10 Things to do in NI this Week!

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (December 29 – January 4).

  • I Heart NYE, MAC, 10 Exchange Street West, Belfast, December 31. See in the first of January at the spectacular MAC New Year’s Eve party. Expect lots of dancing and fantastic music by the live house band as you ring in the New Year in serious style in the heart of Belfast.
  • Oasis Tribute Band, The Anchor Bar, Bryansford Road, Newcastle, Co Down, December 29. Enjoy popular Oasis tribute band `Roll with It’ and rock out to the iconic songs, big sounds and unforgettable swagger of the greatest band of the 90’s.
  • New Year’s Day Miniature Train Rides, Drumawhey Junction Railway, Donaghadee, Co Down, January 1. Start the New Year with a visit to the miniature railway at Drumawhey Junction.  The railway has an interesting track plan incorporating both a tunnel and a lattice steel bridge as well as locomotives, carriages and buildings for the pleasure of the general public.
  • Corick House & Spa New Year’s Eve Masquerade and Ball, Clogher, Co Tyrone, December 26. Get all dressed up for a splendid night out and don’t forget your mask!  Prepare to see the old year out and welcome in the new one as you enjoy a sumptuous five course meal and entertainment courtesy of The Brokers and the Clogher Pipe Band will pipe in the New Year.
  • Acoustic Picnic, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast, January 3.  Head to the Oh Yeah Music Centre with the family and listen to some great live music over a picnic style lunch.  All ages are welcome and this year there will be the addition of some giant board games for families and groups of friends to enjoy.
  • Legenderry On Ice, Ebrington Square, Co Londonderry, on selected dates until January 19. Grab your woolly hat and scarves and take part in a fantastic ice skating experience that is back again once more with an even bigger and better ice rink.  A skating experience can be enjoyed by everybody, all skating levels and ages and there are special rates for schools, clubs, companies and social clubs.
  • The High Kings, Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, December 29. Four renowned vocalists and musicians have come together to create an exciting Irish ballad group that has had sell out tours in Ireland and in the US. Let The High Kings entertain you by doing what they do best; bring rousing acoustic flavour to brand new songs as well as some old favourites.
  • Jake O’Kane’s ‘Tongue Lashing’, Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, Co Antrim, December 29. Jake O’Kane, star of BBC NI’s hit show ‘The Blame Game’, returns with his brand new show, ‘Tongue-Lashing’. Following the successes of his earlier ‘Teargas’ and ‘Mouthful’ tours, Jake is back with a ferociously irreverent review of Northern Ireland in 2014.
  • Titanic Run, Titanic Dock, Belfast, January 1. Start the New Year off on a healthy foot and join in on the 2015 Titanic Run. It is all about taking the New Year by the horns and making a difference so why not register for the 5K or 10K run and Fun Run for the kids round Titanic Dock.
  • Winterland Express, W5 at Odyssey, Belfast, selected dates until January 4. This Christmas take a mystical trip on the Winterland Express – the magical miniature train ride and travel through the enchanted forest into the icy cavern to emerge in the courtyard of Winterland Castle, the home of the Ice Queen, where a few surprises await!

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

10 Things to do this week in NI

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (December 22-28).

• The Polar Express (screening), Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre, Limavady, Londonderry, December 23. Bring all the family to enjoy this classic contemporary festive film which showcases modern digital animation at its best.

• The Festive Express, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Railway Gallery, Holywood, Co Down, December 22. For one night only, join in on a magical journey aboard the Festive Express in iconic surroundings. This unique evening of festive theatre and music is brought to you by a cast of over 50 young people from Ravara Productions, accompanied by a live orchestra.

• Boxing Day Walk, Castle Espie Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre, Newtownards, Co Down, December 26. After spending a day indoors opening presents and enjoying a Christmas feast, a Boxing Day walk is a great opportunity for the family to get out and about. Castle Espie changes throughout the season and when Christmas casts its frosty spell over the wetlands, it is a magical time to visit.

• Christmas Retro Tea Dance, Ulster Hall, Bedford Street, Belfast, December 22. Put on your dancing shoes and get ready for our festive Retro Tea Dance with live band ‘Nightswing’ featuring Siobhan Pettit on vocals and the ‘Bellehoppers’ teaching beginners old-time dancing. Browse through our mini retro market selling lots of goodies and enjoy the magic of a Christmas dance evening. For over 18’s only.

• Christmas at the Zoo, Belfast Zoological Gardens, Antrim Road, Belfast, December 22. Come and visit Santa in his grotto, get a special gift and join in the festive, family fun this Christmas! Help wrap and deliver presents for the chimpanzees, decorate Christmas trees for the Asian elephants, make your own Christmas crafts, visit Mrs Claus for story time and much more.

