Food and Drink

Armagh Public Library has launched its next temporary exhibition to mark 2016 as the ‘Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink’, a celebration of local food and drink, promoted by Tourism NI.

pThe history of food and drink is an important element of cultural inheritance. It shows the place of food and drink in the society, economy and environment of a country, and in the lives of its people.

Library staff member, Rachel Toner, who worked on the exhibition said, “This exhibition highlights what the Library holds on eighteenth century food and drink in Ireland, from production to consumption.  The texts also provide us with an insight into the diet of local people during that period.”

The works of eight authors make up the exhibition, including Jonathan Swift’s humorous essay, ‘Directions to Servants in General, and in Particular to the Butler, Cook, Footman, Coachman, Groom’. Swift satirises the rules and regulations of eighteenth century English society by giving absurd advice to the many servants who would be employed in a large household.  Examples include, “When you roast a long joint of meat, be careful only about the middle, and leave the two extreme parts raw, which will serve another time […]”, and “If a lump of soot falls into the soup, and you cannot conveniently get it out, stir it well in, and it will give the soup a high French taste.”

The Keeper of Armagh Public Library, the Very Revd Gregory Dunstan said, “As human necessities, food and drink are fundamental and revealing aspects of any society’s culture.  The books displayed in this exhibition show both science and scorn, the views of foreigner and native-born, the desire to spread ‘improvement’ and affection for tradition.  The exhibition will remain on display until the middle of August.  We look forward to welcoming many visitors to see it.”

Stephen Bill, Regional Manager for Tourism NI, commented, “Tourism NI is delighted to support Armagh Public Library in launching its temporary exhibition to mark 2016 as the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink.

We believe that in partnership with our stakeholders we can really enhance our reputation as a food destination.  Collaboration and partnership, authenticity and genuine passion, are driving the Year of Food and Drink activity and we congratulate Armagh Public Library in showcasing a vital cultural element of

our social history.  The exhibition places food and drink firmly at the heart of our visitor’s tourism experience and enables the destination to tell their respective food and drink stories, enhance their reputation and celebrate continuing success.”

Countdown is on to Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival

Popular Maritime Festival is only days away

The countdown is on to Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival - a week long maritime themed festival packed awash with family fun, food and sea-going antics. The festival kicks off tomorrow and will run until the 5th June. Pictured on Ballycastle beach with a replica Tall Ship to kick start the festival is Danielle Graham.

Ballycastle and Rathlin Island are anticipating over 15,000 visitors to descend upon the coastal locations for a week long maritime themed festival packed awash with family fun, food and sea-going antics.

The Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival, now in its fourth year, is a celebration of Northern Ireland’s rich and diverse maritime history and the unique stretch of water lying between Ballycastle and the magical island of Rathlin.

The festival will run from 27th May to 5th June and features a bustling schedule of events perfect for families, local foodies and boating enthusiasts, beginning with a unique boat blessing to open the festival.

From then on the activities are endless! Kids can take a ride on the famous Tall Ship, The Johanna Lucretia. Take part in a pirate-themed Children’s Treasure Hunt, learn about the tales of Vikings and the myths and legends around the Causeway Coast’s famous giant, Finn McCool.

Foodies shouldn’t miss Ulster’s inaugural Chowder Cook Off featuring live cookery demonstrations from none other than Paula McIntyre, and music lovers will want to hear country music sensation Lisa McHugh’s latest tunes.

All of this in addition to racing yachts and fishing trips, powerboats and traditional hand-crafted rowing boats (curraghs) – every pace and taste is catered for over the festival’s busy itinerary.

Caroline Carey, Tourism Development at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, shared her excitement for this year’s event, saying: “We are delighted to invite visitors back to Rathlin Island and Ballycastle for the fourth year of this superb festival. It is a fantastic mix of culture, entertainment, nature, sport and, of course, seafood.”

