NewBliss Drama at John Hewitt International Summer School

The walls of the Market Place Theatre, Armagh, will reverberate to the rocking sounds of music on Thursday 30th July.

Not only will there be a concert featuring Paul Brady, some Horslips and Holy Ghosts, but there will be a one-person play about the life of one of Ireland’s best-known musicians!

This year’s John Hewitt International Summer School will host one of the first performances of Newbliss, a brand new play by Keith Donald, a renowned Irish saxophonist and clarinet player. It will be on stage in the Studio Theatre at 7pm.

Keith Donald has played with some of the biggest names in Irish music, including Van Morrison, Ronnie Drew, The Moving Hearts and Christy Moore, and now he has turned his talents towards theatre. Keith’s play NewBliss tells the story of his professional life from his first public performance on live radio at the age of ten to playing high profile gigs in North America, Africa, Europe and Ireland.
Through poetry, storytelling and music, Keith recounts the highs and lows of a career in the music industry spanning six decades, half of which was spent under the shadow of alcoholism. NewBliss is an insight into the life of a musician, from playing pit orchestra gigs in order to pay the bills all the way through to sold out stadium tours. It is also a deeply personal, heart-warming story of triumph over addiction.

Keith spent much of his childhood in Northern Ireland and it is a place close to his heart. He is delighted that NewBliss will have one of its first outings as part of the John Hewitt International Summer School before it plays in Dublin later this year.

So, why not make a booking at The Market Place Theatre for a play full of beautiful music, plenty of craic, and perhaps a wee bit of inspiration. For more information and to book tickets please visit or call 028 3752 1821. Tickets are priced £10 each.

Johnny and The Riviera Swing This Sunday In Ward Park!

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Summer Entertainment Programme continues in Ward Park this Sunday, July 26th when Johnny and The Riviera Swing take to The Bandstand.

Johnny Barvo is a dynamic showman who has toured the world as a front man singer. The band hail from County Down and have developed a repertoire of all kinds of music from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s right up to the present day.

Their set list includes songs from Olly Muirs, Bob Marley and Sinatra blend with hits from Tom Jones, Amy Winehouse and The Commitments.

So if you fancy kicking back and singing along to some popular sounds, then pack a picnic and get down to Ward Park, this Sunday from 3 – 5pm for this free event. Fingers crossed for sunshine!

Please note that Ward Park is an alcohol-free zone.

Keep an eye out in local press each week for details on each artist or for more information phone Bangor Visitor Information Centre on 028 9127 0069 or visit:


Northern Ireland’s own purveyor of authentic Naples-style pizzas, Little Wing Pizzeria, has opened its doors to the public following the announcement of the restaurant coming to Enniskillen last month.

The family friendly restaurant is now open for both lunch and dinner every day following a number of successful pre-opening lunch and dinner sessions with local charities and businesses including Enniskillen Rugby Club, Horizon West Children’s Hospice, Lakeland Special Olympics Club, Children’s Heartbeat Trust and St Michael’s Scouts, which raised a total of over £3000 for their causes.

Established in Belfast in October 2009, the latest opening will bring the number of branches Little Wing has in Northern Ireland to six.  The pizzeria has gone from strength to strength since it first opened, selling over one million pizzas in Northern Ireland to date.

Little Wing prides itself in offering authentic, made to order pizzas using the freshest toppings from locally both locally sourced suppliers and imports from Italy, pizza sauce with tomatoes from Parma and their own simple dough recipe which uses no additives, all at an affordable price.  The new restaurant is located on High Street and will cater for between 50 – 55 guests and has created 20 new jobs.

Little Wing also offers a ‘Little Kids’ option, which is a fantastic 3 course offering for the little ones for only £5.95, providing great value for your money. ‘Soda and Slice’ for lunch on the go  is offered daily and a ‘Little Wing, Little Bill’ deal which offers two courses and a glass of wine or beer for just £11.95 from Sunday to Wednesday.
Commenting at the launch, Luke Wolsey, Managing Director, Little Wing Pizzeria said:

“Little Wing Pizzeria already has five highly successful branches in Northern Ireland and the expansion into Co. Fermanagh is another major milestone for the company.  We are always looking for opportunities to grow the business and we are pleased to announce this latest opening.

