10 things to do in Northern Ireland this week!

DiscoverNorthernIreland.com 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 (22- 28 January 2018)


  1. Owl Man at Castle Espie, Newtownards, 28 January. Don Scott returns to Castle Espie with his amazing selection of owls. Bring the whole family down and learn all about these fascinating birds of prey. This show is covered by the cost of admission to Castle Espie
  2. Arenacross Tour 2018, Belfast, 26-27 January. World-class indoor motocross racing and freestyle motocross returns to The SSE Arena for two nights of ultimate, dirt-filled craziness.
  3. Gilbert and George: Scapegoating Pictures for Belfast, Belfast, 26 January-22 April. Occupying all three of The MAC’s gallery spaces, this large-scale exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of Gilbert and George’s collaborative practice, which began when they met as students at St Martin’s School of Art in 1967. Since this time, they have created work collaboratively, declaring themselves to be ‘two people, one artist’.
  4. Martin Harley and Daniel Kimbro, Lisburn, 27 January. The dynamic transatlantic duo of Martin Harley and Daniel Kimbro take to the road again for their ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me’ tour. Always engaging and far from predictable, these two musicians at the top of their game seek to push the boundaries of blues, folk and American roots music at the Lagan Valley Island.
  5. David O’Doherty, Derry~Londonderry, 27 January. David O’Doherty is delighted to present an evening of his latest jokes and songs at the Millennium Forum Theatre. David has spent the last year on tour round America with Flight of the Conchords and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
  6. Ulster Orchestra – I Love Burns Night!, Belfast, 27 January. Bring on the haggis and join the Ulster Orchestra and friends for the ultimate Burns Night celebrations at the Waterfront Hall. This uplifting spectacle of dancing, singing, pipes and poetry, accompanied by the sumptuous sounds of the Ulster Orchestra, is an ever-fitting, annual tribute to ‘The Bard’ himself.
  7. Print Workshop, Limavady, 18 January – 24 February. Enjoy this new exhibition coming to the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre. Monochrome and colour, sharp lines and atmospheric moods, coming together as a fascinating demonstration of the scope of printmaking as an art form.
  8. Belfast Burns Week 2018, Belfast, 22-27 January. The Ulster-Scots Agency has launched Belfast Burns Week 2018 to celebrate the 25 January birthday of Robert Burns. The week will take place in various venues across Belfast and will incorporate a programme of drama, poetry, music, concerts and lectures. For more information visit VisitBelfast.com.
  9. Imbolc International Music Festival, Derry~Londonderry, 28 January – 4 February. A celebration of music reflecting the diversity of the contemporary Irish music scene. Alongside longstanding masters of the tradition, the festival will showcase music at the cutting edge of genres. With concerts, workshops, film screenings, community and participatory events and events for children, there is something for everyone.
  10. Threepenny Opera, Belfast, 27 January- 10 February.  Northern Ireland Opera and the Lyric Theatre present Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s thrilling and darkly comic masterpiece The Threepenny Opera, featuring classic songs such as ‘The Ballad of Mack the Knife’ and ‘Pirate Jenny’.


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


Northern Ireland boasts a unique collection of irresistible places to stay including beautiful B&Bs, luxurious spa hotels and great value self-catering properties. Discover NI has selected the best offers of the week to help you plan a short break.


Winter Escape, Clayton Hotel, Belfast from £95 per room.

Ideally situated on Ormeau Avenue in the Linen Quarter of Belfast City Centre, this four-star hotel is perfectly located to access the shops and nightlife around Belfast. Package includes an overnight stay, a bottle of house wine, access to the Club Vitae leisure facilities and a Vitality breakfast. To book call 028 9032 3511. Offer available until 31 March.


Winter Shoppers Special, Everglades Hotel, Derry~Londonderry from £50 per person sharing.

Overlooking the River Foyle with views across to the hills of Donegal, this four-star destination provides a bright and comfortable welcome to Derry~Londonderry, the lively heritage and cultural centre of the North West. What better way to recover from a long day out shopping than with their exclusive winter offer, includes overnight accommodation, full Irish breakfast and a seasonal cocktail on arrival. To book call 028 7132 1066. Offer available until 28 February 2018


Autumn 2 Night Break, Mellon Country Inn Hotel, County Tyrone from £99 per person sharing. 

This three-star hotel is in an ideal location to discover the natural beauty of Tyrone. The Ulster American Folk Park and beautiful Gortin Glen are just minutes away and the hotel is in a popular spot for leisure activities like walking, cycling, fishing and golf. Offer includes two nights’ B&B with one evening meal in O’Brien’s Bar & Restaurant. To book call 028 8166 1224. Offer available until 28 February.