This year’s festival has been organised by the Council, Ballycastle Community Development Group, the Rathlin Development & Community Association, and the Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Sponsors include Tourism Northern Ireland, Malin Waters, Rathlin Boat House Partnership, Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd, Marine Hotel Ballycastle, Naturally North Coast & Glens Market and Causeway Coast and Glens Food Network.

For more information on the full Festival programme of activities in Ballycastle and on Rathlin Island, between 27th May and 5th June, visit

Could you solve a Celtic Mid-Summer Murder?

Fancy yourself as a Poirot? Could you solve our Celtic Mid-Summer Murder?

Put your little grey cells to the test on Friday 17th June as King Conor invites you to join him at the Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

From 7.00pm – 10.00pm, King Conor plans a night of feasting and entertainment befitting to the Solstice but before the buffet is served a murder takes place.  Can you help solve the murder?

Promises to be a night of great fun for just £20.00 per person, children aged 12 years and under are charged £8.00 per child.

Booking in advance is essential.  Book your tickets today on or call 028 3752 9644

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


Think that Maths is boring? Think again! Cahoots NI present Danny Carmo’s Mathematical Mysteries, at The Old Courthouse on Saturday 11 June at 12.30pm and 3pm. A fun-filled family show that puts the magic, literally into Maths!

Prepare to be amazed, dazzled and bewildered by Cahoots NI’s mind-blowing new production. This is a spectacular show where Maths, Theatre and Digital Technology collide to create a fun and interactive performance that proves that maths can be fun!

Meet Danny Carmo. It’s not so long ago that he thought school, and in particular, maths, wasn’t for him. Danny had more interest in dreaming of a bigger future, one where he is known on stage and screen – all he has ever wanted is to be a famous magician! But when he knuckles down to learn the tricks of the magician’s trade, he realises that maths is not only essential….but is the SECRET to a whole world of magic and fun!

Starring magician Caolin McBride, this show is recommended for children aged 7+ and promises to bring lots of fun and learning. Tickets priced at £5 & £3 (Concession) and are available from Box Office: 028 9446 3113 or online at


SINCE the huge success of the Giro d’Italia in 2014, Northern Ireland’s love of cycling has reached new heights, so news of the spectacular series of events arranged as part of the NI Festival of Cycling, June 3 – 19, is sure to get thousands of people on their bikes to enjoy the many varied events planned, for all ages.

This year cyclists have lots to look forward to as part of the festival, including the Gran Fondo, the Piccolo Fondo, Velodrome activity and a range of fun events held across Northern Ireland.

Tourism NI’s Communication & Destination PR Officer, Rachel Quigg, said:  “We are thrilled to host a world renowned sporting event such as the Gran Fondo as well as a wide range of thrilling cycling events all over NI as part of the festival for both amateur cyclists and those who are more experienced.

“There are also lots of family events to bring children along to so why not take your friends and family for a day out where they can enjoy the thrill of cycling whilst also taking in NI’s stunning scenery,” added Rachel.

Tourism Northern Ireland has listed a range of upcoming events to try:

Not to be missed cycle events

Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia, Mourne Mountains and Strangford Lough, June 5.  June 2016 will see the second edition of this spectacular event and there will be celebrations galore with a post-ride party with wood fired oven pizzas, gourmet pasta dishes and Italian beer and wine.  There will be plenty of activities and entertainment for families at Titanic Belfast as well as photo opportunities with the Giro d’Italia Trophy.  For more information go to

Foodie Cycle Tour, Derry~Londonderry, June 11.  Departing from Eglinton Village (Hummingbird Café) at 10am sharp, cyclists will ride to Park Village at the food of the Dart Mountain via the Sperrins. Participants will have lunch cooked for them by a local chef using fresh home-sourced produce from the immediate area. For more information go to

In the Red, Kilbroney Park Mountain Bike Trails, Rostrevor, June 12.  This mountain bike sportive is perfect for anybody that likes to get the heart rate up and the adrenaline flying.  It’s all about getting around the 26km Rostrevor loop in as much style as possible. For more information go to

Bike To Work Day, Derry~Londonderry, June 13.  This healthy initiative is encouraging you to cycle to work on the 13th and claim a FREE breakfast (bacon butty or healthy fruit bowl) at participating outlets from 8:30 – 9:30am.

