The Hen House Prowlers at Ward Park this Sunday from 2:30pm

It’s hard to believe the summer holidays are almost over, but no end of summer would be complete without the annual Bluegrass Picnic.

This is the finale to eight weeks of super summer Sundays so come down and spend your bank holiday Sunday in the beautiful setting of Ward Park, soaking up the sounds of American Bluegrass.

Chicago’s Henhouse Prowlers may have the traditional Bluegrass line-up of fiddle, banjo, guitar, stand-up bass and mandolin, but they do things in their own unique style. From lightning-fast picking to sentimental ballads, The Prowlers combine outstanding musical virtuosity with an energetic live performance – The Prowlers’ live show leaves no one wanting.


This is a great afternoon to pack a picnic, grab your friends and chill out, listening to great tunes this Sunday between 2:30-5pm.

This is a FREE event.  Please note that Ward Park is an alcohol-free zone. All events are weather dependent and therefore subject to change. This year’s music programme is in association with Open House Festival.


Lookout in local press each week for details on each artist or for more information phone Bangor Visitor Information Centre on 028 9127 0069 or visit

Talent to shine at The Alley’s Open Mic Night

Open Mic Night at the Alley Theatre will return to the Alley Theatre this Thursday, 24th August, featuring an almighty line up and guest host, Gary Elliott.

Locals acts including; Shonagh Forbes, Paul O’Doherty, Juno Hassan, Glen Harkin, Dean Maywood, Jay Jane Kens, Jimmy Tinney, Amy O’Neill, Ruairi McCafferty and The Elliott Duo Band, will take to the stage and showcase their amazing talents to an open audience.

Jacqui Doherty, Venue Manager of the Alley Theatre said: “This is a real opportunity for local artists to not only perform in the intimate Alley Bar but to also try out their new material on the music loving audience. The evening will be joy to all music lovers and is a perfect way to relax with family and friends. The variety of talent we will have on the night, with music styles ranging from folk, pop, country and acoustic music, will ensure everyone is entertained.”

Gary Elliott, host of the Open Mic Night at the Alley added: “This is now the second open mic night at the theatre, since the beginning of summer. After the success of the first open mic night, we knew we just had to hold another. The crowd was amazing and the talent was just spectacular first time round so we’ve decided to make it a regular thing. I’m therefore pleased to now confirm that the open mic nights will continue throughout the autumn, with three dates planned on 5th October, 16th November, and 21st December. Anyone who would like to take part, please get in touch as we would love to have you perform.”

Open Mic Night at the Alley Theatre will take place on Thursday 24th August. Doors open from 7.15pm with music beginning at 8.00pm. Tickets cost £3.00 and are available online at, via telephone on 028 7138 4444 or at the door on the evening (tickets will be limited). If you would like to take part in any of the open mic nights, contact Jacqueline Doherty on 028 7188 4760. Keep up to date on all events via the Alley Theatre Facebook and Twitter pages.

Children’s classic on stage at Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre

Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady will host children’s classic ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ on Tuesday 22nd August at 12pm.

Perfect for and families and Alice in Wonderland fans, the performance by Quantam Theatre depicts the adventures of Alice through her mirror into a strange, unknown world. Children can follow Alice’s fantastical trail as she travels across a chess board until she is finally crowned as the queen.

Packed full of Lewis Carroll’s most memorable and enduring characters, Michael Whitmore’s delightful adaption captures the charm of the original story with a modern twist.

To book tickets or to find out more information, please contact Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre on 028 7776 0650 or visit

Mayor offers Free Family Fun at Foyle Arena

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh is inviting everyone to a free ‘Family Fun Day’ at the Foyle Arena on Friday 25th August.

(Photo – Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

The fun day will benefit and help raise awareness and funds for the Mayors’ chosen charity – AWARE. The charity offers a range of support services and programmes to help and educate people on depression. The Mayor said the fun day was a great way to show support for the charity and an opportunity to provide a fun day out for families in one Council’s finest leisure and event arenas. He added: “The ‘Family Fun Day’ will be a great day out. Parents and their children are invited to come along from 2.00 – 5.00pm to enjoy the activities.

