Runabay for Portico!

The next concert in the series of The Lough Lively Sessions is taking place at Portico, Portaferry on Friday 28 July and will feature the hugely popular alt-folk band Runabay.

Runabay are six musicians from the Glens of Antrim who through their passion for harmony and melody have been writing and recording since 2013.

The band are at the forefront of fresh, new music in Northern Ireland, a sound which has undeniably been shaped by the beautiful coastline which surrounds the Glens of Antrim and is felt through the swooping melodies and poignant lyrics. The band produce a mature sound that leaves the listener hanging on to the intricate guitar riffs, harmonies and haunting cello.

Recent notable highlights for the group are national airplay on BBC 6 Music, RTE 2FM, Today, Amazing Radio and massive local support from Radio Ulster.

Tickets cost £10 and are on sale now  at or Show time is 7.30pm.

Still to come at the Lough Lively Sessions in Portico are; The 4 of Us, Emerald Armada, Saffyre and Rapparees – book early to avoid disappointment!

Running until October, the lively music events are supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.


C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien set to perform at Belfast Cathedral  


St Anne’s Cathedral will play host to two literary greats this September as it welcomes a unique three person theatre production featuring David Payne and Marc Whitmore.

After the huge success of “An Evening with CS Lewis” which visited Belfast last year, this new production entitled “Wardrobes and Rings” will transport you back to Oxford in 1963, to the Eagle and Child pub, where legendary authors J.R.R Tolkien and his great friend C.S. Lewis meet for what turns out to the very last time.  With great humour, wit, and fascinating stories, these remarkable lives are explored in this memorable piece of theatre.

Simon Cordner, Business Manager at Belfast Cathedral says this is an event not to be missed

“We’re very fortunate to bring this production to Northern Ireland as part of the UK wide tour this autumn for what I’m sure will an amazing night. What better place to celebrate the lives of two of the most notable authors than here in Belfast, the home city of C.S. Lewis. If you’re a fan of Narnia, the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit or even The Screwtape Letters this will be a fantastic evening”

Wardrobes and Rings takes place at Belfast Cathedral (St Anne’s), Donegall Street Saturday September 23rd.  Tickets for the event are £12 and are available from the Belfast Cathedral Welcome Desk or online at or


The Ulster Orchestra is ready to play and its exciting new Season of concerts is on sale now!


A diverse range of concerts take place in the Ulster Hall, Belfast Waterfront and regional venues, from September 2017 to May 2018. Tickets for all concerts are available online at, Belfast concerts are on sale from the Ulster Hall (028 9033 4455) and you can purchase tickets for shows elsewhere by contacting the relevant venue.

This season sees the core subscription series increase to 16 concerts, a series of Pops concerts in Belfast Waterfront and the introduction of a brand new Festive mini-series, along with the return of the 9-concert JTI Lunchtime Series.

Music Director Rafael Payare opens the Season on Friday 22 September in a Gala concert for Culture Night Belfast that welcomes Artist Laureate Sir James Galway back as guest soloist; the first of many internationally-renowned stars to visit this Season. Also taking to the stage will be cellists Alisa Weilerstein and Johannes Moser, pianists Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and Simon Trpčeski and violinists Sergey Khachatryan and Tasmin Little, to name a few.

Maestro Payare delves into some of music’s powerhouse symphonies, conducting work by Beethoven, Mahler and Brahms and closing the season with Shostakovich’s heroic Fifth Symphony. He takes to the stage with two regular collaborators, pianists Vikingur Ólafsson and Jonathan Biss, to explore piano concertos by Mozart and also introduces his friend and fellow countryman, trumpet player Pacho Flores, to the Ulster Hall stage.

The main theme of the subscription series is ‘The Great Concertos’ and Principal Guest Conductor Jac van Steen will take the podium for some of the greatest of them all, commencing with Sibelius’s bewitching Violin Concerto on Friday 1 December. He will also bring music by composers who are national heroes in their respective homelands, including the rich Czech Romanticism of Dvořák and the two pillars of English composition, Elgar and Vaughan Williams.

