Stena Line Goes BIG For Hotel Breaks

Europe’s tallest man sails into town to launch Stena Line’s BIGGEST EVER hotel break sale

EUROPE’S tallest man sailed into Northern Ireland today to reveal details of ferry company Stena Line’s biggest ever hotel breaks sale.

Stena Line’s massive January sale, which runs from January 20 until January 28 for travel until June 15, offers holidaymakers a choice of cut-price deals with savings of up to 40% when you buy your ferry and hotel together, with a choice of more than 2,500 hotels across Britain.

So to give the company’s unprecedented sale some ‘stand out’, or rather ‘stand up’, appeal, Stena  enlisted the help of Neil Fingleton from Newcastle (Co Durham) who at a staggering 7’ 7” ¾ stands head and shoulders (…and torso!) above any other living person in Europe.

“January is the key time of the year, especially with the travel industry, when people are looking to max out on great value deals which is why we have developed a range of hotel and travel breaks with  up to 40% off, our BIGGEST ever sale!” said Stena Line’s Head of Travel, Orla Noonan.

Orla Continued:  “Our short nine day booking window opens up a large range of popular travel calendar dates between now and June 15 for our customers including romantic Valentine’s trip, Half term, an Easter break, May Day long weekend or just simply an opportunity get away from it all for a few days.  For a small £50 deposit you can secure a great value get away at the time you want to go, so why not BIG up 2015 with a Stena Line hotel break. ”

Prices start from *£99 per person sharing for a two night hotel break including return ferry travel by car and you can choose from some of Britain’s most popular hotels including Travelodge, Hilton, Radisson Blu and Park Inn.

For more details on Stena Line’s biggest ever hotel break sale visit

*Subject to availability.  Terms and conditions apply.

Mount Stewart Reunited with its Historic Demesne

Mount Stewart’s world famous house and gardens are set to be reunited with their historic demesne after more than 50 years.

The news comes as the National Trust today announced plans which will see the area which the conservation charity looks after increase from 100 to 1000 acres

The £4m investment from the National Trust comes as the £7.5m project to restore the house at Mount Stewart enters its final weeks.

Announcing the news, Jon Kerr, National Trust Manager at Mount Stewart said: “This year as we celebrate the completion of the house restoration project at Mount Stewart, we will begin another new chapter in its history as we reunite the house and garden with its historic demesne.

“With a story dating back hundreds of years, the landscape will now extend beyond the house and garden on the shores of Strangford Lough to include the surrounding 1,000 acres of rolling parkland and woodland which make up the demesne. In time, visitors will be able to explore extensive woodland, previously unseen walled gardens, farmland and a range of historic monuments and buildings.

“Combined with a newly restored house and one of the top gardens in the world – in years to come this will create a destination which offers a fascinating insight in to the stories of the Stewart family. I really believe that Mount Stewart is an extraordinary place, and it deserves to be safeguarded and protected for many generations to come.”

Lady Rose Lauritzen, granddaughter of Edith Lady Londonderry, welcomed the news: “The number of people visiting Mount Stewart continues to rise every year and the pleasure it gives to so many people will be enhanced by the opening of the demesne. This will eventually enable visitors to walk, ride or cycle around the old rides, and enjoy the beauty of the wildlife and wild flowers in a totally unspoilt part of Northern Ireland.

“Mount Stewart for me is more like a relation or a best friend and having experienced so much pleasure all my life surrounded by the exquisite thousand acres, I feel very strongly that it should be shared by everyone. I know for the Trust this is an important long term investment.”

Heather Thompson, Director for the National Trust in Northern Ireland said: “Our £4m investment in the demesne is in addition to the £7.5m house restoration project which will complete in April 2015 – a clear demonstration of the National Trust’s commitment to conservation that will leave a legacy for everyone in Northern Ireland to enjoy, forever.

“This is a really special opportunity to open up access to a truly beautiful part of our countryside. Looking after the wider demesne will require a huge amount of work and we will be developing a range of plans over the next few years, in preparation for opening this amazing landscape to our members, supporters and visitors.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Arts Council and HMRC who helped guide us through the Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) process which has made this possible. As part of the same AIL process we will also see an amazing collection of historic items returning to the house. So this really is a big year for Mount Stewart!