“There is so much planned for the day that will keep the children entertained for hours. Activities will include; face painting, glitter tattoos, bouncy castles, a bouncy castle obstacle course, a photo booth, kid’s carousel, free wall climbing and £1 swims!

“I am very pleased to be in my position as Mayor to host this event and I would like to ask anyone attending to support my chosen charity AWARE, by making a small donation to the charity. Representatives from AWARE will be there on the day promoting the fantastic work they do and answering any questions you many have about their work.”

In addition to the ‘Mayor’s Family Fun Day’, the Foyle Arena is one of a number of Council leisure facilities currently offering a range of summer activities for kids including; swims, squash, badminton, all for just £1 until the end of August.

“I hope families from throughout the city and district and our visitors will come along and take part in the fun filled day of free entertainment at the arena. Kids should be encouraged to be active and outdoors during the good weather and taking part in these events could be the encouragement they need to get out there and get active. Leave the television and laptops at home for a day and take in the fresh air at St. Columb’s Park and enjoy the entertainment on offer at the Foyle Arena.” He added.

Margaret McCrossan of AWARE said, “We really appreciate this support and I would like to thank the Mayor for choosing AWARE as his charity. Our trained volunteers and support groups work with people with depression and bipolar disorders as well as their carer’s. We also deliver information outreach sessions to communities, schools, universities and workplaces and provide support for those in need. Fundraising effort such as this help us to keep going and provide these much needed services. We shall be at the Foyle Area throughout the day to join in the fun activities and provide advice and information on what we can offer.”

The Mayor’s Fun Day takes place on Friday 25th August from 2-5pm at the Foyle Arena. Further details on leisure and sports activities and facilities throughout Derry and Strabane is available at


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


The UPU Plough Fest is coming to Hillsborough’s Plough Inn from Thursday 24th – Saturday 26th August. Aimed at keeping the spirit of the Hillsborough Oyster Festival alive, this festival is not to be missed by locals and foodies across the UK and Ireland. UPU Plough Fest will kick off on the evening of Thursday 24th August with a pop-up restaurant hosted by internationally renowned Brazilian chef, Andre Lima de Luca. Foodies are expected to return to Hillsborough in droves to enjoy the best of barbecue cooking from the king of the fire pit.


Learn about foraging for food and the wealth of foods available around the countryside this weekend.  Take a walk around Navan Fort on Sunday 27th August and, under the guidance of the resident expert, collect food to bring to prepare for cooking.  Sample some fayre made with foraged foods like berries, vegetables, apples and even nettles! This is a FREE drop in event from 11.00am to 3.00pm.


The Harvest 2017 Country Music Festival on 26th & 27th August in Ballinamallard will feature an exciting line up of Irish and International artists.  Get up close and personal to the songwriters behind the songs at the Harvest Café. Enjoy the full festival experience at dedicated Dancing sessions a food village, market stalls, funfair, full bar facilities. Camping options including Glamping, campervan facilities and family camping area are all on offer. The line-up for Enniskillen includes Miranda Lambert, Charley Pride, Maddie & Tae, Nathan Carter, Kip Moore, Jake Carter and more!


The Emerald Garrison, will be Invading Mid Ulster this weekend with the hugely popular Invasion show at the Burnavon Theatre Cookstown!  The show includes a line-up of fun interactive activities as well as an amazing interactive walk around exhibition of life size Props & Sets created by fans!  Meet and pose with over 30 costumed characters including Storm Troopers, Jedi Knights, Bounty Hunters, Clone Troopers, Sith Lords, Wookies and many, many more! Experience Force Training with the Emerald Garrison’s Jedi instructors and have lots of fun learning the ways of the force and battle the dark forces.  Daily shows take place on 26th and 27th August at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm.


