayseed Dixie’ will be performing a mix of Bluegrass, Louisiana style Cajun and ‘Rockgrass’ music. Free.

More free family fun: Children’s funfair 12noon-10pm and children’s activities at Cockle Row Cottages 2pm-6pm.

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

Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 July, Family Fun at Cockle Row Cottages

Sat 5, 4-6pm: Magician, Face Painting, Party Animals NI (The programme has been extended on Saturday to coincide with Groomsport’s Harbour Hoedown event: Live Music from 7pm)

Sun 6, 2-4pm: Face Painting, Children’s Crafts & Ulster-Scots Agency Entertainment

Sunday 6 July, Live music at the Bandstand

Ward Park, Bangor

The summer season of FREE live music every Sunday in Ward Park starts this week! The 2014 programme promises and fantastic line up of eclectic music that everyone is sure to enjoy.

This week’s act: Ken Haddock and Scott Flanigan performing the music of Johnny Hartman, *4pm-6pm (*this week only). Weekly speciality market, organised by Town Centre Management.

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

Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 July, Family Fun at Cockle Row Cottages

Sun 13: Archery, Face Painting & Ulster-Scots Agency Entertainment

Sunday 13 July, Live music at the Bandstand

Ward Park, Bangor

Free live music every Sunday, 3-5pm. The 2014 programme promises a fantastic line up of eclectic music that everyone is sure to enjoy.

This week’s act: Amanda Jameson Band and Chelsea Chambers performing pop music and favourite covers. Weekly speciality market, organised by Town Centre Management.

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


Saturday 26 July, ‘Pipes in the Park’ featuring Red Hot Chilli Pipers

Bangor Town Hall

Free event, 12noon-6pm.

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers will be playing from 4pm – 6pm. The event is free and non-ticketed. From 12 noon, other activities will be taking place around Castle Park and The Town Hall too, including Ulster Scots dancing, music and demonstrations and a children’s entertainment area which will guarantee to make the event a great family day out. In conjunction with the Ulster Scots Agency.

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

Spectacular fiery river battle to mark the end of the LegenDerry Maritime Festival

The biggest pyrotechnics display in the North West this year will light up the River Foyle on Saturday, as a massive fire and water show marks the end of the LegenDerry Maritime Festival.

A huge fiery battle between two pirate ships will be accompanied by a specular aquatic fireworks finale on Queen’s Quay to close the weeklong festivities which have had the eyes of the world watching.

The dramatic ceremony is the brain child of well-known local man Donal Neill, from Pains Fireworks, who was involved in the Clipper Race stopover event in the city in 2012:

“The fireworks display back in 2012 was, then, one of the biggest that Derry had ever seen so to get the chance to top that will be an absolutely incredible experience.

“The fireworks will have a maritime theme and will burn on the water with haunting, ghostly music so it will be a remarkable sight.

“Tied in with that we will have a narrative piece from a pirate who will speak about “dead men telling no tales”, followed by the theatrical stand-off between two eight-metre tall galleons. It’s all about thinking outside the box to make this hugely memorable.”

Donal is no stranger to working on some of Ireland’s most prominent events, including the opening of the 2011 Europa League Final and the main St Patrick’s Day celebrations, but says it’s his local knowledge will which make Saturday’s event outstanding:

“We are an international company but we are based in Derry so we live in the city, work in the city and know the city inside out.

“Just because we are local, doesn’t mean we are small. The wider Pains Fireworks group has carried out some of the largest displays in the UK, and indeed, the world.

“We know what’s capable of the river, we know the site better than anyone and most importantly, we know exactly what the audience wants, but also how to shock the audience. It will be a sight to behold.”

The farewell finale will begin at 10pm on Queen’s Quay. Park and Stride facilities are available at Fort George. For more information, visit www.legenderrymaritimefestival.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 (June 30-July 6).

  • Larne Giro d’Italia Bicycle Art Parade, Larne, Co. Antrim, until June 30. Continuing the celebrations of the Giro d’Italia, 20 fantastic bicycle sculptures have been decorated by some of the finest local artists which are on display across the town.

  • The Jungle Book, Enniskillen Castle, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, July 2. Enjoy a picnic with friends and family and watch the new adaptation of the classic novel, performed in the grounds of Enniskillen Castle in an open-air venue for an evening of entertainment under the stars.

  • 174th Annual Omagh Show, The Showgrounds, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, July 4-5. This annual show includes horse and pony showing classes, a donkey derby, pig racing as well as entertainment and food stalls.
  • Johnny Cash Tribute Concert, Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, July 4-5. Crumlin Road Gaol celebrates the music of one of America’s greatest music performers in a unique and authentic show, capturing the unmistakable sound of the ‘man in black’.