Psycle, Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails, June 18. This is an eight hour mountain bike endurance event which is open to individuals, teams of two or four and for both novice and experienced riders. For more information go to

Giro Junior Events, Albert Basin, Newry, June 18. This is a cycling proficiency skills event for children age 4 – 12. The programme focuses on 4 main skills; Cornering, Pedalling, Braking and Balance – great for ensuring your kids know how to bike safely.

Crooked Lake Duathlon, Camlough Lake, June 19. Navigating the hills and winding roads of beautiful South Armagh this is the perfect event for those who would like to try out the world of cycling for the first time yet, it is tough enough to challenge experienced riders too. To find out more go to

ABC Sportif, June 19. This event is designed to challenge you against the distance and the clock.  Open to all level of cyclists the route will take cyclists through the old council areas of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon including a part of the Gran Fondo. For more information go to

Pedal to Pickie, Bangor, June 19. This fun event allows families and children to participate in a mini challenge and cycle from the Sportsplex centre in Bangor to Pickie Fun Park on closed roads. This is the ideal event for young children who are inexperienced cyclists.

Ards Town Centre Race, Newtownards, June 15. This event will allow cyclists to take over the roads around Newtownards town centre and enjoy a race against the clock. The event will kick off with children completing a lap of the circuit before more experienced riders then join in. A BMX stunt team will be on hand to perform and wow spectators.

Night Ride & BBQ, Belfast, June 15. Enjoy an evening cycle starting from The Big Fish and travelling around Belfast’s city centre cycle network followed by a BBQ in the Courtyard. Starts at 9:30pm.

Cinecyle, June 11. This family orientated cycle will start at the Big Fish and follow the Comber Greenway to the Tudor cinema in Comber. Families will have the chance to enjoy a fun cycle day out and then take in a film screening afterwards, in a private cinema.

Piccolo Fondo, Belfast, June 4.  Take part in this year’s Piccolo Fondo and cycle along one of 4 traffic free routes from Comber, Holywood, Newtownabbey and Lisburn finishing at Titanic Belfast where the Gran Fondo ends the next day.

Touring Velodrome

Street Velodrome is an exciting high speed pop up course which offers cycling enthusiasts the chance to experience the thrill of competitive racing. Schools and clubs will take to the track on Friday and on Saturday and the public will be able to pop along and get to grips with the gears.

Are you brave enough to tackle the impressive Street Velodrome at one of the following locations?

Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, June 4 & 5. The Street Velodrome Tour will kick off at the Gran Fondo where Northern Ireland’s very own velodrome team, the Belfast Titans, will show you how the professionals do it as part of a televised broadcast on the Saturday.  The track will then be opened to the public on Sunday for some ‘Have a go Sessions’.

Sixmile Leisure Centre, Ballyclare, June 18 and 19. Urban sports demos, Cycling training, skills course, bling your bike workshops, obstacle courses and much more will be happening around the Street Velodrome in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council from 10:00am – 6:00pm.

Solitude Park
, Banbridge, June 11. The track will arrive at Solitude Park in Banbridge on June 10 for school groups and cycling clubs and will be open to the public on June 11 from 10am – 5pm.

Guildhall Square, Derry~Londonderry, June 12. The final stop of the Street Velodrome will see it set up in Guildhall Square for one final day of free try outs and fast paces, head to head action.

For further information check out or join the conversation online with #NICycleFest.

Sea Bangor – The Perfect Seaside Day Out – 4 & 5 June

With all the ingredients for the perfect seaside day out; superb local food, live music, celebrity chefs, street theatre, a tall ship, fun for kids and lots more, Sea Bangor is a highlight on Ards and North Down Borough Council’s events calendar and won’t disappoint!

