In keeping with its reputation for staging superb comedy, The Market Place Theatre in Armagh is set for laughs-a-plenty with Des Bishop, John Linehan, Gene Fitzpatrick and more over the coming weeks.


One of Ireland’s most successful comedians, Des Bishop, returns to The Market Place on Thursday 9 February with his new show, ‘One Day You’ll Understand’.

Des is old enough now to know that when his Mom used her favourite expression, ‘one day you will understand’, that she was often correct. However, sometimes she was just hiding from having to explain the complexities of life.

What a great metaphor for the confusing world we live in; from Trump to Isis, Facebook feeds to conspiracy theories and the ever-confusing battle of the sexes. Through laughter, Des attempts to make sense of the world today and life in general. This show is recommended for age 18+ as it may contain material that some people could find offensive.

Then on Saturday 18 February, John Linehan will compere ‘You Must Be Joking’ when he will be joined by a line-up of Northern Irish stand-up comedians in a night of pure comedy heaven.

Forget Brexit, the falling pound and global instability for a chuckle fest with the master of one liners Gene Fitzpatrick, the comedian’s comedian Adrian Walsh, star of ‘Heretic’s & Head The Balls’ Neil Dougan and our very own first lady of comedy the grand dame of panto May McFettridge. Pack up all your cares and woes with a glorious helping of classic comedy medicine! Musical accompaniment and general silliness provided by Ivan Black.

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.


Grab your walking boots and woolly hats, and work off the Christmas excess by heading outdoors to discover some of Northern Ireland’s most scenic locations this winter.

Rachel Quigg, Destination PR Officer, Tourism Northern Ireland said: “We are very fortunate in Northern Ireland to be surrounded by nature and beauty in every county with 8 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), 47 national nature reserves, 43 special areas of conservation and 10 special protection areas- making it a walker’s paradise.”

“Whether it’s a relaxing stroll along a river bank, a hike up a mountain, a ramble through a forest or even a mad dash after your dog, Northern Ireland has a walking route to suit the whole family.” added Rachel

Tourism Northern Ireland has put together some suggested winter walks for you to enjoy;



A winter morning is arguably the best time to walk the Lagan Towpath as the mist hovers just above Belfast’s main river. The towpath starts just minutes away from Belfast City centre, and sets off along the river and canal systems through a variety of wetland, riverside meadows and mixed woodland as far as Lisburn. After passing through Lagan Meadows and Shaw’s Bridge this section of the towpath finishes at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, one of Belfast’s most popular parks.
Divis and Black Mountain rest in the heart of the Belfast Hills and provide a backdrop to the city’s skyline, offering spectacular views across Northern Ireland, Belfast Lough and as far as Donegal and the coast of England, Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Stay: The 4* Ramada Plaza Hotel Belfast is situated in the picturesque surroundings of Lagan Valley Regional Park and just a 10 minute drive from the thriving Belfast City Centre.

The Sperrins

Spanning over 40 miles across counties Tyrone and Londonderry, the Sperrin mountain range is the largest in Ireland and walkers can expect undulating hills covered in heather, quiet valleys, boggy uplands and a land teeming with wildlife. Add in over 90 sets of stone circles, the best known being Beaghmore and numerous other intriguing, megalithic structures, and the Sperrins are most definitely a walking wonder.

Visitors looking for a great off-road, winter hill to climb should check out The Robber’s Table route near Gortin. The highest point of this route provides superb views of the Bluestack and Derryveagh Mountains of Donegal to the west and the high Sperrins to the north east.


Stay: Blessingbourne Estate offers 5* luxury pet friendly self-catering accommodation with premier 13k Mountain Bike Trails and pump track with onsite bike hire; bespoke walking trail and 18-acre coarse fishing on private lakes.


The Mournes & Ring of Gullion


The Mourne Mountains are the highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland and are criss-crossed by an unrivalled network of paths and tracks, providing enthusiastic walkers with incredible opportunities for exploration. Northern Ireland’s highest peak, the Slieve Donard climbs up through forest to meet the famous Mourne Wall for the final steep ascent to the top. A total climb of 850m, the dramatic views of Newcastle and the sea below definitely make it worth the ascent.