Discover the magic in Maghera Walled Garden on Saturday 26th August when a spellbinding collection of fairies and elves will take over and turn it into an enchanted garden!  Join in the fun from 12.00pm to – 4.00pm for a FREE Family Fun Day which will leave you wanting to become a real life fairy or elf! Whirl through the garden to find all the tiny fairies and elves hidden in the pathways in their homemade wooden houses. Meet Strawberry the Summer Fairy on her HUGE magical throne, as she recites traditional tales underneath the Whispering Story Tree.  Make your own fairy wand or elf hat with one of our own fairies or elves.


Enjoy some free family fun and music performances at the Shoreline Festival, Loughshore Park Jordanstown, over the bank holiday weekend.  Usual favourites such as amusements, band concerts, live music, inflatables, outdoor activities, sensory play, street theatre shows and circus skills will be available on both days.  On Saturday night there will be fireworks and live music from Faith, The George Michael Experience and on Sunday evening, Oasis tribute band Roll With It will bring this “Supersonic” weekend to a close. With the exception of the amusement rides, all events and activities are absolutely FREE!  So be ‘shore’ not to miss out on two fantastic and affordable days of fun for all the family before school starts back!


Making Waves with Craft NI on board HMS Caroline will return on Saturday 26th August and Monday 28th August.  This is a drop in session between 11.00am and 3.00pm. Fun for all the Family!  Join artist Julie Greenlee on board and learn how to weave using peg looms. Use a variety of wool and fabric strips to create ‘waves’ which will then be joined together and suspended from the ceiling creating colourful, gently flowing waves. This is a free activity, however, normal entrance fees will apply. See for further information and to book your ticket now.  Drop in sessions between 11.00am and 3.00pm.­


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.

10 things to do in Northern Ireland next week! has stacks of fun things to do across NI, from family days out to gigs and cultural events. Here are 10 exciting things taking place this week (4-10 September).

  1. 26th Bluegrass Music Festival, Omagh, 1-3 September. Each year thousands of people attend this Festival enjoying highly entertaining performances and interactive workshops, as well as up close informative presentations by multi award winning musicians, singers and dancers within the unique setting of the museum.
  2. European Heritage Open Days, across Northern Ireland, 9-10 September. More than 370 properties, many of which do not usually open to the public, will open their doors free-of-charge for the European Heritage Open Days. The theme this year is “Heritage and nature: a landscape of possibilities”.
  3. Air Waves 2017, Portrush, 2-3 September. Ireland’s biggest airshow takes place over two action-packed days, it is a free event and very popular with all age groups. It takes place on the eastern side of Portrush, allowing use of a spectacular display line along the Causeway Coast. As well as having amazing aerial aircraft displays to watch there is plenty to see and do at ground level with a wide range of attractions and activities including a static helicopter display, armed forces village and much more.
  4. Giants Causeway Coast Sportive, Ballycastle, 9 September. A road cycling event which takes place along the Causeway Coast and through the Glens of Antrim. This event has been designed to attract all cyclists from complete beginners to enthusiasts. Participants have a choice of three routes (35miles, 80miles and 115miles) all showcasing the Causeway Coast and Glens of Antrim area by offering participants an unforgettable cycling experience.
  5. Carnival of Colours 2017, Derry~Londonderry, 9-10 September. Predominantly based in St. Columb’s Park, this festival will feature a Guinness World Record attempt for the world’s largest kazoo band and it will make use of emerging talent, featuring musicians, comedians and spoken word on the Eclectic Picnic stage. Workshops will also be available, for children and older people, in various creative disciplines including circus skills, graffiti art, dance, drumming, arts and crafts.
  6. Seamus Heaney HomePlace Celebrates, Bellaghy, 8-10 September. Immerse yourself in a special programme of events which celebrates the work of Seamus Heaney, as curated by Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon. The line-up includes principal dancer and co-choreographer on Riverdance, Jean Butler’s deeply personal to Heaney’s collection in ‘Performance Reflections’, a number of poetry readings and much more.
  7. Curious Wedding Market, Belfast, 5 September. Taking place in St George’s Market, this isn’t your average cookie cutter wedding fair. The Curious Wedding Market gives couples a chance to snap up one off exclusive offers on products and services, sample amazing food, relax, sample a drink, discuss a signature cocktail for their big day and listen to potential wedding entertainment. Over 100 eclectic wedding suppliers will be attending to cater for all your wedding requirements, so come along and strike an amazing  deal for your big day.
  8. Bus Tour of Fermanagh Railway Heritage, Enniskillen, 9 September. A nostalgic tour of former railway stations in Fermanagh and Tyrone, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the closure of the railways on 30th September 1957. Tour commencing at Enniskillen Castle. Book in advance call 028 6632 5000 or e-mail
  9. Donaghadee Lights Up, Donaghadee, 9 September. See the worldwide chart-topping band The Bay City Rollers play to fans at this free outdoor performance in the beautiful coastal setting of Donaghadee. Make an evening of it by enjoying one of the tasty food stalls before the gig begins, the night will then end with a spectacular fireworks display.
  10. My Mountain Life by Simon Yates, Lyric Theatre, Belfast, 10 September. Hear about Simon’s mountain-climbing adventures. Share with him the drama, excitement and beauty of modern, lightweight alpinism. Told with wit, dry humour and lavishly illustrated with images and video collected on his great climbs.

