Northern Ireland boasts a unique collection of irresistible places to stay including quirky B&Bs, luxurious spa hotels and hidden gem properties for an ideal short break and Discover NI has selected the best offers of the week for you to choose from.

  • Friday or Sunday Night Break, Glenavon House Hotel, Co. Tyrone. From £62.50pps. Situated on the outskirts of Cookstown, the three-star Glenavon Hotel is a haven for business and holiday makers alike. This special offer includes dinner, one night’s bed and breakfast and full use of Club Riveria leisure facilities. Available until 31 Dec. To book call (028) 8676 4949.
  • Spring/Summer Getaway, Ardtara Country House, Maghera, Co. Londonderry. From £137.50pps. A member of Ireland’s prestigious Blue Book, Ardtara Country House is an elegantly restored 19th century ancestral home. Enjoy a two night break at Ardtara and relax in cosy lounges surrounded by toasty fires.  Offer includes tea/coffee on arrival, two nights bed and breakfast and a three course evening meal on both nights. Available until 30 June.  To book call (028) 7964 4490.

  • Titanic Package, Stormont Hotel, Belfast, Co.Antrim. From £50pps. Enjoy an overnight bed and breakfast break at the four-star contemporary Stormont Hotel located on the edge of Belfast City. Following your stay at the hotel travel to the depths of the ocean and uncover the true legend of Titanic at Titanic Belfast through nine interactive galleries and full-scale reconstructions. Available until 31 Dec. To book call (028) 9065 1066.

For further information log on to

*All offers are subject to availability.


SUMMER is just around the corner, and Hastings Hotels have two great offers that will really bring the sunshine to your short break!

The Everglades Hotel, situated close to the centre of Derry~Londonderry and overlooking the River Foyle and the rugged hills of Donegal, is offering a, Sleep, Wine and Dine deal from £55pps. This offer includes an overnight stay with breakfast, plus a two-course evening meal with a bottle of wine. This great value getaway is available until the end of June. For more information call 028 7132 1066.

The recently refurbished, Stormont Hotel is giving visitors the opportunity to experience not only its luxurious 4* accommodation and cuisine, but also one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, Titanic Belfast. Enjoy overnight bed and breakfast in the Stormont Hotel, plus tickets for the Titanic exhibition, from only £50pps. For more information call 028 9065 1066.

To find out more about Hastings Hotels go to

*Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability. 

The perfect local gift idea – an ‘Armagh’ apron and tea towel

Craftswirl @ Armagh Visitor Information Centre have just received a delivery of a new Armagh Tea Towel and Apron.

Made by Ulster Weavers, these items would make a great gifts to bring to someone living away from home, or a great memento of a visit to our wonderful City and District.

Both items depict sketched images of our most iconic visitor attractions and are on sale at just £5.99 for the tea towel and £10.75 for the apron.

Call in today and snap up yours.

For information please contact: Craftswirl @ Armagh Visitor Information Centre, 40 English Street, Armagh  BT61 7BA.  Tel 028 3752 1800


London Classic Theatre returns to The Market Place Theatre in Armagh with the Harold Pinter classic, ‘The Birthday Party’.

A shabby boarding house in a small English seaside town. An elderly couple take care of a solitary guest, who rarely ventures out. The arrival of two enigmatic strangers seems to offer a welcome distraction from their mundane existence. But when an impromptu, seemingly innocent birthday party abruptly turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse, there are horrifying repercussions.

By turns, cryptic thriller and macabre comedy, ‘The Birthday Party’ was Harold Pinter’s first major work and is among the most unusual and absorbing of his plays. London Classic Theatre presents the first significant touring revival of the twenty-first century, promising to bring this ground-breaking classic to fresh and exhilarating life.

Playwright, director, actor, poet and political activist, Harold Pinter was born on 10 October 1930 in East London. He wrote twenty-nine plays including Betrayal, Old Times, The Homecoming and The Caretaker. In 2005, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

‘The Birthday Party’ will be staged on Friday 27th May at 8pm. Tickets are priced £14.50 and £12.50 (concession). Tickets for all performances can be booked through the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at

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.