“I would also like to thank the Garfield Weston Foundation which is helping to fund this important project and also the Lauritzen family who have worked so closely with us to make this a reality.”

Although visitors will not be able to access the full demesne for a number of years, the Trust has already opened up areas of the previously unseen Walled Garden and Dairy.

Neil Porteus, Head Gardener at Mount Stewart said; “Once the powerhouse of the demesne, the Walled Garden provided plants, raised mainly from seed, supplied by plant collectors from around the World, and produced a wide variety of fruit and vegetables to serve the house and feed the estate staff.

“A significant project in itself, restoring the Walled Garden in years ahead will incorporate the return of an extensive collection of the best scented period roses. In the open quarters of the orchard there are plans to plant a selection of fruit trees. Over the longer term we will once again grow soft fruit in the restored Vineries and Peach Houses.”

The newly restored house at Mount Stewart will open a range of exciting new rooms to visitors in April with a UTV documentary airing later in the summer. Meanwhile the world class gardens are open to visitors to enjoy throughout the year.


The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to start making plans to try out something different and exciting to fill the months ahead so whether you plan to spend time with friends at an event, get outdoors for an active break or enjoy some ‘me time’, Northern Ireland has it all.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has listed some wonderful ways to make 2015 a memorable one in what promises to be an eventful year ahead.

“With the new year well and truly upon us, 2015 is shaping up to be a great year for action-packed, world famous golfing events and thrilling motor races, to name a few.  Northern Ireland is literally jam-packed with fun activities, unforgettable events and interesting things to see and do,” said NITB’s Destination PR Officer, Pauline Gormley.

To help get you started, NITB has highlighted a range of things to try in Northern Ireland this year;

Exciting Events

Banish the post Christmas blues with lunch time helpings of theatre, music and comedy at the Out to Lunch Festival. All events are served up with a delicious hot lunch and take place in the Cathedral Quarter from January 2 – 25.

If it’s a thrilling new event you’re after then the Red Bull Crashed Ice at Stormont Estate on February 20-21 is the place to be.  This is an extreme winter sporting event of ice cross downhill which will see over 140 competitors race down a heart pumping, specially designed assault course in what is sure to be a breath taking spectacle.

Bring the kids along and treat your family to a fantastic day out at the Belfast Children’s Festival from March 6 – 13. The festival is aimed at children up to 14 years old and events take place both in and out of school time for schools, groups and families to attend. The outstanding international and local productions cover a range of genres that will excite and inspire children.

If it’s international arts and culture that you’re after then Féile an Earraigh will be right up your street. The festival takes place in Belfast from March 10 – 17 and is a celebration of Irish music and language.

Golf lovers everywhere will be looking forward to the Irish Open 2015 which returns to Northern Ireland once again this year. The event will be hosted at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle from May 28 – 31 and attendees can watch golfing heroes such as Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy as they battle it out at the foot of the Mourne Mountains.

Following the huge success of the Giro d’Italia in May 2014 the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia Northern Ireland will take place this year and the prestigious cycling sportive will consist of two routes through Northern Ireland’s stunning landscapes. The event will start from Titanic Belfast on June 21 so be sure to mark this very special date in your diary.

For all things nautical, The Tall Ships Race will return to Belfast from July 2 – 5 and the event will see up to 80 magnificent ships anchored in the Belfast harbour and Titanic Quarter areas. The festivities will be accompanied by the LIDL Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival, with fun activities for all the family to enjoy.

The beautiful island town of Enniskillen will host the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival from July 23 – August 3. The festival will host a range of engaging arts activities for all ages to experience and is inspired by the work of Nobel Prize writer Samuel Beckett

The Galgorm Castle Golf Club will also be hosting the Northern Ireland Open Challenge from August 6 – 9 which is a great opportunity to see some of Europe’s top golfers take on one of Ireland’s finest golf courses.