For more information on these events or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit

From Park Keeper to Punk Rocker

Come and enjoy a very different experience this Sunday 20th August as Ards and North Down Borough Council’s David Kirk switches roles.

David spends Monday to Friday supervising the gardens in the Borough and making sure they are beautifully kept with a dazzling array of flowers.  This Sunday David will transform into a punk musician with Wasted Talent.

David – ‘can’t wait to perform in his local park’ – he regularly attends the Sunday music sessions and has been looking forward to this opportunity all summer.

He said ‘our music appeals to all age groups – we will be playing two hours of classic punk music from The Clash, The Jam, Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Stiff Little Fingers, Rudi, and many more – so spike up your hair and don’t miss out!’

Sunday afternoon’s performance will take park-goers on a trip down memory lane to their punk hey-day – a new departure for Ward Park!

If you fancy spending an afternoon in the great outdoors, enjoying top class live music, then pack a picnic and don’t miss it! The free event takes place this Sunday from 3 – 5pm.


Please note that Ward Park is an alcohol-free zone. All events are weather dependent and therefore subject to change. This year’s music programme is being provided by Open House Festival.

Keep an eye out in local press each week for details on each artist or for more information phone Bangor Visitor Information Centre on 028 9127 0069 or visit:


Belfast Film Festival turned heads when it announced screenings of The Exorcist in a former church, but there are plenty of other site-specific summer events lined up to take your breath away including Top Gun at Ulster Aviation Society (9th September).

The Tom Cruise vehicle is up there with the best of the best high octane airborne movies, so where better to see it than in an aircraft hangar surrounded by some vintage planes that themselves have seen plenty of action?

If slapstick sports comedies are your thing, Belfast Film Festival is teeing up a screening of Caddyshack in Ormeau Golf Club (17th September). Joe Lindsay dons his best plaid pants as host for the evening and there will be prizes for the best ‘golf costumes gone wrong’.

Starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray, this classic from 1980 takes a good-natured swing at a snob-infested golf club in the lead up to its Caddy Day tournament. With hilarious scenes of an inept greenskeeper’s attempts to kill a pesky gopher, Caddyshack will definitely cheer you up if you’re feeling below par.

Building on the success of the T13 urban park in Titanic Quarter, the new South 13 venue on Boucher Road (formerly B&Q warehouse) will be transformed into a Central American jungle for a 30th anniversary screening of Predator (2nd September).

Directed by John McTiernan and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Predator is one of the greatest sci-fi action horror thrillers. This special screening features full cosplay, interactive events and set design to bring you into the experience!