Every Ulster Orchestra season extends invitations to highly regarded guest conductors, this year welcoming (amongst others) Gergely Madaras to conduct Stravinsky’s dazzling suite The Firebird and Jonathan Darlington for a performance of Brahms’s gentle and intimate German Requiem at Easter.

Belfast Waterfront becomes the new home for the Ulster Orchestra’s pops series of concerts and these glittering nights that celebrate the music of John Williams, musicals and disco legends ABBA are hotly anticipated – be sure to make space in the diary to travel to a galaxy far, far away or dust off the flares and platforms!

I love Christmas!, the new Festive series of concerts, includes perennial favourites such as Handel’s Messiah (featuring regular concert partners Belfast Philharmonic Choir) The Snowman family concert and Celebrate New Year in Vienna, along with a brand new seasonal spectacular, The Magic of Christmas.

With all this, alongside the annual Burns Night extravaganza (in association with the Ulster-Scots Agency), the On Your Doorstep series of concerts outside Belfast and the JTI Lunchtime Series for a monthly bite-sized Tuesday treat, there is guaranteed to be something for every taste. If you book 4 concerts or more as a subscription package you can even save money, with discounts reaching 25% depending on the number of tickets you book. What’s not to love?! So head to to book your concerts and join Rafael Payare, Jac van Steen and the musicians of the Ulster Orchestra for a glorious season!


Introducing MAC Youth Theatre, a new theatrical programme that aims to give young performers and stage managers from across Greater Belfast first-hand experience in producing and managing stage productions.

Building upon the MAC’s already extensive learning and participation programme, the MAC Youth Theatre will feature an ensemble of twenty young performers and stage managers as they take a collective approach to creative theatre-making.

The programme will be directed by the MAC’s Youth & Community Officer, Ciaran McQuillan and supported by MAC artists including Leonie McDonagh, founder of pony dance & known for previous appearances in the MAC pony panto Christmas show. They will support the MAC Youth Theatre in creating an innovative, contemporary production that demonstrates the MAC’s artistic excellence and exposes participants to all aspects of creating and managing a major production at an award-winning venue.

Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of the first MAC Youth Theatre programme. We are continuously seeking opportunities to reach out to young people and communities to engage and involve them in the arts.

 “In keeping with our artistic vision at the MAC, we not only pursue the best in touring and homegrown theatre, but actively promote collaboration and support the development of MAC original programming. We’re really excited to launch MAC Youth Theatre and support the efforts of the ensemble throughout the year leading to their final major production which will be exclusive to the MAC from 5-7 April 2018 in our Downstairs Theatre.”

Leonie McDonagh adds: “I’m thrilled to be working with the team on the new MAC Youth Theatre programme where I’ll be teaching dance technique and movement vocabulary for the stage. This is such a great opportunity for young people with any interest in theatre to get involved and learn in a creative environment like the MAC – I’m looking forward to working with the next generation of artists over the next few months.”

The MAC Youth Theatre is open to young people aged 16-18 years of all abilities and no previous drama experience is required. Participation costs £50 per term. While participating in the programme, members will also partake in arts award qualifications which will formally recognise their participation and development.

Championing inclusivity, a bursary scheme has also been created by the MAC to support young people from low income families who wish to take part in the new youth theatre programme.

Opening auditions for the 2017-18 term will take place this summer from 22-24 August through a series of fun group workshops. Rehearsals for successful applicants will launch in September, taking place every Tuesday night in the LAB rehearsal studio at the MAC.

For more information on MAC Youth Theatre and to register for auditions now, visit


Now an annual summer favourite, The 7 Hills Blues Festival returns in August, with two events at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh.

Dana Masters takes to the stage on Thursday 10 August. Originally from America’s Deep South, Dana grew up with the sound of soul, rhythm and blues and gospel music all around her. Her love for music developed as she grew up and lead her to study music, majoring in vocal performance at university. Music took Dana from South Carolina to Minneapolis and then on to Los Angeles where she lived for four years and where she met an Irish boy who would later become her husband.