The amazing JetLev Flier in action! JetLev demonstrations will be taking place in Bangor Marina on both days of The Sea Bangor Festival - June 4 & 5.

Sailing into Bangor for the event is the impressive tall ship “The Mercedes” which will be moored alongside The Eisenhower Pier and open to the public for both days of the festival. Tickets are currently on sale for sailings on The Mercedes and are available on both the morning and evening of June 4 & 5. There will be morning sailings at 9am on both days, and then Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 8pm. Tickets cost £15 each for the morning sailings and £20 for the evening and are available now at Bangor Visitor Information Centre, Ards Visitor Information Centre and North Down Museum. Tickets are also available online at

The event will heat up this year, when the festival will hold its very first “Big Green Egg BBQ Comp” where contestants will pitch their talents against each other on top of the range Egg Barbeques kindly provided by The Stove Yard. The competition will be fierce and entertainment value high! Members of the public are invited to take part in the competition to showcase the best local food from the best local BBQ chefs. Contestants can prepare their best chicken dish, pork dish or beef dish which can be as wide ranging and diverse as pork ribs, chicken wings, beef burgers, chicken tikka skewers, pork chops or steak. The aim of the game is to have fun, cook some amazing food and win great prizes! If you would like to take part in the competition, please visit to download an entry form. The closing date for entries is May 29.

In keeping with the carnivorous theme, look out for “Bangor’s Best Banger” competition and sausage making challenges, just a taste of the action-packed Sea Bangor Kitchen programme which will feature local chefs, butchers and catering students showcasing their skills and competing in cookery challenges over both days of the festival.

The festival will play its part in Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink with celebrity chef Paula McIntyre who will hold dairy-based cookery demonstrations to mark June the “Month of Dairy.” For more information on a series of Year of Food and Drink events in Ards and North Down see

Gastronomic and culinary treats galore are in store for visitors to the event with local restaurants and food producers selling their wares in the Sea Bangor Cafe each day. Run by SERC, this year’s food tent will feature local food providers serving locally produced, delicious food. Why not come down and have your lunch with us?

Programed by Open House, The Shanty Shack features a lively mix of eclectic music including such gems as Dolbro Dan, a local folk singer/songwriter, Wookalily, an all-female Americana folk band, Les Petits Hardchargers and loads more! The Shanty Shack will be a hive of music and entertainment for the duration of the festival so pop in and check it out!

Over in the kid’s tent “Tiddlers,” Cahoots NI will be performing their specially-created show “The Great Carmo”. Children will be mesmerised by the show which is an exciting blend of circus, cabaret, theatre, commedia, music, magic and illusion, jam packed with all the thrills and spills you’d expect from such a cocktail of art forms.

“The Dockside Emporium” which is being hosted by local artists promises to be a world of entertainment and wonder with demonstrations and crafts and lots to see and do! Let the kids get messy in the kids crafts area, watch artists at work, or try out some yoga!

There’s lots happening on The Eisenhower Pier too, which will be animated with fantastic street-theatre; look out for Maynard Flip Flap, with his coat hanger antics and legendary egg catapulting stunts and Gareth Jones who will be performing his strait jacket and escapology show. Beach Patrol will be guarding the waters with their special brand of life saving skills and so much more! Also, on The Pier, Armed Forces Activities and Jetlev Flier Demonstrations will entertain the crowds and look to the skies for aerial demonstrations from the Twister Aerobatic Display Team!

Speaking about the event; Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Event Officer, Wendy Smith said: “This year’s Sea Bangor programme is so exciting. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the first BBQ Competition and the Jetlev demonstrations.”

Sea Bangor will be open from 10am to 6pm on Saturday 4 June and Noon to 6pm on Sunday 5.

So whatever floats your boat, come along to Sea Bangor for a great family day out! This is a FREE event.


McComb’s Coach Travel is celebrating some significant news as their Game of Thrones tours were both given a 5 star grading by Tourism NI and their Giant’s Causeway tour retained its 4 stars.