“I am confident the new branch will be a welcome addition to Enniskillen and we’ve already had a lot of positive feedback following the pre- opening services with local charities and businesses in the area.

“We use the finest, freshest ingredients in our food and source some of the ingredients from Italy to provide the most authentic taste.  The Little Wing restaurant has a family friendly feel and our menu aims to cater for everyone.  Alongside our delicious pizza we also offer bruschettas, freshly prepared salads, a massive 24″ pizza selection which is great for sharing and a range of tasty desserts – with the Nutella pizza being something everyone should try!”

“We really look forward to welcoming all our new customers and also becoming involved with the local area by supporting causes in the community.”

The new Little Wing Pizzeria in Enniskillen will be located at 23 – 25 High Street and will be open every day from 11am – 10pm.  For further information visit, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook (LittleWingPizzeria).

Family fun with Ulster Scots flair at Donaghadee Festival, Saturday 25 July

The tastes, sounds, colours and heritage of the Ulster-Scots will come alive on Saturday in Donaghadee when the town plays host to a fun-filled living history experience.

Come to the grounds of Donaghadee Community Centre to see displays of traditional dance, battle re-enactments and a mini Highland games competition that will provide an insight into how the Ulster-Scots dressed, exercised, socialised and fought(!).  Chat to our Viking visitors who will tell you about life aboard ship and demonstrate their long boat.

You can also enjoy a taste of Ulster-Scots at a cookery demonstration with celebrity chef Jenny Bristow (12noon to 1:30pm) and be entertained by the Willie Drennan Ulster-Scots Band who will be performing a mix of songs, stories and recitation featuring fiddles, flutes, bagpipes, guitar and, of course, the Lambeg drum (12:30pm to 4pm).

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Alan Graham, is looking forward to finding out more about our Ulster-Scots past and commented: “Donaghadee was the gateway for many Scottish families coming to County Down from 1606 with Hugh Montgomery and James Hamilton and so it is very fitting that it is the venue for this celebration of our Ulster Scots heritage.”

He continued: “The living history day will be lively and fun and so a great way to enjoy some family time, while learning more about our local history.”

Further information is available at or any of the local visitor information centres (Ards, Bangor, Groomsport and Portaferry).

Getting ready to perform at the Donaghadee Ulster Scots Festival this weekend are Chloe and Helen Parker from the Michelle Johnston School of Highland Dancing. Bring ‘the weans’ and enjoy music, dance and lively living history demonstrations at this fun filled event on Saturday from 11am to 4pm. Find out more at

Let’s go fly a kite at Downhill Demesne

Join the National Trust on Sunday 2 August from 12noon to 5pm for some kite flying fun at Downhill Demesne, Castlerock, Co Londonderry.

This high-flying spectacle returns for its 5th year, bigger and better than ever, offering fun for the whole family as a kaleidoscope of kites adorn the skies over the stunning coastal estate. Topping the bill will be an internationally acclaimed flying exhibition with synchronised acrobatics and altitude sprints from the Fusion Kite team, whilst an array of animals and figures take to the skies, some as big as your house!

The festival isn’t just about watching the professionals – you can bring your own kite, make one on the day or buy one from our shop – get tips from the professionals and show off your kite flying skills.

Festival highlights also include Northern Ireland Blo-karting demonstrations, Segway Express demos, Cutting Edge Helicopters pleasure flights and much much more.

To add to the festive atmosphere there will be specialty food stalls, local crafts, hot and cold refreshments, inflatable castles and a quad train in the kids’ area.

Marvel at the amazing displays of interesting shapes, sizes and colours of kites as the experts work their magic in the sky.  Bring your own kite and enjoy a fun packed day with attractions and entertainment for all the family.

If you don’t feel like flying a kite, then why not just come and join one of the most colourful and exciting events on the North Coast this summer.

What a great way to spend a summer day!

Tourism Boost from Armoy Road Races!

CAUSEWAY Coast and Glens Borough Council is set to benefit from increased tourism as the Armoy Road Races take place on the 24th and 25th July.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is set to benefit from increased tourism as the Armoy Road Races take place on the 24th and 25th July. Pictured are bikers riding through The Dark Hedges, which has recently been made famous by Game of Thrones and have become a huge tourist destination in Northern Ireland.

Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has witnessed first hand the boost to tourism that the annual event brings, and says this year will be no different: “The Armoy Road Races generate much interest in our beautiful Causeway Coast and Glens, especially with events happening throughout Bike Week that keep people in the area, which feeds back into our local economy.

“Coleraine office of the Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council says it has seen an increase in tourists from across Ireland, North and South, as well as international road racing fans who come to enjoy the races and the wonderful attractions that the area has on offer.

“This year, we have received enquires from all over the UK, Ireland, Europe, even reaching as far as New Zealand. The New Zealand guests are coming to Northern Ireland specifically for The Armoy Road Races, and re-arranged their original travel plans to make sure Northern Ireland was included!” concluded Mayor Knight-McQuillan.

Chairman of the Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club, William Munnis, welcomed the comments and said, “Armoy is on the map for all sorts of reasons, whether it’s to watch the Armoy Road Races or visit the various filming locations like the Dark Hedges, used in the filming of Game of Thrones  it’s just a great place to be.

“We, as a club, are very much involved in the community as well as the Armoy Road Races, and therefore appreciate how important tourism is, not just to Northern Ireland, but to our scenic Causeway Coast. It is essential that we attract people to the area to sustain businesses and to keep our economy afloat. If the Armoy Road Races helps to highlight the area in some way, then we are incredibly proud of that.”

Trevor Kane, owner of the Bayview Hotel and sponsor of the Supersport Race 2, said, “ I think that we are extremely lucky to live and work in this beautiful part of the world and to have events like the Armoy Road Races. I’m very much part of the races and I wouldn’t miss them but more importantly I see visitors return year on year to Armoy and to the Bayview Hotel just because of them. It’s a real credit to the Club that they’ve managed to achieve such a great national road racing event in just seven years.”

William Munnis concluded; “I’d ask locals and tourists alike to visit Armoy during our Bike Week from 19th – 25th July, and take the opportunity to visit some of the wonderful attractions in our area too and if you need more information on the Armoy Road Races then visit to see what’s happening. You can also search for ‘AMRRC’ on Facebook and join the official fan page as well as follow us on twitter at @ArmoyRoadRaces – so come on, what are you waiting for!”

The event is part funded by Tourism Northern Ireland and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Bike Week runs from Sunday 19th July until Saturday 25th July 2015 with the SGS International ‘Race of Legends’ featuring on the Saturday 25th July 2015.

Please support the Armoy Road Races by buying a programme. They are available from the AMRRC office and the Petrol Station in Armoy from the Saturday 18th July 2015 and cost £10.00 or €15.

For more information visit or search for ‘AMRRC’ on Facebook and join the official fan page and you can also follow us on twitter at @ArmoyRoadRaces.

Much more than music at Stendhal Festival of Art

With over 60 musical acts including Donovan, Kerbdog, We Were Promised Jetpacks and DJ Format ready to descend on Limavady for Stendhal Festival of Art on August 8 and 9, you may be forgiven for thinking that music was all Stendhal is all about.

That however, couldn’t be further from the truth as The Multi-Award winning festival has always prided itself on being an all-encompassing arts event and this year is no different.

Stendhal will also be showcasing Film, Theatre, Dance, Poetry, Comedy, Craft and a galaxy of other artistic endeavours over the weekend, with some top names to watch out for.

For starters the festival will be welcoming Brian J Falconer, the Bafta Award winning and Academy award nominated producer behind the smash hit short film ‘Boogaloo and Graham’ for a special screening of the film and a talk about how life for the team behind the film has changed since their huge critical acclaim.

To tickle your funny bones the comedy bill includes the award winning Sara Pascoe and Irish stand-up legend Kevin McAleer.

Nominated for best show at the 2014 Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Awards and winner of the 2014 Chortle Breakthrough Award, Sara Pascoe can be seen regularly on shows such as ‘Live at the Apollo’ and ‘Mock The Week’, while Kevin McAleer has been a mainstay on the Irish comedy Circuit for years

Theatre over the course of the two-day event will be provided by the amazing North Coast based Big Telly Theatre Company and the ever-popular Limavady Drama Club who will be performing, ‘The wooing of Barney McKeown part two’.

Dance performances will be delivered by the Echo Echo Dance Company and the saucy Soup Dujour burlesque Troupe.

