Sensational live group ‘Celtic Soul’ and the intriguing drama ‘Amazing Grace’ are set to entertain audiences at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh over the coming weeks.

‘Celtic Soul’ pay homage one of the truly great singer | songwriters of all time: our own Van Morrison. Receiving critical acclaim from devout Van fans wherever they perform, you’ll hear the big hits like  ‘Jackie Wilson Said’, ‘Days Like This’, and of course ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. You’ll also hear ‘Ballerina’, ‘Cyprus Avenue’, and ‘In The Garden’, among many others in a packed show. Several live ‘unplugged’ performances on Gerry Kelly’s show on BBC Radio Ulster have boosted the band’s following. BBC’s Ralph McLean, a massive Van Morrison fan himself, describes Celtic Soul as ‘a great band’ and ‘a very fine tribute’. ‘Celtic Soul’ will perform on Saturday 28th February at 8pm. Tickets are priced £14 and £12.50 (concession).

‘Amazing Grace’ tells the story of John Newton, who is press-ganged into the navy at nineteen, flogged for desertion miles away from the girl he loves, and feels he has nothing to live for. Making his way into the harsh world of the eighteenth century transatlantic slave trade, he climbs up through the ranks to slave ship captain. He is a man without hope, making enemies of all he meets. Then one stormy night, with his ship going down, he faces certain death…and nothing is the same again. This is a powerfully moving story of slavery, freedom and the remarkable power of love and grace to transform a life. ‘Amazing Grace’ will be performed on Monday 2nd March at 8pm. Tickets are priced £10 or £8 (concession).

Tickets for all performances can be booked 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


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.

  • Dine & Stay, Roe Park Resort, Limavady, Co Londonderry. Package includes one night B&B, one evening meal per adult, full access to the Fairways Health Club which includes indoor heated swimming pool, steam room, jacuzzi and sauna from £59.50 per person. Available until 31 December. To book call (028) 7772 2222.
  • Mid-Week ESCAPE, Manor House Country Hotel, Irvinestown, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Two nights B&B with one dinner in award winning Belleek fine dining restaurant. From £79 per person sharing.  Available 28 February. To book call (028) 6862 2200.
  • Sale, Sale, Sale. The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast. Keep the spirit of sales going for a little while longer with a luxurious overnight stay at the Fitzwilliam with breakfast & 4 course evening meal. From £145 per room. Available until 31 March. To book call (028) 9044 2080.
  • Relish Free Time Three Night Special, Enniskeen Country House Hotel, Newcastle, Co Down. Three nights’ accommodation, full Irish breakfast each morning and two sumptuous evening dinners included. Enjoy the amazing scenery whether you are walking, cycling, hill walking or sightseeing from £149 pps. Available between 13 Mar 2015 – 8 Nov 2015. To book call (028) 4372 2392.

For further information contact the Northern Ireland Tourist Board on 028 9023 1221 or view on www.discovernorthernireland.com/offers.

Here is Jacqueline’s pick of what’s on this Valentine’s Weekend across NI.


Enjoy a high tea with a difference! See the sights of Strangford Lough with Strangford Sea Safari, before stopping of in a beautiful spot to enjoy a nice cup of tea and some homemade scones! You might get to explore Salt Island or even see the seals playing at the Angus Rocks Lighthouse! The trip incorporates the Strangford Sea Safari tour so you really will be spoilt for sights to see! Available until the end of June. Trip lasts approximately 2 hours.


Love Coffee Lurgan are  teaming up with QFT and FILMHUBNI to bring you some of the Best Independent Movies ever made.  This Friday 13th the Valentine’s Special is  Amelie.  For £10 a couple  you will also receive two slices of chocolate fudge cake, a mini box of truffles to share, fresh strawberries and a glass of bubbly! Venue opens 7.30pm and the show starts at 8pm.


Treat your special one this Valentine’s day at Share Discovery Village and try something different. Forget awkward first dates take your Valentine to Share for a day of fun activities. Or why not enjoy a fun family day out with all your loved ones on Saturday the 14th February for activities including indoor archery, indoor climbing or mountain biking.


