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 NI has selected the best offers of the week for you to choose from.
Taste of Our Waters, Newforge House, Co. Armagh. From £117.50pps. Cradled in beautiful gardens and green fields, five-star Newforge House offers warm hospitality and superb food in tranquil surroundings. Celebrate the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink ‘Sea, Rivers and Loughs’ month with a menu showcasing our local fish. This one of a kind unique tasting break includes one night’s Bed & Breakfast, tea/coffee and homemade bakes on arrival and a six-course Fish & Seafood Tasting Dinner. Available 16/17 July. To book call (028) 611255.
Sneak Away Sunday, Corick House Hotel & Spa, Co. Tyrone. From £80pps. Nestled in the heart of the Clogher Valley where style and elegance meets country hospitality, this idyllic four-star 17th Century House offers a haven of tranquillity. Check into your deluxe room to find a bottle of bubbly and fresh strawberries awaiting your arrival. Change into your fluffy robe and head to the Thermal Suite, where you can relax with a 25 minute treatment of your choice. Breakfast and a late check-out of 1pm included. To book call (028) 85 548216.
Date Night Package, Ten Square Hotel, Belfast, Co. Antrim. From £175 per couple. This unique four-star Belfast hotel is located just steps from the historic City Hall, Belfast Waterfront and Victoria Square. Treat yourself and a loved one to a romantic date night, where chilled Prosecco and strawberries await you on arrival. Enjoy a sumptuous 3 Course Meal in Jospers Steakhouse before enjoying an overnight stay with full breakfast the following morning. To book call (028) 90 241001.
Tourism NI has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (June 27 – July 3).
River to Lough Festival, Antrim Castle Gardens, Co. Antrim, Jul 2. Showcasing the unique cultural heritage of Lough Neagh & Its Waterways, this award-winning event celebrates the ancient fishing tradition associated with the area. This year’s festival will include cookery demonstrations, fishermen story-telling sessions and lots of entertainment throughout the day. Starts at noon.
Battle of Somme Commemoration, Enniskillen Castle, County Fermanagh, Jul 1. An iconic 100-year-old Bugle belonging to Drummer Downs will be sounded at Enniskillen Castle to mark the Somme Commemoration as part of special service. Starts at 6:30am. www.inniskillingsmuseum.com.
Celtronic, Various locations, Derry~Londonderry, until 3 Jul. Ireland’s premier electronic music festival, Celtronic returns to the city this year for its sixteenth anniversary. As always, the festival will feature some of the best DJs from across the electronic music spectrum.
Pirates off Portrush, Portrush Amphitheatre, Co. Antrim, July 2 – 3. Discover the shenanigans of Tavish Dhu, a Scottish Pirate through drama, costumed characters, floats, music, street parade and children’s entertainers.
A Medieval Tented Village will play host to a display of ancient crafts, skills, tastes and sounds while locally caught fish on the day will be used for the cookery demonstrations on the Sunday.
American Independence Celebrations, Ulster American Folk Park, Co. Tyrone, July 2 – 4. Celebrate the 240th Anniversary of the Declaration of the United States of America in the unique setting of the Ulster American Folk Park. With live Bluegrass and American Folk music, traditional Punch and Judy Shows and American games, this will be a great family day out this summer!
Hillsborough Farmers Market, The Courthouse, Co. Down, Jul 2. Stock up on your favourite products and discover a wealth of talented artisan food producers that are springing up across Northern Ireland. There will be something for young and old, big and small, with face painting, potato printing and music from local musicians. There will even be a picnic area to kick back and sample some of the food on offer. From 10:00 – 15:00.
Smiley, Lyric Theatre, Belfast, until Jun 30. A former professional footballer puts a five-a-side soccer team together to win a lucrative competition but things don’t always go to plan. A witty comedy from the highly acclaimed Gary Mitchell, Smiley promises to be a high octane production.