From live work with BBC Radio 4 and ‘Proms In The Park’ to singing regularly with Van Morrison, Dana’s reputation as one of Ireland’s top vocalists continues to gain momentum. Calling Northern Ireland home, Dana is passionate about music as a vehicle to make people and communities vibrant.

The Henry Girls are an Irish folk and roots music group consisting of three sisters, Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin. You’ll often see The Henry Girls on stage with a fiddle, ukulele, banjo, guitar, harp, mandolin, piano and accordion. Their new album ‘Far Beyond the Stars’ was named are RTE Radio’s Album of the Week in March 2017, and they will perform for one night only on Friday 11 August.

The Henry Girls combine something of our Irish heritage with a more contemporary backdrop; imbuing it with compassion, insight and warmth. See them live and you will drift away with Celtic harmonies, folkish melodies, and a dollop of that world-famous organic Donegal style.

Tickets for both performances are priced £12, and can be booked by contacting the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at

Visit the website at for full details and bookings, or contact the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821. 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.

Party in The Park

You are invited to join us for Party in the Park as it returns to Antrim Castle Gardens on Sunday 30 July.


Now in its sixth year this free family fun event has something for the whole family to enjoy. This year’s line-up features live music, crazy golf, water zorbs, bungee trampolines, swing boats, arts & crafts, balloon modelling, face painting and a range of culinary delights from the food fayre.

Kick back and relax to Ireland’s No 1 Tribute Act Ciaran Houlihan, his TCB band and The Sweet Sensations as he reinacts one of Elvis’ most iconic performances ‘An Afternoon in the Garden’. Derry based Indie Band Ports will also be there to entertain you.

Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House will be awash with activity for both young and old alike. Join us for a Festival of Fun at Party in the Park, Antrim Castle Gardens Sunday 30 July from 1-5pm. Free Admission.

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


Step into Winterfell at Castle Ward Estate this Saturday and take aim where young Bran was taught archery by Jon Snow. Have a go at archery in the very place where the TV show was filmed – in the courtyard aka ‘Winterfell’.  Stand in the recreated Game of Thrones archery film set tipi, dress in a Game Of Thrones like costume to look the part and get ready to take aim.  Suitable for 8 years+ for an open Bran session (50 mins) and 6 years+ for a private Ned session (1hr).  (Under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult).


The John Hewitt Summer School runs this week until Saturday 29th July with over 35 events from over 50 writers, artists and speakers at the Market Place Theatre. For full details see


Join in at Cuilcagh Mountain Park this Sunday 30th July to find out a bit more about the fascinating bog habitats that dominate the Geopark. Learn or refresh your memory on how people hand cut peat, listen to stories from days gone by in the bog and take part in some bog pool dipping activities along with many more fun interactive activities which will be available for the day. This event promises to be a great day out for all the family. Booking not required.


Take a journey into the colourful world of Lego animation this Saturday 29th July with a mini animation masterclass at Ranfurly House Dungannon, which will teach participants how to make a complete animated film on an iPad, including sound effects visual effects, and planning your film.  Parents/guardians will be emailed a QuickTime movie of their child’s film at the end of the masterclass to keep or upload to YouTube.  Suitable for ages 7-10 years.


The Red Sails Festival, which runs this week until Saturday 29th July, is a festival of entertainment in the beautiful coastal resort of Portstewart. A fabulous week combining a diverse range of entertainment centred on the Promenade Portstewart with live music, culture, dance, competitions and ending with a spectacular firework show all organised by Portstewart Community Association For the full line up see


This Friday and Saturday, 28th and 29th July, the world-famous Armoy Road Race takes place once again in and around the picturesque County Antrim village close to the breath taking Glens of Antrim, Ballycastle and the world famous Giant’s Causeway. The three mile circuit harks back to the 1970’s and the days of the legendary Armoy Armada including the famous Joey Dunlop, but has been brought bang up to date by the organisers. The Road Race is getting bigger and better every year with competitors from all over the world. Spectators also come from far and wide and extend their stay to enjoy the beautiful Causeway Coast and Glens area. A thrilling two day experience for all to enjoy.


