Easter Fun at Conway Square

This Friday, 14th April, Conway Square will host fantastic family fun from 12.30pm-5pm

Bruce Airhead-just one of the acts appearing in Conway Square on Friday 14th April

Look out for world class street theatre acts with a spectacular Spring Street Carnival at 3pm, it’s a treat for all the family this Easter holiday!

Over 180 local children will take part in Newtownards debut Spring Carnival, including children from Abbey Primary and dance groups, VAD Productions, Born to Perform, Excel and Le Chance de Danser.

The Spring Street Carnival will leave St Marks on Church Street, travel through Regent Street, Frances Street, Castle Place, High Street, Mill Street, Gibson’s Lane then back to Regent street.

The Beat Initiative have been working for months creating costumes and floats to represent spring.Come watch and welcome spring with giant puppets, animals and creatures with fantastic live music. This will be a chance to show off and celebrate all things Ards!

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Deborah Girvan said ‘It’s very exciting to be leading this Spring Carnival in Newtownards, I am looking forward to meeting all the children who will take part’  

Don’t miss Bruce Airhead, Bang On and Comedy duo Airborne who will entertain in Conway Square form 12.30-5pm. Come and have a go in the 3D Art Workshop or make spring flower bottles, bumble bees and birds throughout the afternoons festivities!

Newtownards is the only place to be this Good Friday!

Holiday Fun In Bangor This Easter

Come to Bangor this Easter Monday, 17th April to see a Spectacular Spring Street Carnival travel through the town at 3pm. Led by The Mayor of Ards and North Down this is a Springtime spectacular not to be missed!

Over 180 children and young people from local schools, dance and performance groups will take part including Kilmaine Primary, Glenlola Collegiate, Le Chance de Danser, Tiny Beat, SERC Music and NI Stars.

Look out for mythical and magical creatures, budding flowers and baby animals, Spring faeries and fantastic live music as Spring will awake with The Beat Carnivals most ambitious creation yet!

The Spring Street Carnival will leave Bangor Town Hall at 3pm, travel Castle Park Avenue, Main Street, Bridge street, High Street, Bingham Street, Mills Road, Hamilton road back to Main Street and the Town Hall.

Family Fun will be in full swing from 12pm-5pm with Project 24 being the place to be for all you budding artists as there will be an array of interactive and amazing Spring Street Art and Crafts including a giant cube of live cartoon drawing!  Why not stroll the promenade and enjoy the free children’s Land Train?

Bangor Super Trial will transform McKee Clock Arena into an eye opening daredevil course. World number 2 Adam ‘The Destroyer’ Raga will showcase his death-defying stunts The 7 times World Champion will be returning to Bangor where he made his arena debut at the tender age of 16. The event will start at 12 o’clock with two qualifying heats before the final at 4pm. Andy Perry from Trialstar NI said ‘We are very excited to have Adam as part of our many superb Trial Bike supremo’s in our Super Trial in Bangor. With the hugely popular Springtime Carnival and the first class family entertainment on offer, this Easter Monday will be better than ever!’

The North Down Museum will have a fabulous Easter Trial. Tickets £1. Follow clues throughout the museum in order to solve the puzzle and get your Easter egg. Afterwards make Easter crafts to take home. A great time for all the family!


The Train, a musical based on the 1971 contraceptive train with music by Riverdance composer Bill Whelan, takes to the stage at the MAC this Easter.

 By Arthur Riordan and Bill Whelan

Directed by Lynne Parker for Rough Magic Theatre Company

Danielle Galligan, Kate Gilmore, Lisa Lambe, Sophie Jo Wasson & Karen McCartney in Rough Magic Theatre Company’s The Train by Arthur Riordan and Bill Whelan at The MAC 19-23 April, 2017.

Rough Magic Theatre Company have announced that their musical The Train will take to the stage at the MAC in Belfast from April 19-23.

This completes an important step of the journey for this fictional celebration of a remarkable media coup; when 47 women challenged the restrictive laws of the Irish State in 1971, by taking a train to Belfast and returning to Dublin with forbidden contraceptives.

Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC, said: “We always strive to offer our audiences the best in homegrown Irish drama and we are delighted to welcome back Rough Magic to present their fantastic musical, The Train, at the MAC. Direct from its run at The Abbey Theatre, Dublin, it is fitting that we re-trace the steps of 47 trailblazing women from Dublin to Belfast.”

The show is directed by Belfast-born Lynne Parker, with book and lyrics by Arthur Riordan (‘Improbable Frequency’) and music composed by Bill Whelan (‘Riverdance’).

“To take The Train – literally – to Belfast is a hugely exciting prospect, mirroring the original journey and giving us a tremendous platform to raise awareness of the issues in the piece.” said Lynne Parker.   It was a time, as the women of ‘71 said, ‘when the world turned on its axis’. We are living through such a time now and this history has real currency.”

