Dark comedy unearths the secrets and lies that bind the FAMLA together.

Tinderbox Theatre Company unearths long buried family secrets in Famla by acclaimed writer John McCann.

Haunting, hilarious and heartbreaking, Famla dares to challenge the stories we tell ourselves to hide the truth of who we really are. Directed by Patrick J O’ Reilly with incredible performances by Tara Lynne O’ Neill, Rhodri Lewis and Hayley McQuillan, Famla is a theatrical feast not to be missed.

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…


Famla director Patrick J O’Reilly, appointed as Tinderbox Artistic Director last year, 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. 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 as it twists and turns between light and shade. 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 in this mysterious house.”

Famla playwright John McCann sees parallels between the answers sought by his characters and the wider debate about how we deal with the past In Northern Ireland.

 “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. Also, when will you know it’s the right time to stop re-hashing and rehearsing an imagined future and start living instead?”

Famla is recommended for ages 16 + and will be staged at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh on Saturday 1 April at 8pm. Tickets are priced £13.50 and £11.50 (concession) and can be booked by phoning (028) 3752 1821 or online at www.marketplacearmagh.com.

To keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/marketplacearmagh) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/mptarmagh) where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.

Ronnie Greer and Nigel Mooney come to Flowerfield!

Blues guitar legend Ronnie Greer will entertain the crowds at Flowerfield on Thursday 6th April with his special guest Nigel Mooney.

Ronnie and Nigel are two of Ireland’s most popular blues and jazz guitarists and they will be collaborating for the first time at Flowerfield. Their musical sounds are reminiscent of the great jazz albums of the 1950’s and 1960’s with their inspiration stemming from guitarists such as Jimmy Smith.

Nigel has been a leading charismatic figure on the Dublin jazz and blues scene since the 1980’s. It is no wonder that he commands much admiration amongst fans, with his expressive hard- bop guitar sounds and flawless sense of pitch.

Ronnie’s distinctive guitar style, merging Chicago blues style licks with be bop jazz lines, has been critically acclaimed as world class clearly signifying his level of talent.

Joining Ronnie and Nigel on stage will be Scott Flanigan on Hammond organ and Darren Beckett on drums, two of Irelands very finest musicians.

Expect a night of hard swinging, blues drenched music played by some of the best in the business.

The concert begins at 8pm and tickets can be purchased at Flowerfield Reception Area at a price of £12 or online where there will be an added booking fee.  Please visit www.flowerfield.org for more information.

Hotel 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.


·         Golf on the Causeway Coast, Portrush Atlantic Hotel, Co. Antrim, from £120pps.
Enjoy a one-night break on the world-famous Causeway Coastal Route with one night’s bed and breakfast at the three-star Portrush Atlantic Hotel situated in the town centre of Portrush overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  Deal also includes a round of golf at the renowned Royal Portrush Golf Club – host to The Open 2019. Valid April – October. Subject to availability. To book call (028) 708 22311

·         Suite Treat, Manor House Country Hotel, Co. Fermanagh, from £50pps.
Located in the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands, the award-winning four-star Manor House Country Hotel combines old world charm with modern hotel luxury. This limited offer gives you the opportunity to enjoy a one-night stay in a Junior Suite overlooking Lough Erne with full Irish breakfast in the Belleek Restaurant and complimentary Manor House Chocolates in your room on arrival. Valid until 30 April. Subject to availability. To book call (028) 68 622200

·         Girlie Break, Silverbirch Hotel, Co. Tyrone, from £60pps.
Found in the bustling market town of Omagh, the three-star Silverbirch Hotel is ideal for business trips, family vacations and romantic breaks away showcasing classic interiors in modern, elegant surroundings. Escape with the girls and enjoy an overnight stay with full Irish breakfast, pre-dinner cocktail in a VIP reserved booth and dinner in the Barreta Bar & Grill.  Valid until 30 November. Subject to availability. To book call (028) 82 242520

10 exciting things to do this week in NI!

Tourism NI has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland (March 27 – April 2).