• Santa’s IceCapades at The Navan Centre, 81 Killylea Road, Armagh, Co Armagh, December 22. Make Christmas magical with a visit to the breath-taking IceCapades. You will enjoy a mini Christmas Panto, get to meet Christmas characters, savour some festive refreshments and get involved in enthralling story-telling and exciting Christmas games.

• Christmas Country Showtime with the Stars, The Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena, Co Antrim, December 27. Enjoy a star studded line up at this year’s Christmas Country Showtime including performances by Trudi Lalor, mister country music Tony Kerr, Boxcar-Brian, 16 year old country sensation, Lauren McCrory and Tom Cooper.

• Newcastle’s Christmas Cracker, St Mary’s Hall, Newcastle, Co Down, December 27. LOL Comedy offer the finest stand up comics in Ireland and the Christmas Cracker certainly promises to be a night filled with laugh-out-loud moments and side splitting one-liners as Kevin McAleer, Rory O’Hanlon, Neil Dougan and Ruan Hand take to the stage.

• The Courtyard Theatre Cabaret, Newtownabbey, 585 Doagh Road, Co Antrim, December 28-31. A glittering mirror ball will shimmer seductively as a sensational house band plays music and cabaret dancers get everyone in the mood for a good time. And look out for the tuneful waiters who will be seating you as they may just break out into song!

• Christmas Open Days at Lough Erne Resort Golf Club, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, December 27. Play an enjoyable game of Winter Pairs on a Championship Golf Course at the stunning Lough Erne Resort surrounded by the beauty of Enniskillen.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

Brand New Christmas Comedy at Theatre at The Mill

Author of 50 Shades of Red, White and Blue and Dirty Dancing in Le Shebeen, Leesa Harker returns to Theatre at The Mill with a bang this Christmas with her brand new, hilarious Christmas Comedy Slimmer for Christmas Thursday 18 December to Saturday 3 January (preview nights 16 and 17 December)

This fresh Christmas production is all about one girl’s mission to slim down in time for Christmas whilst battling with conflicting choices like whether to work out or work her way through her favourite chocolate. Sami Salt has exactly six weeks of Flab-Buster classes and Jane Fonda workouts to slim down and dazzle her gorgeous boss Mark Bond in time for the office’s ‘Christmas Do’. However, her friends have other ideas…each setting her up on a blind date to get her back into the dating scene. Will Sami slim down for Christmas? Or will she eat her own bodyweight in Malteasers like last year?

Starring Caroline Curran, Julie McCann, Cillian O’Sullivan, Neil Keery and Sarah Lyle, this side-splitting comedy will have you bursting at the seams!

Tickets: £22, £20, £18 & £15 (Concessions £2 off each price)

Preview nights (16 & 17) £18, £16, £14 & £12

Call our Box Office on 028 90340202 or visit our website www.theatreatthemill.com

10 Things to do this week in NI

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (December 15-21).