Stormont Estate will be hosting BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow at Parliament Buildings, on Saturday 29 July. The roadshow will be open to everyone, no tickets needed, just come along and enjoy the day!  The event opens at 9:30am and as long as you are in the main queue by 4:30pm you will be seen by one of the Roadshow specialists. Please note filming ill continue until 7pm and visitors are encouraged to stay on and watch the show being recorded.


­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 Fun Fair rolls into Newtownabbey

Don’t miss Theatre at The Mill’s big summer musical production Carousel, from Tuesday 1 – Saturday 5 August. Last year’s big hit, Phantom of the Opera, received rapturous reviews and a glance at this year’s rehearsals promises another great show.

A personal favourite of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Carousel is set in a Maine costal village where carnival barker and petty criminal Billy Bigelow is granted a wish to return from the afterlife for just one day.  Bigelow encounters the daughter he never knew, now a lonely, friendless teenager, her father’s reputation as a thief and a bully having haunted her all her young life. How Bigelow instils in both the child and her mother a sense of hope and dignity is a dramatic testimony to the power of love.

The hit creative team that gave us Phantom of the Opera last year, Director Anna McNamara and Musical Director Conor Mitchell, are joined by Movement Director Anna Tringham, Designer Stuart Marshall and Lighting Designer Alan Clarke.  Under the baton of Conor Mitchell, Theatre at The Mill’s ensemble of professional musicians complemented by some of Northern Ireland’s most talented young musicians, bring life and lustre to this beautiful score.

The ballet sequence will be performed by guest artists Ruaidhri Maguire from Opera Baltycka W Gdansku and Kanako Nagayoshi from Ballet Jorgen Canada, supported by young dancers from Laura Walker’s Ballet School.

Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s masterpiece includes hits like: If I Loved You, June is Bustin Out All Over and You’ll Never Walk Alone.

With nightly performances at 7pm from 1- 5 August and a matinee performance on Saturday 5 August at 2.30pm, this is a production not to be missed.  Tickets £15 & £13 (Concession) available at Box Office T: 028 9034 0202 or online



Armoy Line Up Announced

MICHAEL Dunlop MD Racing has confirmed his entry for the Roadside Kia Race of Legends 2017 for the Armoy Road Races on the 28th and 29th July 2017.

28-year-old Michael Dunlop, who has raced at the Armoy Road Races every year, will be entering the two, First4Printing and Bayview Hotel, Supersport races, the Torquetronix Open Race and the biggest race of the day, the Roadside Kia ‘Race of the Legends’.

Honda Racing has also entered Guy Martin this year. Both riders have a great affinity with Armoy and love riding one of the greatest events in Ireland’s road racing calendar.

Michael Dunlop, having won the Race of Legends for six years in a row, will be set on retaining the Roadside Kia Race of Legends title but with many in the mix including Honda Racing Guy Martin, McAdoo Racing Kawasaki James Cowton, Mullingar man Derek McGee, and Michael’s brother William Dunlop on a Temple Golf Yamaha, Bill Kennedy believes that Michael will be hard to beat.

“I’m absolutely delighted that Michael [Dunlop] will by racing this year and vying for the sought after title of Roadside Kia Race of Legends Winner. Michael has done exceptionally well this year particularly at the TT and the Southern 100, where in addition to setting a new race record pace and a new lap record, he secured his third Southern 100 Solo Championship. I’ve no doubt Michael will be on fine form at Armoy.

“This year’s event is shaping up to be a really good event. We’ve riders from all over the UK and the South and I am confident that we are going to see some exceptional road racing again this year.

“We’ve 41 newcomers and nine Moto3 riders. There are some exceptional riders this year particularly the up and coming and I’ve no doubt that they will be out there to win,” added Bill.

International riders include many from the Republic as well as newcomers, Mathias Winkenjohann from Germany in the Senior Support race, Chris Meyer from Germany in the 125cc race, Patricia Fernandez from USA in the Supersport and Open races and Roger Chen from Taiwan fulfilling an ambition to race at Armoy in the Classics.