This Valentine’s night enjoy the music of Nina Simone at the Strule Arts Centre Omagh. Known for her powerful and emotive performances, vocalist Victoria Geelan and her trio of outstanding local musicians bring their celebration of a woman who defied convention and categorisation. Jazz favourites are juxtaposed with Civil Rights anthems to create an intoxicating insight into an artist whose musical mastery continues to inspire generations.


Join the Lurach Centre Maghera on Valentine’s Morning for a full cooked  Valentine’s Breakfast from 8am to 12 noon. £4.50 per person. Everyone welcome!


Braid Real Music Club presents Errol Walsh & Steve Simpson this Saturday 14th February at the Braid Arts Centre Ballymena for some Rock’n’Roll, Blues, Country (minus the Western!!), R&B, folk and occasional jazz.  Tickets are only £5.


Come along to Titanic Belfast 14th – 17th February for Mid Term! Complete the Explorer Trail and discover the Titanic story by answering our special Explorer Quiz, before heading over to The Andrew’s Gallery for some Clayrazy fun! Discover the 9 galleries of the Titanic Experience, do the Explorer Trail, picking up clues & meeting a few characters along the way, make and take home your own Clayrazy model, take part in arts, crafts and storytelling.


The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (February 16-22).

  • Red Bull Crashed Ice 2015, Stormont Estate, Belfast, February 20-21. Belfast will stage one of the four stops of the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Series 2015. Over 140 competitors will take part in the action-packed race on a heart-pumping assault course that has been specifically designed for Belfast. The track will be positioned in front of Parliament Buildings and an estimated crowd of 40,000 is expected to attend.
  • The Comedy of Errors, Ardhowen Theatre, 97 Dublin Road, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. February 19-21. Following the phenomenal success of the recent performance of ‘Allo’ Allo!’ by the Enniskillen Amateur Dramatic Society they are returning with a performance of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Comedy of Errors’.
  • Ireland`s Greatest Voices – The Three Tenors, The Waterfront, Lanyon Place, Belfast, February 21. This thrilling fast-moving concert is packed with a selection of the world’s most beautiful, magical, feel-good and uplifting songs. You can enjoy classics such as ‘My Way’ and ‘New York, New York’, ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Nessun Dorma’.
  • Kids Pottery Class Market Place Theatre, Irish Street, Downpatrick, Co Down, February 14. Join our Artist in Residence, Aine McKenna to create sculptural forms, animal pots, explore texture and impressing in clay, make relief tiles and coil or pinch pots.
  • Jason Byrne – ‘You Name The Show’, Market Street, Armagh, Co Armagh, February 20. It has been said that no two Jason Byrne shows are the same. Now the master of improvised comedy pushes the limits even further with the introduction of the wheel of stand up. This original stand up concept, which is either an act of extreme daring or supreme laziness, involves Jason not only letting the audience name the show but getting them to choose the topics discussed as they are invited to spin the wheel of random nonsense.
  • Adult Pony Camps, Tullynewbank Stables, Glenavy, Co Antrim, February 22. Adult Camps are a great way to refine a skill or to learn something completely new. You do not need to be a seasoned pro or be the guru of all knowledge when it comes to horses as there is something for everyone to do, no matter what your skill level is.
  • Hands on Seafood Cookery Classes, Nautilus Centre, Rooney Road, Kilkeel, Co Down, February 21. Enjoy hands on cookery class where the chef will take you through a number of recipes, various cooking, and preparation techniques and tips. The course is designed to be informative but also to be a fun and enjoyable experience.
  • All for the Dead Man’s Penny, Roe Valley Arts Centre, 24 Main Street, Limavady, Co Londonderry, February 19. Join internationally renowned storyteller Liz Weir and fiddle player Ciaran Mulholland as they present a riveting tale told through passionate storytelling and music that links past and present, a tale of lost youth and memories that span the generations.
  • Give My Head Peace Live 2015… Back with a Bang, The Alley Theatre, Strabane, Co Tyrone, February 21. Uncle Andy takes his annual week off from the Kneebreakers for a night of laughs at the Alley Theatre. He’ll be ably assisted by Pastor Begbie as well as Billy, Dympna Ma, Cal and Da. If you haven’t seen the gang live, find out why they always sell out!
  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Grand Opera House, Great Victoria Street, Belfast, until February 28. Jesus Christ Superstar exploded onto the musical scene in 1971, stunning audiences and changing the face of musical theatre forever. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera tells the story of the last seven days in the life of Jesus through an extraordinary, groundbreaking score.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

Novelty Singles Events Now Coming to Belfast

No more lonely hearts this February

Local entrepreneurs and dating event pioneers, Ben Corby and Sarah Ripley, have launched an event management company that focuses on providing singles of Northern Ireland with more innovative, fun and interesting ways to meet fellow singletons with the hope for romance to blossom.