Now a firm fixture on the literary circuit, the Belfast Book Festival is getting ready to ‘open-up’ its unique and magical experience in venues across the City from 9 -19 June.

Helping to launch the Belfast Book Festival, 9-19th June, at Crescent Arts Centre were, from left, Belfast-based author Rachael Kelly, Chair of the Crescent Arts Centre Deepa Mann-Kler and Head of Literature and Drama at Arts Council of Northern Ireland Damian Smyth. With over 100 live events and workshops the festival will feature a wide range of writers, authors, poets, critics, musicians, films and film makers, activists, artists and actors from home and abroad, across a range of Belfast based venues. For further information visit

With over 100 live events and workshops the festival will feature a wide range of writers, authors, poets, critics, musicians, films and film makers, activists, artists and actors from home and abroad.  Run by the Crescent Arts Centre and funded by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council, the Belfast Book Festival offers yet another incredible programme for all ages and tastes with an aim to adhere to the ethos that books and authors matter and should be cherished.

Notable highlights for this year include; The Jam’s drummer Rick Buckler who will discuss his book That’s Entertainment: My Life in the Jam at The Black Box, John Challis (Only Fools and Horses) joins Nuala McKeever at Crescent Arts Centre to discuss his life in show business as well as his books Being Boycie and Reggie: A Stag at Bay; Award-winning journalist David Aaronovitch will discuss his memoir Party Animals: My Family and Other Communists at Crescent Arts Centre; Financial and economics expert Paul Mason will be in conversation with Martina Devlin about the state of the world economy, Brexit and much more; Leading contemporary novelist Dame Fiona Kidman talks to Cathy Brown about her book on the 1930s aviator icon aka ‘Garbo of the Skies’ Jean Batten; Award winning Kate Tempest talks to Jan Carson about her debut novel The Bricks That Built The Houses and  maverick film-maker Alex Cox will discuss his book for aspiring filmmakers at Crescent Arts Centre.

The Belfast Book Festival is also proud to present a range of book launches during the festival this year.  Author George Larmour’s They Killed The Ice-Cream Man explores the brutal murder of his brother in 1988; Christine Hamill’s The Best Medicine is another emotional rollercoaster of a story from the writer of B is for Breast Cancer and R.B.Kelly will launch her Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair Competition 2014 winning book The Edge of Heaven.

Poetry lovers will be in their element with the wide choice of events available. Red Pill presents award winning poet trail blazers Abby Oliveira, Erin Fornoff and Alice McCullough at Crescent Arts Centre; Templar Poet (I&II) with Dawn Wood, Tom Weir, Oliver Comins and Maggie O’Dwyer. Over at The Sunflower Bar The Lifeboat with Sarah Howe, Kayo Chingonyi and Cal Doyle; Take a poetry tour of Ireland with Kevin Quinn; hear Three Voices from award winning poets Eleanor Hooker, Mel McMahon and Trevor Conway; and not forgetting the ‘open mic’ of the Festival Poetry Slam.

The festival will provide the opportunity to open up interesting topics and debates; Rebecca De Saintonge’s One Yellow Door explores the conflicting emotions of infidelity where one partner is severely disabled. Human rights activist Hyeonseo Lee will discuss her memoirs and her work on human rights as well as refugee issues. 93 year old Harry Leslie Smith will bring his unique perspective on the NHS cutbacks, benefits, political corruption and much more with Harry’s Last Stand. Join author of The Activist Alec Connon and local activist Tanya Jones as they discuss the role that activism can play in a healthy democracy.