Covering an area of almost 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, nearby Tollymore Forest Park offers breath taking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, and is home to one of Northern Ireland’s first Nature Play parks ‘Big Deer’.  Whereas, Castlewellan Forest Park offers an array of loops through one of the most outstanding tree and shrub collections in Europe.

The Slieve Gullion walk is 9.5 miles and located within the Ring of Gullion AONB. Rising to 573 metres, Slieve Gullion is the centrepiece of the volcanic landscape and is a Special Area of Conservation.
The Forest Park is also home to ‘The Giant’s Lair’. This ambitious children’s trail takes visitors on an unforgettable journey through intertwined fairy houses, creating a fantastical childhood land of mystery, dragons, giants, witches and fairies waiting to be explored.


Stay: The 4* Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Newcastle stands in six acres of immaculate private grounds. A golden strand of beach borders one side while the mighty Royal County Down golf links frames the other.


Causeway Coast & Glens

The Causeway Coast Way, especially the section from Portballintrae to Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge is among the most scenic coastal walks you can find anywhere. Follow a stretch of breathtaking coastline between Ballintoy and Bushmills for a great 12.4 mile walk. The route includes walking on beaches, across rocks and along cliff top paths.

Winter creates the perfect backdrop to explore the mature woodland of Glenariff Forest Park with freezing waterfalls and open, frosted moorland. The trail first takes you down the Inver River gorge, to the edge of the Ess-na-Crub Waterfall and your path back offers spectacular views straight down the misty glen to the coast and the sea beyond.

Stay: The 4* Causeway Hotel which offers stunning views across the bay to the Atlantic Ocean.

County Fermanagh

Whilst Fermanagh is renowned for its lakelands, the first destination for any keen walker should be Cuilcagh Mountain, the highest summit in the County, standing at 665m. This area is part of the UNESCO endorsed Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark due to its unique geology and spectacular landscapes. A new boardwalk meanders through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland.

Crom Estate near Enniskillen offers walks amidst a tranquil landscape of islands, woodland and historic ruins. Take the walk which follows the main estate path through stunning parkland towards the old castle, steeped in history. As you continue along the shoreline to Crom’s beautiful boathouse you can enjoy stunning views up to the 19th century castle (private) which sits to the right of the trail dominating the landscape.

Stay: Commanding stunning views overlooking scenic Lough Erne, the 4* Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges is an ideal location for exploring Fermanagh.


Translink run a Sperrins & Mournes Rambler bus service all year round with stops in key towns which are ideal starting points for many circular walks. For information on short breaks to Northern Ireland, go to


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.


  • Country House Escape, Beech Hill Country House Hotel, Derry~Londonderry, from £99pps. Located just two miles from the city centre, Beech Hill Country House Hotel is gloriously set in acres of woodland, lakes and tranquil well-tended gardens. Revitalise yourself by taking a luxurious two-night short break at the four-star hotel. Amble through 32 acres of woodland and landscaped gardens, enjoy a gourmet evening meal on anevening of your choice in the award winning Ardmore restaurant and breakfast on both mornings.  To book call 028 (71) 349279


  • Sunday Duvet Day, Clayton Hotel, Belfast, from £99 per room (two people sharing). The four-star Clayton Hotel is ideally situated at Ormeau Avenue in the historic Linen Quarter of Belfast City Centre. Once home to many of the world’s great Linen manufacturers, the area around the hotel is bustling with history, award-winning restaurants and pubs.Offer includes Sunday overnight accommodation, complimentary movie, pizza and popcorn as well as late check out on Monday. Pre booking essential. To book call 028 (90) 32 8511
  • Valentine’s Sensation, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Co. Down, from £230 per room. Standing on six acres of private grounds, the magnificent four-star Slieve Donard Resort & Spa is nestled in the heart of County Down where the ‘Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.’ Package includes one night’s luxurious accommodation, glass of Prosecco on arrival, a romantic dinner for two in the Oak Restaurant, full Irish breakfast in the morning and a Hastings Love Duck. Pre booking essential. Valid from Friday 10 February – Tuesday 14 February.  To book call 028 (43) 721066



For further information log on to

*All offers are subject to availability.

