Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (March 23 – 29).

  • Jailhouse Rock Live at The Crum, Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, March 27. Watch an extraordinary tribute performance to one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century in a concert brilliantly capturing the musical life of The King of Rock n Roll. Doors open 7pm.
  • The Railway Children, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Co Londonderry, March 25 – 28. A Northern Ireland premiere for this emotional, heart-warming play that is suitable for the whole family. The production will evoke many memories for the adult theatregoer and introduce this wonderful and moving show to the young. From 8pm.
  • Brilliant Corners – A Festival of Jazz in Belfast, various locations, Belfast, March 25 – 28. The four-day event is better than ever, combining local talent with international contemporaries. There will be amazing talent such as the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra, Get The Blessing, together with performances from local musicians and bands including Steve Davis’ ‘Human’ and Meliana Gillard Quartet. This year’s line-up has everything from big band music to free jazz, hip-hop to contemporary, post rock to experimental, workshops and outreach activities!
  • Adventureland, various locations throughout NI, March 28-29. There will be twenty-four activity providers offering fifty outdoor activity events for people to come and try including canoeing, climbing, mountain biking and zorbing, to name just a few.  No previous experience is required and for this one weekend only all events are being offered at either half price or just £10 per person.  To book your place, visit discovernorthernireland.com.
  • Humdinger! Childrens Story Festival, The Guildhall, Derry~Londonderry, Co Londonderry, March 23-28. The festival celebrates words, stories and imagination and features some of the biggest and best-loved names in children’s books and stories. Humdinger! aims to inspire a love of reading and an appreciation of stories and books by bringing incredible artists, stellar talent and fabulous stories to all of the little bookworms.
  • Giant Easter Bunny Hunt, Castle Espie Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre, Co Down, March 28 – April 14. Hop down to Castle Espie for their Easter egg-stravaganza and annual giant Easter bunny hunt with lots of events and activities across the holidays. From 11am – 4pm.
  • Kimmie Rhodes, Market Place Theatre, Market Street, Armagh, Co Armagh, March 25. Multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter Kimmie Rhodes is a native Texan who calls Austin home and will be playing in Market Place Theatre for your delight and entertainment.  From 8pm.
  • ARRIVALS2, Old Courthouse, Market Square, Antrim, Co Antrim, March 26. Experience delicious ‘tapas theatre’ as four international actors and five of Northern Ireland’s most exciting writers turn to the lives of our second generation immigrants for inspiration; creating five short plays, presented all in one night.  Funny, touching and heartfelt, Arrivals2 is an engaging response to life in modern Northern Ireland. From 7.30pm.
  • Fine and Dandy Market, Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, March 29. The Fine and Dandy Market showcases the work of independent artists, designers, illustrators and crafters alongside stalls from collectors of records and vintage wares with quality local food and drink produce. From 11.30 – 3.30pm.
  • Nathan Carter, Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, March 25. Back by popular demand, superb Country music star Nathan Carter makes a welcome return to Ardhowen Theatre’s stage. Nathan has had a tremendous year to date, with his new album ‘Where I Wanna Be’ topping the Irish Charts. From 8pm.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

Jacqueline from whatsonni.com share’s her pick of what’s on this weekend across NI


Edenmore Golf and Country Club invite you to their Wedding Fayre this Sunday 22nd March.  Enjoy a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and indulge in some delicious canapes whilst browsing the selected exhibitors- sure to give you inspiration for your special day!  Goodie bags for the first 50 guests so get there early!


Browse through hundreds of second hand books and stock up on all your essential reads at this weekend’s Spring Book Fair at the Argory on Saturday and Sunday. There’s something for everyone. Live music and Punch Judy shows on Sunday. Donations of unwanted books, CDs and DVDs are welcome prior to the event.


See Willie Russell’s classic play Blood Brothers this Friday 20th March at the Ardhowen Theatre Enniskillen. Set in Liverpool, Blood Brothers tells the story of fraternal twins, born into a large and poor working class family who were separated at birth because their mother decided to have one of them adopted. The twins’ different backgrounds take them to opposite ends of the social spectrum, one becoming an Oxbridge-graduated councillor and the other unemployed and in prison.  The play looks at the differences and conflicts of their upbringing, their relationships with one and other and with their real and adopted mothers as well as with the girl they both ultimately fall in love with.


The Alley Theatre Strabane is delighted to be hosting Ireland’s leading drama festival this week with performances every day until Saturday. Curtain up is at 8pm.  Join them as this intimate venue comes alive with productions from all over Ireland, all eager to take title of Best Play.