Belfast Film Festival has programmed three cinematic events as part of BFI Britain on Film: Coast and Sea. Celebrating the UK’s coastal and maritime heritage, this BFI Film Audience Network project is funded by the National Lottery.

Grabbers is a 2012 horror thriller about the residents of an island off the coast of Ireland who learn that the only way to survive an invasion of blood-sucking aliens is to stay inebriated. Better get the drinks in then for this outdoor beer garden screening on 15th September at Daft Eddy’s Bar & Restaurant, a beautiful location near the shores of Strangford Lough.

Drumalis House in Larne is the atmospheric setting on 10th September for I Know Where I’m Going!’ Part of the run of consecutive classics that Powell & Pressburger made in the 1940s, it’s the story Joan Webster, a headstrong English woman who embarks on a journey north to meet her wealthy new fiancé, only to become stranded on the Isle of Mull during a tempest.

One of the best films ever made offshore, onshore or anywhere, this is a magnificently expressive and entertaining tribute both to the Western Isles and to the intoxicating effect that people and places can have upon the imagination.

And If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to, why don’t you go to Young Frankenstein on 23rd September?

Belfast Film Festival brings the Mel Brooks comedy classic to the creepy surrounds of the derelict Downhill Demesne, a stunning National Trust property near Castlerock on the North Coast.

The remains of Downhill House provide the perfect backdrop for this affectionate parody of the horror film genre set in a Transylvanian castle.

Tickets are available online at or from Visit Belfast on (028) 9024 6609.

6 places in Northern Ireland that make outstanding outdoor gyms

The eagerly anticipated Women’s Rugby World Cup is about to land in Belfast and former Ireland international Grace Davitt insists there has never been a better time to enjoy the benefits of training in Northern Ireland’s ‘natural gyms’.

Research has found that exercising in fresh air, rather than behind closed doors is better for your health in terms of improving well-being, self-esteem and Vitamin D levels which is vital to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

Therefore, with two major international sporting events – the UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship and Women’s Rugby World Cup – taking place in Northern Ireland this summer, ex-rugby ace Grace, in partnership with, has been extolling the virtues of training outdoors.

“When I was a player we used to do a lot of our training outside, especially in the summer,” said Grace, who will be cheering on Ireland throughout the international tournament.

“There are so many different exercises you can do outside which benefit endurance, strength and of course your overall health and so I would encourage everyone to work on their fitness in Northern Ireland’s ‘natural gyms’ this summer. Personally, my favourite exercises and natural gyms include cycling around Strangford Lough and Carrickfergus and climbing Cavehill as well as water sports such as surfing at Portrush.”

Northern Ireland is blessed with a plethora of wonderful locations for outdoor pursuits with the Mourne Mountains, Fermanagh Lakelands and Causeway Coast offering up a variety of different sports and largely for free.

Tourism NI’s Outdoor Development Officer, Sheena Dickson, said. “Northern Ireland is set for a bumper summer of international sport with the Women’s Rugby World Cup taking place at the impressive Kingspan stadium on 22nd and 26th August and the UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship between 8th – 20th August across Northern Ireland.

“We are thrilled to team up with Grace to promote the benefits of exercising outdoors and here in Northern Ireland we are blessed with green space, beautiful beaches, picturesque loughs and incredible mountains which are perfect locations for getting fit.”

The six ‘outstanding outdoor gyms’ in Northern Ireland include:

  1. Mourne Mountains

The Mourne Mountains are ideal for those who get bored running on a treadmill as the stunning, panoramic views stimulate the mind. There are routes for all levels, from first-timers to running fanatics. Make a weekend of it and stay at the 4* Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, which caters for walkers. After a tough workout, relax in the spa with massages tailored to recovery and improving flexibility and joint mobility.