The cast will be Clare Barrett, Danielle Galligan, Kate Gilmore, Darragh Kelly, Lisa Lambe, Karen McCartney, Sophie Jo Wasson Louis Lovett and Ross Gaynor, with a live band under the musical direction of Cathal Synnott

In an environment where gender equality in theatre has never been more pertinent, this watershed moment in Irish social and political life is joyously captured by Arthur Riordan’s wit and Bill Whelan’s dynamic score.

Bill Whelan said of this 2017 production, “When Arthur Riordan and I began working on the Train for Rough Magic some years ago, it seemed that the issues raised in 1971 were still startlingly relevant. Given recent political upheavals, it would now appear that the further we move from the actual historical event, the more relevant and urgent those issues have become.”

For more information and to book, visit themaclive.com.


Creativity takes centre stage as Burnavon launches new summer programme

The focus is firmly on celebrating and encouraging creativity for all the family this summer, as the Burnavon releases its brand new summer programme.


Covering June to August, musical highlights include Irish Country Music star, Robert Mizzell, and a fantastic line up for the annual July Celebrations Concert, headlined by traditional Scottish and Irish music fusion band, KasK.

Emerging local talent also gets the chance to shine with performances in June from Caroline Creggan Dance School, and the phenomenon that is Superstars, who have been rehearsing their new show, ‘Happily Ever After’ with amazing commitment and dedication!

Clydebuilt Puppet Theatre Company return with their new puppet show, Magic of the Mummy: Tales of ancient Egypt on Friday 2nd June. Suitable for ages 5 – 12 years old, beautifully made rod puppets, intriguing shadow sequences, and masterful storytelling are the key elements in this children’s show, which magically brings the Egyptian world to life.

And of course being summertime, there’s an opportunity to get involved in the Burnavon’s series of workshops in arts, crafts and dance for all those budding ballerinas and makers, as Ballet Ireland return with their annual summer school from Monday 31st July – Friday 4th August. The Burnavon summer scheme runs from Monday 7th – Friday 11th August, ensuring that the focus is firmly on providing lots for the kids to do in the summer holidays.

This August, Star Wars fans will have another opportunity to see the amazing Invasion Mid Ulster II. Ireland’s longest running Star Wars costuming club, The Emerald Garrison take over the Burnavon Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August. Including a line-up of fun, interactive activities, life sized props and sets, the brand new Snow Speeder Spaceship on display this year for the first time will be a highlight for all Star Wars fans, young and old.

The Burnavon is also encouraging you to get out and about, and visit all the interesting places on your doorstep this summer to find out the stories of our local places and faces. Day trips departing from the Burnavon are available to Beaghmore Stone Circles, the U.S. Grant and William Carlton trail, Upperlands Linen Village and Seamus Heaney HomePlace in June, July, August and September.

The Burnavon’s new season programme can be downloaded from their website, www.burnavon.com or is available for free at the Box Office, Burn Road, Cookstown. Tickets can be purchased through Box Office on 028 8676 9949 or online. Become a fan on Facebook or follow the theatre on Twitter @burnavon theatre for all the latest news, reminders of what’s on and a glimpse of behind the scenes during the season.

Tourism NI invites Game of Thrones® fans to follow the Journey of Doors!

Tourism NI has today launched a Journey of Doors passport that allows  Game of Thrones® fans to visit the 10 Game of Thrones Doors across Northern Ireland and collect a unique stamp at each of the locations.

Judith Webb, Tourism NI gives international visitors Stephen Feeney and Melly Corzo from Chicago, Illinois the first stamp on their Journey of Doors souvenir passport alongside Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland at the Dark Hedges. Tourism NI has launched a Journey of Doors passport that allows Game of Thrones® fans to visit the 10 Game of Thrones Doors across Northern Ireland and collect a unique stamp at each of the locations.

The Doors, created by Tourism Ireland and Tourism NI, were  carved from trees blown down in Storm Gertrude in January 2016 at the Dark Hedges in Co Antrim – perhaps the most iconic Game of Thrones® filming location in Northern Ireland. Each door depicts moments inspired by Season 6 referencing key scenes and events from the show.

The intricately carved doors are legacy pieces demonstrating the connection between the fantasy world of the show and the reality that is Northern Ireland.  The doors hang in pubs and other venues in Northern Ireland close to filming locations giving visitors a brand new Game of Thrones® territory experience to enjoy.

Judith Webb, Tourism NI Experience Development Officer commented; “Game of Thrones® is one of the most popular TV shows of all time currently broadcast in 199 territories worldwide. Northern Ireland is home to many of the filming locations that frequently appear on our screens and as a result, the show has been transformative for screen tourism in Northern Ireland.