Jacqueline from shares her pick of What’s On this weekend across NI



Newcastle ‘Rolls’ out the red carpet for the Charity Car Show this weekend, Friday to Sunday, at the Slieve Donard Hotel.  Now in its 23rd year, the show continues to donate all proceeds to Cancer Research UK.  Filling the hotel’s Grand Ballroom will be more than 40 vehicles spanning 80 years of automotive history, all of them lovingly restored and maintained by their local owners.  Highlights of this year’s show will include an iconic DeLorean, a collection of Ford Escort rally cars and this 1913 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.


Learn how to be creative with your winter and spring wardrobe and to use the same clothes in different ways to create different looks this Saturday afternoon with Wendy Porter at the Market Place Theatre.  Find out the colours and shapes that flatter you the most and learn how to wear the same scarf in many different ways. This is a fun, informal workshop that is a great girlie day out with lots of tips to really help you enhance your seasonal looks.


This Thursday 26th January at the Ardhowen Theatre, Liam Reilly and Bagatelle take to the stage and play all the favourites including ‘Second Violin’, ‘Summer in Dublin’, ‘Leeson Street Lady’ and many more of the songs that helped this band to be a house hold name in Ireland, UK, Europe and USA.  Bagatelle has shared stages with artists such as Bob Marley, Don McLean, Jose Feliciano and many more. They have had albums produced by Phil Coulter and the late Gus Dudgeon, who produced for David Bowie and Elton John.


The Clans of Ulster are hosting a special Spring/Imbolc celebration on Saturday 28th January, at the Brantry Bard Centre, Eglish, from 11am – 4pm, followed by music at the Bottle of Benburb pub. The event commemorates the ancient tradition of Imbolc, which was celebrated all over Ireland, Scotland and Europe, and welcomes the coming of the longer days that herald Spring.

Derry /Londonderry

See Hamlet this Thursday 26th and Friday 27th January at the Millennium Forum.  A company of seasoned classical actors embrace the brutality of the greatest play ever written. A gripping, ensemble style brings exhilaration and violence to the unforgettable music and delicacy of the words.  The King of Denmark is dead. Consumed with grief, Prince Hamlet devotes himself to avenging his father’s death with devastating consequences for his family and the Kingdom. The spirit of a murdered king, the wrath of a vengeful son, and the turmoil of Denmark in 1601. Shakespeare’s most iconic and challenging play tells the tale of young Prince Hamlet avenging his father’s death and fighting the new King who stole his throne.


Save the date this Sunday 29th January, for the Lagan Valley Island Wedding Fayre from 2pm – 5pm.  Following the success of the September show Perfect Bliss Wedding Events has organised a show which promises to be bigger and better than ever before.  Couples can expect to be introduced to over 45 top local suppliers who can provide a wealth of knowledge and expertise you would expect to find from the finest in the wedding industry that will help create their dream day. There will also be live performances from wedding bands and a catwalk extravaganza at 4pm to enjoy.  Couples attending the show enjoy free entry and free car parking.


Is there something you have always wanted to try but haven’t found the time to do it? This New Year why not Try Something New at the Crescent Arts Centre? Learn how to make original works of art to give as gifts or to decorate your home or party by folding, deconstructing, glueing, and otherwise recycling previously-loved books.  All materials are provided but feel free to bring any old books you would like to upcycle. Book Art takes place this Sunday at the Crescent Arts Centre at 10.00 am.


­For more details on these events and to add your events free go to Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at for news, competitions and what’s on near you.


Tickets are available now!

27th January 2017 – BRICKLIVE, the UK’s largest LEGO® event, is coming to Northern Ireland for the very first time. Taking place at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre from 16th-19th March, the event will include various ‘bricktastic’ features and more than one million bricks – making it the ultimate day out for families and LEGO® fans. Tickets for BRICKLIVE in Belfast are available to purchase now from from £21.75.