This year there are two races on the Friday night with the Park Electrical Service and Armoy Construction Senior Support Race 1 and First4Printing Supersport 600cc (Race 1).

Bill continues; “Bike week will commence with the Armoy Ride Out on Sunday 23rd July and later that evening the Church Service will also take place at 6.00 pm in St Patrick’s Church Hall led by Reverend Easton where everyone is very welcome. Channel 4, will be there as part of a documentary screening on Sunday 7th August at 7.30pm, followed by race highlights.

“If our VIP corporate hospitality is anything to go by we’ve folk from as far away from Norway, Italy, Aberdeen in Scotland and Wexford in Ireland.

“Our Facebook and Twitter social pages are also extremely busy with lots of engagement, so all we need now is the weather.

Bike Week runs from Sunday 23rd July until Saturday 29th July with the races taking place on Friday 28th July and Saturday 29th July 2017 culminating in the Roadside Kia ‘Race of Legends’. The Armoy Road Races are part funded by Tourism Northern Ireland and the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

For more information on Armoy Road Races, visit or search for ‘AMRRC’ on Facebook or follow on twitter @ArmoyRoadRaces.

Please support the Armoy Road Races by buying a programme. They are available from the AMRRC office, the Mace Shop in Armoy, the Petrol Station in Armoy, Biesty’s Centra, Ballymoney and theTown Hall in Ballymoney, from the Tuesday 18th July  and cost £15.00 or €17.


Understanding Dementia: Awareness Session with Dementia NI

A charity set up by people with dementia is taking their message out into the Carrickfergus community to explain what life is like to live with dementia and to challenge the associated negative assumptions, in the hope that others will be more accepting and tolerant of the symptoms, and helpful towards people living with the condition.

Dementia NI is an organisation that was set up by five people living with dementia, their message, that life still goes on following a diagnosis. Their aim was to set up groups throughout Northern Ireland solely for people living with dementia. To meet on a regular basis, offer each other peer support through social gatherings, and to raise awareness about dementia.

‘Many who first hear that they have dementia feel isolated, deskilled and afraid’, said Ashleigh Davis, the charity’s empowerment officer. ‘Dementia NI assist these people to remain valued citizens who can still play a beneficial part within their communities.’

Dementia NI members wish to highlight the benefits gained from meeting others in similar positions.

When people try to stop you from doing things after a dementia diagnosis, it makes you feel worthless and leaves you feeling like a child. It takes away your dignity and self-respect
and leads to feelings of frustration and eventually anger. You lose your sense of independence and can even make you feel like a prisoner in your own home.
The relief that there was someone out there to help and understand me was so overwhelming. When I joined Dementia NI, I wasn’t alone anymore and that was such a fantastic feeling.” – Dementia NI Member, Anne.

Dementia NI is currently establishing a group in Carrickfergus specifically for people living with dementia and is reaching out to others to support people with the diagnosis within the local community.

Dementia NI highlight how keeping active and connected within the local community has retained skills and assisted in reducing isolation, alleviating boredom, and possible depression. Members felt this important, to prove to the public that they can still live well after a diagnosis of dementia and are very capable of partaking in everyday activities the same as everyone else.

Members regularly give talks during Dementia NI awareness sessions, they challenge the stigma of having a diagnosis, dispelling preconceptions surrounding the condition and educate about what it is like to live with dementia, in the hope that others will become more understanding.

“We have a very important job to do in challenging the stigma. While I have dementia, I can still do things for myself and make decisions; I just need society to allow me the time to do it in my way.” – Dementia NI Member, John.

Get involved…

If you are interested in learning more about dementia, come along to listen to people living with dementia share their experiences and explain more about living with their symptoms on

Wednesday 2nd August in Carrickfergus Community Forum from 10.30am

Please RSVP to Ashleigh at For more information on Dementia NI empowerment groups within your area, please contact Dementia NI on Tel: 02890 686768 or Email: