Northern Ireland Tourist Board Offers of the Week!

Northern Ireland has a unique collection of irresistible places to stay including quirky B&Bs, luxurious spa hotels and hidden gem properties for the perfect short break and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has selected the best offers of the week for you to choose from.

    Clogher Valley Mid Week Special Offer, The Cottage, Clogher, Co Tyrone. Enjoy a mid-week break for two nights for £150 per unit. Set in the heart of the beautiful Clogher Valley, five miles from Fivemiletown and within a 30 minute drive from the towns of Enniskillen and Omagh. The local villages of Clogher and Fivemiletown offer a selection of restaurants, coffee shops and pubs. Available until 30 April.  To book call (028) 8554 8617.
  • An Irish Open Special at The Mourne Lodge, Cnocnafeola, Kilkeel, Newry, Co Down. Two nights stay with a hearty Mourne breakfast each morning and packed lunch including transport to Newcastle from £80 per person sharing.  Available 27 May – 31 May 2015. To book call (028) 4176 5859.
  • Valentine’s Sensation, Culloden Estate and Spa, Holywood. From £115 per person sharing. Indulge your senses at the Culloden Estate and Spa this Valentine’s Day.  Enjoy a glass of Prosecco on arrival, a romantic dinner for two in the Mitre Restaurant then a luxurious overnight stay with a rose petal turndown and full Irish breakfast in the morning. Available until 16 February 2015. To book call (028) 9042 1066.
  • Winter Break, Causeway Hotel, Bushmills, Co Antrim. In celebration of being awarded a 3 star status by the NITB, the Causeway Hotel is offering £99 for 2 nights, bed & breakfast and £149 for 3 nights. Available Sunday – Thursday until 31 Mar 2015. To book call (028) 2073 1226.
The Cottage, Clogher


The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (February 1-7).

  • The Omagh Jazz and Big Band Festival 2015, Strule Arts Centre, Townhall Square, Omagh, Co Tyrone, February 6-8. Enjoy legends such as Bruce Adams and the Big Brass Swing Band, The Little Big Horns and Ray Moore at this jam packed weekend of ‘swing’,  ‘jazz’ and ‘blues’.
  • Titanic Dance, Millenium Forum, Newmarket Street, Co Londonderry, February 5-7. Titanic Dance is an Irish Dance sensation that tells the story of the world’s most famous ship from its beginning in the Belfast shipyard to its tragic end. A cast of 28 world class Irish dancers and musicians set the scene for a breath-taking romantic performance that’s led and choreographed by Principal Dancer and Creative Director, Raymond Sweeney.
  • Mossgrove Youth Festival, Courtyard Theatre, Co Antrim, February 2 – 6. A unique music festival for young people aged between 5 and 25 years who compete in singing and instrumental classes throughout the week. The festival ends in a gala finale concert where the winners of the festival’s awards are announced.
  • Acoustic Picnic, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast, February 7. You are invited to come along to listen to some great live music for free, 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. Visitors are also welcome to browse the NI Music Exhibition.
  • Shadows of the Great War – World War I on film, Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, Belfast, February 7. To mark the Centenary of World War One, the Ulster Museum is proud to present a series of films that includes ‘Gallipoli’ which stars Mel Gibson and tells the incredible story of the Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey through the adventures of two idealistic young soldiers.
  • Anton and ErinThat’s Entertainment, Belfast Waterfront, Belfast, February 1. Prepare to be entertained with this dazzling new production for 2015 featuring sensational choreography, sassy tunes and sparkling costumes in a wonderful show of music, song and dance.  Join Anton du Beke and Erin Boag, the UK’s favourite dance couple, as they combine the sophisticated elegance of their quick step, foxtrot, tango and waltz with the showbiz razzmatazz of hits and steps from stage and screen.
  • An Evening with Johnny McEvoy, Railway Street, Strabane, Co Tyrone, February 7. Enjoy a nostalgic evening of song and story which will feature all of Johnny’s many hit songs including ‘Muirin Durkan’, ‘Boston Burglar’, ‘Those Brown Eyes’ and ‘Long, Long Before Your Time’.
  • An Evening with Brendan Grace, Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, February 4. Laugh out loud at Brendan Grace’s latest show which features some brand new material and some old favourites from his vast repertoire.  A brilliant character actor, his ‘Bottler’ character is legendary and is now featured at every performance.
  • King Blue, Market Place Theatre, Armagh, Co Armagh, February 6. Love Bluegrass? If so, you will love ‘King Blue’ – a new bluegrass band that brings together elements of the Irish Bluegrass scene over the last twenty years. Their show is peppered with original songs and fast paced tunes.
  • Next Step Mountain Biking Night Rides, Tollymore National Outdoor Centre, 32 Hilltown Road, Bryansford, Co Down, February 5-26. Get active and enjoy an activity that is perfect for the confident rider. The course is ideal for those who have experience of mountain biking and wish to gain an insight into the skills that are required to confidently ride at night.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