European Heritage Open Days will take place throughout Northern Ireland from September 12-13 and offer a unique opportunity to visit some of our most intriguing buildings, many of which are not normally open to the public, and all for free

Explore the Great Outdoors

If you’re New Year’s resolution is to get outdoors and be more active then Northern Ireland is the perfect place to be as it is just brimming with exciting places to see and explore.

The Slieve Gullion Forest Park in Co Armagh will see the opening of the Giants Lair early in 2015, an exciting new children’s story park and kids will be further entertained at a new adventure playground at Belfast Zoo.

2015 will see the launch of some unmissable new visitor attractions in Northern Ireland. The Gobbins at Islandmagee will be welcoming visitors Summer 2015 and is set to be one of Northern Ireland’s must-visit destinations.  The Gobbins recreates a major attraction from the early 20th century which has been updated and reopened allowing visitors and outdoor types with a sense of adventure to experience the Irish Coast in a way not seen since it was first built in 1902.  The challenging, dramatic, two-mile-long cliff-face path will include spectacular tubular and suspension bridges, a staircase, caves and tunnels carved through the rock and spectacular views

For something a little less taxing, take a refreshing winter walk along the Lagan Towpath which runs between Belfast and Lisburn through a variety of wetland, riverside meadows and mixed woodland or alternatively explore the Sperrins in Co Tyrone where you can take in the stunning unspoilt countryside of the Glenelly Valley or Gortin Glen Forest Park.

Get Sporty

If you’re a sports enthusiast then there are lots of events for you to look forward to this year. The Circuit of Ireland Rally will run from April 2 – 4 in counties Antrim and Down and allows motor enthusiasts the chance to watch Europe’s top drivers pit their skills against testing roads amidst stunning landscapes.

The Vauxhall International North West 200 takes place on the Causeway Coast from May 10 – 16 and is one of the world’s top motorcycle races which follows a famous triangle circuit between the towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine.

If it’s a fun filled day out with lots of exciting things to do all in the one place then why not try out We Are Vertigo near Belfast. It is Northern Ireland’s premium indoor adventure centre and only indoor trampoline park and is home to a range of exciting activities such as skiing and snowboarding.

If you feel like being a bit of a dare devil, Todd’s Leap in Ballygawley or The Jungle in Moneymore offer activities including clay pigeon shooting, zipline ,zorbing as well as off road driving.

Learn Something New

For something a little different why not try the Long Line Surf School in Limavady, Co Derry~Londonderry. Make this year the year you learn to ride the waves with fully trained surf coaches with ASI (Academy of Surfing Instructors) and Beach Lifeguard qualifications.

If you would like to become a ‘master chef’ and impress your friends and family with delicious meals, the Belle Isle cookery school in Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh offers private cookery lessons as well as themed classes such as Family Favourites, Fresh from the Sea and Made in Italy.

Welig Heritage Crafts in Portaferry is perfect for anyone feeling crafty and adventurous in 2015 as they teach a whole host of workshops including basketmaking, blacksmithing, felting, wood or stone carving and spinning.

Treat Yourself

It might be something you always say you will do so be sure to make a date with one of Northern Ireland’s luxurious spas. Special spa offers are currently available at the Galgorm Resort & Spa in Ballymena, Corick House & Spa in Clogher, Lodge Hotel in Coleraine, and the Merchant Hotel in Belfast.

Take things down a notch and enjoy a scrumptious Afternoon Tea with friends or loved ones as you unwind with a selection of finger sandwiches and delicate pastries.  Afternoon Tea is available around Northern Ireland at the Killyhevlin Hotel in Enniskillen, Corick House in Clogher, the Everglades Hotel in Derry, The Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh, The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, the Slieve Donard in Newcastle, the Argory in Dungannon and the Merchant Hotel in Belfast.

For more information on things to do in Northern Ireland click on or visit your local tourist information centre.


As January draws to a close, The Market Place Theatre in Armagh continues to brighten those dark winter nights with the best in live entertainment.