All offers are subject to availability.  For further information visit www.discovernorthernireland.com


The Causeway Coast Way has officially been named ‘Favourite Coastal Walk’ in Northern Ireland as voted for by members of the public in the second annual WalkNI Awards.

The 33-mile way marked walking route stretching from Portstewart to Ballycastle, passes iconic locations including the Giant’s Causeway and Ballintoy Harbour; made famous by its use in the award-winning HBO television series Game of Thrones.


Other sights along the rugged shoreline include secluded white sandy beaches, quaint fishing villages, ancient castle ruins and clifftops boasting some of the finest coastal views in Europe.

Celebrating all that is great about walking in Northern Ireland, award categories this year included favourite walk destination and routes as well as the best views, festivals and events with over 1,900 votes being cast via WalkNI.com

Jayne Woodrow who manages WalkNI.com commented, “Our most competitive awards to date, with its spectacular views, sandy beaches and rugged clifftop paths, it’s easy to see why the Causeway Coast Way came out on top. We highly recommend exploring this trail for yourself, whether you walk it in its entirety over a few days or discover it in sections.”

Delighted to hear of the area’s achievements, The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE explained, “People often visit familiar attractions in the Causeway Coast and Glens, such as the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Many have yet to discover the phenomenal views from the Causeway Coast Way which make it an attraction in itself. It’s fantastic to see the clifftop walk recognised as the best coastal walk in Northern Ireland and we look forward to welcoming more walkers to this area of unique natural beauty.”

Visit WalkNI.com for a full list of award winners and for more information the winning trails, upcoming walking festivals, events and downloadable walk guides.


HASTINGS Hotels has commenced its recruitment drive for the Grand Central Hotel starting with the prestigious role of General Manager.

Picture by William Cheery / Press Eye.com TAKE YOUR CAREER TO NEW HEIGHTS Mark McGurnaghan, Group Human Resources Manager for Hastings Hotels and James McGinn, General Manager of the Europa Hotel are pictured at the announcement that Hastings Hotels has commenced its recruitment drive for the Grand Central Hotel starting with the prestigious role of General Manager. Northern Ireland’s leading collection of hotels is creating up to 150 positions for the new hotel which opens its doors in June following a £53M investment. Other roles also currently being recruited for include Operations Manager, Front Office Manager, Housekeeping Manager, Food & Beverage Manager and Executive Head Chef.

Northern Ireland’s leading collection of hotels is creating up to 150 positions for the new hotel which opens its doors in June following a £53M investment.

Other roles also currently being recruited include Operations Manager, Front Office Manager, Housekeeping Manager, Food & Beverage Manager and Executive Head Chef.

Mark McGurnaghan, Group Human Resources Manager for Hastings Hotels said: “When the Grand Central opens it will be Northern Ireland’s largest hotel and an exciting place for people in the hospitality industry to work.

The position of General Manager will be a demanding role and we require a confident, hospitality experienced professional who can drive the standards of service synonymous with the Hastings Hotels Group through strong leadership of the 150 employees,” Mark continued.

“Following on from this, we will then begin recruiting for staff at all levels for each department throughout the Grand Central. As NI’s largest independent hotel group we pride ourselves on providing guests with a first-class service every time and as part of this we carry out in-depth training and employee development programmes making Hastings Hotels an excellent company for people with a passion for hospitality to work for,” Mark concluded.

The Grand Central Hotel will bring the new era of modern hotel luxury to Belfast with its timeless design, classic service and true style that promises all guests a captivating experience. With 300 luxurious bedrooms, a range of dining options, rooftop lounge, retail units and a range of superbly appointed offices, it will be the ideal base for leisure and business guests.

For further information on the role of General Manager and the other jobs currently being recruited go to www.hastingshotels.com/jobs or to register your interest for positions at the Grand Central Hotel due to be recruited in the coming months email Mark McGurnaghan – mmcgurnaghan@hastingshotels.com

O DUO: Children’s Classical Concerts at Portico and Bangor Castle

Don’t miss out on O Duo’s exciting family classical concerts this February mid-term!


Wiltons BBT O Duo October 2009

Ards and North Down Borough Council welcomes the award-winning percussionists O Duo to Portico, Portaferry on Friday 16 February and Bangor Castle on Saturday 17 February, as part of a Moving On Music tour.