BRICKLIVE Belfast follows successful events in London and Birmingham, and will contain many of the popular features.  There will be three huge BRICK pits where fans of any age can immerse themselves in over one million pieces of LEGO® to get creative, inspired and most importantly, building!  Visitors can enjoy our Race Track building their own vehicles out of LEGO® and race them around the new tracks, with a brand new track design available for the first time in Belfast.


Other features at the show include: Creation Nation – where fans can build their own house and help create the UK’s largest LEGO® map; Graffiti Wall – for visitors to write messages and create pictures; Fan Zone – with local Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL) builders, showcasing their spectacular LEGO® creations; BRICK Lane – buy vintage and rare sets, accessories and parts. Plus BRICK pits of DUPLO® and soft BIG Bricks will keep the younger visitors entertained for hours.


With an estimated 14,000 visitors over four days, BRICKLIVE in Belfast will bring together some of the world’s best LEGO® builders, welcoming professional and amateur fan displays for its crowds of family guests.  A full list of all the zones and features for BRICKLIVE in Belfast can be found here


BRICKLIVE will be looking to tour the UK across 2017 dates with more venues to be announced soon.


RUSSELL BRAND RE:BIRTH – WATERFRONT Belfast: Saturday 26th May 2018



“Arena-level stand-up that asks us to think as well as laugh” The Guardian

“One of the most impressive sights of the comedy year” The Telegraph


WATERFRONT Belfast: Saturday 26th May 2018

*Tickets go on sale Friday 3rd February*

Tickets for Belfast Waterfront are available:

In person at the Ulster Hall Box Office

By Telephone: 028 9033 4455
Book On Line:

In person: From 100 Ticketmaster Outlets Nationwide
By Telephone (24 Hour): Northern Ireland – 0844 277 44 55
Book On Line:

Following a series of sold-out preview shows in November and December 2016, Russell Brand announces a new stand-up tour of UK and Ireland.

What is real? Who are we? Where did this baby come from?

In RE:BIRTH, Russell Brand wrestles with these questions while unravelling the matrix of modern media, politics, sex, fatherhood and death. Join one of comedy’s fiercest talents as he tries to make sense of life having just made a new one.

Russell, re the show:

“How do we make sense of the madness of our lives once we become parents? What am I going to tell my daughter about conformity and responsibility? What happens if she grows up to be like me or, worse, date someone like me?”

Since rising to fame in 2003, Russell Brand has established himself as one of one of the world’s most celebrated stand-up comedians. His acclaimed tours include 2006’s SHAME, 2007’s ONLY JOKING, 2009’s SCANDALOUS (which marked his US live debut) and 2013’s critically acclaimed and hugely successful MESSIAH COMPLEX, which was also a best-selling DVD.

Aside from stand-up, Russell is also a phenomenally successful broadcaster, actor, author, podcaster, columnist, political commentator as well as a mental health and drug rehabilitation activist.

For a full list of tour dates, more information and to book tickets visit:


Tourism NI has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (February 6 – February 12).


