Model Carys Magill joins Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council in continuing its festive countdown with its must-attend “Food & Music” event this Friday 4th and Saturday 5th December in Lisburn Square.

During the two-day event, Lisburn Square will become home to a selection of local street food providers and musicians transforming the square into the perfect place to while away some time after a busy day of work, shopping or unwinding with friends and family. It will also help you and your friends get into the festive spirit and countdown to Christmas.

Sssshhh! Santa Claus is coming to…Newcastle, Co Down.

NI Charity delivers a Christmas experience for children with Autism

For the first time, charity Autism Initiatives invites families from across Northern Ireland to pop on their best Christmas jumpers and enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of the city by visiting Santa’s Silent Garden – a Christmas experience designed for children with an Autism Spectrum Condition.

Situated at the foot of the breath-taking Mourne Mountains, Autism Initiatives have transformed their beautiful Pumpkin Pastures community garden into a festive experience for all the family. Visitors can expect something a little different from their visit with no crowds, a sensory filled experience, a bit of Christmas mystery and of course the big man in red with his Autism-specific trained elves.

This is yet another bespoke service provided in 2015 by Autism Initiatives – the largest voluntary sector provider of direct services to children and adults with an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) in Northern Ireland – who earlier in the year worked with children and families throughout the Province at specially designed Surf and Bike programmes.

Speaking about his magical garden, Mr S.Claus commented:

“Very few people know that each year Mrs Claus and I visit Newcastle for some relaxation and the occasional go on the Dodgems before I fly around the world delivering presents. My Silent Garden is the perfect spot for me to read over any last minute letters plus it’s near the beach and the Mournes, which Rudolph simply loves. The Claus’ would be very happy for families to come along to visit our magical garden but we do recommend wearing gloves.”

Grainne Close, National Director Autism Initiatives Northern Ireland, said:

“At Autism Initiatives, we think differently about Autism and this is reflected in everything we do. We have been speaking to the parents and children who use our services and it is evident that, for them, Christmas can be quite a stressful period. Many children living with an Autism Spectrum Condition can find this time of the year unsettling and overwhelming due to changes in their surroundings, which can cause a sensory overload. Our relaxed Santa experience situated just 60mins out of Belfast, is the perfect way for children and families to still enjoy the magic of a Santa visit plus it will provide a lovely break to an otherwise hectic Christmas countdown. Our dream is that Santa’s Silent Garden will become somewhat of a family tradition in years to come.”

For more information visit


Child £7

Adult £3

Celebrate Christmas in the Country or Cathedral with NICHS

Christmas is a time for family and fun, however, it can also be a time for remembering loved ones or thinking about others who are coping with a long term health condition.

Support Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke this Christmas by joining one of two festive concerts which will celebrate the lives of loved ones affected by chest, heart or stroke illnesses.

Susan and Malachi’s Christmas Party

On Tuesday 8th December local country music stars Susan McCann and Malachi Cush, in association with Irish TV, will host a festive knees up at Armagh City Hotel. With a line up including Lisa McHugh, Lee Matthews, Niamh McGlinchey and many more, this is sure to be a tremendous night out!

Tickets are priced £20 and are available from NICHS or they can be purchased directly at the hotel.

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Christmas at the Cathedral

Thursday 10th December will then see the return of ‘Christmas at the Cathedral’. This year jazz and swing star, James Huish, will host and perform in an evening of festive classics at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.  James will be joined by Andrea Begley, winner of ‘The Voice’, Queen’s University’s Big Brass Band and a children’s choir from Stormont School of Singing.

Tickets are priced £15

Children under 16 free

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Both concerts will raise vital funds to help NICHS carry out its care and prevention work here in Northern Ireland.

For more information

Call NICHS 028 9032 0184 or visit