Remember the Somme Walks, Somme Centre, Co.Down, Jul 2-3. Step back in time to 100 years ago to 1916 and the Battle of the Somme. Learn of the gallant contribution of the soldiers from the 36th Ulster Division and follow in their footsteps as you walk through their training camp to Helen’s Tower. Booking essential.
Cuilcagh Mountain Jeep Safari, Co. Fermanagh, Jul 3. Jump on board one of the Geopark Landrovers and explore the stunning scenery of Cuilcagh Mountain Park. Ranging from the rugged upland cliffs to the weathered limestone landscapes on the lower ground, this safari is a chance for you to experience and explore the patchwork of landscapes found on Cuilcagh Mountain. Suitable for 12+.
Stretcher Bearer, Linen Hall Library, Belfast, until Jul 30.New and exclusive to the Linen Hall, artist Leslie Nicholl unveils a series of stunning and intricate paintings exploring the humanity shown by Irish, Ulster, British, German and French stretcher bearers in the Battle of the Somme.
From Friday 01 July 2016 to 31 August 2016 W5 is going to need the help of budding architects, builders and engineers in their new hands-on block play area – Build It!
You can build it really big with Imagination Playground’s Big Blue Blocks. You can build it in all sizes with KAPLA or build it small with a wide range of natural wood blocks, bricks, logs and shapes. Build bridges, towers, animals, abstract structures, whatever you want! Whatever your age, whatever your experience, whatever inspires you – just BUILD IT!
Many celebrated architects, engineers and designers claim that their inspiration came at an early age through playing with wooden blocks and block toys. Who knows, perhaps through creative play W5 can help inspire the next generation of design and construction professionals.
If you are hosting a conference or event in Belfast this summer, then take a look at these amazing deals from Hastings Hotels.
They are a trio of tempting packages that give event organisers the chance to impress their guests in luxurious surroundings coupled with 21st century facilities and excellent customer service.
Hire a room at Stormont Hotel’s purpose-built Confex Centre, one of the best equipped conference facilities in Northern Ireland, from just £30 per person, and enjoy tea, coffee and fruit skewers upon arrival, energising fruit smoothies for a mid-morning pick-up, BBQ style finger food for lunch from the top class chefs, and iced coffee with home-baked delights in the afternoon. All the essential facilities such as data projector and screen, flip-chart, paper and pens are also included in this fantastic offer. Valid until August 31, minimum booking of 15 delegates. For more information call 028 9065 1066.
Book one of the stylish conference suites in the Euro Business centre at the Europa Hotel and enjoy fantastic rates this summer. The state of the art meeting rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi, flipchart, projector and screen, with sweets and chilled water on the table. A dedicated events co-ordinator will be on hand to cater to your needs leading up to the event and on the day itself. Not only this, but one in ten delegates eat for free! Room hire is just £100 for a half-day and £150 for a full day, valid until August 31. For more information call 028 9027 1066.
The seasonal delegate offer at Culloden Estate and Spa is a 5-star offer for anyone hosting a conference this summer. The deal includes conference suite hire for the day from only £45 per person, with refreshments and essentials such as screen, projector and stationery. Homemade soup and sandwich platters are provided for lunch, and not only do all delegates get a complimentary day pass for the Spa and Health Club, a Lunch Time Express Destress including neck and shoulder massage and express aromatherapy facial can be added for just £25 per person. Valid until August 31, minimum booking of 10 delegates. For more information call 028 9042 1066.
Local band Paper Dogs, known for their funky blues rock sound, the 4 piece have been announced as the winners of the inaugural Sunflowerfest ‘Grass Roots’ band competition.
Over the past months, heats were held for the competition across Northern Ireland, including in Bangor, where Paper Dogs took the top prize. The winners from each heat then played a final gig to an enthusiastic crowd in Voodoo Belfast this week, where judges, picked Paper Dogs as the firm favourite on the night. As their prize, the group will now get the fantastic opportunity of playing a set on the barn stage at Sunflowerfest on Friday 5th August 2016, at 1.50pm.