The company’s flagship event “Hers & His Quiz” is essentially speed dating mixed with pub quiz, with tickets now available for Thursday 26 February, 2015 event at Madison’s Hotel, Botanic Avenue.

The format of the event includes 30 males and 30 females split into teams, with gentlemen moving around tables of single ladies after each quiz round. If there is a potential interest, attendees can write the name and number of their interest, which will then be collected at the end for matches to be made the following day.

Company co-founder and Director, Ben Corby, says that the events have been established in order to meet the demand for high quality singles events that don’t necessarily feel like singles events, that are well run and provide that something different.

“We want to offer those that attend our events the best possible chance of meeting someone, whilst having a fun and enjoyable evening that alleviates any nerves – especially for those that are perhaps new to the dating world.

Romance has a far better opportunity to flourish when people feel comfortable, relaxed and are genuinely enjoying themselves – that is the kind of environment we want to create”, Mr. Corby said.

Various innovative and original singles events have been popular in larger capital cities for years, but Northern Ireland has yet to embrace any kind of novelty event that is designed for singles to meet and mingle without enormous pressure.

“Aside from the odd speed dating event, and sporadic dating site meets, there aren’t many other options for singles to gather that don’t conjure up ideas of desperation and lonely hearts.

“Our events are fun, flirty and just that little bit cool”, Ben said.

Tickets for the “Hers & His Quiz” for Thursday the 26th of February at Madison’s Hotel are now on sale via https://anankeevents.yapsody.com/event/index/8267

For further information, visit www.anankeevents.com or email ananke.events@gmail.com

Villagers, Mandela Hall 25th May. Tickets on sale Friday 13th February.

Ahead of the release of the highly anticipated third album, Darling Arithmetic, Villagers have announced a run of dates across Ireland this May, Including Belfast.

20 May: DUBLIN, Olympia Theatre

23 May: CORK, Opera House

24 May: LIMERICK, Big Top

25 May: BELFAST, Mandela Hall

Tickets on-sale: Friday 13 February from 9am – from all Ticketmaster outlets and www.Ticketmaster.ie

New album, Darling Arithmetic, released on 13 April 2015

Darling Arithmetic is the third album from Villagers, released on 13 April 2015. The follow-up to Conor O’Brien’s debut, Becoming a Jackal, and its successor, Awayland – both hugely acclaimed and Mercury-nominated – is a breathtakingly beautiful, intimate album entirely about love and relationships.

Darling Arithmetic was written, recorded, produced and mixed by O’Brien at home – the loft of a converted farmhouse that he shares in the coastal town of Malahide to the north of Dublin – revealing a single-minded artist at the peak of his already considerable songwriting powers. It encompasses the various shades of feeling – desire, obsession, lust, loneliness and confusion, and deeper into philosophical and existential territory, across a cast of lovers, friends, family and even strangers. Backing up his supple and emoting vocal and guitar is the subtlest palate of instrumentation – piano, Mellotron (which accounts for the album’s occasional horn and cello tones) and brushes. O’Brien plays every instrument on these exquisite, melodic songs in a sparse, spacious, acoustic-leaning fashion.

On Darling Arithmetic, O’Brien doesn’t only pare back his use of language but looks deep into his own heart and motives. The opening track and first single, ‘Courage’, concerns the most important kind of love – for yourself: “It took a little time to get where I wanted / It took a little time to get free / It took a little time to be honest / It took a little time to be me.

Now three albums in, Villagers is the front for playfulness and seriousness, mystery and revelation, an open-ended and flexible beast that can be anything its creator wants it to be. By going back to the root of songwriting, O’Brien has reinvented himself.

Tickets for Villagers are on sale at 9am this Friday

www.wearevillagers.com / www.facebook.com/villagers / www.twitter.com/wearevillagers


With powerful live drama, classical music with a twist, and fun-filled comedy from award-winning playwrights, the line-up at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh couldn’t be more varied.

