ARTS Night at North Down Museum       

Every nook and cranny of this historic North Down Museum building will be filled with arts activities to experience, participate in or observe.

Explore the Museum in a unique and unexpected way. Stumble upon arts in every space, from the Viking Room to the Café. Participate in clay work, printmaking, drawing activities and painting.  Or just sit back and listen to some good music.

Venue:            North Down Museum, Bangor

Date:               Friday 3 March

Time:               6pm – 9pm

Price:               FREE

This is an event for all the family.

Coffee Cure at the Museum will be open throughout the event for light refreshments




Adult Course : Bookcraft, Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your own special notebooks, journals or albums?

A unique course in Book Craft is running at the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre on Saturday 4th and 11th March from 10am-3pm.

Designed to complement The World Illustration Awards 2016 exhibition currently showing at the Arts Centre, this brilliant two-part course for people aged 16 years and over will allow participants to make their own simple book structures.

This will include hard back accordion binding and sewn bindings such as pamphlet and Japanese stab binding. Participants will create their own illustrated book using collage techniques, drawing and letter stamping.

Places are limited to a maximum of 10 and materials will be provided.

To book your place or find out more, contact the team at Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre on 028 777 60650 or visit 


The Market Place Theatre in Armagh is gearing up for a packed fortnight of events as part of the Saint Patrick’s Festival. Week one will see dance, and music from some of our best local female performers.


Grainne Duffy is a unique talent, raw and powerful, edgy and elegant, and she’s set for The Market Place stage on Saturday 4 March. So far in her short career, Grainne has already graced the stage at Glastonbury for three electric performances and has toured much of Europe. Recently Grainne was asked to open for Jools Holland on his tour. Her wonderful mix of blues rock and soul in her own material and her treatment of a few carefully selected standards charged with true emotion and feeling can win over any audience and leave you begging for more.


In a unique evening of dance on Thursday 9 March, Maiden Voyage Dance present their ‘Triple Bill’, three new works on love, loss and living. ‘Korper & Leib’ by Oona Doherty is a meditative duet reflecting the intimacy and architecture of the male body. ‘Landscapes Of Loss’ is a collaborative work on the loss experienced following miscarriage and stillbirth and guest choreographer Rachel Lopez creates a new trio inspired by the relics of our past and the values we attach to material form.


Five female group ‘Wookalily’ are quirky, in a good way. Too girly to be a beat group, too funky to be a folk group, too good to miss! Their song ‘Diamonds And Gold’ gained them a showcase at the prestigious IBMA World Of Bluegrass Festival in Nashville in 2012. They also recorded for Country Music Hall Of Famer Dixie Hall’s ‘Pickin’ Like A Girl’ compilation in 2013 – the only non-American band to do so. Their debut album ‘All The Waiting While’ was released in November 2014. It’s rumbling along nicely with local airplay and humbling acclaim from fellow musicians worldwide. Wookalily will perform on Friday 10 March.


Gráinne Holland, is a singer | songwriter from Belfast with unique vocal strength and beauty. Dedicated to forging new territory for Gaelic song, Gráinne’s innovative approach breathes new life into the verses of old. Gráinne’s passion for the creation of new contemporary ambiences for traditional Gaelic song has conceived two stunning albums to date; ‘Teanga na nGael’ [2011] & ‘Gaelré’ [2015]. In the footsteps of ‘Clannad’ and ‘Altan’ before, Gaelré presents traditional Gaelic songs in a contemporary acoustic context, making songs of old accessible to fans of the modern folk era. Grainne will perform on Saturday 11 March.


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.


Offers of the Week!

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.