The band includes Chris Rooney (Guitar and Vocals), Nick McCully (Guitar), Mark Mahood (Bass), Kris Young (Drums) and has been together since 2012, and record their own material at Vega studio in Bangor and have recorded their most recent EP with Chris Ryan at Start together Studio, the oh Yeah Center. They hope this opportunity to play at Northern Ireland’s fastest growing festival will give them a step-up and the chance to reach more people with their music.
Inspired by bands 70’s bands such as Thin Lizzy and current artist Graveyard Paper Dogs deliver a funky or groovy blues rock sound and will be playing their own music as they take to the stage at Sunflowerfest. They also plan to debut 2 new songs they are working on at the moment. The band is just finishing their second EP, which is due for release this summer.
Speaking at the competition Chris Rooneysaid “Playing Sunflowerfest is going to be the highlight of our summer.” When we entered Grass Roots, we just wanted decent exposure and to meet other bands we could gig with in the future; we didn’t think we’d win! Now we’re going to be playing among 120 of the best acts in NI and further afield at the festival; we can’t wait to get down to the farm!
Michael Magowan, festival organizer, said “We are absolutely over the moon that Paper Dogs have taken home the Grass Roots crown. We couldn’t be more proud of the band! Right from the beginning they have been amazing to work with, from the initial heat through to the final, and we see big things in the group’s future.”
“Very well done to Chris, Nick, Mark and Kris. We can’t wait to see them live on stage at Sunflowerfest this summer and we will continue to support them as much as we can.”
Sunflowerfest takes placeat Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough, 5th to 7th August. As always, the music line up at this year’s Sunflowerfest covers all genres with a wide range of local and international acts confirmed for the festival’s six diverse stages… something to suit all tastes. Weekend tickets cost from £79.95 per adult and each adult ticket admits 2 children aged 15 and younger for free. Day tickets are also available £28.
We are delighted that Northern Ireland has reached the knockout stages at the European Championships.
We will continue with our family fun football events at both Mossley Mill and Antrim Castle Gardens, with a live screening of Northern Ireland v Wales on Saturday 25 June. The event will begin from 4pm with kick off at 5pm.
Tickets will be released today at 3pm for both sites and are available to book online at www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/football or in person from Theatre at The Mill Box Office, Clotworthy House or Antrim Civic Centre. Due to high demand tickets are restricted to four per person.
You know Summer has arrived in Bangor when the Sunday music returns to The Bandstand in Ward Park.
Ards and North Down Borough Council’s popular Music In The Park programme has been running for 11 years now and has become hugely popular with visitors who look forward to kicking back in the sunshine and enjoying some quality music acts. This year the Open House Festival will be programming the events, providing the most eclectic line-up of acts ever seen at The Bandstand!
Kicking off this year on Sunday, July 3, then running every Sunday for the whole of July and August, this year’s programme features a mix of blues, folk, easy listening and even some punk! Featuring gems such as; The Blues Street Preachers, Les Petits Hardchargers, Chris Keys Band, Sam Wickens, Jigs & Reels, & Nathan O’Regan! The finale event will be the fabulous Open House Bluegrass Picnic taking place on the last Sunday in August.
One of the highlights of the 2016 programme will be ‘Punk In The Park,’ taking place on August 14. Shock Treatment 21 a modern day reincarnation of a late 70s punk new/wave outfit will take park-goers on a trip down memory lane to their punk hey-day – a new departure for Ward Park! So spike up your hair and don’t miss it!
Opening the programme on July 3 is The Salvation Army Brass Band playing a traditional programme of music to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of The Battle of the Somme.
So if you fancy a lazy Sunday in the park, enjoying live music from the comfort of a deck chair, stick the dates in your diary, gather your family and friends, pack a picnic and head to Ward Park, every Sunday in July and August from 3 – 5pm.
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: www.visitardsandnorthdown.com
LOCAL food and drink producers will have the opportunity to showcase their products at this year’s Armoy Road Races on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th July 2016.