If music, film and sport is an interest then you might like to consider some of these great events. Up By The Roots featuring the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Ensemble Award shortlisted Fidelio Trio, poet  Sinead Morrissey and composer Piers Hellawell present their collaborative works; Musical Truth by Mark Devlin which explores the darker side of the music industry; Take a music, film and narrative journey in reflections of WWI a musical journey with four time All Ireland Fiddle Champion Tracey McRory. Football fans will enjoy Evan Marshall’s Spirit of ‘58 which tells the story of how Northern Ireland football came of age that year, whilst petrol heads fans will enjoy Liam Beckett’s Full Throttle which explores his partnership with Robert Dunlop. Film buffs should check out ‘Ireland’s Orwell’ Hubert Butler Witness to the Future a film by Johnny Gogan with post show talk.

As ever children and young people play an important part of Belfast Book Festival. With this in mind the programme features a wide range of educational workshops and community outreach activities.  These include; Young Scribblers with Sharon Dempsey; silk screen printing with Kat St Angelo; and Stuart Reid will be talking Books, Bums, Bogies and Big Bottom Burps plus loads more. Also this year, and supported by Belfast City Council, is the annual Family Fun Day with a  Mad Hatters Tea Party Theme and featuring the Fine and Dandy Market. There will be something for children of all ages from storytelling, food and drink, entertainment, art workshops, a range of children’s author and of course – loads and loads of books.  Best of all, like most of the family events – it’s FREE!

Deepa Mann-Kler, Chair of the Crescent Arts Centre, commented:
“ Yet again Belfast Book Festival has produced a fantastic programme for all tastes, ages and genres. As ever we are very grateful to our key funders Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and our key sponsors Standard Utilities, Nicholson Bass and Europa Hotel. Our programme this year focuses on the ethos that books and authors matter and should be cherished. With the support of all our funders and sponsors they have not only helped us to realise this but have helped us to create and ‘open-up’ a magical and engaging programme.  We look forward to welcoming everyone to the festival and it’s unique atmosphere.”

Head of Literature and Drama at Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Damian Smyth, said:
“The Belfast Book Festival opens up the incredible worlds of literature and the imagination by allowing the best international and local writers to present their work to audiences in the most intimate and personable of settings. The Arts Council’s support as principal funder reflects of our confidence in this festival to extend the appeal of all literary genres so that everyone, from the most tentative to the most seasoned of readers, has the opportunity to experience the full and inimitable pleasure of books.”

Festival Director, Keith Acheson, added:

“Every year the Belfast Book Festival provides an opportunity for authors, poets and performers, both international and local to showcase their work.  Yet again we reveal another packed programme of events which we hope will appeal to everyone – no matter what age or level of interest in literature. Whilst we are delighted to welcome returning supporters we are keen to open up to those who have never participated in our festival before and encourage them to join us in trying something new.  There really is something for everyone – all ages, all tastes – so pick up a programme and make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to join us.”

For further details on the Belfast Book Festival including the full festival programme  visit or follow on facebook – Belfastbookfestival or twitter @belfastbookfest #belfastbook.


NI’s unique landscapes and places help to create world-class produce

The Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 is an exciting time for food and drink here.  Our talented chefs and restaurants continue to gain accolades such as Michelin stars for OX and Eipic and Bib Gourmands for James Street South Bar and Grill and the Old Schoolhouse Inn.

Our food producers are also shining on the world stage with hundreds of Great Taste Award winners including Hannan Meats, Mash Direct, Dale Farm, Punjana Tea, and En Place.

These awards are possible due to Northern Ireland’s unique landscapes and places which have a direct influence on the quality of the food and drink that is produced here, explained Rachel Quigg, Communications and Destination PR Officer, Tourism NI.

“The strength of our local produce has made an impact on the food and drink experience our visitors can expect in our restaurants, hotels, visitor attractions, cafes, pubs and cookery schools.

“Our fields and orchards, landscapes and seas, allow our talented food and drink artisans to make world-class produce that we can be proud of.”

Tourism NI has taken a tasty look at just some of the excellent produce that each county has to offer.