  • Launch into Spring, Canal Court Hotel & Spa, Co. Down, from £99 per room. This luxury four-star hotel and spa is in the heart of Newry city and the perfect location for a relaxing short break only minutes’ away from the city’s shops and boasts live music every weekend.   Deal includes overnight break for two people, a £20 dinner voucher to be used off the A la Carte Menu in the Old Mill Restaurant and full Irish breakfast the next morning.   Valid until 31 March. To book call (028) 30 251234.
  • The Great Escape Package, Bullitt Hotel, Belfast, from £90pps. Escape to Bullitt Hotel this Spring! Smack bang in the heart of Belfast city centre, Bullitt is the perfect spot to stay, play and explore. Stay in a cleverly-designed rooms, enjoy a three-course meal in the smokin’ in-house restaurant Taylor & Clay, and visit one of Belfast’s most fascinating places – Crumlin Road Gaol. Deal includes overnight accommodation, two tickets to Crumlin Road Gaol, evening meal and a breakfast bag the following morning. Valid until 31 March. To book call (028) 95 900600.
  • Prime Time Experience, Corr’s Corner Hotel, Co. Antrim, from £60pps. Situated just outside Belfast with a legacy of good local food, the three-star Corr’s Corner Hotel is the perfect base to explore the Causeway Coast whilst being close to Belfast City Centre. Enjoy an overnight stay and your choice of 100% prime Irish beef steak supplied by an award-winning local butcher, accompanied with market vegetables, choice of potato and sauce.
    Valid until 31 March. To book call (028) 90 849221

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


Join the Cancer fund for Children on their family-friendly Winter Woolly Walk at Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle on 25th February 2017. It’s the perfect excuse to kick off the winter blues and rally your friends and family together for a lovely walk in the fresh air, whilst also raising funds for local families affected by cancer.  It costs just £5 per adult to register and kids (under 16) go free! Pick a walk near you.  If the walk in Tollymore Forest Park doesn’t suit you, here are 7 other walks taking place at locations across the country.


The amazing Celtic Mindfulness event is making a return to the Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh on the 25th & 26th February.  This is a unique healing experience of the land and energy. The perfect way to create inner calmness, helping steer you through the year ahead.  Music, Myth and Mediation will be used to awaken your Celtic soul. Creating focus positivity and stillness for the mind.  Workshops during the event will be facilitated by the excellent Sandra Nelson and Kate Fitzpatrick.


Brendan Grace, the sanctimonious priest, knows more than he’s telling this Wednesday 22nd February at the Ardhowen Theatre. Then there’s the schoolboy with the unspeakable personal habits and a fine line in sympathy pleas. Brendan Grace is all of these and more. His material owes more to the best of the traditional stand-up-comics than it does to modern alternative humour and this is very much a show for all the family.


It’s been over 20 years since Frances Black and Kieran Goss last toured together. In the intervening years both artists have enjoyed huge international success in their respective solo careers, but it was the inspired pairing of these unique talents as a duo in the early ‘90s that first caught the imagination of the Irish public. Now for the first time in Cookstown they reunite for a special show at the Burnavon Theatre, Friday 24th February.


From the producers of ‘Do You Come Here Often’ and after two sell out tours, George Jones will host a brand new show, Rock N Roll Years and Dance Hall Days, celebrating songs from the 50’s and 60’s this Thursday 23rd February at the Millennium Forum. Featuring the music of iconic stars such as Bobby Darin, Bobby Vee, Neil Sedaka, Patsy Cline, Dusty Springfield and Petula Clark to the early Rock ‘n’ Roll songs from Elvis and the Four Seasons.  Starring Clubsound, Joe Mac, Margo Burns, Janet McCartney and Trevor Kelly.  This is a celebration of music not to be missed!


Join The Dunsilly Hotel on Sunday 26th February for their Wedding Show.  In house specialists will provide all the information and consultation required to make your special day complete.  There will be  a great variety of local exhibitors showcasing Wedding dresses, Wedding cars and everything you will need for your wedding day. They will be on hand to give advice and assistance to make all of your ideas come to life.


Off The Rails this Saturday 25th February is a family friendly trail, where you get to explore Titanic Quarter searching for clues to the area’s shipbuilding and maritime heritage past all with a scientific twist. The Wee Tram will ferry everyone around the area, accompanied by a guide and a treasure map with all the clues! Stops include the Pump-House, where you will find out about the engineering brilliance of the original pumps. Immerse yourself in Titanic’s history as you walk along the Dry-Dock where the mighty liner was finished. The Wee Tram will be stopping along the original rail tracks from the coal cart rails on the slipways, the tram rails at HMS Caroline and the steam crane rails alongside the Thompson Dock. Meeting point: Titanic Sign, next to Titanic Belfast Contact or call 02890 730490 £6 per person.