Here is Jacqueline’s pick of what’s on this week across the North.


The annual Comber Motorbike Show takes place on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st January. There will be road racing, motocross and classic bikes on show. There will also be displays of archive films and old photos as well as stalls selling an array of bike related goods. Light refreshments will also be available.  Friday 5pm – 10pm.  Saturday 10am – 5pm.  Admission only £3.


The BBC’s Million Dollar Mentalist David Meade is taking to the stage hot on the heels of his ground-breaking USA TV Special which saw him beat all the odds and become the first mentalist ever to crack a Las Vegas Casino. See David perform live at the Market Place Theatre on Saturday 31st January.


Hailing from County Carlow, country singing sensation Derek Ryan was bred into loving Irish traditional music by his family. His writing ability was seen in his debut hit ‘God’s Plan’ that received considerable airplay and used in Irish dance halls and in sell-out concerts in England and Scotland. See Derek perform at the Ardowen Theatre this Thursday 29th, Friday 30th and Saturday 31st January.


It’s Movie Magic this weekend at the Strule Arts Centre – with Mr. Peabody and Sherman showing in the lecture theatre at 11.30am on Saturday 31st January.  Using the most ingenious invention, teh EABAC Machine, Mr Peabody and his adopted boy Sherman hurtle back in time to experience world-changing events first-hand and interact with some of the greatest characters of all time.  By the Director of The Lion King and Stuart Little, this is rated in the Top 20 of Children’s Movies of all time.


The Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre is the venue this Saturday 31st January for a Frozen sing-along! Chase of those post-Christmas blues by coming along to the first Family Film Saturday. “Let it go” with the sing a-long version of Disney’s ‘Frozen’, the latest magical and hilarious Disney extravaganza. Join the fearless and adventurous Anna on her epic journey to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. Popcorn and treats supplied! Admission is only £2.


The American Wrestling Roadshow returns to the Theatre at The Mill this Saturday 31st January, after a successful sell-out in Newtownabbey last year. Don’t miss out again this year when the goodies take on the baddies in an unforgettable evening for all the family!  Advanced booking is strongly recommended. All audiences are welcome especially children both young and old.


The Ultimate Michael Jackson tribute show, Man in the Mirror, comes to the Europa Hotel this Friday 30th and Saturday 31st. Showcasing the sensational Michael Jackson hit list, this is Ireland’s finest Tribute artist, Anthony Walker, who is returning to the stage with this new and exciting live show.  This show boasts a five piece live backing band, 4 backing singers and a 6 piece troupe, numerous costume changes, stage props and spectacular visual display dedicated to “The King of Pop” that brings audiences into a world of celebration of the music of Michael Jackson. Limited tickets are still available.


Planning a wedding and looking for something a little different? The Quirky Weddings Alternative Wedding Fair was created with you in mind!