County Down – Comber Earlies

Potato growing in Comber is intertwined with the history of two influential Ulster-Scots families named Hamilton and Montgomery. Only potatoes planted and grown in the former Hamilton / Montgomery lands around County Down can be marketed as Comber Earlies.

Having been granted the elite EU PGI status in 2012, it’s great to see Comber Earlies now among some of the world’s most distinctive foods, in the same league as Parma ham, Roquefort cheese and champagne. Only potatoes harvested in the designated area during May, June and July each year are eligible for the PGI status.

The local fields are protected from winter ravages by the Mourne Mountains and the nurturing embrace of Strangford Lough, so the seed tubers are planted in drills from early January each year – much earlier than in other parts of Northern Ireland.

Don’t miss the Comber Earlies Food Festival, Comber town centre, June 25, for lots of potato themed children’s workshops and crafts and a chance to meet the growers.   There will be live music, fun walks, and competitions ensuring there is lots for the whole family to see and do.potato themed children’s workshops and crafts and a chance to meet the growers. Live music, fun walk about acts and competitions will ensure there is lots to see and do to keep the whole family entertained.

Armagh – Bramley Apples

Armagh, known as the ‘Orchard County’ of Ireland, has a history of apple growing dating back 3000 years. Saint Patrick planted an apple tree at Ceangoba, an ancient settlement east of the city and today more than 4000 acres of Armagh are covered by apple trees.

The orchards now produce more than 40,000 tonnes of Armagh Bramley apples each year – that’s 35 million apples! The Armagh Bramley Apple was awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Status in 2012.

The modern history of apple growing in the Orchard County of Armagh, begins not in Northern Ireland, but in the village of Southwell in Nottingham. In 1809, Mary Anne Brailsford planted a seed in her garden. Matthew Bramley bought the property years later and the seed and tree took his name.

In 1884, Mr CJ Nicholson of Cranagill House, Loughgall, bought 60 Bramley seedlings from Henry Merryweather, a young nurseryman who spotted the tree’s potential many year’s before, and introduced them to Co. Armagh.

Don’t miss the Armagh Food and Cider Festival, taking place between 5-9 October, offering five days packed with delicious food, fun happenings, special menus and mouth-watering events.

Antrim – Lough Neagh Eels, Dulse and Yellowman

As the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles and the fifth largest in Europe, Lough Neagh is not just steeped in amazing history and folklore, it’s also the home of the largest wild caught eel fishery in Europe. Eel fishing has been a major industry on the lough for centuries – archaeologists have even found evidence of commercial eel fishing dating back to the Bronze Age.  Regarded as the Rolls Royce of the eel, the Lough Neagh Eel’s creamy flesh is a real delicacy with over 400 tonnes of eels fished each year.

So no wonder they were awarded PGI status in 2011, a recognition of the heritage, tradition and authenticity of the best quality eel available in Europe.

Two other uniquely Northern Ireland foods are Dulse and Yellow Man.

Dulse is a salty, seaweed snack, originally harvested by fishermen to supplement their income when fishing was slack.  The unique taste is directly influenced by the region from which it comes, the Antrim coast, and it can be found at markets, in cheeses and it can add a very pleasant saline edge to a loaf of soda bread.

Yellow Man, as with Dulse, is associated with ‘The Ould Lammas Fair’ which has taken place annually in Ballycastle, Co Antrim, since the seventeenth century.  Within the town, streets are lined with more than 400 stalls selling a wide variety of goods, from livestock to painted scrolls. But the busiest trade is always at the stalls offering the traditional Lammas treats of Yellow Man, a sticky honeycomb toffee and Dulse.

Don’t miss the River to Lough Festival, July 2, which will showcase the unique cultural heritage of Lough Neagh and its waterways as well as celebrating the ancient fishing tradition associated with the area. showcasing the unique cultural heritage of Lough Neagh & Its Waterways, celebrating the ancient fishing tradition associated with the area.


Nestled among the yellow fields of Oilseed rape in Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you will find Broglasco Farm, home of Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil.