  • Holly Jolly Sing Along, 10 Exchange Street West, Belfast, December 21. Allow the kids to sing their way through Christmas classics in this family carol service with a difference! Tambourines and sleigh bells will be provided and Christmas jumpers are encouraged!
  • Santa at the Temple, Mount Stewart, Portaferry Road, Newtownards, Co Down, December 17-23. Catch the Santa Express to Temple of the Winds where you can explore the hidden grotto, see the elves in their workshop and enjoy festive refreshments before meeting Santa, Mrs Claus and the magic elf. You will hear their story, join in the fun and take home a lovely present.
  • Christmas ‘Night at the Movies’ Concert, Mussenden Temple, Castlerock, Co Londonderry, December 20. Enchanting Christmas concert set in the beautiful Mussenden Temple. This year Michelle Baird, Elluna Music Trio and special guests are welcomed to the line up.
  • Murder Mystery Nights, Tullylagan Road, Cookstown, Co Tyrone, until December 20. Enjoy all the Intrigue, speculation and entertainment of Mid-Ulster’s most famous Murder Mystery evenings. The night involves a beautiful four course luxury festive feast set in the haunting backdrop of the medieval banqueting hall followed Dj and dancing.
  • Fusion Festivities, Island Arts Centre, The Island, Lisburn, Co Antrim. December 15-16. Fusion Theatre and the NI Concert Band invite you to join their celebrations of the festive season! Enjoy a fantastic show that will put you in the Christmas mood coming into the festive season. With popular numbers such as ‘O Holy Night’ the night promises to be a musical extravaganza.
  • Shambles Christmas Market, Shamble Yard, Cathedral Rd, Armagh, December 19. Steep yourself in the Christmas atmosphere. Let the sounds and smells of festive tunes, Christmas treats and mulled wine lead you around the market. Enter the Christmas competition to be in with a chance to win a seasonal hamper brimming with market goodies.
  • Christmas lanterns at Orchard Acre Farm, Irvinestown, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, December 21. Take part in the annual parade that brings light to darkness on the shortest day of the year.  Everyone is encouraged to make their own lantern from materials provided and once all lanterns are complete the group will go on a short parade around the farm ending at the big fir tree. The youngest member of the group will then join a very special guest to help switch on the fairy lights.
  • Christmas at St Georges Market, East Bridge Street, Belfast, December 19-24 This Christmas promises to be a special time at the historic St George’s Market. There’ll be choirs, children’s entertainment, face painting, family fun activities, fashion shows and tasty chocolate giveaways. Santa Claus is even expected to fly by on Friday, Saturday and Sunday!
  • Ballymena Chamber Orchestra Christmas Favourites, Braid Arts Centre, Co Antrim, December 16.  Join Ballymena Chamber Orchestra for their annual Christmas Concert with everyone’s favourite Christmas music. Performed in the Atrium, this is a lovely festive night out for all the family.
  • Swing Swing Swing Christmas, Ardhowen Theatre, 97 Dublin Road, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, December 18. Bob Quick and The Big Brass Swing Band return following their recent Flive sell out concert with some Christmas Swing. Bigger and better, the 24 piece band will walk you through a Winter Wonderland of seasonal delights such as ‘Santa Baby’ and ‘White Christmas’.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

Experience the Wonder of the Christmas Village in Derry~Londonderry

Derry has it all wrapped up for an enchanting Christmas experience to rival any European city thanks to an exciting package of family-friendly activities and events guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit.

With events taking place at venues right across the city, Derry has so much to offer in terms of both Christmas shopping and family fun, making it the idea destination for a legenDerry pre-Christmas trip.

“Our brand new Christmas Village at Ebrington is a major attraction for visitors to the city this year, incorporating the chalet style Christmas markets housing both continental and local traders, to create a truly seasonal experience for visitors. We also have a pop-up Christmas Cinema – the ‘Festive Film Factory’ – showing your favourite festive films which appeal to movie fans of all ages but especially families at this magical time of the year,” Cllr Mayor Brenda Stevenson commented.

“We are delighted at the return of Legenderry on Ice at Ebrington with an even bigger and better ice rink than last year which is such a big hit with the public and even a couple of the Belfast Giants popped in this week to test it out!

We also have a wide range of other popular attractions such as the festive funfair and bar in our world famous Spiegeltent with live music and entertainment during the weekends leading up to Christmas to get everyone in the festive mood.”

From 12th December there will be a daily prize giveaway at the Christmas Village with mega prize bundles to be won on weekends, with prizes such as Disney On Ice tickets and Ulster Rugby Tickets!

Free Children’s entertainment on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st December to include Face Painting and Storytelling by Mrs Claus is sure to be a fun way to spend an afternoon in the lead up to Christmas!

Added to this – the annual Mayors Christmas Concert will take place again this year in the beautiful Guildhall on the 21st December from 8pm, featuring performances from City of Derry Civic Choirs, Codetta and a live orchestra – it’s the perfect chance to sit back, relax and be entertained, during the madness of the Christmas rush!  Tickets can be purchased from the Guildhall, Derry.  Tel 028 71 376 510

The historic Walled City, with its blend of shops, hotels, bars, restaurants and crafters, provides an ideal backdrop for the countdown to the most magical time of the year.

With so many visitor attractions and events to enjoy, why not stay a while and soak up the festive atmosphere, with one night B&B accommodation available from just £32.50 per person sharing. For more details go to www.visitderry.com

For more detailed information and updates on Derry

City Council’s family-friendly Christmas programme please visit www.festivetime.com


There’s a new season of events now on sale at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh for January to June 2015, and it all kicks off in the New Year with a sparkling line-up of events to brighten up those dark January nights.

Top Irish stand-up and TV comic Neil Delamere starts the season on a comical note with his brand new show ‘The Fresh Prince Of Delamere’. Expect the same powerhouse performance from the star of RTÉ’s ‘The Panel’, ‘2nd Republic’, BBC’s ‘The Blame Game’, ‘Fighting Talk’ and ‘Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow’. Neil will have audiences choking with laughter on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th January.