The craft market will be home to some of the finest crafters in the country while two art galleries will also be showcasing the very best of some of the most talented artists Northern Ireland has to offer.

A full family programme will also be sure to give any young festival goers a weekend to remember with magic, kids workshops, puppet shows and much more.

Creative Director of Stendhal Festival of Art, Ross Parkhill says that having such a wide variety of arts at the event has been at the heart of its ethos since it started in 2011.

“We want to give people as wide and all-encompassing an arts experience as we possibly can,” he said.

“Of course the music line-up might be what first draws people to the event but once they are here and see just how good some of the other aspects of the festival are, we hope that they can maybe find passion for something new.”

He added: “We have such a massive pool of talent to draw from across the arts spectrum in Northern Ireland and this year we are welcoming talent from across all six counties along with Irish, UK and International artists.

“We feel that it is really important to give all the aspects of the arts a platform to grow their audience and Stendhal will always be about much more than music.”

The End of Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair

Northern Ireland’s favourite vintage shopping event, the spectacular Frock Around The Clock Vintage & Handmade Fair, will be making its ‘End Of Summer’ appearance at Malone House Belfast on Sunday 9th August with an extravaganza of vintage treasures, unique artisan gifts and a whole lot of nostalgia and fun.

The event will feature 45 handpicked, high quality vintage dealers and creative designers specialising in vintage, handmade and upcycled fashion, jewellery, furniture, homewares, collectibles, stationery, art, artisan food, haberdashery, photography, gents beard care products, and much more! Whether you are in search of authentic vintage treasures, beautifully handcrafted designs, or delicious edible goodies, this event has it all!

In addition to many of your favourite exhibitors there will also be a number of fresh faces to be seen, providing a wonderful variety of unique, quality and interesting things to see and buy. The impressive exhibitor list will include Loving Spoonful, specialising in unique jewellery handcrafted from antique silver cutlery and coins, Norma Jean Vintage, offering a fabulous selection of vintage jewellery, handbags and vanity items, The Natural Room Emporium, purveyors of quality vintage furniture and collectibles, Ratty Tat Hats, creators of fabulously unique handmade steampunk hats,  Tiny Tower Vintage, specialists in vintage china, linens, eiderdowns and collectible books, Belfast Beard Company offering the finest natural beard care products, Laird & Gillie, creators of gorgeous handcrafted soft furnishings with a country feel, Once Upon A Dandelion, showcasing beautiful reclaimed wood art, and Toy Soldiers NI offering collectible vintage action toys.

All visitors to the fair will be able to enter the free draw for a chance to win the fabulous event competition package, comprising a pretty Teacup Necklace from Avec Amour Lauren, a scrumptious Strawberry Fizz Cake from Mrs Mann’s Kitchen, and a beautiful framed ceramic art picture from Rachel Julca Designs.

The End Of Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair will take place from 12-5pm on Sunday 9th August 2015 at Malone House, Barnett Demesne, Malone Road, Belfast BT9 5PB.  Admission costs only £3 for adults, and children go free. More information on the event and the exhibitor list can be found at and on

Critically acclaimed film maker set for Stendhal

While Stendhal Festival of Art was winning three awards at The Irish Festival Awards earlier this year, a good friend of the Festival’s organising team was also quite a busy man during the awards season.

Brian J Falconer is the producer behind the Bafta Award Winning and Academy Award nominated short film ‘Boogaloo and Graham’ and he and fellow filmmakers Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney have enjoyed incredible success with the film in 2015.

“It was typical,” joked Ross Parkhill, Director of Stendhal Festival of Art, “we get a fantastic result of three wins in the Irish Festival Awards and one of the boys goes and gets a Bafta and an Oscar nomination. We thought we would have bragging rights between the lads as far as awards went for a while, but yeah, Brian was the awards boss this year.”

So with their respective awards in their pockets there was really only one thing to do and this year the award winning filmmaker will be showcasing his award winning film at the award winning Stendhal Festival of art.

“We’ve known Brian for a long time and we were thrilled to bits for him when all the Bafta and Academy Award buzz was happening,” continued Ross.

“The Bafta win and Oscar nomination are two truly amazing accomplishments and everyone involved with Stendhal are absolutely delighted that Brian will be coming along to show the film and to host a talk about it at the festival this year.