Grainne Duffy is a unique talent, 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. Her wonderful mix of blues rock and soul in her own material and her treatment of a few carefully selected standards charged with true emotion and feeling can win over any audience and leave you begging for more. Grainne will perform at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh on Saturday 31st January at 8pm. Tickets are priced £14 each.

Then on Sunday 1st February, it’s time for a few laughs! Over to comedy legend Jimmy Cricket!

“I’m the Irish Comedian who has the funny hat and wears my wellies on the wrong feet. I’m coming home to take part in a great night of comedy and bringing some of my comedy friends with me. There’s the First Lady of Irish Comedy, May McFettridge. Remember to choose your seats carefully, don’t arrive too late and do not under any circumstance leave your seat during the performance or May will find you. Then there’s Neil Dougan, he’s one of Mammy’s new comedy favorites. He was bitten by the comedy bug following his first ever visit to a comedy club, then two weeks later walked onto the same stage with his own routine and some antihistamine tables, Savlon and a wee plaster just in case he got bitten by another bug! My old mate Gene Fitzpatrick will be telling stories from his new DVD ‘Turning Back the Years’. I must close now but can’t wait to get home and tell you all the news from my mammy. P.S. Hosted by May McFettridge’s driver . . . John Linehan!”

Tickets to see Jimmy and his pals are priced £18.

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.


The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (January 18 – 24).

  • The Bee Gees Story, Millenium Forum, Newmarket Street, Derry~Londonderry, Co Londonderry, January 23. Enjoy this live concert tribute, featuring their incredible songs spanning over four decades. The six piece live band blends the classic hits, acoustic medleys, songs written for other major artists and dance floor fillers, to tell the story of the Bee Gees.
  • Dirty Dancin in le Shebeen, MAC, 10 Exchange Street West, Belfast, until January 25. Have ‘The Time of Your Life!’ as the loveable Maggie Muff is back with a bang in the highly anticipated sequel to 50 Shades of Red White and Blue. This one-woman show will have you crying with laughter as you are invited to follow the antics of Maggie and Big Sally-Ann in their new adventure.
  • Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia – Coppelia, Grand Opera House, Great Victoria Street, Belfast, January 20. Perfect for first-time ballet goers, families and everyone in-between this is a charming performance set in a doll maker’s workshop. Coppelia is a light-hearted tale of mistaken identity and confused lovers that follows mischievous Swanilda, her impetuous suitor Franz and the eccentric toymaker Dr.Coppelius as they are brought to life by sparkling choreography and the animated score of Delibes.
  • Grainne Duffy, Courtyard Theatre, 585 Doagh Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, January 24. Grainne Duffy is a unique talent, raw and powerful, edgy and elegant. Influenced by bands such as The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and The Pretenders, Grainne sings a wonderful mix of blues, rock and soul that encapsulates the audience.
  • An Evening with Dominic Kirwan, Ardhowen Theatre, 97 Dublin Road, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, January 24.  Dominic Kirwan, one of Ireland’s best and most popular concert performers, embarks on a nationwide concert tour that stops off in Enniskillen. Dominic’s show features songs from his many albums as well as others from right across the country and pop music spectrum.
  • The Newry Pantomime – Cinderella, Newry Town Hall, Bank Parade, Newry, Co Down, until January 24. It’s time to raise the curtain for one of the main Newry events of the year, a popular, exciting and fun event that aims to raise money for charity. It also gives many young people an opportunity to appear on stage and show off their talents.
  • International Gala, The Braid Arts Centre, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, Co Antrim until January 24. Ballymena Inter-Ethnic Forum in Partnership with The Braid Arts Centre presents the Annual International Gala. Join the showcase and celebrate the talent among the diverse cultures that live in the Ballymena Borough, regionally and in the UK.
  • Juno & The Paycock, Market Place Theatre, Market Street, Co Armagh, January 23-24. 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.
  • The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon Street, Strule Arts Centre, Town Hall Square, Omagh, Co Tyrone, January 18. Follow the enticing story of Al and Willie who were once a top-billed comic duo.  Now they aren’t even speaking.  When they are invited to appear in a ‘History of Comedy’ retrospective, a grudging reunion brings the two back together, along with a flood of memories, miseries and laughs.
  • David Meade: Million Dollar Mind Reader, Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, Co Antrim, January 24. The BBC 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 odds and become the first mentalist ever to crack a Las Vegas Casino.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