The pair performs an incredible mix of classical music suitable for the whole family alongside popular classics from TV and film; expect everything from Chopin to Harry Potter and audience participation delivered with humour and energy by two impeccable musicians.

Their huge selection of percussion including marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, drum kit, African and Brazilian drums, and a multitude of handheld instruments, is sure to have you tap, slap, and click for days after.

O Duo has performed across the world from the BBC Proms to Al Bustan and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and is renowned for their phenomenal artistry. As inspiring educators they have been appointed Artistic Directors of the Children’s Classic Concerts series in Scotland.

Fill your midterm break with the sounds of O Duo. Best suited for ages 5+.


FRI 16th FEB 7PM




T: 028 4272 8808

A wedding is the craic, birthdays are grand, but you can’t beat a good Irish funeral!

Having sold out last time at the MAC, Looking Deadly is back in Belfast next week for 2 nights only.

The Mac caught up with actor Keith Singelton to chat about the show, the laughs and the love of acting!

How did you come up with the show concept?

Niamh came up with the idea for the show. Niamh is full of ideas. Most of them are good. Niamh worked at a Funeral Directors many moons ago. She used to make the wreathes and apply the make-up to the deceased. It was during this time that the first seed for ‘Looking Deadly’ was sewn.

What can we expect on the night?

I’d say expect a whole heap of laughs, bags of characters, a top storyline and two performers sweating as if they were doing a marathon, but in fact, they are just spinning a coffin.

Tell us a little about your character. 

Which one? We both play many. I’ll tell you about Paddy & Eddie. I love them in the play. They are two oul lads who have got one eye on the free bar and one eye on the widow. Old and decrepit, that won’t stop them from getting the most out of a sad occasion, even it means fighting each other to the death!

Do you find it hard to keep a straight face when acting such hilarious scenes?

We pull so many faces during the show and hardly any of them are straight! I think the show moves at such a pace that there’d be no time for finding ourselves hilarious. Niamh is the funniest person I know and I’m constantly laughing with / at her, but once the show starts we are in the zone! And by zone, I mean, biting our lips works well.

What do you love most about being an actor?

The attention. My Girlfriend gives me none. She did at the start but I’m cursing the day she learned how to ‘switch off’. Ah no, I love the variety. One week I could be Peter Pan (admittedly a fairly old looking Peter Pan), the next I could a Funeral Director. I still find acting so exciting. I’m at it fifteen years now and I’m like a kid at Christmas when a new job is about to start.

Why should people come see this show?

Because it is unofficially the greatest show EVER! Or, because it’s no fun performing to no people. Ahem, or…. It’s superbly entertaining. Jam packed with the craic but also full of heart. It’s only an hour long but you might be wondering how we get so much into the hour. Sometimes, we do the show in fifty seven minutes, but that’s only when Niamh has been eating Pick ‘n’ Mix.

Van returns to the Forum!

One of music’s true legends, Sir Van Morrison, returns to the Millennium Forum on Sunday 6 May as part of The City of Derry Jazz Festival


The multi award winning singer, composer and performer will be showcasing songs from his most recent studio albums Roll with the Punches and Versatile – as well as dipping into some of his greatest and best known hits from undoubtedly one of the most revered back catalogues in music history.

Late last year Van Morrison released two albums, Roll with the Punched and Versatile, positive proof that Van Morrison is built differently to other artists. One of very few British recording artists to warrant the description ‘living legend’, Van is currently working at a rate to put musicians a third of his age to shame; an ethic that harks back to his early days as a recording artist who’d easily release multiple brilliant long players within the space of a year.

While Roll with the Punches saw Van revisit many of the definitive rhythm and blues records that have stayed with him all his life, Van’s latest album Versatile, sees him delve further back into recorded music’s archives to interpret some of the 20th century’s greatest vocal jazz standards.

“Recording songs like these – especially the standards – gave me the chance to stretch out vocally and get back to the music that originally inspired me to sing – jazz!” – Van Morrison

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr. Maolíosa McHugh said he is delighted Van Morrison is making a long awaited return to the City of Derry Jazz Festival in 2018 saying it was a huge coup for the festival. He said:

“The Council, as organisers of the City of Derry Jazz Festival, is delighted to be working alongside the Millennium Forum & MCD to secure this top quality act for the festival. The last time Van Morrison performed as part of the Jazz Festival was back in 2012 and we are delighted to have him back this year. We are confident he will be a huge draw for jazz and blues music fans from all over the island of Ireland and are looking forward to another hugely successful May Bank Holiday weekend of festival fun.”

Don’t miss this very special performance by one of music’s most inspirational artists at this year’s City Of Derry Jazz Festival.