For something a little bit different, try the Market Place Theatre Cajun | Bluegrass Club featuring the best of bluegrass and Cajun music and food that is as spicy as the music. ‘Special Consensus’, one of the best bluegrass bands on the music circuit makes a welcome return to The Market Place. ‘Bluegrass with attitude and boundless energy’ is a fitting description of this superb bluegrass band. They have toured all over the world to huge critical acclaim and packed houses. This event takes place on Saturday 10th January.

On Thursday 15th January, platinum-selling artist Duke Special will take to the stage. He’s done it all, from presenting a documentary on the life and times of 50s megastar Ruby Murray to being commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to write a series of original songs based on photographs for their exhibition of the photographers Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand, from performing with orchestras such as the Ulster and RTE Concert orchestras, to making the first recording of an unfinished musical by Kurt Weill based on the novel Huckleberry Finn.

Then on Saturday 17th January, as part of her first Irish tour in four years, Mary Black returns to her native audiences. Mary will be joined on stage by her best band – Bill Shanley, Pat Crowley, Nick Scott and Richie Buckley. Early booking is strongly recommended.

Nathan Carter, the hottest act on the Irish music scene makes a welcome return to The Market Place Theatre on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd January. Nathan has had a tremendous year to date, with his new album ‘Where I Wanna Be’ topping the Irish Charts.

Sean O’Casey’s ‘Juno & The Paycock’ is one of the true classics of the Irish theatre, and one of Ireland’s leading Amateur Theatre Companies, Newpoint Players, will perform it on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th January. The play looks at the effects of the civil war on a Dublin household already crippled by economic hardship and the efforts, mainly by the mother, to keep the family on an even keel.

The loveable Maggie Muff is back with a bang in ‘Dirty Dancin’ In Le Shebeen’ on Wednesday 28th January. Maggie and her buck-eejit sidekick Big Sally Ann are planning Sally’s part in Le Shebeen.  She wants to recreate the last dance from ‘Dirty Dancin’ on her birthday night. But in the world of ‘The Muff’ things don’t run as smoothly as you’d think.

January will close with the unique talent of Grainne Duffy whose performances are raw and powerful, edgy and elegant. So far in her short career, Grainne has already graced the stage at Glastonbury for three electric performances and has toured much of Europe. Recently Grainne was asked to open for Jools Holland on his tour and she and her band graced the stage for three rapturous nights.

Tickets for all events 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.

Jacqueline’s pick of festive events this week across the North.


Cinderella, one of the most famous fairy-tales by the Brothers Grimm, is always popular in its many forms and adaptations. The rags-to-riches figure has had young girls dreaming of becoming a modern day Cinderella for many years.  Come along and see 2nd Skin Theatre Company’s adaptation of this endearing fairy tale and you won’t be disappointed. Web Theatre, Newtownards, Friday 12th and Saturday 13th December.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year in the Ancient Cathedral City of Armagh. Soak up the magical atmosphere and ‘make merry’ this Christmas with events for all to enjoy. Throughout the season, there is a full calendar of activities including Armagh’s panto spectacular ‘Scrooge’s Christmas’, Santa’s magical event ‘Ice Capades at Navan’ and Christmas workshops and demonstrations. Armagh City Centre will also be full of Christmas cheer with festive entertainment, late night opening and Santa’s FREE magical workshop.


The Grand Hall at Castle Coole will be brought to life this Friday and Saturday with festive music and favourite Christmas carols performed by Fermanagh Choral Society. Booking essential. Contact 028 6634 8249. Performances begin at 8pm.


Join St. Joseph’s Brass Band for this children’s classic of the film adaptation of Raymond Brigg’s enduring Christmas tale at the Alley Theatre Strabane this week from Tuesday until Thursday. St Joseph’s Brass Band will perform Howard Blake’s uplifting music while school choirs will sing enchanting music such as ‘Walking in the Air’ as you watch the film on a big screen.  This performance will be a great way to start Christmas!


A gigantic beanstalk, Daisy the cow, magic beans, a goose that lays golden eggs and the nastiest of giants – it’s panto time again at the Millennium Forum! The Millennium Forum is well known for its outstanding Christmas pantomimes and this year’s production promises to be the best yet. Telling the story of peasant boy Jack and his attempts to please his impoverished mother and win the hand of Princess Jill, JACK AND THE  BEANSTALK remains one of the best-loved pantomimes of all time. Packed with great song and dance routines, hilarious comedy, dazzling scenes and magical special effects, JACK & THE BEANSTALK is fun for all the family from 4-94! Stars William Caulfield and runs until 4th January.