  • ‘The Browning Version’, Armagh Public Library, Co. Armagh, February 7. Centre Stage Theatre Company presents the classic one-act play ‘The Browning Version’ by Terence Rattigan, one of the most popular dramatists of the twentieth century.A moving piece, it deals with the last days of Andrew Crocker-Harris, a dedicated classics master at an English public school.
  • Hansel and Gretel, Grand Opera House, Belfast, February 8 – 11. Scrumptiously surreal and with more than a sprinkle of festive magic – take an enchanting journey with Scotland’s national dance. A carousel of delicious treats from start to finish, Hansel and Gretel is full to the brim with magic and wit, with toys that come to life and a beautiful, bewitching ballerina who is not at all what she seems.
  • Teenage Market, Old Town Hall, Co. Down, February 11. This market is an initiative involving teenagers in the marketing and sales of crafts and local produce which has been running two seasons and going from strength to strength. With jewellery, crafts and loads of unique designs and food to sample, come along and look at the produce on offer.
  • The Fureys, Ardhowen Theatre, Co. Fermanagh, February 11. For over 39 years, Ireland’s legends, The Fureys have been selling out concerts worldwide. Renowned for their hit songs ‘I Will Love You’, ‘When You Were Sweet Sixteen’, ‘Steal Away’ and many more, don’t miss an amazing night of music that is well worth seeing.
  • Ulster Orchestra: Golden Moments, Ulster Hall, Belfast, February 11. An evening devoted to the most beautiful classical music ever written. Wash your weekday cares away and be transported by melodies such as Debussy’s Clair de Lune, the Adagio from Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s great ode to ‘love, love, love’, Romeo and Juliet. Simply relax and be uplifted by these musical masterpieces.
  • Lisa McHugh, Alley Arts & Conference Centre, Co. Tyrone, February 10. With determination and talent to last a lifetime, Lisa McHugh is a Glaswegian born star that’s more than ready to shine. Having now gained thousands of fans, the 26-year-old beauty has won 14 awards to date in under 3 years including ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’ 3 years running and ‘Outstanding Achievement on the World Stage’. Tickets cost £22.
  • Hamlet, Riverside Theatre Coleraine, Derry~Londonderry, February 8. Icarus Theatre Collective and Kings Theatre presents Hamlet by William Shakespeare. The King of Denmark is dead. Consumed with grief, Prince Hamlet devotes himself to avenging his father’s death with devastating consequences for his family and the Kingdom.
    A company of seasoned classical actors embrace the brutality of one of the greatest plays ever written.
  • Winter Wildlife Walk, ‘Window on Wildlife’ Belfast Harbour Estate, Belfast, Feb 11. Wrap up room and join the friendly team at Belfast’s Window on Wildlife (WOW) for a guided tour of this haven for nature, nestled in the bustling Harbour Estate. Binoculars and scopes will be provided. After the walk, you’ll be able to enjoy a warming cuppa as you savour one of the best views in Belfast. Event is free for RSPB members or £5 for adults and £3 for children.
  • Tea Dance, Old Courthouse, Co. Antrim, February 8. Join Double Trouble for some great tunes from all eras.  Enjoy a cup of tea and whether you dance or not, these relaxed, friendly and entertaining afternoon teas are sure to delight! Tickets cost £3 and pre booking is essential.
  • Family Roller Disco, MAC, Belfast, February 11 – 12. With fun music by a live DJ, this is a family day out you won’t forget. Mums and dads can watch from the viewing gallery or join the fun and hit the rink as well. Fun for all the family, this special MAC event always sells out so get in quick to avoid disappointment. Ticket includes a 45-minute skate session and hire of your roller boots and protective gear.

ASK for Mentoring Support for Your Community

Community groups and organisations in the Antrim and Newtownabbey area are now able to unlock their community potential through free specialist mentoring support.

The Community ASK pilot programme runs until March 2017 and provides up to 5 hours of mentoring support with a specialist adviser free of charge. A select list of advisers and consultants are on hand to provide support tailored to the individual needs of your community group or organisation.  Depending on the group’s specific requirements, an adviser specialising in that particular area, will be allocated.  Advisers will be selected based on the group or organisation’s specific requirements and mentoring support will be granted as far as practicable, within 5 working days of receipt of application.

Speaking about the Community ASK programme the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor John Scott commented: “In addition to one to one mentoring, the Community ASK Programme can also signpost your group to various forms of support.  These include the Council’s Capacity Building Programme and other organisations, working to assist community organisations, including NICVA and many more.”

Further information is available by contacting Kerry Brady via

E: or fill in an online application form on the Council’s website

In terms of eligibility, groups must be constituted and have been established for more than 6 months and be based in the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area.

NI to get another bite of the Big Apple with and Jet2CityBreaks

New York trip launched from Belfast International airport

23 January 2017: and Jet2CityBreaks are spreading the news today… about the launch of the company’s first ever flight to New York from Belfast International Airport on Thursday December 14.