Jacqueline shares her pick of What’s On this weekend across NI


Kirkistown Race Circuit will host the New Year Stages Rally this Saturday 17th January. This is a special stage rally, held over six stages at Kirkistown Race Circuit and tickets are available at the gate for £10.  Not to be missed – a great way to get the 2015 motorsport season into gear!


Those who know Duke Special for the platinum album ‘Songs From The Deep Forest’ and the hit song ‘Freewheel’ may be surprised by the breadth of his work. His journey so far has seen him taking on projects as diverse as writing the theme tune for the Irish Sesame Street to writing the music for and appearing in Deborah Warner’s critically acclaimed 2009 production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children at London’s National Theatre. See Duke Special perform live at the Market Place Theatre this Thursday 15th January. Tickets are only £15.


Maguiresbridge Country and Cultural Group presents their Annual Country & Gospel Concert at The Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen on Friday 16th January. With Shaun Loughrey, Tony Kerr, Boxcar Brian, Calum Smyth, Sharon Larkin & Country Harmony. Host and compere for the evening is Gary Wilson. Doors Open 7.30pm, show starts at 8pm and admission is £10.


Paul Currie will be returning to Dalys Comedy Club Omagh on Friday 16th January for a special one off show, performing his hit 2014 Edinburgh Fringe show “Release The Baboons” before taking the show to Australia for The Adelaide Fringe Festival.  You’ll have seen Paul preview this show with us back in the first half of 2014 – now see the full finished article, which received rave reviews and sell out crowds at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe.  Tickets only £5 are available on the door on the night.


Ballywillan Drama Group have assembled a cast of the area’s leading musical theatre stars and an impressive line-up of dancing talent for their production of  Hairspray at the Riverside Theatre Coleraine that will blow away those mid-winter blues. Performances run from 15th to 31st January.


Metropolis, the 1927 film by Fritz Lang is regarded by many as a Masterpiece. Set in a futuristic urban dystopia and is among the most influential films of all time. (Blade Runner, Star Wars) and is considered the mother of all sci-fi films.  Composer/Pianist, Dmytro Morykit, combines work composed over a 30 year period with several new pieces to create an astonishing new piano score which intensifies and compliments this iconic film bringing it a fresh to modern audiences. See Metropolis Live at the Lagan Valley Island Lisburn on Friday 16th January. Tickets are £10.


Following a sold out tour in 2014, The 2015 Arenacross tour is back at the Odyssey Arena this weekend (Friday and Saturday). Using the UK’s top venues the amazing Arenacross tour will continue to treat fans to that unforgettable show experience with bar banging Pro and Youth racing, and a world class line up of Freestyle MX Riders, to keep you on the edge of your seats.

TOTAL STITCH FEST: Getting 2015 off To a Crafty Start

Getting 2015 off to a crafty start, TOTAL STITCH FEST: The Alternative Craft Show will be returning to the Ramada Plaza Belfast on Sunday 8th February in a big celebration of all that is handcrafted and unique in Northern Ireland.

It will be the perfect opportunity to get your hands on authentic Irish products, stock up on quality craft supplies for your own creative pursuits, and participate in fun workshops, all while supporting local designers and the Irish handmade movement at the same time.

Brought to you by the creative folks at Frock Around The Clock, TOTAL STITCH FEST brings together a community of designer-makers who lovingly cultivate a burgeoning handmade and DIY culture, and will feature a quality marketplace of over 60 crafters and artisans from all over Ireland who combine new and traditional craft techniques to produce fresh, innovative work not found at mainstream craft shows, as well as sellers of quality and unique craft supplies. There will also be various mini craft demonstrations running throughout the day, some of which will be interactive giving visitors the opportunity to ‘make and take’ a small something away with them. Due to popular demand, the event will also see the return of the Drop-In Workshop area, where visitors of all ages will be able to sit down with the lovely ladies from The Craft Market to learn how to make paper flowers and felted brooches in a fun atmosphere. It is the perfect opportunity to meet the makers in person, and talk about their handmade goods and creative processes.