  1. Slieve Gullion

Hill-walking is a less strenuous way to build endurance and Slieve Gullion in County Armagh is perfect for it. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty features mountain paths, forest trails and country roads where you can see the peaks of Croslieve, Slievebrack and Mullaghbane Mountain. Book a guided tour of Slieve Gullion with Walk The Mournes to maximise your experience. Stay at the walker-friendly 4* townhouse, 14 Chapel Lane, in the heart of Armagh city to explore the county’s offerings over a few days.

  1. Sperrins Sprint

This scenic, traffic-free route goes through mid-Ulster and takes around 3-4 hours to complete. Eco-adventure company, Far and Wild, offers bike hire as well as a map guide to the route, which includes accommodation, restaurants and historical points of interest. Alternatively, if you’re a thrill-seeking mountain biker, head to Davagh Forest for the 3km green trail, 7.5km blue trail or 16km red trail – which are all full of twists and turns. Rest up at the comfortable 3* Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown and replenish your energy stocks with a meal at the Glenavon House Hotel.

  1. Causeway Coast

Surfing is known to improve core strength and balance – so take on Atlantic waves at one of the stunning beaches in Portrush, Portstewart or Portballintrae. Lessons are available for beginners at the likes of Troggs Surf School in Portrush, recently voted as one of the top three surf school in the UK. The Causeway Coast is also known for coasteering, which allows you to explore shallow coastal caves and hidden coves. Book in with specialists Causeway Coasteering, who provide sessions on climbing, swimming, scrambling and caving. After all that action, unwind with fantastic ocean Portballintrae’s 3* Bayview Hotel.

  1. Derry~Londonderry

If you want strong arms like our rugby team, you could try your hand at kayaking or canoeing. Families can try out fun canoe sessions at Creggan Country Park. Or for more of a challenge, embark on the Foyle Canoe Trail which runs through the centre of Londonderry, giving paddlers a unique perspective of the Walled City’s Gothic buildings, vast bridges and riverside trains. Afterwards, get some shuteye in the central 4* City Hotel Derry which is close to the famous walls, shops and eateries.

  1. Fermanagh Lakelands

Windsurfing is a physically tough exercise which gives your whole body a workout. Take a trip to the Share Discovery Village in Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh which offers the opportunity to windsurf on the county’s famous lakelands. Share also offers skills courses for kids and adults, teaching the basics of windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking. Stay at the contemporary 4* Enniskillen Hotel and enjoy a warm welcome following a day out on the lakes.


Tickets to the UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship cost £4. Tickets to the Women’s Rugby World Cup give you access to an entire day’s play – three matches – with prices starting from just £7 for children, £12 for adults and £36 for families. For more information and to plan your short break visit

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. Discover NI has selected the best offers of the week for you to choose from.


The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Love Summer offer, Belfast from £137 per night

The five-star Fitzwilliam Hotel is situated in central Belfast with contemporary design, a masterpiece in super chic elegance. This offer includes overnight accommodation in a luxurious guestroom, full breakfast, complimentary cocktail on arrival in the bar, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and free cancellation 48 hours prior to day of arrival. To book call 028 9044 2080. The offer is valid until 31st August.

Quarry Loft: Summer Offer, Magherafelt from £430 per week

A perfect cosy, countryside getaway for family, friends or couples in the heart of Mid Ulster. Book a one-week stay at Quarry Loft for the special weekly rate of £430 for seven nights. This stunning accommodation sleeps two in a double bedroom and two on a sofa bed in living area. Situated close to the shores of Lough Neagh, Quarry Loft is picturesque with a large spacious garden and sweeping driveway. To book call 077 1602 1796. Offer available until 10 September.

Robeth Cottage, Hen Party Package, Co. Tyrone, from £47pp

This four-star cottage is a cosy, beautifully designed holiday home nestled in a peaceful location in the stunning Co Tyrone landscape. The property sleeps four and a package can be tailored for each group’s stay, such as cocktails, canapés, a pre-booked taxi to local a nightclub, a professional make-up appointment for your big night out and options from go-karting, paint balling and kayaking. To book call 017 8972 0027. Offer available until 30 November.


All offers are subject to availability.  For further information visit