A classic of modern Irish theatre, ‘Catalpa’ is the story of the 1875 whale-ship rescue of six Irish prisoners from Fremantle penal colony in Australia – all in the vibrant imagination of a screenwriter. ‘Catalpa’ is about heroes and visionaries, political intrigue and personal loyalty, with hot romance, mixed-up rebels and battles at sea. An epic adventure story that challenges the nature of heroism, a celebration of the power of live theatre. ‘Catalpa’ will be staged on Thursday 19th February at 8pm. Tickets are priced £12.50 and £10.50 (concession).

‘Night Music In Armagh’ is a series of classical concerts featuring top classical performers, artist talks and the opportunity to enjoy wine and tapas before the show. The next concert on Friday 20th February at 8pm, features Jonathan and Iryna Johnston [flute and piano]. Jonathan, former ‘Young Musician of the Year’ winner, has performed throughout the world. Sir James Galway recently wrote: ‘Jonathan Johnston belongs to a select few of whom I consider to be the best flautists of their generation.’ A graduate from Prokofiev Music Academy, Iryna was already playing Mozart sonatas by the age of nine, and has won many prestigious piano competitions. The programme includes Verdi, Schubert, Chopin, Bizet and Brahms. The two artists will also give a FREE post-show talk on their musical careers. Tickets are priced £12 or £10 (concession). The pre-show wine and tapas costs an additional £6.

From the producers and directors of ‘The History Of The Troubles’ and ’50 Shades Of Red, White And Blue’, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ is the hilarious new comedy from award-winning playwright, Brenda Murphy [‘A Night With George’]. Packed full of Belfast humour, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ has had audiences rolling the aisles, and will be staged at The Market Place on Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th February at 8pm.

Set in an isolated cottage on the snow-trapped Black Mountain, the play tells the story of a bizarre love triangle. Pregnant Patsy from West Belfast has gone there to have her baby with the support of her two friends: older woman and academic Sally and beautiful American Law student, Madison. But when Patsy’s ex-boyfriend and baby’s father, Joe arrives on the scene to try and win her back, Patsy announces she’s now in love with Sally. When naïve Joe learns that Madison is also a lesbian, he believes he has stumbled into Lesbian Headquarters Central. Throw in a turkey baster and the baby’s imminent arrival and the scene is set for a monumental tug of war. Tickets are priced £15 each. Please note that this production contains adult themes and strong language.

Tickets for all performances can be booked 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.

Mid-term fun at Ardress and The Argory!

Don’t be stuck for something to do this mid-term weekend. Bundle up and venture out to The Argory and Ardress for some family fun!

At Ardress House, children can explore the play park and become acquainted with the farmyard animals; the chickens, geese, donkey’s, Shetland ponies and Soay sheep will be only too happy to see you after the long winter months. The fun doesn’t end there as you can roll down a really big hill, hold a scary beast or even make a grass trumpet.

Just a short ten minute drive from Ardress, you’ll find The Argory which at this time of year is lined with carpets of beautiful snowdrops. Explore the many walks and have a go at skimming a stone in the Blackwater River, climb a tree or simply run around in the rain. For all our little outdoor explorers, we’ve got some fantastic and fun adventures this spring. Come and complete your ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ – there’s endless adventures to be had. Pick up a scrapbook in Visitor Reception and see how many you can tick off!

Mum and Dad will love the Courtyard Coffee Shop; snug, warm and full of home baked produce, speciality teas and coffees. Pick up an essential read in the Bookshop and treat yourself to something from the Gift Shop; bulging with shelves full of new stock and special offer items for your home and garden.

Ardress House and The Argory are open from Saturday 14 – Tuesday 17 February, 12noon – 5pm, Normal admission, National Trust Members go free. For further information on opening times please visit our website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/argory or call 028 8778 4753.

Northern Ireland is totally MUD for it!

NORTHERN Ireland’s muckiest and best off-road challenge is back, much to the delight of the hundreds of people that have signed up to get down and dirty for charity.