Crafters and eco-conscious buyers will love to browse the stalls and select quality fabrics, natural & luxury yarns, and vintage textiles from The Textile Studio, I of The Needle, Windmill Fabrics and Vintage & Interiors as well handmade beads from Areto. A superb selection of designer and artisan stalls will also be selling a wide variety of high quality, unique handmade products including clothing and fashion accessories, furniture, home décor & soft furnishings, art & photography, jewellery, gifts, toys, artisan foods, baby and children goods, and much more! Exhibitors will include Modified Heart Designs, specialising in beautiful origami, Crafts by Inga, creator of colourful handmade felt and wearable art, NI Silver, selling bespoke jewellery designs in sterling silver inspired by our wee country, LizzieB, creator of gorgeous handmade soaps, candles, body balms & room scents, Ardmore Cottage Crafts, specialising in handpainted shabby chic style furniture, Rachel Julca Designs, with handmade cushions, aprons, baby blankets & bibs, Strombolitwo, showcasing beautifully designed fashion accessories handcrafted from vintage kimono silks, Bluebird Bakery, purveyors of scrumptious sweet treats and cake accessories, and Alana Doherty Textile Artist, architect of beautiful handcrafted decor & gifts inspired by the artist’s idyllic Irish countryside childhood.

Creative Director Becky Moore says ‘our commitment is to showcase the best and brightest in indie craft and design so TOTAL STITCH FEST is aimed at shoppers who seek unique, niche and handmade products in opposition to mass produced items. We hope to encourage socially-minded consumers to boost the local economy by purchasing unique gifts handcrafted in their own community and by connecting with the people who made them. The event on 8th February is the perfect opportunity for visitors to find unique Valentine’s gifts for a loved one, find unique décor to brighten up the home for spring, cool fashion accessories, or just have a fun day out participating in the drop-in workshops, all while supporting local business and the Irish handmade movement at the same time.’

TOTAL STITCH FEST: THE ALTERNATIVE CRAFT SHOW will take place from 12-5pm on Sunday 8th February 2015 at Ramada Plaza, 117 Milltown Road, Shaws Bridge, Belfast BT8 7XP.  Admission costs only £3 for adults and children go free. More information on the event and the exhibitor list can be found at and

Jake Brings a Touch of Jungle Fever to Holiday World Belfast

Belfast Telegraph Holiday World, Friday 16 – Sunday 18 January 2015, King’s Hall Pavilions, Belfast

The Australian jungle was just that bit steamier this year, thanks to the presence of handsomely sultry Jake Quickenden – and this week he’ll be making temperatures rise once more as he officially opens the 23rd Belfast Telegraph Holiday World Show at the King’s Hall in Belfast (1.00pm on Friday 16 January).

Good looks, cheeky charm and an endearingly easy-going manner combined to help Jake finish runner-up in the fourteenth series of ITV hit reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!  The  25-year-old , tipped for the top in show biz, is no stranger to reality tv, having made his debut on The X Factor in 2012, when he was edged out of the competition after closely losing out at Judge Nicole Scherzinger’s house.   Not one to give up easily, the determined and driven star decided to re-audition for the 2014 series, and he made it right through to the Live Shows before he set off on his whirlwind Aussie adventure.

This week he’ll be sharing stories of his Australian trip with visitors to the annual Belfast Telegraph Holiday World show which is about to fill the King’s Hall Pavilions with all that’s up and coming for the 2015 travel scene.