“Fans from around the world are visiting Northern Ireland for the unique Game of Thrones ® visitor experience on offer that combines the stunning filming locations with the doors situated in local bars and restaurants.

“The Journey of Doors souvenir passport is an interactive way for visitors and Game of Thrones® fans to travel to each of the doors and collect a unique stamp at each location. To navigate their way around Northern Ireland to the ten doors and the accessible filming locations visitors can download the Game of Thrones® Filming Locations Northern Ireland  app.“

Brian Twomey, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Marketing Communications, said: The ‘Journey of Doors’ passport is a really great follow-up to our ‘Doors of Thrones’ campaign from last year. It’s an innovative way to encourage fans everywhere to come and experience Northern Ireland and its Game of Thrones connections – inspiring them to discover the doors which tell the story of series six and seek out the nearby film locations.

“We’ll be distributing the passport through our offices around the world – to our network of international tour operators and travel journalists, as well as to potential holidaymakers for Northern Ireland.

Our 2016 ‘Doors of Thrones’ campaign reached an estimated 126 million people around the world, with the campaign’s short films being viewed 17 million times – generating coverage worth about £11.3 million.”

The Journey of Doors passport is available from the 10 pubs and restaurants where the Doors of Thrones are located as well as many of the Visitor Information Centres across Northern Ireland. It can also be downloaded from http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/gameofthronesdoors

There are 25 Game of Thrones® filming locations in Northern Ireland that are accessible to the public and visitors can choose from a range of guided location tours or immerse themselves in Game of Thrones® themed adventures such as archery, cycle tours or banquets.

Wanted: Titanic Belfast Seeks Junior Explorers!

Titanic Belfast, the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction, is once again on the lookout for its latest recruits – two child reviewers for 2017/18!

As Junior Explorers the two lucky children find gainful employment and get to experience all Titanic Belfast has to offer for free – for an entire year – whilst casting their eye over its child friendly offering to ensure it remains world-class. And the best bit – parents and siblings get to tag along too to the world’s largest Titanic Experience, which has now welcomed over 3.5 million visitors.

If your child is …

– Inquisitive
– Enthusiast
– Over the age of 5 and under the age of 13 (as of May 2017)
– with a nose for a story
– as well as an interest in Belfast’s history, the sea or Titanic’s story!

they could be Titanic Belfast’s next Junior Explorer.

Last year, Thomas Costello and Cora Walsh spent the year as Titanic Belfast’s Junior Explorers and reviewed Titanic Belfast brand new kids audio guide, family trail, met the mascots, hopped on board SS Nomadic and were the first to experience Titanic Belfast’s Summer Exhibition and its Magical Christmas Experience.

This Easter, on top of exploring the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic, as well as the City and people which made her, Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic will also have an egg-cellent Easter Trail, special kids offers in the Bistro and a special Easter Sunday Afternoon Tea (16th March).

To enter, please download the form from www.titanicbelfast.com, getting your child or you  (depending on age) to specify why they should be the Junior Explorer and return it by email to competitions@titanicbelfast.com or by post to Junior Explorer, Titanic Belfast, 1 Olympic Way, Queen’s Road, Belfast, BT39EP before 3rd  May 2017.

Kids n Castle App Fun Day

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in partnership with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council recently launched their Kids n Castles app.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor John Scott pictured with Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE , pictured with Andy & Cara characters, Archie Greer and Chloe Francey.

This is an innovative IOS based mobile application aimed at engaging young families with the rich heritage of two historic sites, the atmospheric Antrim Castle Gardens and Carrickfergus Town Walls, with reference to the iconic Carrickfergus Castle.

To celebrate the launch of the app there will be a free family fun day on Thursday 20 April at Carrickfergus Museum and Friday 21 April at Antrim Castle Gardens both from 2-4pm.  Come along for face painting, sword making, crown modelling and try out this new exciting app.

The app’s challenges and rewards are curriculum linked encouraging family learning for children aged seven and over.  Families are guided through the app by two specially devised and appealing characters, Andy, a groomsboy on the estate at Antrim Castle Gardens and Cara, a lady’s maid for Lady Chichester in Carrickfergus.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor John Scott commented “It is great to see the development of this digital app which I hope children and their families will engage with. This is a fun way of learning historic facts of two landmark attractions. I trust that the introduction of this new app will invite new visitors to both sites and encourage regular visitors to try something new”.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE commented “Kids n Castles is a fantastic new opportunity to encourage our young people to enjoy themselves exploring heritage sites across our Borough’s. The feedback to date for the app has been extremely positive, I’d encourage families to come along and try it out at one of the free fun days and enjoy an adventure in Carrickfergus and Antrim.”

For more information please visit antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/kidsncastles or midandeastantrim.gov.uk/kidsncastles.

Allianz Garden Show celebrates National Gardening Week.