At the Broighter Gold ÉCONOMUSÉE workshop, owners Leona and Richard work hard all year to produce a premium product and it is now possible for anyone to come and uncover the process involved in the production of the award-winning Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil.  Visitors will see the oilseed rape transformed into a crystal clear golden liquid and wander through the small exhibition area, explore the historical connection to the Broighter Hoard and discover the characteristics of Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil.

To celebrate their fifth birthday and to mark the Year of Food and Drink 2016, Broighter have created a special edition oil with flakes of 23k gold.

Fermanagh – Black Bacon

Stunning Fermanagh and its unique bio-diversity make the perfect conditions for producing one of Northern Ireland’s most delicious products – Black Bacon.  Located on a remote island in Lough Erne, you’ll find a herd of rare breed pigs bred especially by Pat O’Doherty that produce the world-famous, award winning Black Bacon.  Take in the sights of the lough on an Erne Water Taxi before hopping off and enjoying some fine cuisine at one of Fermanagh’s award-winning restaurants.

Tyrone – Fivemiletown Creamery

County Tyrone is home to Fivemiletown Creamery, who have been making award-winning dairy produce since 1898 including the first Irish blue cheese, Ballyblue, and the first smoked brie in Europe, Ballyoak.

For more information on Year of Food & Drink 2016 visit  You can keep up to date with what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #EnjoyNI16.

Summer Schemes at W5

W5 offers fantastic group rates to crèches, after-school clubs and summer schemes during July and August! Explore over 250 interactive exhibits, including W5’s incredible climbing structure ‘Climbit’.

Discover W5’s Summer Scheme Workshops for 2016. It’s all about ‘Build it’ this summer and fun and highly interactive workshops. W5 will set your group a range of whacky team building games and challenges. Working together has never been more fun!

Summer Scheme Workshops

7s and under: Build it: Chalk-A-Block!

Little ones will draw, build and create their own city in this fun and creative workshop aimed at bringing out the mini architect in all of us. After first learning about cities and how buildings are made our little engineers will then chalk up their own buildings on large blackboard-style blocks which they’ll use to construct a cityscape of their own design. To finish, they can stand among their buildings for a fun and unique photo opportunity. (30 mins.)

For 8s and over: Build it: Dream Team!

It’s all about constructing the best team in this fun and highly interactive workshop. We’ll set your group a range of exciting team building games and challenges that will test their ingenuity and cooperation. But be warned: they’ll have to think inside and outside the box if they want to be named the ultimate Dream Team. Working together has never been more fun! (30 mins.)

Over 8s (aged 9+): Build it Extreme: The Dome! (minimum 16, maximum 32)

This is a unique construction challenge that will test your group’s building and teamwork skills to the max. We’ll give them just one hour to make a giant geodesic dome from specially designed plastic tubing. Can they work out the pattern and create the shape? Will your team make it in time and if they do, will they all fit inside? Believe it, geometry has never been more fun and hands-on than this! (60 mins.)

How much does it cost?

General Admission: 10am-2pm – £3.50 | After 2pm – £4.50
Workshops +£1.50 (30 mins); +£2.00 (60 mins)
Adults free per 1:10 supervision ratio (additional adults £7)


Please call W5’s booking line on 028 90467790 / 7793 to book a group visit.

Tourism Ireland unveils 4th ‘Door of Thrones’ in Enniskillen

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

17 May 2016 – Episode four of the sixth season of Game of Thrones® aired last night (Monday, 16 May) and Tourism Ireland unveiled its fourth ‘Door of Thrones’ – this week in Blakes of the Hollow pub in Enniskillen.

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 reminding fans everywhere that nowhere will get them closer to Game of Thrones® than Northern Ireland – the home of countless GoT locations, including Dragonstone, the Haunted Forest and Winterfell, where fans can meet direwolves, learn archery on the exact same spot as Jon Snow and set sail across the Narrow Sea! 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 engraved 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 Blakes of the Hollow features several striking designs, immortalising the Targaryens and Arryns. It is near the Brotherhood without Banners’ hideout – the filming location otherwise known as Pollagollum Cave.