Prepare to Unwrap Great Holiday Presence at King’s Hall

The show will bring a dash of globe-trotting excitement to the city over the weekend of Friday 16 – Sunday 18 January, showcasing amazing getaways from close to home and from the four corners of the world as well as providing show-goers with a dazzling array of travel-themed entertainment, competitions, activities and special offers. The Caravan & Motorhome Show will feature the latest models, from modest tourers right up to state of the art luxury, with a chance for show-visitors to step on board to check out the detail, while the Oasis Travel Cruise Pavilion and the Clubworld Honeymoon & Wedding Destinations will help your holiday dreams to come true.

The big names just keep on coming: at the Oasis Travel Cruise Pavilion you’ll find partners including the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Titan Travel, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Emerald Waterways, P&O Cruises, and Cunard Cruise Line, while major travel sector partners at the Clubworld Pavilion will include Classic Collection Holidays, Eurocamp Travel, Gold Medal Travel, Jet2 Holidays, Topflight Holidays, Travel2 and Turkish Airlines.

With new exhibitors including The Belfast International Airport and tourism bodies for destinations diverse as China, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Cyprus, Andalucia and Antalya joining ‘old friends’ such as New York, United Airlines, Malta, Cyprus, Tunisia and India (doubling its stand size for this year’s show),  there’s a mighty mix at Holiday World.  Variety is clearly central to its ongoing success but, according to organizer Maureen Ledwith, value is also a key theme for the 2015 event.

She says, “Everyone knows that shopping around can really pay off and at Holiday World they can tackle their comparison shopping in a single location and with expert advice immediately available.  Show-goers enjoy the relaxed, friendly atmosphere of Holiday World, and they love the fact that we bring some of the world’s most desirable destinations right here to Belfast, but today most people tend to be hard-headed about holiday bookings and one of the big attractions of the show is the great value they find here, with keen prices, special show promotions and complementary extras to make a holiday break extra-special.”

Great value doesn’t always mean low cost. Many of those who visit Holiday World come in expectation of making a major investment, whether that will be a luxury vacation to celebrate one of life’s landmark occasions or, perhaps, the purchase of a caravan or motorhome.  Maureen Ledwith says, “If you are planning to invest in the holiday of a lifetime or in a motorhome, caravan or holidayhome which you hope will provide a lifetime of vacations for you and your family, then it is really important to find the option that best suits your individual needs.  Checking out the options and spending time talking with the experts can save you considerable sums and can help you to make the right choices.”

The sheer diversity of destinations on offer is a globe-trotters’ dream, but Holiday World will feature an incredible selection of holidays closer to home: some longstanding favourites will be represented but look out for lesser known gems too.  Maureen says, “Our Home Holidays section has been expanded still further for 2015 with some brilliant value breaks and family holiday offers on value in stunning locations.  Whether your ideal home holiday is a relaxing escape, an adventure challenge, a shop-till-you drop citybreak, a cultural odyssey or a family break you may just be surprised at the potential on your own doorstep … or just a hop, skip and a jump away.”

This year’s Holiday World show will pack an extra punch for the over fifties with its new 50+Village – a select group of exhibitors with a particular focus on the needs and interests of an age group which has been gaining in importance and market share in recent years,  as Maureen Ledwith explains.

“Almost a third of the Northern Ireland population is aged 50+.  They are less likely than other age groups to be tied down to working 9-to-5 … they aren’t coping with school or child-minding costs and routines … and they have probably paid off their mortgages … these are the people therefore who are most likely to have extra financial freedom and the time to enjoy life.  Many already take full advantage of off-season travel bargains and we know from all our experiences with Holiday World that travel is important to them.  Now, with our new 50+Village they’ll be able to check out some great offers and deals specially targeting their age and interests, covering leisure and lifestyle as well!”

For everyone at the 2015 show there will be an opportunity to indulge a taste for travel, whenever and wherever you want to go.  From holidays at home to chic citybreaks’ from high end cruises, bespoke long haul tours, deluxe holidays to boutique breakaways … it all starts with a journey to the King’s Hall Pavilions this January.