  • Tanglewood Music & Arts Festival, Narrow Water Castle, Co. Down, July 4-5. This festival will showcase the best artists and performers in a unique setting, with a craft beer festival on site plus lots of different performance areas to cater for everyone.
  • Mussenden Festival, Castlerock, Co. Londonderry, July 4-6. The three day festival will celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with a full range of activities for all ages and tastes including top-class musicians, a variety of superb foods, family entertainment, sports, arts and learning experiences.

  • F18 Sailing World Championships, Ballyholme Yacht Club, Bangor, Co. Down, July 4-11. Bangor is host to the prestigious F18 Catamaran World Championships which will see many world famous sailors take part in what is the largest two-person competitive multihull dinghy class in the world.
  • Meet the Heroes and Legends, Armagh Planetarium, Co. Armagh, July 5-6. A great family event where you can meet and have your picture taken with some iconic costumed characters, see the amazing fan built sets and props from some of the biggest movies and television series including Dr Who and Star Trek.
  • Cuilcagh Mountain Jeep Safari, Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, Florencecourt, Co. Fermanagh, July 5-6.  Jump onboard one of the Geopark Landrovers and explore the stunning scenery of Cuilcagh Mountain Park.

  • Pirates Of Portrush, Various, Portrush, Co. Antrim, July 6. A great family day out will see Pirates descend on Portrush with lots of themed activities for everyone from a treasure hunt to park run, music and a parade of pirates.

Jacqueline’s Pick of What’s On This Weekend Across NI


Celebrate the summer at the Summer Garden Fete at Mountstewart this Saturday and Sunday.  Pick up some plants from visiting garden nurseries, tour the gardens at Mount Stewart with the garden experts, or settle back and enjoy the family entertainment.


The ever-fabulous Frock Around The Clock Vintage & Handmade Fair will be returning to the historical Lissan House, Cookstown on Sunday 29th June 2014 from 12-5pm. This event will feature around 40 fabulous sellers of quality vintage, handmade and upcycled fashion, jewellery, furniture, homewares & collectibles PLUS sweet treats, retro art and gifts, photography, a fantastic prize draw, and Much More! You can also relax and revive in the Vintage Tea Room located in the Victorian Dining Room and browse the second hand book shop. Admission costs £5.


The Derrygonnelly Fun Day on Friday and Saturday will commence at 7.30pm with a Soap Box Derby in the village adjacent with a historical display in the Methodist Church, and followed by a BBQ and dance in Tir Navar on the Friday evening. On the Saturday there will be a Fun Day from 2pm to 5pm with a fancy dress parade, vintage rally, busking competition, and kids’ entertainment.


Even more than the Beatles, The Beach Boys found through their music the key to unfading youth—and they made copies for everyone. To these guys, the beach isn’t just a place where the surf comes to play—it’s where life is renewed and made whole again. The  Beach  boys last played Belfast  and Dublin   to sell out shows  and  this is their  first  time to  play outside the capital  cities and the only  UK /Irish  date in the mini tour  so  Derry will be full  of  summer sounds  on June  26th at Ebrington Square.


See Steel Magnolias at the Market Place Theatre Saturday 28th June. Robert Harling’s quintessential story of friendship and trust, ‘Steel Magnolias’ serves up a southern slice of life that’s as warm and comforting as sweet potato pie! In the world of Truvy’s local-homegrown beauty salon, six very different women come together to share their secrets, fears and love for one another while engaging the audience in hysterical and neighbourly gossip. From weddings to divorces, babies to funerals, new beginnings to happy endings, they share each moment in their lives with grace, determination, and perfectly coiffed hair. When tragedy strikes, it is in the familiar comfort of Truvy’s salon where they seek the solace and support that carries them through.  Presented by one of Northern Ireland’s leading Amateur Theatre Groups.


The Portush Regatta 28th – 29th June is a two day dinghy and cruiser racing programme organised by Coleraine Yacht Club in association with Coleraine Borough Council launching from The Harbour, Portrush.  Causeway Coast Maritime Heritage Group will be there with their racing curraghs. Take some time out to have a look at some maritime museum exhibits at The Harbour Office courtesy of Harbour Master, Robert Anderson.  The programme also features a RS Dinghy Association One Day Event on Sunday, 29th June.


Get out the glad rags, dust off the straw boater – it’s Jazz time! Join the restored 1960s steam train at Belfast Central. Relax as you leave the city behind and enjoy the sounds of New Orleans jazz from the Apex Jazz Band as we pause at stations which could be anywhere on the Northern Ireland railway network.  On Friday 27th June and 4th July, steam trains depart Belfast Central station at 7.25pm and return to Belfast Central again at 11.40pm.  Tickets cost £27 each and are available from the Belfast Welcome Centre, 9 Donegall Square North, Belfast or online from www.steamtrainsireland.com/events.

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.