Bafta Award Winner and Academy Award nominee Brian J Falconer echoed the sentiments saying that he was looking forward to being a part of the Festival programme this year.

“I was here at Stendhal for year one to support the guys and have been to 3 of the 4 years so far,” said Brian. “So when they got in touch to ask if we would come along and do a special screening of the film we were delighted to oblige.

“I think that it is important for everyone within the arts sector in Northern Ireland to look at any and every opportunity they get to further showcase their work, so while yes the Stendhal boys and have been friends for a long time, even if we weren’t, we would have been very happy to get the call to show the film at a festival of the caliber of Stendhal.”

Since the success of Boogaloo and Graham Brian has been working on two new feature projects and also got married to his beautiful wife Marian.

“Its been a crazy year,” he added, “I have been back and forward to LA a couple of times, been selected to take part in a production mentoring programme, got married, moved house and been chipping away at the day job, so it really has been a busy year so far but it’s been amazing.”

Catch this very special screening of ‘Boogaloo and Graham’ at Stendhal Festival of Art which takes place on August 7 and 8 at Ballymully Cottage Farm, Limavady.

Quality Line Up Confirmed for Armoy Road Races

WITH only days to go to the SGS International Race of Legends, the Armoy Motorcycling Road Racing Club has confirmed its line up of riders and it’s looking like a great day’s racing will be had on Saturday 25th July.

There are entries from the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland, Czech Republic, including Darren James from Canada and Matt Brown from Australia, mixed in with our own Northern Irish riders. The Armoy races continue to attract top riders with many coming here in top form and with the past few weeks’ racing results at Skerries, Walderstown and Southern 100, the competition is wide open according to Clerk of the Course, Bill Kennedy.

“Last year’s Man of the Meeting, Guy Martin comes here in terrific form as does his Tyco team mate William Dunlop; throw in his brother Michael (Dunlop) back riding a BMW, Dean Harrison on the Mar-Train Yamaha and both Derek Sheils and Derek McGee, all coming here on the back of wins, coupled with regulars like Ryan Farquhar, Scotland’s Keith Amor on the Rig Deluge bikes and East Yorkshire’s James Cowton, the Supersport races, Supertwins, Open and the Race of Legends races are all wide open.”

“There have also been a few last minute changes. Fresh from his win in the Southern 100, Ballymoney rider, Seamus Elliott will be riding for Wilson Craig Racing and Norwich’s Connor Behan has secured a ride with the Air Kawasaki team.

“John Burrows, Cookstown BE Racing team, has just announced Guy Martin will be riding 650cc Supertwin with Mullingar man Thomas Maxwell on his 650cc Honda and Michael Sweeney planned to ride the 250cc Honda if he is fit enough.

“Practice day on Friday 24th July followed by the Supersport 1 Race will definitely set the tone for the following 11 races on the Saturday. I’m very happy with this year’s entries.  We’ve some of the very best road racers and a few newcomers which is going to make for very interesting racing indeed.

“The Supertwins is always a hugely popular race at Armoy, and it’s great to see Ryan Farquhar return with his infamous SGS team which includes former Moto GP rider Jeremy McWilliams, no stranger to Armoy and newcomer, Canadian rider Darren James. The SGS/Manx Gas team also has a new talented rider Adam McLean from Magherafelt, riding in the Junior Support race. Ryan [Farquhar] has always been a keen supporter of the Armoy Road Races from day one, having come to Armoy even before our first race and offering invaluable advice from a road racer’s perspective. It was without a doubt instrumental in the formation of the circuit.

“One last thing there will be a Special Bikers’ Service this Sunday 19th July in the Lagge Parish Hall (down behind the church and round tower) situated on the corner of Lagge Rd. The relaxed service will be at 6pm on Sunday evening and will be followed by refreshments. Everyone is welcome to attend.”

The event is part funded by Tourism Northern Ireland and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Bike Week runs from Sunday 19th July until Saturday 25th July 2015 with the SGS International ‘Race of Legends’ featuring on the Saturday 25th July 2015.

Please support the Armoy Road Races by buying a programme. They are available from the AMRRC office and the Petrol Station in Armoy from the Saturday 18th July 2015 and cost £10.00 or €15.

For more information visit or search for ‘AMRRC’ on Facebook and join the official fan page and you can also follow us on twitter at @ArmoyRoadRaces.