­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.


The Merchant Hotel’s Fabulous Fashion Teas are set to return for the eleventh year this March, serving up the hottest Spring/Summer trends for 2017.

On Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th March, guests will be treated to two days of style with shows presenting this season’s must-have looks from local designers and leading designer boutiques.

Models from Style Academy will showcase the hottest Spring/Summer trends from designer shoe and accessories boutique Harper; women’s wear boutique Walk in Wardrobe in Banbridge; David Yurman at Lunn’s the Jewellers and The Rosh Collection from the Lisburn Road, accessorised by APD Jewellery.  Hair will be styled by Andrew Mulvenna and make-up provided by Lancôme.

The Fashion Teas have become an iconic event in Belfast’s fashion calendar.  Guests can enjoy a fashion show curated by carefully chosen local designers whilst enjoying The Merchant’s famous afternoon tea accompanied with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne.

Guests are also welcome to shop the collection hot off the catwalk at the pop-up boutiques in the hotel.

Harper at The Merchant will kick off the two-day fashion extravaganza with a 12-noon catwalk show. Harper is exclusive NI stockists of some of the world’s most sought after brands, including Christian Louboutin and MIU MIU.  With a mixture of classic shapes, colours and fashion-forward styles, this fashion show will help you to step into the new season with the perfect new pair.

Exclusive Banbridge-based ladies wear boutique, The Walk in Wardrobe, will return to the catwalk at 2.30pm on Saturday 18th March.  Specialising in bespoke brands, this vibrant collection will be packed with stunning occasion wear, hats and accessories sourced from Italy, Spain, Croatia and beyond.

The Rosh Collection from the Lisburn Road, accessorised by APD Jewellery, will be taking centre stage in a collaborative show at 5pm on Saturday 18th March.  Making a debut appearance at this year’s event, The Rosh Collection offers a range of exclusive and designer labels from across the globe; boasting eye-catching pieces for any occasion.  The Rosh Collection will be joined this year by APD Jewellery, brainchild of The Merchant’s Marketing Director, Petra Wolsey.  The epitome of statement jewellery, APD Jewellery expertly juxtaposes industrial-style materials with semi-precious stones, richly coloured leathers, lace and upcycled vintage jewellery.

On Sunday 19th March, the Fashion Teas will be rounded off with the return of the stunning David Yurman Jewellery range from Lunn’s the Jewellers at 1pm.  David Yurman’s master craftspeople use the finest precious metals, rare gemstones and innovative materials to make jewellery of enduring quality and beauty.  The jewellery is exclusively available at its UK and Ireland stockist, Lunn’s the Jewellers in Queen’s Arcade.


Tickets to the Fashion Teas cost £35 per person, which includes a Fashion Show of your choice, champagne afternoon tea and a goody bag.  Tickets can be purchased by visiting

Tinderbox Theatre Company unearths long buried family secrets in Famla by acclaimed writer John McCann at the MAC this Spring.

Premiering at The MAC from 21 – 25 March, Famla staring Rhodri Lewis, Hayley McQuillan and Tara Lynne O’Neill, challenges the stories we tell ourselves to hide the truth of who we really are.

Hector has passed this place all her young life. An old house. Must be a hundred years old. Maybe more. Looks abandoned. Festering. She never really gave the house a second thought. Until now when she needs a place to escape to. She discovers someone is still living inside. Someone spiteful. Refusing to budge. Clinging on…

Director Patrick J O’Reilly, says the play will resonate with audiences everywhere.

“Every family has buried secrets and lies that we hope will never come to surface but John’s play beautifully digs them up and reveals the truth for us all to witness. Famla is hilarious, haunting and heartbreaking in equal measure.