The Belfast Telegraph Holiday World Show runs in the King’s Hall Pavilions, Belfast from 1pm to 9pm on Friday 16 January and from 11am to 5.30pm on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 January 2015. Tickets are £5 for adults; £4 for seniors and £3 for students, and £10 for a family ticket (2 adults and accompanied children).  To find out more about the show and its exhibitors and get in holiday mood visit

10 Exciting 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 (January 12 – 18).

  • African Drumming, Crescent Arts Centre, 2 – 4 University Road, Belfast, until March 25. Suitable for those with some musical and/or drumming experience this event develops your hand drumming techniques on a variety of West African drums. You will be able to perform challenging parts that make up this rich and energetic art form. The fusion of different rhythmic patterns will culminate in a selection of African pieces.
  • Ava Vintage and Antiques Fair, Stormont Hotel, Upper Newtownards Rd, Belfast, January 17. Whatever you are looking to collect, buy or sell you will find most dealers at the vintage and antiques fair offering it. A wide range of items are available and you will find some of the great porcelain, furniture, silver, original paintings, vintage clothing, jewellery and vintage accessories here.
  • Hairspray, Riverside Theatre, University of Ulster, Coleraine campus, Co Londonderry, January 15 – 31. Ballywillan Drama Group has assembled a cast of the area’s leading musical theatre stars and an impressive line-up of dancing talent. Featuring brand new costumes, special effects, a wonderful and colourful signature set and the amazing on-stage orchestra HAIRSPRAY will blow away those mid-winter blues.
  • Duke Special, Market Place Theatre, Market St, Armagh, Co Armagh, January 15. Enjoy platinum album selling artist ‘Duke Special’ at the Market Place Theatre this January. Duke Special’s journey so far has seen him taking on projects as diverse as writing the theme tune for the Irish Sesame Street to writing the music for and appearing in Deborah Warner’s critically acclaimed 2009 production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children at London’s National Theatre.
  • The Merry Widow, Theatre at The Mill, Carmoney, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, January 17. The great Renee Fleming stars as the beguiling femme fatale in Lehar’s enchanting operetta. This is an exciting live screening from The Met Opera in New York that is not to be missed.
  • A Morning of Relaxation, Tara Centre, Omagh, Co Tyrone, January 17.  Treat yourself to gentle yoga postures, breathing and relaxation techniques as you work towards improved health and wellbeing in 2015.
  • Children’s Fun, The Nautilus Centre, Rooney Rd, Kilkeel, Co Down, January 14. Looking for simple fun and effective activities for kids? Then visit The Nautilus Centre for an afternoon of enjoyment where the kids can get to make a range of their very own crafts.
  • Cathedral Quarter Out to Lunch Festival 2015, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, various venues, Belfast, until January 25. This will be Out to Lunch’s 10th wholesome helping of music, comedy, literature and drama, and it boasts a delicious line-up that’s set to banish the post-festive blues with affordable lunchtime performances plus an array of evening shows.
  • Dick Whittington, Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, January 14-17. Enjoy the famous story of the adventures of Dick, his cat and their friends as they travel to far off lands and rid the King of Ibiza’s palace of a plague of rats.
  • Ulster Orchestra – Music from the Heart, Ulster Hall, Bedford Street, Belfast.  January 14. This concert is a perfect fit for those new to classical and romantic repertoire.  Inon Barnatan gives a pre-concert talk on the Beethoven. Admission to the talk is free.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

Free Family Ecology Event at the Navan Centre

On Sunday the 25th January wrap up warm, get your wellie boots on and join us for some ecology fun at the Navan Centre, Armagh.

This particular weekend is National Garden Birdwatch Weekend and is the perfect time to join us as we examine local bird species.  The grounds of Navan is rich with all types of wildlife and we should have some interesting finds.  Get the chance to examine the various aspects of ornithology including eggs, bird’s nests and even taxidermy!

It’s important at this time of year to feed our feathered friends.  Learn how to make bird cakes and a bird table, and be able to put your new found skills into practice at home and watch local bird life use your garden.

This is a FREE event, which runs from 11.00am – 3.00pm, so drop in and enjoy some feathered fun!

For information please contact: Navan Centre, 81 Killylea Road, Armagh.  BT60 4LD.  Tel 028 3752 9644 or