NEW YORK! NEW YORK!: Travis Young, Courtney Cameron and Jet2’s Julie Anne Anderson (far left) and Samantha Richards (far right) are spreading the news today… about the launch of and Jet2CityBreaks first ever flight to New York from Belfast International Airport on Thursday December 14 returning Monday December 18 with prices starting from only £595* per person including taxes. Packages with Jet2CityBreaks start from £919* per person, and they can be secured now for only £60pp deposit. For further information visit or

The announcement comes as good news for Northern Ireland holidaymakers following the cancellation earlier this month of the only direct service to New York.

Steve Heapy, CEO of and Jet2CityBreaks said: “Our New York trips from across our UK bases have enjoyed phenomenal demand this winter, with sell out trips and load factors exceeding all expectations. It’s clear how much our customers love our New York breaks, so we are delighted to add our first ever flight from Belfast, giving customers in Northern Ireland the chance to grab their own slice of the Big Apple.”

Airport managing director Graham Keddie said, “ This increase in winter capacity by, as well as their recent jobs announcement, demonstrates their continued commitment to the Northern Ireland market.  Holidaymakers now have more choice for their winter breaks – and all direct from their local airport.”

The flight departs Belfast International on Thursday December 14 and returns on Monday 18 December with prices starting from only £595* per person including taxes. Packages with Jet2CityBreaks start from £919* per person, and they can be secured now for only £60pp deposit.

In addition to its first flight from Belfast to New York, the leading leisure airline, the only UK airline to be recognised by Which? as a ‘Recommended Provider’, also announced additional New York trips from more UK bases than ever.

Winter 2017 will see the biggest season for New York trips offered by and Jet2CityBreaks with 30 trips (previously 24) direct to the Big Apple from SEVEN UK airports (previously five).  This includes the first trip from Belfast International and two trips from brand new base Birmingham Airport.

In total there are over 6,800 holidays for sale across a range of iconic 3-5 star hotels in great New York locations. They include the popular Yotel New York at Times Square and Wellington Hotel, plus 20 new additions to the programme including Hilton Times Square, Sofitel New York and Loews Regency.

For further information or to book visit

This year will see and Jet2holidays operate its biggest ever summer and winter programmes from Northern Ireland in 2017, with more flights and seats than ever before from Belfast International Airport.


NI Firefighters Join the Fight Against Heart Disease

Firefighters from Whitla Street Fire Station, Belfast L- R Stephen Doyle, Mark Niblock, Craig Bell and Noel McKee (front) join in the fight against heart disease by signing up to take part in Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s Red Dress Run at Stormont on 11th February. 5k and 10k runs. Entries are now open for both men and women, Enter online now and avail of the early online rate of £10

Killing fires is part of their day job and now local Firefighters from the Whitla Street Fire Station are doing their bit to help kill heart disease by taking part in a local charity’s Red Dress Run on 11th February.

The run is part of Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s Dress Red campaign and aims to raise awareness of women’s heart disease – the biggest killer of women in Northern Ireland.

Firefighters Stephen Doyle, Mark Niblock, Craig Bell and Noel McKee will be joining hundreds of other runners who will be ‘dressed to kill’  at the ‘Red Dress Run’ at Stormont.

Firefighter Noel McKee said “We enjoy a bit of craic and are always happy to get involved for a great cause.  We’re all doing our bit to promote this campaign for the women in our lives and I hope more men will sign up and do the same – despite our outfits of choice, men don’t have to wear a red dress, anything red – whether  it’s a t-shirt, your socks, shorts or leggings – all will do the job rightly!”

Kerry Anderson, Director of Fundraising at Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke said:  “We’re delighted to have the support of the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service and hope that more men and women will don their best red dress and have a bit of fun whether they host a red coffee morning, plan a red themed party or join our firemen and take part in the Red Dress Run.”

The Red Dress Run is a 5k or 10k run at Stormont Estate on Saturday 11th February.  Entries are now open for both men and women, Enter online now and avail of the early online rate of £10

All proceeds go to Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke.

For more information on the Red Dress campaign and ideas on fundraising visit