Sounds for Heaney, a three date tour from 20th-23rd March will arrive at the Derry Central Library on Saturday 21st March.  This is an exploration into Seamus Heaney’s poetry and using it as a direct source of creative inspiration for writing and creating music. The outcome is a blend of Heaney’s voice with sounds and music that are purely inspired by his voice, poetry and his country. The written music and selected poems are all compiled by drummer and composer James Anderson and aimed at celebrating the life and passing of Heaney himself.


The students of vocal coach Lesley Henry return to the Theatre at the Mill Newtownabbey this Saturday 21st March for Showtime! This fast moving musical show is packed with laughter, tears, energetic dance and spectacular chorus numbers and memorable solos from six musicals.  Featuring the music of ‘The Phantom of The Opera, South Pacific, The Wizard of Oz, 13, Hairspray, not to mention the music of Sondheim and the latest Disney hit Frozen.  This family friendly show will entertain you and have you dancing in your seats with a cast of over 50 students you will be part of a very special ‘show stopper’ of an evening.


Join the 5* Merchant Hotel this Sunday 22nd March for their stunning Wedding Showcase for some inspiration, from romantic ceremonies to luxurious wedding nights. Admission is free. Open 12pm to 5pm.

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Calling all Bookworms!

Visit The Argory on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 March to stock up on all your spring and summer reads at the spring Book Fair.

Visitors reading books in the second-hand bookshop at The Argory, County Armagh.

The courtyard will once again be filled with a vast array of second-hand books to suit all tastes and interests. Enjoy live music on Sunday from The D Donaghadee brothers and there will be Punch and Judy shows for the little ones.

The National Trust property near Moy opened its second-hand bookshop 6 years ago and has since been greatly welcomed by all visitors. Local visitor, Vicky Lennox from Cookstown commented:

‘I always come to The Argory to stock up on books for my family – there are romance novels for me, sports and history books for my husband and a huge range of fun and educational books for the children. I can even pick up some gifts for other family members! And of course, a visit to The Argory makes for a great day out for the family’

Whilst on the property, why not take a tour of the unique Irish gentry house or enjoy home baked cakes, scones and teas in the Courtyard Coffee Shop. Treat yourself to something nice in the shop, packed with an extensive range of products and gifts.

Just 10 minutes away, Ardress House will also be open to visitors. Take a gentle walk along ‘The Ladies Mile’, say hello to the farmyard animals and feed the chickens.

Take a tour of Ardress House to discover the history behind this charming 17th century farmhouse.

The Argory Spring Book Fair will take place on Saturday 21 March and Sunday 22 March from 12-5pm. Normal admission, National Trust members free. For further information on National Trust events visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/argory


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 Tourism Northern Ireland has selected the best offers of the week for you to choose from.

• We ‘Heart’ You Mum! Mother’s Day Stay, Belmore Court and Motel, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Overnight Stay with complimentary upgrade to superior room. Continental breakfast with hot options. Bottle of bubbly and chocolates in your room on arrival and complimentary late check out. From £35pps. Offer valid March 15 only. To book call (028) 6632 6633.

• 2 Nights B&B and an evening meal for 2 people, Atlantic Hotel, Portrush, Co Antrim. From £150. Enjoy 2 nights bed, breakfast and 1 evening meal in Atlantic Hotel. Offer based on 2 sharing a double room. £30 meal allowance per couple. Includes access to Kelly’s Nightclub on Wednesday nights. Available Sunday-Friday only, May 1- Sep 30, 2015. To book call (028) 7082 3539.

• March Madness, Whistledown Hotel, Warrenpoint, Newry, Co Down. Bed and breakfast plus a 3 course evening meal in the Bistro Restaurant. Double or twin room available. Sunday to Thursday from £50pps. Available until 31 March. To book call (028) (028) 4175 4174.

• Stay longer and save, Ramada Da Vinci’s Hotel, Co Londonderry. The longer you stay, the more you save at Da Vinci’s Hotel. Stay 2 nights and save 10% or stay 3 nights and save 15%. Complimentary weekend entertainment and daily newspaper. From £35pps. Available until December 31. To book call (028) 7127 9111.

The Whistledown Hotel, Warrenpoint

For further information, contact TNI on 028 9023 1221 or view on www.discovernorthernireland.com/offers.

*All offers are subject to availability.

