Community Open Day at Giant’s Causeway – No Admission Charge for Visitors!


The award-winning Giant’s Causeway will open its doors on Saturday 7 October offering the local community the opportunity to enjoy the full visitor experience, free of charge to thank them for their ongoing support over the busy summer season.


Visitors to the hotel on Friday 6 October can also enjoy live music, children’s entertainment and complimentary drinks and locally produced food between 7-9pm.

The Community Day will enable visitors to enjoy a guided walk, led by a visitor experience ranger; avail of an audio guide if visitors would prefer to explore the Causeway on their own; hop on the Translink shuttle bus to and from the Causeway and access the Visitor’s Centre where there will be free face-painting from 11am to 5pm.

As part of the celebrations, the Northern Ireland Potato Festival will also be hosted in the Causeway Hotel carpark with entertainment, food and drinks and celebrations within the hotel.  Organised by a local voluntary group, the annual potato event celebrates not only the humble potato but the Causeway’s link to potato-breeder John Clark OBE, who lived and worked at Innisfree Farm. The Farm had a Blue Plaque erected to mark the significance of John Clark’s work in 2013 and the farmhouse is now the base for the Giant’s Causeway administrative offices.

Speaking ahead of the community open day, site manager, Alastair Walker said: ‘Since opening the new Visitor Centre in 2012 we have held community open days twice a year. These days allow all visitors to come and enjoy the full visitor experience with no admission charge – we want people to understand and appreciate the importance of nature, to engage with nature more and it is our job is to help increase access to nature for everyone – forever.

“We are also delighted to once again be hosting our autumn open day in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Potato Festival, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of fun and educational activities. The National Trust’s conservation ranger team at the Giant’s Causeway work with the local community to continue to plant and grow potatoes at Innisfree Farm every year, supporting the area’s agricultural heritage.’

The staff look forward to welcoming families and community members to the weekend events which are a way of thanking the community for their ongoing support and reminding them of the all that the Giant’s Causeway and the Causeway Hotel have to offer.

The Community Open day runs on Saturday 7 October only – the last free admission is at 5pm and the centre closes at 6pm.  Usual admission charges will apply from Sunday 8 October, with National Trust members and under 5’s free of charge throughout the year.

Gardens Speak brings voices from beyond the grave

How do you truly immerse the audience in a story? How do you tell the horrifying story of people buried in Syrian gardens?

That’s exactly what award-winning creator, Tania El Khoury has achieved with ‘Gardens Speak’ which premiers in Ireland as part of Belfast International Arts Festival.

The interactive sound installation portrays the oral histories of the people buried in Syrian gardens.  Gardens have been the resting place of many who adorned the streets during the Syrian uprising. Narrated by the friends and family of the deceased, the participating audience, glimpse into ten stories which can no longer be told by those who lived them.

Ten participants are literally immersed physically and emotionally in the life and death of 10 ordinary people.  The experience begins in a dark antechamber. Participants remove socks and shoes and enter the cemetery. They then lie down and listen to the voices from beyond the grave.

It may sound bizarre, but the The New York Times’ Charles Isherwoods described it as ‘A stark, moving theatre piece by Tania El Khoury, brings us into painful intimacy with the human cost of the war.’ “The experience was extraordinary, and emotionally wrenching.”  The Guardian review agreed, “Gardens Speak gives the silenced back their voices and provides a gravestone for those whose burial place often has to remain unmarked”-.

World-wide acclaim has continued this week as ‘Garden’s Speak’ has been announced as winner of the 2017 ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, in Kuopio, Finland.

El Khoury is an arab-performance maker. Her work consistently confronts western perceptions and narratives of the Arab world, particularly in relation to women.   Khoury has a fascination with oral history and storytelling.  Explaining ‘Garden’s Speak’ she says,

“Audiences quite literally have to dirty their hands to uncover the story and to make an effort to uncover the truth. I like the idea of putting your ear to the ground and hearing the stories that normally go unrecorded and unheard.  These burials are often an act of resistance. Funerals in Syria often lead to more deaths: there have been incidents of the shelling of cemeteries while funerals are taking place, and in some instances before the burial can take place the families are asked to sign documents exonerating the Assad regime of their loved one’s death.”

“I hope that by telling these stories it will remind us that it is human beings involved. During big historic events, it’s the small voices, the individual human voices that get lost. They are the history below, the histories that seldom get told.”

‘Gardens Speak’ runs from the 11th to the 22nd October in 12-13 Shaftesbury Square.

Booking tickets for this performance is essential. Bookings can be made online at, by calling 028 90892707 or in person at the box office in The MAC .  Follow Belfast International Arts Festival on Facebook and twitter @BelfastFestival for all the latest news.