The Armoy Road Races is one of Northern Ireland’s prime motorsport gatherings, attracting motorcycle riders both locally and internationally. Last year there were a record number of spectators to the event and in the run up to the main racing dates, a variety of events such as classic car and motorcycle displays, a horseshoe throwing competition, BBQs and the bikers’ ride out will take place from Sunday 24th July followed by practice on Friday 29th and racing on Saturday 30th July 2016.
By teaming up with Tourism Northern Ireland for its Year of Food and Drink campaign, this year visitors to the road races will be able to sample and buy local produce in a dedicated food and drink marquee.
Shauna McFaul from Ballycastle Market said, “We are delighted to be involved with the road races this year. It gives us the opportunity to show off all the wonderful, tasty and innovative food and drinks which are produced in the area in an exciting and unique setting.
“We’ll have plenty of stalls providing an opportunity for everyone to try as well as buy what’s on offer. Armoy Road Races is a great event to be associated with and we are really looking forward to being there. The Year of Food and Drink has monthly themes and as the theme for July is seas, rivers and coasts, we are well situated to enable some of our great fish producers to show what they do. In addition to the theme, we’ll have everything from artisan cakes and breads to a selection of local craft ales and beers available.”
Ann Moreland from Tourism Northern Ireland said, “We are pleased to support the food and drink showcase at this year’s Armoy Road Races. The NI Year of Food and Drink is a celebration of our local heritage and gives visitors a true taste of what local producers and traders have to offer. Being involved with Armoy Road Races gives us an exclusive event to promote what is available in North Antrim.”
Now in its eight year, the Armoy Road Races is set to be another hotly contested event with a quality line up of riders, which usually includes the like of locals and brothers Michael and William Dunlop, as well as some notable riders from the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and further afield. Practice, as well as the first Supersport race, takes place on Friday 29th July with a full programme of racing on Saturday 30th July 2016.
Bill Kennedy, Clerk of the Course said, “It is great that we are able to showcase and promote our local producers at this year’s races. To have all the traders in a dedicated marquee is a brilliant way for visitors to see the great selection of food and drink that is available in the local area.
“We are delighted to be working with Shauna, her team and Tourism Northern Ireland.”
Fans have the option of enjoying the races through a VIP package which gives them car parking in the official car parks, access to any of the grandstands and exclusive access to the VIP corporate hospitality marquee which will serve morning coffee and scones followed by a locally sourced gourmet buffet lunch, showcasing local producers, and complimentary wine.
To purchase VIP tickets, priced at £80 with a table of ten costing £750, please contact Darryl at NakedPR by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 028 9091 8677.
The event is part funded by Tourism Northern Ireland and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Bike Week runs from Sunday 24th July until Saturday 30th July 2016 with the SGS International ‘Race of Legends’ featuring on the Saturday 30th July 2016.
For more information visit www.amrrc.com or search for ‘AMRRC’ on Facebook and join the official fan page and you can also follow us on twitter at @ArmoyRoadRaces.
Enjoy a fun filled family day out celebrating our very own Comber Earlies and more at the Comber Earlies Food Festival this Saturday 25th June. Start your day with a unique dish from one of the many local artisan food stalls at the festival. There will be 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 including Meet the Growers, Artisan Food, Cookery Demonstrations, Vintage Tractors, Children’s Activities and Live Music.
For those who want to explore everything the City of Armagh has to offer, a guided walking tour is a must! You’ll walk through Armagh’s rich history as you hear stories and anecdotes about the area, learn about the City’s renowned Georgian architecture and stroll along the distinct cobbled streets as you unearth some of the City’s hidden gems along the way. Every Wednesday – Saturday from Wednesday 15 June – Saturday 27 August 2016 at11.00 am – 12.00pm, 1.00pm – 2.00pm. Only £3.00 per person departing from Armagh Visitor Information Centre.
Join staff at the Marble Arch Caves in a hunt for unseen wildlife this Saturday 25th June in the Marble Arch National Nature Reserve. Hunt in habitats throughout the Nature Reserve, catching and identifying invertebrates as you go! Learn a bit more about these mini-beasts’ fascinating lifestyles and their roles in an eco-system. You will also get an opportunity to get up close to some of the moth species found in the woodland, as you discover what is inside our moth trap from the night before! This event is suitable for people of all ages but all children must be accompanied by an adult. Please bring warm waterproof clothing and suitable footwear.
Living Vintage very much welcomes this return visit to the Alley Theatre Strabane this Saturday 25th June to support the very necessary work carried out in the Koram Centre. Living Vintage will bring their unique show of authentic clothes and accessories from the 1940s – 50s from their private collection. This amazing show is set in an atmosphere of fun and nostalgia, suitable for all ages, could be a trip down memory lane for some or a peek into grandma’s wardrobe. Early booking is advisable for this very exciting and memorable show.
BEST Wrestling Live bring “The Fight Across The Foyle” on Saturday June 25th to the Magee Sports Centre in Derry at 7pm, featuring Marty Jones and Johnny Saint, BEST’s first ever women’s wrestling match featuring Kaci Quin and Heidi Katrina, the man of a million kicks Cambo Cray, and many more! The newest wrestlers on the scene straight from The NI School of Wrestling plan to make an impact! Tickets available now from the Magee Sports Centre.
Whatever your rural passion, indulge it to the full at the 2016 Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival, incorporating the NI Angling Show, at Shanes Castle, Antrim on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June (10am-6pm daily). From angling, archery and air rifles to falconry, fine food, ferrets and fun, it’s all about country sports and pursuits. Check out the medieval jousting, wander through a Living History Village, or cower at the re-enactment of the Battle of Antrim plus cookery demos and a great country-themed tented retail village.
Travel back in time and follow in the footsteps of Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Britain’s Robert Falcon Scott as they embark on a 1,800 mile journey to be the first to reach the South Pole at Titanic Belfast’s Summer Exhibition ‘Race to the End of the Earth’! This must-see exhibition, on loan from the American Museum of Natural History, will be on display for the very first time in the UK and Ireland from 25th June – 28th August, so don’t miss your chance to see it! Described by New York Times as “five-star” and “engrossing”, this is the must-see Summer exhibition for kids, adults, explorer enthusiasts and adventurers alike! Enter the Race to the End of the Earth from 10am – 6pm daily for an experience to remember!
For more details on these events and to add your events free go to whatsonni.com. Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at fb.com/www.whatsonni.com for news, competitions and what’s on near you.
Our local history is under the spotlight at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh with two very different performances taking a candid look back.
‘The Rebel Crown’ is a poetic history of the extraordinary turbulent life of Red Hugh O’Neill Earl of Tyrone. It is a candid look at a man full of contradictions. Was he a saint or a sinner?
‘The Rebel Crown’, written and performed by award winning actor and writer Owen O’Neill, will take an irreverent look at what might have been. One thing is certain. Red Hugh was one of Ireland’s greatest warrior chieftains, a master tactician on the field of battle, undone in the end by treachery. ‘The Rebel Crown’ will commemorate the 400th anniversary of his death in Rome in 1616 aged 66. ‘The Rebel Crown’ will be staged on Friday 24th June at 8pm. Tickets are priced £13 and £11 (concession).
UK comedy circuit stalwart Neil Dougan attempts to compress over five hundred years of protestant culture into his new one man show, ‘Heretics & Head The Balls’. Packed with tales of head the balls and heretics. His subjects range from revolutionary reformists to bonfire builders. The Four Musketeers, a tribe of Native American Orangemen, The Scots Irish, 17th Century Calvinist orgies in Essex; Saint Patrick, even Rasputin gets a mention.
‘Heretics & Head The Balls’ will be staged on Saturday 25th June at 9pm. Tickets are priced £12 each. Please note the show contains adult references, and responsibility for allowing under 12s to view lies with the accompanying adult.