Pictured are Rodney and Caroline McComb from McComb’s Coach Travel who are celebrating some significant news as their Game of Thrones tours were both given a 5 star grading by Tourism NI and their Giant’s Causeway tour retained its 4 stars. The company has also invested £105,000 on a brand new EVM Cabriolet coach, with retracting sides and roof, helping to create four new positions in the company. Due to an exclusivity deal with the distributor, this is the only vehicle of its type in the whole of Ireland and boasts full leather seats, a mobile phone charging point at every seat and panoramic views, to ensure passengers never miss a photo opportunity.

This was already a key time in the company’s year as they agreed an Ireland exclusive on a new coach, an EVM Cabriolet with an impressive retracting roof and windows feature, representing an investment of over £100k and creating four jobs, explained company Director, Caroline McComb.

“We are thrilled that our Game of Thrones ‘Westeros’ and ‘Winterfell’ tours were both given the highest tourism rating possible, 5 stars, in recognition of the quality of the visitor experience we provide”, said Caroline.

Caroline continued:  “This has turned out to be a very special time for McComb’s Coach Travel as our brand new EVM Cabriolet, with retracting sides and roof, was delivered, helping us to create four new positions in the company.  This is the only vehicle of its type in the whole of Ireland as we signed an exclusivity contract with the supplier – you would have to go to Edinburgh or London to see another.

“The coach has full leather seats and a mobile phone charging point at every seat to ensure our passengers never miss a photo opportunity.  But what really makes it a special coach is that the roof and sides totally retract offering passenger’s panoramic, uninterrupted views of our stunning attractions and countryside.  It will be used on our various tours of Belfast and Northern Ireland, and also for corporate and private events”, concluded Caroline.

For further information visit or call them on 028 9086 6162.  You can also find them on Twitter (@OfficialMcCombs) and Facebook (

Tourism Ireland unveils 5th ‘Door of Thrones’ in Limavady

~ Tourism Ireland’s 2016 Game of Thrones® campaign continues to showcase Northern Ireland to millions of fans worldwide ~

24 May 2016 – Episode five of the sixth season of Game of Thrones® aired last night (Monday, 23 May) and Tourism Ireland unveiled its fifth ‘Door of Thrones’ – this week in Frank’s (Owens) Bar in Limavady.

The door is part of Tourism Ireland’s 2016 Game of Thrones® campaign, created in partnership with HBO, which is showcasing Northern Ireland to millions of the show’s fans worldwide. Tourism Ireland is encouraging fans everywhere to come and follow in the footsteps of their favourite GoT characters – to discover the forests, mountains and landscapes of Northern Ireland which provide the scenic backdrops for so many memorable moments in the fantasy drama.

Earlier this year, Tourism Ireland saved the wood from two trees at the Dark Hedges – known in Game of Thrones® as the Kingsroad – which fell during Storm Gertrude. The wood was then used to make a series of 10 beautifully carved doors, each one telling the story of the latest episode in season six. The doors are being unveiled by Tourism Ireland each week as season six unfolds, in restaurants, pubs and other venues near Game of Thrones® filming locations across Northern Ireland.

This week’s door in Frank’s (Owens) Bar features several striking designs, immortalising the Night’s King. It is near Dragonstone – the filming location otherwise known as Downhill Strand.

The first door (from episode one) is hanging in The Cuan guest inn in Strangford – near the filming locations of Castle Ward and Audley’s Castle. The second door is hanging in Fiddlers Green in Portaferry, near Quintin Bay. The third door, in the Percy French restaurant in Newcastle, is near Tollymore Forest Park; and the fourth door is in Blakes of the Hollow in Enniskillen, near Pollagollum Cave.

Tourism Ireland has also unveiled its fifth – limited edition – Game of Thrones® stamp, another element of its campaign, produced in conjunction with the Royal Mail.


The Market Place Theatre in Armagh is the place to be this summer as it launches its June to August programme crammed full of light-hearted comedy and drama, chilled out musical performances, loads of entertainment for the little ones including the massively popular Summer musical, and not to mention the now annual John Hewitt Summer School.