The boisterous Bruiser Theatre Company are back at Armagh’s Market Place Theatre with the classic favourite ‘The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾’ Hilariously captured in his secret diary, adolescence doesn’t offer much for our Adrian.

His parents’ crumbling marriage, spots and bullies, his unrequited love for Pandora, and the erratic behaviour of his dog – his teenage world is an outrageous triumph of deadpan and deadly accurate satire. ABBA, Princess Di’s wedding, punks, Monty Python, and the Falklands campaign – all the cultural pageantry of a keenly observed era marches past the unique perspective of Sue Townsend’s creation: A. Mole, the unforgettable lad whose self-absorption only gets funnier as his life becomes more desperate. The performance takes place on Saturday 14 October.

On Friday 27 October, Castle Hill Theatre Group will produce Shelagh Stevenson’s, ‘The Memory Of Water’. Three estranged sisters, Teresa, Mary and Catherine, reluctantly return home on the eve of their mother’s funeral. As each sister comes to terms with the reality of the situation, family secrets, memories of the past, and their relationships with each other and their mother open old wounds.

Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Play 1996, Shelagh Stephenson’s funny, sad and poignant play explores how memories are formed and their effects upon our lives. The sisters soon discover that their mother is not truly gone and plays a part in each of them.

There’s a George Orwell classic set for the stage on 28 October. ‘Down And Out In Paris And London’ tells the tale of a man drifting through life, in 1920’s Paris, scraping by in dead end jobs and generally soaking up the rich underbelly of Parisian life, finds himself falling helplessly short and discovering a very different view of life, looking up from below. With a keen understanding of social inequality and a wry sense of humour, he vividly recounts his experiences while down and out. This powerful performance from Phelim Drew brings Orwell’s classic to the stage with humour, empathy and wit.

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.


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.


Spooktacular Halloween Breaks, Walsh’s Hotel, Derry~Londonderry from £110pps

This three-star hotel is situated in the town of Maghera at the foot of the Sperrin Mountains and within a one-hour drive of both Belfast and Derry~Londonderry. Offer includes two nights bed & breakfast with a three-course meal on your chosen night and tickets to Fright Night at The Jungle, where the horror trail is sure to be an experience to remember. To book call 028 7954 9100 or e-mail Offer available from 6 October to 3 November.


Girls Weekend Away, Aghaloo House, Co. Tyrone from £35pppn

The five-star Aghaloo House is a stunning and contemporary five-bed, family-friendly house situated within the lush Co. Tyrone countryside just a stone’s throw from the local towns and villages. Packages can be tailored to suit, choose from a private chef serving a three-course meal, deluxe massage or facial at a local spa, freshly made afternoon tea delivered to your property and pre-booked dinner at a local restaurant. To book call 017 8972 0027 or e-mail Offer available until 30 November.


Amazing Autumn Offers, Europa Hotel, Belfast from £55pps

Escape to the four-star Europa Hotel in Belfast this autumn. If you’re in need of a relaxing city break or a weekend of culture look no further than the superbly located Europa Hotel. With the city centre right on your doorstep it is the perfect base to explore all the shops, museums, bars, restaurants and theatres the city has to offer. Luxurious overnight stay with full Irish breakfast. To book call 028 9027 1066.  Offer available until 30 November.



All offers are subject to availability.  For further information visit

10 things to do in Northern Ireland Next Week!

Discover Northern Ireland 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 (2-8 October)