MUDDY GOOD FUN... Rugby legend Paddy Wallace gets ‘jaffa-caked’ in mud alongside the reigning McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Mud Madness champion Keith Clarke ahead of this year’s race. Northern Ireland’s muckiest and best off-road challenge is back, much to the delight of the hundreds of people that have signed up to get down and dirty for charity on Sunday April 19 at Foymore Lodge in Portadown. Competitors will run, crawl and belly-flop their way across four and a half miles of bogs and ponds, under cargo nets and through water sprays and muddy trenches and those taking part in the wacky race are being encouraged to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care, charity partner for event.

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Mud Madness is taking place on Sunday April 19 at Foymore Lodge in Portadown, with two races on the day at 11am and 2pm, giving one thousand wacky participants the chance to belly-flop their way across four and a half miles of bogs and ponds, under cargo nets and through water sprays and muddy trenches. What’s more, rugby legend Paddy Wallace will kick off the event when he helps to get the morning crowd warmed up.

Marie Curie Cancer Care is the official charity partner of the event, which is now in its seventh year, and to date competitors have raised almost £112,000 which equates to 5,500 hours of nursing care.

Event organiser Johnny Davis said: “We are delighted with the continued success of McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Mud Madness which attracts people from as far away as the United States of America and Germany. It is Northern Ireland’s most unique event which gives people the chance to get mucked up to the eye balls and challenge themselves to four and a half miles of sheer determination through the muckiest fields, bog and ponds in the country.

“It is fantastic to see how hundreds of people have embraced McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Mud Madness and every year we see people returning for more fun,” Johnny added.

Tim McAuley, NI Account Manager for McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes is delighted to support the event.

“McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Mud Madness is a fantastic event for people wanting to give themselves the ultimate challenge of getting the heart racing in the great outdoors with plenty of bogs, muddy trenches and water sprays to look forward to. We will be on hand with Jaffa Cakes to keep energy levels up throughout the mucky festivities and with only one gram of fat per biscuit they are the perfect partner for the event.

“In addition to having a fun day out it provides people with a great opportunity to raise some much needed funds for our charity partner Marie Curie Cancer Care and I am thrilled to say competitors have raised almost £112,000 during the seven years we have been supporting the event,” Tim added.

Suzy McIlveen Marie Curie Cancer Care’s partnership manager said: “Marie Curie is always delighted to get ‘very muddy’ in partnership with McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Mud Madness and this year is no exception! Participants of this iconic event have already supported a phenomenal 5,550 hours of Marie Curie Nursing locally, both at the Marie Curie Hospice Belfast and in homes right across Northern Ireland.

“Our Nurses are supporting people with all terminal illnesses, helping people and their families make the most of the time they have together. We are urging participants of this year’s event to fundraise for Marie Curie to enable us to continue to reach more people and their families across Northern Ireland,” Suzy concluded.

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Mud Madness 2015 will take place at Foymore Lodge in Portadown on Sunday April 19. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third male and female individuals and the winning teams.  There is also a prize for the best fancy dress costume and spot prizes.


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.

  • Midweek 2 Night Retreat, Bushmills Inn Hotel, Co Antrim. The Bushmills Inn is the perfect retreat from everyday life and a great base from which to explore the north Antrim coast.  Relax for two nights in our Mill House accommodation with full Irish breakfast each morning and a dinner a la carte credit of £50 per room on one evening. From £128 per person. Available until 30 March. To book call (028) 2073 3000.
  • Traditional Afternoon Tea, Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Enjoy Bed and Breakfast and Traditional Afternoon Tea. The Resort features 120 luxurious rooms & en-suites, the Faldo Course, the Castle Hume Course along with the Thai Spa. From £68 per person sharing.  Available 31 Dec. To book call (028) 6632 3230.
  • Dinner B&B plus a bottle of wine, The Cuan Licensed Guest Inn, Strangford, Downpatrick, Co Down. The ever popular Dinner B&B offer at £58.00pps has got even better with the availability of the meal for two including a bottle of wine now available with the package at no extra cost! Available until 31 March. To book call (028) 4488 1222.
  • Days Hotel/Tickets to Crumlin Road Gaol Package, Belfast, Co Antrim. This exciting package includes two tickets to the Crumlin Road Gaol, one night’s accommodation at the centrally located Days Hotel, Belfast and a delicious buffet breakfast. From £69.10 pps. Available until 31 Dec. To book call (028) 9024 2494.