“With its riotous, nightmarish, grotesque and juicy behavior and dialogue, John creates a menacing and brooding atmosphere that will keep audiences wondering what’s coming next.

“He also paints a vivid picture of a small rural community in which you can almost see the curtains twitching and hear the tongues wagging of those bursting to know, feeling it’s their right to know what’s going on behind closed doors.”

Playwright John McCann sees parallels between the answers sought by his characters and the wider debate about how we deal with the past in NI.

“The lives of the characters in Famla have been blighted by what happened many years previously. The problem is, they each have very different notions concerning what actually took place.

“A key moment in the play shows characters deliberately placing themselves in an imagined future where they have a chance to practice and experience what it might be like to actively reclaim and redefine your past. If successful they will potentially unlock their future. A key question for me is: will this imagined future manage to contain their different versions or be held hostage by them.


Famla is recommended for ages 16 +

Book now at


If you love exploring historic castles and glorious gardens, Northern Ireland is full of exciting locations while our rich history has left an incredible legacy of buildings all telling their own story.

Rachel Quigg, Tourism NI Destination PR Officer said: “Northern Ireland has so much to offer in terms of stately homes and impressive castles such as Dunluce Castle on the Causeway Coast to stately houses like Mount Stewart located on the shores of Strangford Lough.

Northern Ireland is also awash with wonderful gardens. From grand ornamental gardens to charming walled gardens, award-winning rose gardens and woodland meadows, there are a wide range of magical open green spaces just waiting to be explored.

So whether you are a gardening enthusiast or love to roam historic ruins there is a garden, castle or stately home to suit the experience you are looking for,” Rachel added.
Tourism NI have pulled together a list of stunning Castles & Gardens to explore in Northern Ireland:


Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Co. Down

A modern day castle literally fit for a Queen, Hillsborough Castle, built in the 1770s, is a working royal palace that functions as the official residence of the Royal Family when they are in Northern Ireland.

Explore 96 acres of stunning gardens featuring impressive 150-year- old Lime Trees, a serene Temple water and Pond and a world record breaking Rhododendron.  You can also take in the grandeur and hear about the fascinating history with a guided tour of the Castle which includes the elegant State Rooms, still in use today, including the majestic Throne Room and graceful Drawing Room.

Suggested Place for a Bite: The Plough Inn located in picturesque Hillsborough village is a family owned pub with an outstanding reputation for hospitality, atmosphere and fantastic food.

Belfast Castle Estate, Belfast

Situated on the slopes of Cave Hill Country Park in north Belfast, the estate contains both parkland and mature mixed woodland and offers breathtaking views of the city from a variety of vantage points.
The estate is home to many different species of wildlife, including long-eared owls, sparrowhawks and Belfast’s rarest plant, the town hall clock.

Cave Hill Country Park also  features an adventure playground for little adventurers, a visitor centre, ecotrails and orienteering routes.

Suggested Place for a Family Activity: With over 250 amazing interactive exhibits in four incredible exhibition areas, W5 provides a unique experience as well as fantastic fun for visitors of all ages. In addition to permanent exhibits, W5 also presents a changing programme of large and small scale temporary exhibitions and events.

Mount Stewart, Co. Down

Mount Stewart is one of the most inspiring and unusual gardens owned by the National Trust. Re-opened after a three-year long restoration project, the house has been redesigned to the elegance and charm it held when it was home of the 7th Marchioness Edith, Lady Londonderry and her family in the early 20th century.

A simply ‘must-see’ on the list of UK gardens, if not the world, Mount Stewart was voted European Garden of Inspiration in 2003. The mild climate of Strangford Lough allows astonishing levels of planting experimentation. The formal areas exude a strong Mediterranean feel and resemble an Italian villa landscape; the wooded areas support a range of plants from all corners of the world, ensuring something to see whatever the season.

Suggested Place for a Drive: Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Strangford Lough is Northern Ireland’s first marine nature reserve. Tour along the Ards Peninsula and enjoy the combination of stunning scenery and picturesque villages and towns.