Now in its fifth year, the fair returns to the Waterfront Hall on Sunday March 1st (12-5pm)

What’s so different about the Alternative Wedding Fair? Saima Akram of Quirky Weddings says

“For a start we hand pick our exhibitors! We have always sold out all the spaces at our fairs so we started taking applications and choosing who best suited the personality of the event. We generally get over 200 applications for the approx 120 spaces. We look for creativity, quality and people who love what they do.”

Cate Conway, the other half of Quirky Weddings says

“We have over 120 exhibitors this time and visitors can expect to see a fantastic range of vendors! There will be rockabilly hair, slick stylish suits, creative photography, massive light up letters, gourmet marshmallows and chocolates, luxury balloons, unusual venues, dreamy dresses, jewellers who can help you make your own rings, the most incredible cakes you’ve ever seen and much more.

We have just announced our exhibitor list on our website,, so couples can get a head start on their research! We find lots of couples are quite strategic and make a list of who they want to speak to and come ready to make a bee-line for the companies they are particularly keen to meet! You can feel free to browse at your leisure too though, it’s a ‘no pressure’ event. We don’t like hard sell.”

Doors open at 12 noon and the Quirky Weddings girls suggest you get there early. Not only is there a lot to see but also the first 500 visitors will get in half price. (Regular admission is £6)

There will also be copies of the Quirky Weddings free Alternative Wedding Directory ‘The Book’ available so don’t forget to look for it as you leave!

New comedy God of Carnage premieres at the MAC

This February (3-21st), Prime Cut Productions and the MAC will premiere God of Carnage, a hilarious social satire directed by Emma Jordan and starring Dan Gordon, Kathy Kiera Clarke, Ali White and Sean Sloan.

This grown-up comedy centres on the story of two sets of parents who meet up to deal with the unruly behaviour of their children in a very civilised manner.  What happens next is open to opinion – a calm and rational debate between grown-ups about the need to teach kids how to behave properly? Or a hysterical night of name-calling, tantrums and tears before bedtime?

This award-winning play (Tony Award for Best Play 2009; Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy 2009) received rave reviews on Broadway and the West End and now comes to Northern Ireland for the first time. Starring a stellar Northern Ireland cast that includes Dan Gordon, Ali White, Kathy Kiera Clarke and Sean Sloan.

Emma Jordan, Director, Prime Cut Productions said: “I love this play and have been trying to bring the show to the MAC since 2012.  We are thrilled to have secured the rights to produce it and have been working hard in rehearsals to do the fabulous script justice. The four strong cast is outstanding and we spent quite some time casting to get actors who would be just right.  Social satire isn’t an easy thing to do, but all four capture the awkwardness and absurdity of the story just perfectly. I find myself giggling away in rehearsals at some of the gems of dialogue, and more often than not, in what is unsaid – those awkward silences that speak volumes.”

Áine McVerry, Director of Marketing & Communications, the MAC said: “Some audiences may know the story from the film adaptation, Carnage, or from the many famous faces that have taken to Broadway to play characters in this award-winning play from James Gandolfini to Lucy Lui.  But for most, God of Carnage will be a new story.  If I had to tell you what to expect, I’d say a really fun night at the theatre that is packed with laughs and at times, an uncomfortable sense of the familiar. Parents of teenagers will particularly enjoy it, as will anyone who has ever had the misfortune of trying to keep up with the Joneses!”

Prime Cut Productions and the MAC were recently nominated by The Stage for one of 2014’s best UK theatre shows for their co-production trilogy of Villa & Discurso and Tejas Verdes. Long-term collaborators, this is their third co-produced show together at the MAC.

Tickets are on sale now from starting from just £12.  The show runs from 3 – 21 February, exclusively at the MAC.


There’s comedy, drama and song on the bill at Armagh’s Market Place Theatre, as February kicks off with a jam-packed line-up of events.