  •  Belfast Film Festival, various locations, Belfast, until April 8. Belfast Film Festival launches its 17th annual festival of premieres, unique events and the best in world cinema. With over 100 films from 30 countries, the tantalising line-up includes new international cinema and documentaries, critically acclaimed television, features and shorts from local filmmakers, and plenty of post-screening discussions throughout the city.
  • Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea, The Argory, Co. Armagh, March 27. Treat your mum or someone special this year to Afternoon Tea at The Argory this Mothering Sunday. This stunning nineteenth century Victorian mansion will provide the perfect backdrop for an afternoon tea consisting of delicate finger sandwiches, Victoria sponge, homemade scones and other traditional delights.
  • Celtic Soul – Songbook of Van Morrison, Strule Arts Centre, Co. Fermanagh, April 1. Celtic Soul celebrates one of the truly great singer/songwriters of all time: our own Van Morrison. Acclaimed by devout Van fans wherever they perform, you’ll hear his hits and classic album tracks in a packed show.  Celtic Soul will take you through the songbook of a musical legend! Tickets from £12.  To book call 028 82 247831.
  • Comet Man Stargazing, Cushendun, Co. Antrim, March 31. Join Nicholas Wright as he tells the story of the fascinating life, works and achievements of Cushendun born Astronomer Andrew Claude de la Crommelin. This event gives people the opportunity to explore the night sky and enjoy the wonders of the Universe in a stargazing event funded by the Royal Society and supported by the Northern Ireland Armature Astronomy Society. Booking required. To book call 028 27 660230.
  • Opera Film Club: The Magic Flute, Portico, Co. Down, April 1. Portico’s second Opera Film Club show is Mozart’s Magic Flute from the Dutch National Opera in Association with the English National Opera.  Join renowned music critic Michael Quinn for an introduction to the evening’s film and then sit back and enjoy world class opera in the glorious surroundings of Portico.  A complimentary glass of wine will be served at the interval.
  • Chekhov’s Shorts, Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, March 30 – 31. Including ‘The Evils of Tobacco’, ‘The Dimwit’, ‘The Bear’, Swan Song’ and ‘The Proposal’, this is Chekhov at his comic best, before Uncle Vanya started shooting, The Seagull got stuffed, The Cherry Orchard was ‘car-parked’ and The Three Sisters started moaning. Why spend an evening going to see one great play when you can see five in under two hours for the price of one?
  • Strabane Drama Festival, The Alley Theatre, Co. Tyrone, until April 1. Strabane Drama Festival is an integral part of the cultural and creative identity of the area. With a mix of comedy, tragedy, classical pieces and original writing, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Highlights include Blackbird, Dancing at Lughnasa and Portia Coughlan.
  • Car Bazaar, Mount Stewart, Co. Down, April 1. Take in the glorious sights of Mount Stewart and pick up a bargain or two at Car Bazaar. Join the crowd and sell your unwanted items or browse around the many stalls for treasures. nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart.
  • The Game, MAC, Belfast, April 1. This challenging show gives audiences an insight into a world that sits uncomfortably beneath the surface of the day-to-day lives. It is a play that’s also a real-life game, with levels and consequences. Five new men have volunteered each night. These men have never played ‘The Game‘ before. They’ve no idea what they’re about to do, they won’t be given a script.  All you have to do is watch.
  • Waggy Races, Portstewart Strand, Derry~Londonderry, March 26. Waggy Races is a cross country fun run where you compete as a team with your dog! Pack your sunglasses, your finest beach attire and your dog as this year’s race will take place on the golden sands of one of Northern Ireland’s finest beaches, Portstewart Strand. The race will start at low tide, which means lots of beach to work with and the BIG START will be at the entrance to the beach!

Jacqueline from whatsonni shares her pick of what’s on this weekend across NI


Portico and the Portaferry Hotel are hosting a Wedding Fair in Portaferry on Saturday 25th March from 12.00 to 4.00pm. With classical architecture modelled on the Greek Temple of Nemesis, Portico is the perfect venue for a romantic and elegant wedding. This beautifully restored former church is now a non-denominational grade A listed venue that hosts weddings of all kinds. Stunning architectural features such as original wooden pews and beautiful stained glass windows combine with discreet modern technology to provide a venue worthy of the gorgeous natural scenery all around.


As part of Navan Fort’s series of FREE events, they are bringing to you lots of mini-beasts, bugs and creepy crawlies this Sunday 26th March.  Get up close and person with some of the bugs and beasties that live around us and some more unusual characters too!  With friends from Mantella Environmental Education they will highlight the roles these important animals play in our local environment.  Come along and learn what a millipede feels like, why spiders have eight eyes and why some of our birds of prey are making a comeback after years of absence.  This event coincides with Mother’s Day so is the perfect opportunity for you and your family to spend a lovely time together at no cost!


This Sunday delve off the beaten track to explore ‘real’ caving, deep inside the Marble Arch Caves System. Meander through wild cave passages, climb through boulder chambers and squeeze though the famous flyover to emerge into the Marble Arch Showcave, before returning to the boulder chambers on your way out, muddy but proud!