Dunluce & Dunseverick Castle, Bushmills, Co. Antrim

Both Dunseverick and Dunluce Castle are perched on the fabulous Causeway Coastal Route with the North Antrim Cliff path from the Giant’s Causeway to Dunseverick Castle a particular highlight. For the ultimate cliffhanger, Dunluce Castle clings precariously above the north Atlantic.  Once the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan, its magical setting is said to have inspired C.S. Lewis and was included in BBC Countryfile Magazine’s top 10 romantic ruins in Britain.

Suggested Place for a Tipple: The Bushmills Distillery is the oldest working distillery in Ireland. The Bushmills Brand Experience encompasses guided tours around a working distillery with all the associated sights and smells, tutored whiskey tastings, a specialist whiskey shop and gift shop.

Harry Avery’s Castle, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone

Thought to have been built around 1320 by a local chieftain of the O’Neill clan, but named after another chieftain who died in 1392, the castle is considered unusual in that Irish Chieftains of the time rarely built stone castles.
Its design is also unusual with its two towers looking like a gatehouse, similar to that of Carrickfergus Castle, but in reality it served a similar function to a medieval towerhouse.

Suggested Place for a Walk: Meander through hills of heather on a lake side walk at Gortin Glen Forest Park offering superb views of the Sperrins landscape.

Castle Ward House & Gardens, Co. Down

Castle Ward is a stunning 18th century mansion with a sunken garden and 820 acres to explore. Step into a fantasy world of castles and dragons as you explore the Georgian farmyard and the Lough shore, film locations for the smash hit television series Game of Thrones®. You can also head out on the Lough in a canoe, climb and abseil the cliffs, and build a raft with Clearsky Adventure.

Suggested Place for a Game of Thrones® fan: Experience HBO’s Game of Thrones® for yourself at Castle Ward, the location of Winterfell in the series. A replica of the Winterfell Archery Range has been masterfully recreated in the courtyard, transporting you into the world of Westeros. Dress up in character costume, step into the movie set and stand exactly where the characters Jon Snow, and Robb & Bran Stark stood.

Crom Estate, Co. Fermanagh

Not one but two castles are nestled in Crom Estate on this 2,000 acre demesne containing ancient woodland, tranquil islands and estate cottages all linked by breathtakingly beautiful landscape on the shores of Upper Lough Erne Co. Fermanagh.  One of Ireland’s most important conservation areas, Crom is home to a wealth of wildlife. Discover it whether you are fishing, woodland walking, butterfly spotting or bird watching.

Suggested Place to Stay:  Glamping pods, holiday cottages and a campsite are all available at Crom and are a stone’s throw from the water – the perfect spot to relax and watch the sun set.

Glenarm Castle & Gardens, Co. Antrim

With its own special place in local history, Glenarm Castle is a true national treasure. One of Ireland’s oldest estates and home to the Earls of Antrim, Glenarm Castle is a ‘must see’ destination and one of NI’s top tourist attractions. Whilst here, visitors can enjoy beautiful scenery and enchanted walks in the historic Walled Garden and Castle Trail, excellent locally sourced food in a charming Tea Room and a little bit of retail therapy in the new Castle Shop.

Suggested Place for a Festival: Glenarm runs a full programme of events starting with a tulip festival in April and Nathan Carter in concert in July as part of the Dalriada Festival.

Northern Ireland has many more stately homes and castles and gardens worth exploring – find out more including special spring accommodation offers at and

#LoveArds outdoor cinema

An outdoor cinema is coming to Conway Square, Newtownards on Saturday 4 March 2017 – and viewers get to choose the film!

With a firm, family-friendly focus the choices are three Disney favourites:  Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc.

Anyone can take part in the poll to pick the film on Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Facebook page until 4.00pm on Friday 24 February.

The film screening forms part of a two day #LoveArds event taking place on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 March which celebrates all that is local and loved in the town. Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Deborah Girvan, is looking forward to welcoming hundreds of visitors to the town.  She said:

“With its bustling local market, array of fabulous speciality and high street stores and wonderful range of coffee shops, pubs and restaurants serving local, artisan foods, what’s not to love about Ards?”