Name that tune!

Enjoy this clip of the supremely talented Rick Swan at a recent Belfast Jam and name that tune!


Northern Ireland’s biggest cultural family event The P&O Ferries Dalriada Festival in partnership with UTV, 18 – 25 July, officially launched today with the announcement that ‘Rollermania’ is set to take over when Bay City Rollers starring Les McKeown headlines the music concert on Saturday 18th July.

As usual the festival will feature the world famous Highland Games along with a jammed packed programme featuring top quality sport, music and food in the grounds of Glenarm Castle, with community events taking place in Glenarm Village throughout the week – so make sure you get the dates in your diary and don’t miss out!

Following a record crowd last year, the main event of the festival, the Glenarm Castle Highland Games, is back on Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th July.  New to the games this year is the County Antrim Pipe Band Championships which will feature numerous bands from across N.Ireland and Scotland, as well as an expanded action packed programme of events to include live wrestling, additional music stages, more local foods, pop-up restaurants, shopping, displays, and back by popular demand, the ‘world’s only’ sheep fashion show. On Saturday 18th July the evening music concert will rock with nostalgia as Bay City Rollers starring Les McKeown take to the main stage along with Bagatelle, Hothouse Flowers and support from Rob Strong, Runabay and XOD dancers.

After the weekend festivities celebrations will continue for the rest of the week in the stunning village of Glenarm and wider community.  An action packed programme of events will take place which will reach a spectacular finale with the ever stunning fireworks display.

Adrian Morrow, Festival Director, commented;
“We are delighted to get our ‘shang-a-lang’ on and officially launch The P&O Ferries Dalriada Festival in partnership with UTV for 2015. Whilst we saw record crowds last year and received fantastic feedback from visitors from across Northern Ireland and beyond we are pushing ourselves to raise the bar and ensure we pull out all the stops to make 2015 our biggest and best festival yet. With an incredible line up across sport, music and food – we have something for all the family.  From amazing highland games and local strongmen to our every popular sheep fashion show to even more food events and a brilliant music showcase featuring Bay City Rollers, Bagatelle – to name but a few. As usual we couldn’t stage the festival without the continued support from our official sponsor P&O and our media partner UTV and this year we are delighted to welcome Decathlon as a new partner.  We also appreciate the support from our many other partners as well as the commitment and enthusiasm of the staff, volunteers and the local community.  Without this support the festival just wouldn’t be possible – to all of them we say a huge thank-you.”

Joanna Walsh from P&O Ferries, title sponsor of the event, said;


“P&O Ferries is proud to be title sponsor for the 2015 Dalriada Festival. Each year, the festival improves more and more with the promise of fantastic food, great music and sporting action to keep the whole family entertained. It is sure to be another successful year!

“As operators of the shortest, fastest and most frequent crossings between Larne, Cairnryan and Troon, P&O Ferries is looking forward to welcoming many visitors from Scotland on board our sailings this summer to bring them across to the event. We wish the festival every success!”

Michael Wilson, Managing Director UTV, added;

UTV has been a part of the P&O Ferries Dalriada Festival in Glenarm for the last four years and we are delighted to be lending our support once again this year. UTV is all about family entertainment and the Dalriada Festival is a perfect partnership. The event is first class family entertainment with the caliber of the musical line up, the food on offer and events surrounding the week. The Festival just gets better. It will be an event for all the family to enjoy.”

Day passes for Glenarm Castle Highland Games, Saturday evening concert tickets and camping packages are on sale from 9am on Thursday 12th March. Visit www.dalriadafestival.co.uk. Book online and SAVE 20% on day passes. Car parking is FREE. Saturday night concert tickets can also be purchased at www.ticketmaster.ie priced at £28.50.
Further information on the festival visit www.dalriadafestival.co.uk.


The Market Place Theatre in Armagh is hosting another of its ever-popular Jazz Supper Evenings.

Taking centre stage at this evening’s Jazz Supper Club is Lesley Brooks and The Guinness Jazz Band. They have played numerous jazz festivals including ‘Queen’s’, Derry Jazz and Cork Jazz and have played with some major headliners from Jazz history – Scott Hamilton, Joe Newman and Ruby Braff. This is top class jazz and entertainment straight from The American Song Book. Enjoyable toe tapping exciting music, you will not be able to sit still.