Strabane Drama Festival begins this Friday 24th March and runs until Saturday 1st April at 8.00pm each evening at the Alley Theatre.  The programme include Heroes by Gerald Sibleyras, Blackbird by David Harrower, Eclipsed by Patricia Burke–Brogan, Abigail’s Party by Mike Leigh and Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel plus many more!


Hailed by the New York Times as “inspirational”, Wonderland is an enchanting musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, with a huge heart, a medley of magic and a whole lot of wonder.   Here a timely and touching story of love in all its forms, it’s an adventurous exploration of who we are, who we want to be and the power of everyday magic in our lives.   In the tradition of the best stage musicals, Wonderland boasts a catchy score full of songs by Frank Wildhorn, writer of pop hits including Whitney Houston’s ‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go?’ and theatre classics including ‘This is the Moment’ from his internationally acclaimed show, Jekyll & Hyde.  Starring Wendi Peters & Dave Willetts this week from Tuesday 21st to Saturday 25th March at the Millennium Forum.


Easter’s almost here so why not pick up a few gifts and treats at Raceview Mill’s indoor monthly Food & Craft Market.  Returning Saturday 25th March, 11am – 3pm, the market is a fabulous mix of the finest in local food, arts and crafts with over 40 traders in attendance.  Visitors can also treat themselves to a bite of lunch and a cup of coffee in the Red Brick Coffee House.  Additional amenities include FREE onsite parking, public toilets and disabled access.  Raceview Mill is only 35 minutes from Belfast and just over an hour to Derry/Londonderry.


The Fine and Dandy Market returns to the Crescent Arts Centre this Sunday 26th March. Fine and Dandy is a marketplace showcasing the work of independent artists, designers, illustrators and crafters alongside stalls from collectors of records, vintage wares and high quality, local food & drink produce. FREE ENTRY 11.30am to 3.30pm.

­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.

Holywood Harmony Festival Announce Stellar 3-Day Line-up

Chart toppers Hothouse Flowers among the headliners!

THE Holywood Harmony Festival has announced a three-day line-up that is set to boost the growing reputation of the volunteer-run spectacle.

Hothouse Flowers, Ulaid & Duke Special and Gareth Dunlop will headline each day from Friday June 2 to Sunday June 4 respectively.

Now in its third year the County Down festival is a family-friendly event, guaranteed to further enhance what was so well-run that not only did it bring in tourists to the town, but was shortlisted for the Best Tourism Event at the North Down Business Awards for last year’s efforts.

On Friday June 2, Ulaid and Duke Special will be supported by The Emerald Armada and Red House.

On Saturday June 3, The Hothouse Flowers will be supported by The Nat Youle Band and singer/songwriter Ciaran McElhinney.

On Sunday June 4, Gareth Dunlop will be supported by Dana Masters and Sam Wickens.

“We’re delighted to be able to secure such well respected and well known artists,” said organiser Mari Jackson. “In addition to the superb headliners, to have a top lineup of support artists from across Northern Ireland coming to entertain Holywood and a raft of visitors is brilliant.”

The festival is a non-profit organisation, and to help make 2017 even better at the festival there is a crowd-funding campaign to lay on other events, including free ones for children, families and the elderly.

“With your support, no matter how big or small Holywood will be celebrating an event that helps put the town on the map as a tourist destination, brings people to the shops and businesses in the town, and gives us all three wonderful days of musical fun,” said Mari.

For tickets log onto www.wegottickets.com/location/15677 or check out www.harmonyfest.co.uk and www.facebook.com/HolywoodHarmonyFestival for more information

Darkness Into Light Charity Walk/ Run at V36

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor John Scott officially launched the Darkness Into Light charity walk/run which will take place on Saturday 6 May 4.15am in V36 at The Valley.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor John Scott , pictured with representatives from Turning Point, Focus, Tesco’s, PSNI Newtownabbey and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council staff members.

The Darkness Into Light concept was first started in 2009 by Pieta House Suicide Awareness and Crisis Centre in Dublin, with a few hundred people supported this first event and walked from the darkness into the dawn light to symbolise that there is hope for those in despair. Today Darkness Into Light is the flagship fundraising and awareness event for Pieta House, with over 130,000 worldwide supporting the event last year.

This year the Council is also working with two local charities Turning Point and Focus, who are both based in Antrim and help support those with suicidal thoughts and mental health problems. In addition Tesco’s and Newtownabbey PSNI are lending their support to raise awareness of this event to gain maximum community support.