All events are free except the fashion show, for which here will be a small charge of £4.99, with 25% of all sales being donated to The Mayor’s charities.  Tickets are going on sale on Monday 20 February.  For more information, go to

10 Exciting Things to do Next Week in Northern Ireland

Tourism NI has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (February 20 – February 26).


  • Celtic Mindfulness, Navan Centre & Fort, Co. Armagh, February 25 – 26. Celtic Mindfulness is a unique healing experience of the land and energy. Music, myth and mediation will be used to awaken your Celtic Soul, creating focus positivity and stillness for the mind. Featuring workshops from Sandra Nelson and Kate Fitzpatrick.
  • Mid Term Fun, Titanic Belfast, Belfast, until February 21. Challenge the kids with the Explorer Trail throughout the Titanic Experience, meet the Titanic Mascots and try out the new family interactive guide, before stopping off for a bite to eat with the ‘Kids Eat Free’ meal deals this mid-term holiday.
  • Ards and North Down – A Postcard View of the Past, Newtownards / Ards Visitor Centre, Co. Down, until February 25. Do you remember the age of steam trains, pony rides on the beach, Bangor seafront activities, the Ballywalter lightship, or the Whale’s Jawbone Arch near Portaferry?Step back into the past via the medium of old picture postcards and see the towns and villages of Ards and North Down going back over the 20th century to days when the pace of life was much more sedate.
  • Winter Wooly Walk, Saint Columb’s Park, Derry~Londonderry, February 25. It’s time to kick off those winter blues. Rally your kids, friends and family, and join the big Winter Woolly Walk in St Columb’s Park, Derry~Londonderry. Starting at 10:30, the 3 mile walk starts at St Columb’s Park House and takes in the beautiful surroundings of Ebrington Square and the iconic Peace bridge. Afterwards there will be plenty of warming refreshments and family fun.
  • Glasgow Girls, MAC, Belfast, February 21 – 25. Glasgow Girls is a potent political drama, with uplifting songs, music, dance and humour to tell the tale of the most powerful asylum campaigns in recent history. A show with universal appeal – a massive hit at Edinburgh Fringe 2016, selling more tickets than any other theatre show in the festival.
  • Ulster Orchestra, Ardhowen Theatre, Co. Fermanagh, February 25. Join the Ulster Orchestra and its sensational young Music Director, Rafael Payare, in a concert that celebrates its fifty years as Northern Ireland’s world-class symphony orchestra and that will evoke, ‘the awakening of happy feelings on arriving in the countryside.’
  • Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, Riverside Theatre, Coleraine, Derry~Londonderry, February 22. Dyad Productions presents ‘Jane Eyre’, Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, dramatized on stage and starring Rebecca Vaughan. Struggling to live, think and love beyond the stifling expectations of duty, class and convention, governess Jane Eyre and Master Edward Rochester take a dark journey towards sensual and intellectual liberation.
  • William McKinley by Alex Blair, Ballymoney Town Hall, Co. Antrim, February 22. William McKinley was one of many Scotch-Irish presidents with Ulster links. His links lay in Conagher and the talk will untangle the family lineage which links Conagher to The White House. Alex Blair will untangle his family lineage which links Conagher to The White House. He will tell of the 25th Presidents progress to the highest office in the U.S.A. and how his presidency ended tragically in assassination.
  • Let the Dance Begin, Alley Arts and Conference Centre, Co. Tyrone, February 23. Inspired by The Pushkin Trust’s theme of Floodtide in the Heart – Seamus Heaney, Let the Dance Begin aims to bring many different people together through Creative Arts within the community of Strabane through a display of dance, drumming poetry and more.
  • A Taste of Flavour SenseNation, Black Box, Belfast, February 25. This exciting interactive event will take your taste buds on a roller-coaster ride through the senses. It will challenge your sensory skills, your taste, smell, touch, sight and hearing, to see how they react with each other when different sounds, smells and textures are thrown into the mix. This is no ordinary experience; you will sample the ‘fifth taste’, test your smelling memory skills, trick your taste buds and sample some very weird foods.