In celebration of the start of National Gardening Week, Allianz Garden Show Ireland is delighted to confirm a stellar line up of gardening experts and truly interesting garden spaces that will entice and inspire visitors to Antrim Castle Gardens 5th to 7th May.

Star Guest Broadcaster at this year’s Allianz Garden Show Ireland is BBC presenter, writer and garden designer Joe Swift who will share his garden secrets on Friday 5 May at the stunning Antrim Castle Gardens. Joe is pictured at RHS Malvern. James Purdy, Belfast based architect and garden designer who is creating the magical CS Lewis inspired feature garden at this year’s Allianz Garden Show Ireland which takes place at the stunning Antrim Castle Gardens from 5 to 7 May.

The Show begins with a series of talks from garden designer, writer and TV presenter, Joe Swift. Joe will be sharing his ideas for creating your dream garden on a budget as well as revealing some of his fondest memories from nearly 20 years of coverage of BBC’s Gardeners World.

The expert line up also includes founder of Grow It Yourself Ireland, Michael Kelly who will be talking about the top vegetables to grow yourself, other notable speakers include the much respected and loyal Show regulars Reg Maxwell and Geoff Stebbings. The centrepiece feature garden will be the “Heritage of Place” garden created by young Belfast based architect and garden designer James Purdy who collected three gold medals at Bloom in 2016.

James tells us more about his garden,

“The garden pays homage to the great literal genius born in Belfast C S Lewis who took inspiration from our natural landscape when writing The Chronicles of Narnia and will have an eye catching central grass mound reminiscent of our mountainous landscape which will spiral up to a standing stone, reflective of our ancient heritage and where CS Lewis found inspiration.  Around the mound will be a mixed arrangement of native and naturalistic style planting with hard landscaping of granite and cedar wood sourced and fabricated from local suppliers with local skilled craftsmen appointed to build the garden.”

Also providing inspiration to visitors will be a series of Show Gardens designed under the heritage theme. Northern Ireland’s councils have been invited to create a garden or interactive display so that each region will have an opportunity to showcase their own take on local heritage.  Other highlights include the Antrim Garden Trail gardens which is made up of a series of gardens including the beautiful Antrim Castle Gardens, Ballyrobert Cottage Garden and the magical Walled Gardens at Greenmount.

Damien O’Neil, Head of Marketing & Communications for Allianz Ireland remarked,

“We can’t wait until May 5 to see the innovative gardening elements at this year’s Allianz Garden Show. Blending and reflecting local heritage through planting and garden display is a fantastic idea and will add further to the many delights on display at this year’s show”.

The Growers Pavilion will house specialist nurseries with hundreds of plants on display and available to purchase from the expert growers who will be on hand to guide visitors through planting decisions. Sitting alongside all of the plants in the Growers Pavilion will be a special Feature Patio Garden created by Acheson Glover and new to the Show this year will be the People’s Choice Prize where visitors will vote for their favourite display and be entered into a draw to win a 3D landscape design from Acheson Glover whilst the winning nursery will win tickets to the RHS Chatsworth Show.

Set in the beautiful Antrim Castle Gardens the Allianz Garden Show Ireland continues to draw record crowds each year and with extensive local parking and a short travel time from Belfast it really is an accessible day out for all.

For tickets and more information on the Show which runs from 5-7 May please visit www.gardenshowireland.com



Wednesday 17th May: WATERFRONT, Belfast

Tickets for Belfast Waterfront are available:

In person at the Ulster Hall Box Office

By Telephone: 028 9033 4455
Book On Line: www.waterfront.co.uk

Irish band The Cranberries are pleased to announce that they are bringing a very special Greatest Hits Tour on the road this summer.  Best known for their now classic songs ‘Linger’, ‘Zombie’ and ‘Dreams’, The Cranberries will perform specially orchestrated versions of their many hits with each show on the tour featuring a string quartet.

Speaking ahead of the announcement, guitarist Noel Hogan said: “We are really excited about taking this tour on the road.  In recent months we have been working with the Irish Chamber Orchestra at the University of Limerick, Ireland on the string versions of our best known songs. While we have played “unplugged” before, this tour promises to be particularly special.”   Band members, Dolores O’Riordan, Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan and Fergal Lawlor have also been writing some new material, so expect at least three new songs in their set.

Renowned for their trademark ‘Indie’ guitar sound and Dolores O’Riordan’s distinctive Celtic tinged lilting vocal style, The Cranberries rise to global fame in the early 1990s was nothing short of meteoric. Between 1994 and 2004, the phenomenal success of The Cranberries witnessed the band repeatedly tour the world and playing to capacity crowds.

To date, the award winning band has sold over 40 million records. Their 2016 sold-out dates in Europe and Peru demonstrate that they are still immensely popular across the world and have over 2.2 Million listens each month on Spotify and over 4 Million Facebook Followers.