‘Dirty Dancing In Le Shebeen’ sees the return of the loveable Maggie Muff, in the sequel to ’50 Shades Of Red, White & Blue’. 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’ in le Shebeen’ on her birthday night. But in the world of ‘The Muff’ things don’t run as smoothly as you’d think. This production takes place on Wednesday 4th February. Tickets are priced £18. Please note there is content of an adult nature including sexually explicit language.

‘King Blue’ is a new bluegrass band in the traditional vein bringing together some stalwarts of the Irish Bluegrass scene from the last twenty years in a show peppered with original songs and fast paced tunes. Clem O’Brien, regarded by many as the country’s premier Bluegrass vocalist and guitarist has played this music at the highest level for over twenty years, touring as a featured artist with the world renowned Chieftains. Sean Mckerr has been playing Mandolin for twenty years, and recently featured as the bass player in the World International Bluegrass band at the IBMA convention in Nashville. Mel Corry is also a veteran of the Dusty Millers Bluegrass Band and the Mean Eyed Cats, and earlier this year toured with New York based Buddy Merriam and Backroads. Caolan Derby holds down the bass duties in King Blue. His expertise as a bass player defies his youth and he plays with a variety of styles from aggressive rockabilly to slow waltzes. King Blue will perform on Friday 6th February at 8pm. Admission is £11.

On Saturday 7th February, Peter Corry returns to the Market Place Theatre with an evening celebrating some of the greatest songs from the movies. Peter will take you on a journey down memory lane with some of the most iconic and memorable songs ever written for films from the past to the present.  From the heat of Casablanca to the fun of Mamma Mia, the sultry Moulin Rouge to the wonderful World of Disney…..acclaimed international singer Peter Corry will delight you with a host of movie memories. Tickets are priced £22.50 each.

In their most dangerous show ever, ‘The Nualas’ break the mould they made previously with a deluge of new songs, higher harmonies, different keys and slightly shorter dresses, if that’s possible! And there’s more – expect new Nuala revelations, harder laughs, slicker riffs, and even tighter foundation wear! When this show previewed in Dolan’s of Leitrim at least three Gardai and a relationship counsellor had to be called. LOCK UP YOUR HUSBANDS. You have been warned. The Nualas will perform on Saturday 7th February at 8pm. Tickets are priced £16.

Tickets for all performances can be booked on [028] 3752 1821, or online at And to keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter ( where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.

Some Like it Scot! The Cloth Ear hosts Burns Night Extravaganza

This Sunday, The Cloth Ear at The Merchant Hotel will host a special Burns’ Night dinner, offering people a taste of Scottish culture right in the heart of Belfast.

Chef Peter Gunning and general manager, Lisa Kennedy get ready for The Cloth Ear’s Burns Night on Sunday 25th January. For further information and to reserve a table, call 028 9026 2719. William Cherry, Press Eye.

The evening will offer guests an opportunity to join in global celebrations of the life and work of popular Scottish writer, Robert Burns on Burns Night itself – Sunday 25th January – the anniversary of his birthday.

Guests can enjoy a traditional three-course Burns Night supper, including a performance from a piper, the addressing of the haggis with a dramatic reading of Burns’ famous ‘To a Haggis’ and a dram of whisky for just £30 per person.

The special three-course menu includes Pork belly and black pudding fritters with apple and ginger chutney followed by Haggis with neeps, tattie puree and crispy onions, followed by poached raspberry cranachan and a dram of whiskey to toast the haggis.

Guests will also receive a complimentary copy of Burns: The Ulster Connection booklet, with compliments of the Ulster-Scots Agency. The booklet examines the local links of the popular Scottish writer, whose works are said to have once been as prevalent as copies of the bible in homes across Northern Ireland.

For further information and to reserve a table, call 028 9026 2719.


The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (January 25 – 31).