The Jazz Supper Evening will take place on Friday 20th March at 8.30pm. Tickets are priced £10 for music only, and £20 for music and supper. Supper is served before the performance at 7pm. The menu for the evening will consist of Maryland southern fried chicken filet with chilli butter | New York style BBQ sticky ribs | Braised beef with wild mushrooms and ‘Jack Daniels’ sauce.

The following evening will see innovative new drama from the company that brought you last year’s acclaimed production ‘Arrivals’ about the lives of immigrants to Northern Ireland; now the story continues with ‘Arrivals2’, all about their children. Five plays, featuring four actors, by five of Northern Ireland’s most exciting local writers, all in one great night of theatre. The writers for the project include award-winning playwright and screen writer Daragh Carville, James Meredith and Deirdre Cartmill who made such successful contributions to ‘Arrivals’ last year, and newcomers Maggie Cronin and Finn Kennedy. Once again, Composer and Singer Songwriter Anthony Toner will provide a new score for the night.

In Arrivals2, you will have the opportunity to experience a haunted house; a budding romance; the challenging first meeting between a long lost half-brother and sister; a funny and terrifying monologue set on the hills outside Belfast; and a drunken Halloween party where God might just be one of the party guests.

Arrivals 2 will be staged on Saturday 21st March at 8pm. Tickets are priced £12.50 and £10.50 (concession). Tickets for all events can be booked through 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.


Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland this week (March 16 – 22).

  • St Patrick’s Day, Slemish Mountain, Ballymena, Co Antrim, March 17. Follow St Patrick’s footprints at Slemish Mountain also knows as the first known home of St Patrick.  Shuttle buses will operate from the Ecos Centre and Buckna to Slemish throughout the day. There will be entertainment with light refreshments including Irish stew on sale at the Ecos Centre from 12 noon until 3.30pm.
  • La Traviata, Grand Opera House, Belfast, March 18 and 20. Profoundly moving music, fervent passion and sweeping drama, Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’ is widely considered the most popular opera of all time. Violetta is courtesan to the rich, but her superficial world is turned upside down when she falls for the young Alfredo. But when her past life catches up with her, she is soon forced to sacrifice what may be her only chance of real love. From 7.15pm.
  • St Patrick’s Day Traditions and Legends, Guildhall and the Tower Museum, Co Londonderry, March 17. Enjoy a short comedic sketch show on how traditions and legends have developed down the years. This laugh-a-minute sketch show will explore stereotypes, favourite foods from soda bread to Tayto crisps, the things we say, the dialect and accents, the songs, the dances and much loved music, and the great ability to laugh even through troubled times. 12 noon to 5pm.
  • Spring Book Fair, The Argory, Moy, Co Armagh, March 21-22. Browse through hundreds of second hand books and stock up on all your essential reads – you may even come across a first edition of a much-loved author. There’s something for everyone including live music and Punch and Judy shows on Sunday. From 12noon to 5pm.
  • St Patrick’s Day Cruise at Share, Share Discovery Village, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, March 17. Celebrate St Patrick’s Day in style with a cruise around the green islands of Lough Erne. Wholesome homemade Irish stew will be served and you can soak up the atmosphere with live traditional music on-board. From 12.30pm to 2.30pm.
  • St Patrick’s Eve with McPeake, Lyric Theatre, Belfast, March 16. The ‘McPeake Family’ are one of those rare Irish gems and are hailed as ‘folk-royalty.’  Fans describe this band as fresh, authentic, original, and dazzling which makes this a perfect event on St Patrick’s eve. Begins at 7.45pm.
  • St Patrick’s Eve Variety Concert, The Lodge Cultural Centre, Castlewellan, Co Down. March 16. Join in on this fun filled concert. With story tellers, comedians, singers and traditional Irish musicians who will have you tapping your feet and humming the night away. This is your chance to enjoy a good night’s entertainment among friends, and enjoy a bowl of Irish stew along with a hot cup of tea. Doors open 7.30pm, Concert starts at 8pm.
  • Punjana St Patrick’s Tea Dances, Ulster Hall, Bedford Street, Belfast, March 17. Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy an afternoon of old time dancing in the wonderful surroundings of the Ulster Hall including refreshments and music from the ‘John Trotter’ band. Free tickets are available from the Ulster Hall Box Office. Dances begin 12 noon – 2pm and 3pm – 5pm.
  • The Legends of American Country, Theatre at The Mill, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, March 18. This show features the music of the biggest names on the American country scene. The performers include Evan O Donnell, Anthony McBrien, and Rod and Tracey McAuley, whose glittering careers span over 30 years. Each singer will perform a string of hits, complete with authentic costumes and in the company of a live five piece band that will include some of Ireland’s top musicians. Begins at 7.45pm.
  • Strabane Drama Festival, Alley Theatre, Strabane, Co Tyrone, March 13 – 21. Over nine evenings, the Alley Theatre will come alive with memorable moments that will feature productions from all over Ireland, all eager to take the title of “Best Play”. Begins at 8pm every evening.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