Darkness Into Light has become an International event, held annually in over 100 locations across 4 continents and made its debut in V36 in 2016 when over 700 took part. We are delighted to host this event once again in V36 on Saturday 6 May.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor John Scott commented “Statistics have shown Northern Ireland has the UK’s highest record of suicide with an average of six suicides a week. I am personally delighted to be backing this event now in its second year. Darkness Into Light is about offering hope to people in their time of need. I would encourage you all to show your support and help raise awareness of suicide prevention by registering for this 5km walk/run.”

Darkness Into Light will take place on Saturday 6 May at 4.15am in V36 when participants will walk or run into the light as dawn breaks. This event is being organised in conjunction with and in support of Pieta House, Turning Point and Focus.

Please show your support for this event and register today. http://dil.pieta.ie. Early Bird booking offer ends Friday 31 March.



Oscar Wilde’s most enduring classic to hit the MAC stage 

The MAC, Belfast, Wednesday 8 March, 2017: The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s most famous farce, is set to take to the MAC stage in Belfast this month. Regarded as one of his finest works, this humorous take on Victorian high society is arguably one of the Irish playwright’s most enduring comedies, with some of the funniest and well-known lines of any of Wilde’s plays.

A new co-production by Bruiser Theatre Company and the MAC, showing exclusively at the MAC this spring, The Importance of Being Earnest will open for a three-week run from 24 March until 15 April 2017.

The recurring themes of marriage, courtship and mundane social obligations ring as true today in this punchy retelling of the classic as when Wilde first put pen to paper.

Boasting some of the funniest lines in the English language, this is Earnest for a 2017 audience interpreted by an all-male cast.

Starring Joseph Derrington as protagonist Algernon Moncrieff and Joseph O’Malley as Jack Worthing, who become entangled in a hilarious plot, forcing each to maintain their fictitious personae ‘Earnest’ to win the hearts of two endearing ‘women’.

Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC, said: “The MAC is an organisation that champions new, innovative artistic experiences for audiences and artists alike. We’re delighted to present Wilde’s classic in Bruiser Theatre Company’s vibrant theatrical style.  The Importance of Being Earnest will be a guaranteed night of entertaining fun for those familiar with and new to Oscar Wilde.”

Lisa May, Director, Bruiser Theatre Company said: “Our adaption of The Importance of Being Earnest is a real treat for lovers of classic Wilde, but also for theatre-goers looking for an all-out comedy night at theatre. In our version, we stay true to Wilde’s original words and characters, but deliver in the unique Bruiser style.

“We’ve been working hard to tackle Wilde’s comic masterpiece – bringing to the fore timeless themes of relationships and identity, still as relevant to audiences today as ever.”

For theatre-goers seeking to embrace an added taste of the Victorian era before the show, the MAC’s in-house café and restaurant NATIVE will be offering a delightful afternoon tea spread from just £13 per person before the 25 March matinee.

Tickets for The Importance of Being Earnest and the one-off afternoon tea at NATIVE are now on-sale at themaclive.com.



The SSE Arena, Belfast: Wednesday 24th May – SOLD OUT

The SSE Arena, Belfast: Thursday 25th May – EXTRA SHOW ADDED

 3Arena, Dublin: Thursday 19th October – SOLD OUT

3Arena, Dublin: Friday 20th October – EXTRA SHOW ADDED

Micky Flanagan has added second dates in Belfast’s SSE Arena on May 25th & Dublin’s 3Arena on October 20th … due to phenomenal demand.

This Friday 24 March, Comic Relief takes over the O2 in London for the biggest night of comedy to ever grace the BBC. The venue will host a Comedy Kitchen run by Micky and fellow comic Joe Lycett from 7pm on BBC1. Micky will later join presenters live in studio to report how it all went.

Micky’s brand new show ‘An Another Fing’  follows his record breaking “Back In The Game” tour of 2013 which took in an incredible 129 shows – making it the biggest comedy tour in the world that year – having sold an unbelievable 500,000 tickets in the UK and Ireland alone.


The reviews were nothing short of celebratory, The Times exclaimed, “Micky Flanagan is on fire” *****, The Daily Star said he was “at the top of his game” *****, and The Daily Telegraph proclaimed “Flanagan is the man of the moment, comedy’s meteoric success” ****.