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, is near Tollymore Forest Park. As part of the campaign, Tourism Ireland is also producing a series of limited edition Game of Thrones® stamps, in conjunction with the Royal Mail.

Comber Gets Ready For Earlies Festival

Food lovers will be delighted with the new look Comber Earlies Food Festival which is taking place on Saturday 25 June.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Alan Graham and Comber Earlies Growers Co-op Chairman Richard Orr examine some of the potato crop ahead of The Comber Earlies Food Festival which is taking place in the town’s centre on Saturday, 25 June.

The one day festival organised by Ards and North Down Borough Council in partnership with Food NI, Comber Early Growers and the Ulster Scots Agency, takes place in the town’s centre and will showcase the world famous Comber potato which achieved EU Protected Geographical Indication status in 2012.

Comber Earlies Growers Co-op is looking forward to the festival which is set to be bigger and better than ever. Despite later than usual planting in mid-March, the crop is progressing well and should be ready just in time. Co-op chairman Richard Orr said; ‘it’s fantastic to have the Comber Earlies Food Festival to showcase our crop, and we look forward to the season ahead!’

The event which is part of The Council’s NI Year of Food and Drink programme will have lots of delicious food on offer. Come along and sample the world famous Comber Earlies or some delicious locally produced food from the artisan Food Fair. Local chefs will be providing live cookery demonstrations at the festival kitchen throughout the day. For more information on a series of Year of Food and Drink events in Ards and North Down see

The festival promises to be a fantastic day out for the whole family with a programme packed full of activities for all ages. Relax at the hay bale picnic, take part in some Ulster Scots Highland Games or enjoy the live music on offer. Kids can enjoy lots of country-inspired crafts in the Craft Big Top; make a flower, a butterfly or your own scarecrow! In the food activity tent, festival goers can take part in fun food activities, look out for the tractor display and the street theatre programme which features some roller skating tomatoes!

The festival runs from 10am to 4pm and is a free event.

The Comber Earlies Fringe Festival will be running from 17 to 26 June. Delivered by Comber Regeneration Community Partnership, the Fringe Festival programme includes lots of activities like a supper dance, live music, a Spub Quiz, car boot sale and lots more.

For further information check


Armagh Craft Fair is returning to Armagh on Saturday 28th May from 10.30am to 6pm, at The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre.

Bringing high quality Craft to the heart of Armagh City this annual event offers something for everyone. The fair will feature over 45 high quality craft stalls from makers across Northern Ireland and Ireland. The crafts on show at this year’s Craft Fair will include textiles, knitwear, jewellery, wood, metal, basketry, glass, soaps, leather, ceramics, and candles to name but a few…..

There will also be 14 free craft demonstrations from master crafters throughout the day including hands on creative craft making opportunities for both adults and children. Why not have a go and learn a new skill? Ever had a burning desire to try your hand at Ceramics, Mosaic, Flame Worked Glass, Leather Working, Jewellery Making, Lace Making, Basket Making, Weaving or Traditional Wood Turning? Well now’s your chance to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in as they’re all available at this year’s Craft Fair.

In addition to all this, there will be free children’s workshops, musical entertainment, great food & much more including the latest addition to the Craft Fair – Craft Beverages and Tastings with local craft breweries and producers showcasing their quality products for audiences to sample and purchase.

Also, don’t forget to take a look at the fantastic Art Of Craft Exhibition in The Market Place Gallery. Featuring the works of 26 artist | designer | makers from across Northern Ireland and Ireland, this exhibition showcases their unique talents in ceramics, jewellery, mixed media, bespoke furniture, textiles, mosaic and paper working, and much more.

For further information, bookings and to download the full programme go to You can also follow developments on Facebook ( and Twitter ( for the latest information and video previews.