Tickets go on-sale this Friday, 19 January at 9am and are priced £64.50 and £70.50.  Telephone the Box Office on 71 264455 or visit millenniumforum.co.uk for bookings.


A sea of red runners & walkers to take over Stormont

Red Dress Run Returns! Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke Ambassador and Ulster Rugby player Chris Henry helps to launch the second year of the Red Dress Run which is taking place at Stormont on 10th February. Chris is pictured alongside the first two entrants Gillian Abraham and Graham Ross. Registration is £10 and now open at www.nichs.org.uk/reddressrun Those who enter before 15th January will be automatically entered into a competition to win an overnight stay for two people at the award winning 4 star Clandeboye Lodge Hotel including dinner at the Coq&Bull brasserie and a full English breakfast.

Northern Ireland’s only ‘Red Dress Run’ is set to return for the second year to Stormont Estate this February. Chris Henry, local and international Rugby Player joined in on the launch alongside Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke to encourage the public to dress in red and take part in the event at Stormont Estate on 10th February 2018.

This year’s event will see hundreds of flamboyantly dressed men, women and children take part in a 5k or 10k walk or run.  The event, which was launched last year, aims to raise awareness of, as well as funds to help combat, the biggest single* killer of men and women in Northern Ireland – heart disease.

Jackie Trainor, Director of Fundraising at Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke said:  “We’re delighted to see the return of our Red Dress Run following the huge success of last year’s event.  We are calling on all men and women to join in and take part and wear anything red to walk, run, or even crawl and join in the fun.  All runners and walkers of all abilities are welcome and each will receive a medal, hearty bowl of veggie soup and fun morning out with the best craic!”

Jackie continued.  “Taking part in the Red Dress Run and raising vital funds will ensure that Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke will be at the forefront in raising awareness on heart disease.  85% of our work relies on donations from the public, without your support we couldn’t be here making a difference!”

Those who register before 15th January will be automatically entered into a draw to win a midweek overnight stay for two at the award winning four star Clandeboye Lodge Hotel, including dinner at the Coq&Bull brasserie and a full English breakfast.

Registration is now open.  Enter online now to receive early bird rate of £10 per entry.  Register online at www.nichs.org.uk/reddressrun  for more information visit ‘Red Dress Run’ event on Facebook.


Local singer songwriter Janet Dowd returns to The Market Place Theatre in Armagh on Friday 19 January, following the success of her latest release ‘Home’.


All three of her albums to date have taken the Number 1 spot in Irish Music Magazine’s Top 10 Folk Albums and the track ‘John Condon’ was named ‘Song Of The Year’ on BBC Radio.

Over the years Janet has shared the stage with legends such as Ric Sanders and Chris Leslie [Fairport Convention] and Tom Leary [Lindisfarne].

Janet will be joined by her band for an evening of folk ballads and foot stomping tunes.

Tickets for this concert are priced £10, and can be booked through the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at www.visitarmagh.com/marketplacetheatre

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

Causeway Coast and Glens Spring Arts Guides available now

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has launched its new Arts Guides for the spring season.

Featuring a wide range of artistic workshops, exhibitions and theatre, the new guides have lots to choose from over the next couple of months.

The launch was attended by the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE, who said: “I would encourage adults and children to start the New Year by visiting our fantastic cultural venues. We are so fortunate to have Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart and Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady, and with a wide variety of events taking place from now until March it is a great opportunity to make a visit and see what is on offer.”

Event highlights at Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre include the return of the World Illustration Awards exhibition from Saturday 10th March until Saturday 7th April. Local artist Amanda Walker will exhibit her work until Saturday 24th February alongside pieces by Derry print workshop artists.

Theatrical highlights include performances from the Kabosh Theatre Company and Cahoots NI whilst music fans are in for a treat with concerts from The Fureys on Friday 23rd February and The 4 of Us on Saturday 3rd March.

Events at Flowerfield Arts Centre include the acclaimed O Duo! Musicians who will present a unique family event on Sunday 18th February. Internationally acclaimed musician Jim Mullen will perform on Thursday 1st March alongside the Ronnie Greer Organ Band. Art exhibitions include the Northern Ireland Photographic Association whose prints will be on display from Saturday 24th February until Friday 23rd March. Following this, a series of new paintings by local artist Sarah Carrington will run from Saturday 31st March until Saturday 26th May.

Call into your local Council venue to pick up your guide or download it directly to your smartphone, tablet or computer from the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre, Flowerfield Arts Centre and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council websites