The SSE Arena, Belfast Box Office: Tel. 02890 739074
Book On Line: www.ssearenabelfast.com


Ticketmaster: In person: From 100 Ticketmaster Outlets Nationwide
By Telephone (24 Hour):   0844 277 44 55 (ROL: 0818 719300)
Book On Line: www.ticketmaster.ie


There are some dates that you never want to forget.  A birthday is one, and Mothering Sunday is another, although it can be confusing to keep track of the latter with the date changing each year.

This year, Mother’s Day falls on Sunday 26th March and is a day designated to celebrate your mum, nan, grandmother or that special person in your life who has inspired and looked out for you over the years.

Tourism Northern Ireland Destination PR Officer Rachel Quigg says “From award-winning spas where you can relax and unwind to afternoon tea experiences and stunning places to visit there is something for everyone to enjoy together this Mother’s Day in Northern Ireland.”  

Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a list of ideas to help you plan the perfect Mother’s Day this Sunday.


Spa-tacular Days
Take some time out from the stress of everyday life and make you mum feel like a queen for the day with some well-deserved pampering.

Galgorm Resort & Spa, Co. Antrim
Set in an idyllic woodland location this four-star resort offers a wealth of packages having recently undergone a major expansion. A new Indoor & Outdoor Spa Village has been created which is the first of its kind in Ireland offering luxurious thermal spa facilities, where you can enjoy the tranquillity of nature less than an hour from Belfast.

Lavender Health Spa, Co. Tyrone
From its origin Lavender Health Spa was designed to revive the mind and body. Found in the shadow of the ancient monument at Errigal’s old monastery, the spa overlooks one of the most beautiful valleys in Northern Ireland. Guests to the spa can choose from a collection of Holistic and Deep Relaxation treatments before relaxing in the Thermal Suite.

SOAK Seaweed Bathhouse, Co. Down
Situated in the beautiful seaside town of Newcastle, SOAK offers a wide range of health, beauty and holistic spa treatments where you can relax in a silky hot seaweed bath or revive yourself with a sensual Spa treatment at Soothe treatment rooms.

Tantalising Afternoon Teas
Wherever you find yourself in Northern Ireland, there are lots of venues to choose from in the search for a luxurious afternoon tea.

Titanic Belfast, Belfast
Treat your mum to a special Afternoon Tea in the opulent surroundings of the Titanic Suite featuring the stunning replica staircase. Enjoy the delicious menu featuring a selection of finger sandwiches, mouth-watering cakes and exquisite éclairs to the sounds of a live jazz band!  Plus, every mother in attendance will receive a special gift from Titanic Belfast. To book call 028 90 76 6386.

WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Co. Down
This Mother’s Day, treat your mum and loved ones to a delicious Afternoon Tea at the Kingfisher Kitchen at Castle Espie, and enjoy demonstrations on this season’s latest fashion trends with special guests Susan Lusty of Captain Tortue and jewellery specialist, Honor Knox. To book call 028 91 874146.

The Argory, Co. Armagh
Treat your mum by taking her along to The Argory this Mothering Sunday. This stunning 19th century Victorian mansion provides the perfect backdrop for an Afternoon Tea consisting of finger sandwiches, Victoria sponge, homemade scones and other traditional delights. To book call 028 87 784753

Places To Wander
From the majestic Mourne Mountains to the dramatic Causeway Coastal Route and the stunning waterways of the Fermanagh Lakelands, Northern Ireland is home to inspirational locations waiting to be explored.

Glenariff Forest Park, Co. Antrim
Take some time this Sunday and explore the famous Glens of Antrim, each with its own scenic drive. Don’t miss Glenariff Forest Park, set in the ‘Queen of the Glens’, with bracing walks and beautiful waterfalls – ideal for a picturesque photo opportunity with the family.

Florence Court, Co. Fermanagh
Within the grounds of Florence Court, you’ll find a mansion house, gardens, visitor centre and woodland walks.  The house is one of the most important Georgian Houses in Ireland, and holds a fascinating collection of furniture.  In the gardens you will find the famous Florence Court Yew, a stunning walled garden and floral trellis walkway, perfect for an afternoon walk this Sunday.

Mourne Mountains, Co. Down
The Mournes is home to Northern Ireland’s highest mountain peak, Slieve Donard, and is said to have inspired C.S. Lewis’ magical world of Narnia.  Why not combine this Mother’s Day with a literary adventure in Co. Down with a visit to the Mourne Mountains and The Narnia Trail at Kilbroney Park.

For more information and ideas for Mother’s Day experiences in Northern Ireland visit www.discovernorthernireland.com/mothersday or visit your local visitor information centre.