  • You Must Be Joking, Grand Opera House, Great Victoria Street, Belfast, January 28. Jimmy Cricket returns home to the Grand Opera House with some of his friends for a great night of comedy and joining him will be the First Lady of Irish Comedy, May McFettridge.
  • Be Wild about Wildlife – Beginners Birding, Murlough National Nature Reserve, January 31. Discover the wildfowl and waders of Dundrum Inner Bay and marvel at their epic journeys. This event is a great day out for birding beginners.
  • Frozen Sing-along, The Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, January 31. Join in for an afternoon of family fun with this special sing-along screening of the hit Disney musical ‘Frozen’. Now you can really Let It Go at this special screening which will feature the song lyrics on the big screen! Join Anna, Olaf and friends on their epic adventure to find Anna’s sister Elsa, Queen of Arendelle.
  • Scottish Ceilidh, The Burnavon, Cookstown, Co Tyrone, January 30. The Ceilidh is back! Come and enjoy a great evening of Scottish Country and Ceilidh dancing. With the help of experienced dance leaders, see how it is done and then join in. You don’t need to have danced before, just come armed with your best dancing shoes and a sense of fun.
  • Sandi Thom, Millenium Forum, Derry~Londonderry, Co Londonderry, January 29. Over the last six years since Sandi Thom arrived on the scene she has sold in excess of one million albums, won various awards and been given an Ivor Novello award for excellence in song writing for songs such as, “I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair”. Her latest release ‘Flesh and Blood’ saw her work with The Black Crowes making this concert an event not to be missed.
  • Paper Marbling in Armagh Public Library, Abbey Street, Armagh, Co Armagh, until 31 March. Armagh Public Library has launched a small exhibition to display a range of paper marbling, which uses colour in intricate patterns to ornament the end pages of many of its early books. Visit to view a variety of examples within the Library’s collection that highlights the skills of various artists throughout Europe.
  • Derek Ryan, Ardhowen Theatre, Dublin Road, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, January 29-31. If you love country music you will love singing sensation Derek Ryan who enjoyed success as lead singer in popular Irish band D-side and went on to create four critically acclaimed solo albums.  His writing ability was seen in his debut hit ‘God’s Plan’ that received considerable airplay and used in Irish dance halls and in sell-out concerts in England and Scotland.
  • Brian Kennedy Live, The City Hotel Derry, Queens Quay, Co Londonderry, January 30. Get up close and personal at this intimate evening with Brian Kennedy and experience his voice, musicianship and personality.
  • Drew Holcomb, Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, Co Antrim, January 31. Drew will perform an intimate gig with guitarist Nathan Dugger at the Island Arts Centre. Drew Holcomb and his band have developed their sound through extensive touring, performing alongside John Hiatt, The Avett Brothers and Ryan Adams.
  • Princeton University Orchestra – Featuring soloist Iarla Ó Lioná, Ulster Hall, Belfast, January 31. The Belfast première of the Princeton University Orchestra tour features acclaimed Irish soloist, Iarla Ó Lionáird. Conducted by Michael Pratt, musical arrangements of sean-nós songs for tenor and orchestration by American composer, Dan Trueman, will make this an exhilarating event for music lovers.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

Here is Jacqueline’s pick of what’s on this week across the North.


Ards Arts Centre will host a Poetry Workshop facilitated by Kelly Creighton this Saturday 24th January.   Suitable for all levels who seek constructive feedback and wish to be inspired.   Participants will look at published poems and examine them.  The majority of the session will be dedicated to writing exercises, visiting techniques and learning how to redraft and edit your work.  Booking essential.  Call 028 9181 0803.


Sean O’Casey’s ‘Juno & The Paycock’ is one of the true classics of the Irish theatre. 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.  Presented by one of Northern Ireland’s leading Amateur Theatre Companies at the Market Place Theatre Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th January.


Gay Byrne – Live On Stage is Ireland’s King of Broadcasting one man show. Gay will bring this highly praised show to The Ardhowen Theatre in Enniskillen for one night only on 22nd January 2015.