Here’s just an outline of what’s available to enjoy during those long summer evenings.

The kids will be absolutely spoilt for choice this season. Cahoots NI are back in June with their mind-blowing production ‘Danny Carmo’s Mathematical Mysteries’ – a spectacular show where Maths, Theatre and Digital Technology collide to create a fun and interactive performance proving that understanding maths can be fun! There will also be not one, but two Family Super Saturdays, the first in July with Clydebuilt Puppet Theatre’s ‘The Elves & The Shoemaker’, where one good turn deserves another, in this magical story of kindness that will delight the little ones. August’s Family Super Saturday offering will be ‘The History Of Tom Thumb’, an escapade of gigantic proportions in a world where everything is larger than life and ten times more exciting.

Families will also be delighted with this Summer’s incredible musical, ‘Annie’. Prepare to sing along to all the unforgettable classics like ‘Hard Knock Life’, ‘Easy Street’ and of course ‘Tomorrow’, as the story of the little orphan girl unfolds. A show no-one should miss, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll love it.

There’ll be laughs aplenty with some fantastic stand-up comedy and comedy drama. The multi award-winning Brassneck Theatre Company are back with ‘Che Guevara’s Night Off’, the laugh-a-minute tale of the world’s most wanted man’s night in Ireland. Join Che and the locals for a wild night’s craic with fiddles, fugitives and a drop of the black stuff.

The craic continues with ‘Handbag Positive’, where two middle age friends find themselves back in touch in a local A & E department, pondering their teenage years, exchanging stories and insults, and wondering why they ever liked each other.

Summer wouldn’t be summer without a helping of Sam Cree comedy, which this year comes in the form of ‘Separate Beds’, a hilarious evening’s entertainment from the pen of Ulster’s favourite playwright. The usual pot-pourri of characters, each with their own story to tell and their own crisis in hand, combine to create the perfect comedy classic.

The end of the summer will see the end of the Maggie Muff trilogy, as ‘Maggie’s Feg Run’ arrives in Armagh. This time Maggie and Big Sally-Ann are on their way to Benidorm on a ‘Feg Run’ to smuggle home cigarettes to sell. Sun, sea, sangria and sticky Vicky! Sure what more is there to want? This is the one you’ve all been waiting for!

Don’t forget the musical performances this summer with chilled out jazz from the Bourbon Swing Jazz Band, some of the most exciting contemporary traditional music around from ‘Buille’ and a delightful new twist on the performance of poetry in ‘A Poem For A Song’.

For details of all events can be found online at, and tickets for can be booked by contacting the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821.

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.

Sample the delights of the North Coast with Causeway Coast Foodie Tours!

Causeway Coast Foodie Tours is an exciting new venture by Wendy Gallagher, and a MUST for NI foodies!

This guided tour will showcase some of the best local produce and hidden gems the North Coast has to offer. Sit back, relax and savour the flavours that make this area so unique.

We will be making 5 stops along the beautiful Causeway Coastal route with each one offering a delicious & surprising taste experience! These include sample tasting at the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery, feasting on local fish prepared by fabulous chefs and a stop at an award winning farm where you will see first-hand how produce is reared for our plates.

Starting in Coleraine, the tour by luxury midi-coach will last for approximately 6 hours. You will have the chance to sample local food and drinks at each stop so please come hungry! After lunch our coach will return you to Coleraine.

Enjoy this time together to eat, discover and take home foodie goodies and see for yourself why this area is our food heaven!  We would recommend customers bring a cool bag to keep any perishable purchases fresh.

The next confirmed tour dates are Saturday 4th and 18th June – but be quick as these tours are sure to sell out quickly! Cost: £55

To book your place contact Wendy at with your booking details and any special requirements, or call +44 (0) 7912 408 256

You can follow Causeway Coast Foodie Tours on Facebook and Twitter.