  1. Portrush Beer and Food Festival, Portrush, Co. Antrim, 6-8 October. The very best of local produce and drink will be on the menu when Portrush Beer and Food Festival returns. Set to be a weekend to remember, the festival boasts an extended programme and will be held in Portrush Town Hall.
  2. Irish Hare Photography, Craigavon, Co. Armagh, 7 October.  The meadows at Portmore Lough nature reserve near Aghalee are home to a thriving population of around 40 Irish hares. This autumn, the Portmore RSPB NI team are granting access to a part of the reserve not usually open to the public to allow keen photographers to capture these marvellous mammals on camera.
  3. Red Bull Fox Hunt, Co. Down, 7-8 October. A cycling competition where 450 riders will play the part of “the hounds” as they try to outride three Foxes at Rostrevor’s Mountain Bike trail. This year’s foxes are previous Downhill Mountain Bike World Champion Gee Atherton, current UCI Downhill World Champion Loïc Bruni and 3-time Red Bull Foxhunt winner Colin Ross.
  4. FEAR – Fermanagh Endurance Adventure Race, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, 7 October. What better way to spend a Saturday morning than getting up close and personal with Fermanagh’s rugged and wild terrain. A multi-sport competition consisting of three sporting disciplines cycling, trail running and kayaking. To register visit
  5. The Slow Food Festival, Derry~Londonderry, 7-8 October. Slow Food is a global, grassroots organisation that promotes true enjoyment of good food with the commitment to community and the environment. This free, family-friendly event will incorporate a slow food harvest fayre, tastings, demonstrations, family fun zone and more. The best of local food will be on the menu in Guildhall Square.
  6. Wire Sculpture Workshop, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, 7 October. Innovative wire sculptors invent their own new forms of wire sculpture as they explore. Learn techniques for constructing basic 3D wire frameworks using simple pencil drawings as a guide. These can then be developed using a variety of wires to make interesting sculptures. Ticket cost £35 and includes lunch.
  7. The Farmer’s Bash, Belfast, 6 October. Grab your cowboy boots as UK and Ireland’s biggest indoor country music dance event comes to Belfast. Acts include country music stars Derek Ryan, Lisa McHugh and Robert Mizzell, as well as the globally popular Grassmen. Tickets start from £28.
  8. Belfast Comedy Festival, Belfast, 2-8 October.  Taking place in venues across the city Belfast Comedy Festival celebrates its sixth year. The festival is not limited to stand-up comedy and aims to entertain, challenge, and inspire through a diverse programme of theatre, workshops, seminars, circus, film, quizzes, competitions, and includes events for children.
  9. Seamus Heaney: LifeCycle Tour, Bellaghy, Derry~Londonderry, 7 October. This guided coach tour of the landscape made famous by Seamus Heaney’s poetry is led by local man, accredited tour guide and Heaney specialist, Eugene Kielt. This is a wonderful way to explore the ‘home ground’ in which Heaney was rooted and which so influenced his poetry. To book your place visit
  10. The Brandon McPhee Show, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 5 October. Already acclaimed for his unsurpassed skill on the button key accordion, Brandon McPhee is also rapidly gaining a following at home and abroad as a country music vocalist and guitarist. Brandon and his Scottish and Country Band will be joined by Eddie Rose and Hugo Duncan. To book tickets please visit




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

Cahoots NI brings magical new production to Limavady

A magical new production by Cahoots NI is coming to Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre on Wednesday 4th October at 11.30am.

The Assistant’s Revenge will spark intrigue and wonder into the heart of the Roe Valley Arts Centre audiences with music, glamour, magic, and death-defying escapology.

The production follows Sam Sullivan, a small-time Private Eye whose investigations lead him to meet a strange travelling show at the edge of town. Sullivan is plunged into a world of danger and deceit in a case with more twists and turns than a ten inch corkscrew.

Cahoots NI create inspiring performances for children and adults using physical theatre, circus, music, digital technology and special effects, combined with the age-old popularity of magic and illusion.

Students of theatre, school groups and the young-at-heart will be immersed in a morning of wonder and magic; this is theatre that will leave audiences spell bound. Following the hour-long performance, a question and answer session will take place – perfect for all those curious minds in the audience.

Group discounts are available when purchasing tickets. To find out more, please contact Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre on 028 7776 0650 or visit

Oktoberfest Belfast is back at the King’s Hall Complex

Oktoberfest Belfast returns to the King’s Hall Complex tomorrow! Backed by renowned brewery, Paulaner, this year’s Oktoberfest will be a fantastic event that brings an authentic slice of German festivities to Belfast.

There will be a full range of beers to meet your palate, including Paulaner Oktoberfest Lager which is brewed specifically for the Munich Beer Festival. Food and beer will also be served by staff in Bavarian costumes. As is tradition in Bavaria the beer will be served in 1 litre steins.

Oktoberfest Belfast has been running since 2008 and now welcomes over 10,000 attendees who come together to celebrate everything German. It creates an atmosphere like no other with food, music and competitions. The event will run each Friday and Saturday night for four weekends until the 21st October.

On Thursday 5th October, Oktoberfest will welcome Northern Ireland and Germany fans with a special evening of football fanfare including a large screen showing of the match. Both sets of fans are encouraged to sit together in the bringing together of the cultures, with football shirts permitted. Doors for this special night open at 2pm and will be free for attendees.

This Friday the 29th September will be free for all attendees, with entry for other nights at £4 per person. Attendees dressed in traditional Bavarian costume over the course of the four weeks also get free entry. Table bookings for 8 people and above are available for a discounted rate, to book check out the Oktoberfest Belfast website at





Audiences at The Market Place are in for a treat when The Motown Sensations take to the stage on 12 October.