Sing along to Goldilocks this Saturday 24th January at the Strule Arts Centre Omagh. Kids can sing and dance to all their favourite songs including ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and many more.  Throughout the show there are interactive moments and adventures that will have everyone laughing, playing and singing.  Featuring fantastic costumes, an amazing stage set and colourful lighting, it will be an experience for all the family to remember and cherish.  Performances at 1pm and 3pm


Following rave reviews on opening night, Ballywillan Drama Group’s  production of  Hairspray at the Riverside Theatre Coleraine that will blow away those mid-winter blues continues until the 31st January.


Burns and Benadonnor – Giant’s Causeway Friday and Saturday.   Celebrate Burns night with a Hairy Haggis Trail in the Visitor Centre.  Listen to the piper and enjoy Scottish specials in the Causeway Hotel and Cafe.


Newtownbreda Presbyterian Church is the venue for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Panto this Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th January.  Harnessing the enthusiasm and acting/singing/dancing talents of boys, girls and grown-ups from the local community, this production promises to provide a great night’s entertainment, or afternoon if you go to the Saturday matinee!  With the cast ranging in age from 6 to 65, and the score utilising musical classics as well as modern pop favourites, anyone who is looking to blast away their January blues could do worse than bring the family to the Ormeau Road for a very reasonably priced evening of fun.  Tickets are £7 for adults and £4 for under-18s.


The search for Ulster men and women who want to be part of the region’s Derry-Londonderry-Doire team in the next Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has been launched this week.

Organisers of the world famous Clipper Round the World Yacht Race have announced they will visit Derry-Londonderry and Belfast next month to meet prospective local crew members and Derry City Council has revealed it wants business partners to get behind the Derry~Londonderry~Doire team for the 2015-16 series and help make its third race campaign the most successful to date.

Clipper Race organisers, including former crew members, are touring Ireland and will host a free talk at Derry-Londonderry’s Guildhall on Friday 6 February at 6.30pm, and then Belfast’s Odyssey Complex on Saturday 7 Feb at 12.00pm, for those interested in finding out more about getting on board the world’s longest and most unique ocean challenge.
Huge crowds lined the Foyle to welcome home the Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht and the international Clipper Race crew members last June. During the stopover, more than 250,000 people also attended the city’s 2014 LegenDerry Maritime Festival which was held in conjunction with the race fleet’s arrival.

Seventeen Irish crew members took part in the last Clipper Race. One of those was University of Ulster nurse, Breidge Boyle, 52, from Newtonabbey, who was a crew member on board  the Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht during its journey across the North Atlantic in the last race.

Breidge says: “If you want to push your limits and do something truly amazing that will change your life forever, the Clipper Race is it. When I look back at what I have done I know I have accomplished something truly extraordinary. It’s given me some really, really good core values, strength to dig deep when times are tough and real ability to work in and lead a team. I urge anyone to take on the challenge.”

80 per cent of crew places for the 2015-16 race are now filled but there are still places available on most legs. Founded by legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in 1968/9 and is truly unique. It is the only event where people from all walks of life, regardless of previous sailing experience, can race around the world under sail. Crew can sign up to complete either the full circumnavigation or one or more of the eight race legs.

The Clipper 2015-16 Race will be the tenth edition of the biennially held event. It sets sail on Sunday, 30 August 2015 from the South of England and will arrive in Derry-Londonderry in July 2016 during the final, homecoming leg of its 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation.
The full recruitment tour dates and locations are as follows:

-Saturday 31 January – Dublin – National Yacht Club, 10.30am

-Monday 2 February – Cork – Royal Cork Yacht Club, 6.30pm

-Wednesday 4 February – Galway – Harbour Hotel, 6.30pm

-Friday 6 February – Derry/Londonderry – Guildhall, 6.30pm

-Saturday 7 February – Belfast – Odyssey Complex, 12.00pm

To attend the event, please RSVP to Della Parsons, Clipper Race Recruitment Manager at