Here is Jacqueline’s pick of what’s on this St. Patrick’s Day/Mother’s Day weekend across the NI


There will be fun for everyone as Banbridge District Council host their annual St Patrick’s Family Fun Day in Solitude Park on Saturday 14th March 2015. The craic kicks off at 2pm and runs until 4pm and will feature a host of performances and activities guaranteed to get you in the mood for a bit of a jig and a hoolie!


Armagh City is a perfect destination for a short break this Saint Patrick’s Festival as the place has something to suit every taste. Visitors have a wide range of accommodation options to choose from, including high quality hotels, bed & breakfast and self-catering accommodation.  Enjoy wonderful restaurants, take in an act at The Market Place Theatre, follow the session trail across the City and enjoy the Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations as you soak up the atmosphere of Ireland’s oldest City! See www.armagh.co.uk/saintpatrick.


Let’s not forget Mum this weekend! Mother’s Day at Lough Erne Resort is the perfect treat to say a huge thank you.  Enjoy a 4 Course Buffet lunch as well as a ‘Traditional Ice Cream Corner’ with cones and candy treats for kids. Prepared by Executive Head Chef Noel Mc Meel & his team means this fabulous Mothers Day Buffet Lunch is a hugely popular event so book early!


The Mid Ulster Sports Arena Cookstown will open its doors for the first time ever this weekend forThe Mid Ulster Model Show,  in association with Cookstown District Council, in aid of Jennifer’s Journey and Stewartstown Primary School. Thousands of people from all over Northern Ireland and beyond are set to converge on the show, running from 10am – 6pm on Saturday 14th March.


With free entry for anyone who can prove they are called Patrick, Shamrock Shenanigans at Springhill Moneymore is sure to be fine way to celebrate Saint Patrick. Discover the shamrock trail and enjoy craft activities, food and music from the Armagh Rhymers.  Additional charge for Shamrock Trail.


Celebrate all things Irish at the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre this Saturday and Sunday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Leprechauns will be lurking on the family-friendly treasure trail (find them all and win a pot of gold!). There will  also be face-painting, balloon modelling, crafts and traditional music.


Treat your Mother to a special Afternoon Tea at Titanic Belfast in the opulent surroundings of the Titanic Suite featuring the stunning replica staircase! Live jazz music will add atmosphere to your afternoon as you dine on a delicious selection of finger sandwiches, superb cakes, sweets and freshly baked scones with clotted cream. Children’s menu also available. Guests may use the Grand Staircase & take photos.  Afternoon Tea sitting take place every twenty minutes starting from 12:20 until 16:00.  Book Online at www.TitanicBelfast.com

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In a Galaxy Not so Far Away… Invasion Belfast: Episode VII

Ireland’s premier Star Wars costuming club, The Emerald Garrison, return to W5 for a weekend of fantastic photo opportunities in Invasion Belfast: Episode VII on March 7th & 8th.

Join W5 in a celebration of The Emerald Garrison’s creativity, dedication and professionalism in what is always a hugely popular event! The attention to detail in their costumes, sets and props has to be seen to be believed. Visitors of all ages will love meeting and posing with dozens of costumed characters including legions of Storm Troopers, Jedi Knights, Bounty Hunters, Clone Troopers, Darth Vader, Wookies and many, many more!

Fans also have the opportunity to meet actors for autographs and signings. Actors confirmed include Anthony Forrest who played the role of Fixer and a Sandtrooper in STAR WARS. W5 will also welcome David Prowse who played the iconic Darth Vader in the original STAR WARS trilogy. Please note that the actors charge a fee for photographs and autographs.

Young visitors will once again have the opportunity to experience Force Training with the Emerald Garrison’s Jedi and Sith instructors. This event is always hugely popular during Invasion weekend and W5 are delighted to give Jedi apprentices another opportunity to become strong in the ways of the force!

Invasion Belfast is an event for Star Wars fans put on by fans. The event is FREE with admission to W5 – for opening times and further information, please visit www.w5online.co.uk