Originally from South Africa, Darryll, Wayne and Marlon have been wowing audiences in Ireland, performing Motown and Soul hits from as far back as the 1950’s, fused with come current chart toppers.  Now backed by an incredible, multicultural six-piece band teamed with some subtle, slick choreography, The Motown Sensations have added another dimension to what was an already seriously polished outfit, enthralling all that come to see them.

Pianist Ivan Ilić will wow audiences on 13 October. Ivan took degrees in mathematics and music at the University of California, Berkeley before moving to Paris in 2001, where he was awarded a Premier Prix from the Conservatoire. Ivan has just signed a multiyear contract with prestigious UK label Chandos, and this performance will coincide with the first release. The tour will take in Italy, France, Germany, the UK, Japan, Taiwan, and the US. The programme for the evening will include Beethoven’s ‘Variations on a March’ by Dressler, Sonata in C minor ‘Pathétique’, Haydn’s Symphony no 44 in E minor ‘Sorrow’, transcribed for solo piano, Reicha’s 4 Etudes, and Chopin’s 3 Nocturnes and 3 Etudes.

Blues guitar legend Ronnie Greer has been at the centre of the blues scene in Ireland now for over 40 years, and has shared the stage with some of the leading figures in the genre. His distinctive guitar style, melding hard edged Chicago style blues licks with be-bop jazz influenced lines, has been critically acclaimed as world class. His powerhouse band, featuring some of the finest musicians in the country, needs to be heard to be appreciated. Join us on 21 October to hear Anthony Toner on guitar and vocals, John McCullough on keyboards, Nick Scott on bass, and Peter McKinney on drums, combining with Ronnie to create an evening of blues, roots, and a little jazz based music, played with style and conviction by some of the best in the business.

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.

Saffyre play Portico this Saturday Night

This Saturday night, 30 September, Northern Irish family band, Saffyre will perform at Portico in Portaferry as part of the popular Lough Lively Sessions.

Saffyre is made up of sisters Shauneen and Maria and cousin Emma. The girls grew up in a large family where music and singing was a huge part of their lives and they were influenced by Country, Folk, Pop, Blues, Irish Trad and Rock. The melodies and harmonies which are signature to the Saffyre sound are a culmination of these influences and the three-part harmony they have honed and perfected over years of recording and live performance.

After several releases here at home, the girls travelled to Florida to work with Grammy Award winning producer Jim Jonsin who co-wrote and produced the girls current release ‘Run For Your Life.’ The track has recently secured a place on the playlists of RTE Radio 1, Downtown, Downtown Country and U105.

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

The final Lough Lively Session concert is taking place on Friday 20 October when Rapparees will take to the Portico stage. Book early to avoid disappointment.

The Lough Lively music events are supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.


Northern Ireland International Ploughing Championships 2017

This year’s Northern Ireland International Ploughing Championships is set to welcome internet sensations the Grass Lads.

Made up of Conal (17) and Lorcan (12) Murray along with Matthew (16), Caolan (15), Connor (9), Jack (9) and Charlie Gill (6) the farm mad County Down boys have now had millions of views of their home-made videos online on YouTube.

As well as their YouTube videos the boys attend events such as the Ploughing Championships, organised by the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association, to put on mini silage demonstrations using lawnmowers with small versions of Kane Trailers (silage, low loader and tip and slide trailers), bale lifter, hay rake and Malone silage wagon. Organisers have confirmed they will be appearing on Saturday September 30 at Donaghcloney.

Meanwhile over 50 ploughmen will compete at the contest next weekend (Friday September 29 and Saturday 30).  The winners will then go on to represent Northern Ireland at World and European level competitions in 2018.


The event organised by the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association (which is now in its 74th year) rotates around locations right across Northern Ireland and has been made possible with the support of volunteers and sponsorship from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and commercial sponsorship.

The two day programme sees the qualifiers taking place alongside trade stands with the finals on Saturday being geared towards spectators.  The Donaghcloney fields, kindly loaned to NIPA by Tim McClelland, will also play host to the Six Nations Vintage Ploughing Competition and Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster Annual Fencing Competition and Soil Assessment.

Attractions will include free activities for children, arts and crafts alongside the impressive range of vintage tractors and ploughs and the wonderful spectacle of horse ploughing with heavy horses including Welsh Cobbs and Clydesdale horses – an age old art for all ages to appreciate.

Northern Ireland has 7 World Ploughing Champions in its midst and the World Ploughing Championships take place in Kenya in 2017 (1-2 December).

For more information including details on how to book the opportunity to trade at the event or early bird tickets visit or