Come and meet Santa at Breckenhill! He is back at his Grotto in the barn again until Saturday 13th December, waiting to meet lots of children and find out what they want for Christmas!  Also, enjoy the woodland walk, pat the donkey, munch on sausages and marshmallows from the brazier, write a letter to Santa, play some games, and have a lovely hot dog and a hot or cold drink!


Have a blast at the Mac’s Festive Family Fun Workshops which run until Saturday 13th December.  Alongside the marvellously, magical Christmas show, we will be running some curiously creative workshops – inviting your little ones to explore Christmases past with our artists.  You’ll get to make delicate trinkets and clever Christmas cards with a twist, and lots more besides.

Help The Elves Find Santa in Bangor!

Looking for a visit to Santa with a difference? Come and join our Nearly Christmas Tour this Saturday on High Street in Bangor and help the elves find the famous man in red! We need lots of detectives to join in the hunt!

Special prizes will be given to the children who track Santa down!

Taking place on Saturdays 13 & 20 December, the Nearly Christmas Tours, hosted by

Young At Art are hilarious high-energy events and fun for children of all ages. Mums and Dads are also welcome!

The tours take place at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm each day and last approximately 45 mins.

Tickets cost £1. Booking is essential.

Tickets on sale at Bangor Visitor Information Centre

Tel: 028 9127 0069

Help Us Find Santa in Bangor on the Nearly Christmas Tours!

Santa has been kidnapped by a naughty elf and is being held captive somewhere on High Street in Bangor – can you help us find him?  We need lots of children to join in the search!

Special prizes will be given to the children who track Santa down!

The Nearly Christmas Tours are coming to Bangor’s High Street this December with a high energy, exciting hunt for Santa led by a pair of mischievous elves – one will help you find the famous man in red – the other will throw you off the scent!

Taking place on Saturdays 6, 13 & 20 December, the Nearly Christmas Tours, hosted by Young At Art promise to be fun entertaining events for children of all ages.

The tours will take place at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm each day.  Tickets cost £1 each and are on sale at Bangor Tourist Information Centre – pre-booking is essential as space is limited on each tour. 

There’s lots of other festive entertainment happening around the Town Centre in the run up to Christmas too; look out for a selection of brass bands performing traditional Christmas music each Saturday in December outside The Danske Bank.

And there are lots of other activities happening on Main Street too as part of the “Main Street My Street” programme of events.  On Saturday 13 December, Matthew Malcolm, The Buskfest 2014 winner will be entertaining the shoppers.  On  Friday 19 December Toby Pine Cone, The Christmas Elf will be in town  and then on Saturday 20, Borris & Ricardo and The Christmas Elf Rickshaw will be making an appearance from 1 – 3pm.

So come on down to Bangor this December, join in the fun and get that Christmas shopping started!

For further information, please phone our Visitor Information Centre on: 028 9127 0069 or visit www.northdowntourism.com

Christmas Traditions at The Argory

Celebrate traditions old and new at The Argory this Christmas. With exciting and beautiful winter wonderlands to discover, Christmas fairs to enjoy, festive entertainment, mulled punch, mince pies and a famous chap with a white beard and a red suit, The Argory has it all wrapped up!

Visit the magnificent Victorian estate for the Christmas Fair on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 December from 11.30am-5.30pm. Once again, The Argory will come to life with almost 60 craft, food and gift stalls, stocking everything from jewellery and home furnishings to handbags and hats, gourmet sausages and ciders. Visitors can also stock up on seasoned firewood for the cold winter months and get the pick of the bunch from the beautiful range of Christmas trees.

Coalisland and St. Mark’s silver bands will transport visitors to a bygone age with the sounds of fabulous festive entertainment, and on Saturday 6 December there will be a unique performance from Dungannon’s Bella Voce Youth Choir.  Visitors can also enjoy afternoon tea in the house with a festive twist and see Santa and Mrs Claus in the grotto. Finally, experience the estate, like never before with a magical horse drawn carriage ride.

Step away from the hustle and bustle of the High Street and see The Argory in a whole new light this Christmas. For one night only, the house and courtyard will be festively decorated and open to visitors. At The Argory all a Glow, visitors can join the Housekeeper, Lady Bond and their guests as they celebrate a MacGeough-Bond Christmas Party. Experience a delicious festive tea in the beautiful Octagon Room, mulled punch and chestnuts in the Courtyard and enjoy music from St. Patricks Grammar School Choir, Armagh. The Argory all a Glow takes place on Thursday 11 December from 5.30-8.30pm.

For magic and memories this Christmas, visit The Argory. For further information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/argory or facebook.com/NationalTrustMidUlster