Mary Coughlan in concert at Flowerfield Arts Centre

Arguably one of Ireland’s greatest female jazz and blues singers, Mary Coughlan will perform at Flowerfield Arts Centre on Friday 27th July.

Described as ‘Ireland’s Billie Holiday’ Mary has overcome childhood trauma, alcohol and drug addiction to become a musical force like no other. Her wonderful whisky-blurred, smoke-seared voice is full of husky notes, laconic wit, bitter-sweet defiance and despair. Mary is equally at home with the songs of Cole Porter or Jagger and Richards.

The artist has carved out a timeless and highly regarded career and has a legion of fans worldwide. Since her first album ‘Tired and Emotional’ rocketed her to overnight fame in 1985, her ability to deeply connect with both the song and audience remains undiminished, a testament to her inner strength and to the power of transformation & redemption.

Her live performances ‘have to be seen to be believed’ as described by British music journalism website NME.

Don’t miss this truly exciting ‘one night only’ performance at Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart.

Tickets are available by calling 028 7083 1400 or at and


Northern Ireland boasts an irresistible collection of 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.


Spring Family Titanic Offer, Crowne Plaza, Belfast from £151 based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing

Enjoy a “Titanic” family break at the four-star Crowne Plaza Belfast. This modern hotel is situated in the picturesque surroundings of Lagan Valley Regional Park and is just 10 minutes’ drive from Belfast’s thriving city centre, making it the perfect location for a family adventure.  Offer includes an overnight B&B stay in a family room and family ticket to the world’s leading tourist attraction, Titanic Belfast.  To book call 028 9092 3500. Offer available until 30 September 2018.


Time Together, Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel, Co. Londonderry from £115 per person sharing

The ideally located four-star Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel is less than five minutes’ drive from the centre of the historic walled city of Derry ~ Londonderry. Enjoy the perfect combination of sight-seeing and leisure time with that someone special. Build up an appetite as you walk along the city walls, then relax with some lunch and shopping in the city centre. Offer includes an overnight B&B stay and a romantic four-course evening meal with a bottle of wine in the hotel’s 68 Clooney Restaurant. To book call 028 7186 0606. Offer available until 31 March 2019.


Summer Spa Package, Mellon Country Inn Hotel, Co. Tyrone from £120 per person sharing

The three-star Mellon Country Inn Hotel is nestled at the feet of the spectacular Sperrin Mountains, between Omagh and Strabane. Here you will find the heart of Tyrone’s most popular spot for leisure activities such as walking, cycling, fishing and golf, making it the perfect location to slow down and relax. Offer includes an overnight B&B stay with a welcome platter on arrival, use of a private hot tub and a full body lava shell massage and three-course evening meal with complimentary bottle of wine. To book call 028 8166 1224. Offer available until 30 September 2018.



This July will see the return of the much-loved Skiffie Festival on Strangford Lough and in Delamont Country Park.

From the 27th to the 29th of July, international competitors and locals will descend upon Strangford Lough in their community-built skiffs for this action-packed weekend of events. Visitors will not only have the opportunity to watch the racing, there will also be a range of free family centered activities including boat trips, live music, model air craft displays, a food village and much more.

The festival marks the first of five events in the Giant Adventures summer programme, spearheaded by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. Around 20 races take place across the weekend, with teams competing from across the island of Ireland and Scotland.

Councillor Mark Murnin, Chairman of Newry, Mourne and Down Council said: “The Skiffie Festival is a highlight of the Giant Adventures programme. The breath-taking setting of Strangford Lough and picturesque nature of Delamont Country Park presents the ideal location for this wonderful competitive racing and family fun festival. Following the excitement of the Skiffie World Championships in 2016 and last year’s successful Skiffie Festival, we are delighted to host this thrilling weekend, once again.’’

Families can enjoy a wide range of activities, suitable for all ages at Delamont Country Park. For further information about the Skiffie Festival and the Giant Adventures programme visit

`Legendary Clubsound headline Party in The Park!

Join us for a Festival of Fun at Party in The Park in Antrim Castle Gardens on Saturday 4 August from 1-5pm.  Now in its seventh year, this free family fun event is the only party to be at this summer.

Headline act, local comedy legends Clubsound, now in their 47th year on the road, will play a two-hour Rock & Roll set celebrating the music and fun of the fabulous 50’s&60’s (there is a strong possibility that a few jokes may find their way into the set). The guys will be accompanied on stage by the one and only, Trevor Kelly.

Other activities in this year’s lineup include bungee trampolines, crazy golf, swing boats, arts & crafts, balloon modelling, face painting and a range of culinary delights from the food fayre.

We hope you can join us for Party in The Park at Antrim Castle Gardens on Saturday 4 August, the perfect day out for both young and old alike.

For more information visit

10 things to do in Northern Ireland 23rd to 29th July has stacks of fun things to do across NI, from family days out to gigs and cultural events. Here are ten exciting things taking place this week (23-29 July)


  1. The Wizard of Oz, Belfast, 26-29 July. Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Grand Opera House as the Theatre’s Summer Youth Project stages an unmissable production of one of the best-loved musicals of all time. All of the characters and songs from the iconic movie will be brought to life by a hugely talented cast of young people.
  2. The Portstewart Community Red Sails Festival, Portstewart, 22-28 July. The Red Sails Festival includes a diverse range of free musical events, children’s entertainment and competitions, street theatre and dance. With O’Hara’s Castle a backdrop, the Red Sails Festival finale fireworks display has become one of the most popular displays in Ireland
  3. Nathan Carter in Concert, Newcastle, 28 July. Nathan Carter is an exciting figurehead on the UK country music scene and returns to Newcastle for a one night concert in the stunning surroundings of the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa.
  4. Historical Walking Tour, Newtownards, 26 July. Situated at the northern end of Strangford Lough, Newtownards has a wealth of historical treasures waiting to be discovered. Medieval events, Oliver Cromwell’s campaign, the 1798 Rebellion and more have all influenced the town. Find out about Newtownards on this walking tour which departs from the City Hall.
  5. Wild Air Run, Belfast, 28 July. The Wild Air Run coming to Stormont Estate is a dynamic fun run suitable for all abilities that features 10 giant inflatable obstacles as part of a 5K course, including Europe’s biggest inflatable slide.
  6. Grant Goldie – That Man, Newcastle, 28 July. A man and his case in a world of chance and opportunity, creating a show with interactive participation, acute absurdity and mesmerising manipulation. A wordless performance, not merely a juggling show but more a projectile assault on gravity coming to Newcastle promenade.
  7. SupercupNI, Co. Londonderry, 22-27 July. SuperCupNI is an international youth football tournament, where teams from all over the world compete against each other at venues in Coleraine, Ballymoney, Limavady, Portrush and Ballymena.
  8. Cairncastle Bluegrass & Folk Musical Evening, Larne, 24 July – 1 Aug. Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass & Folk cross community festival is held in the Halfway House Hotel, in the picturesque village of Ballygally and features international bands, performances and workshops playing a mixture of Irish, Scottish, Country and Bluegrass music.
  9. Belfast Pride Festival, 27 July – 5 August. Belfast Pride is one of the biggest festivals in Belfast celebrating the LGBTQA+ community and runs over 100 events across 10 days. The week includes a range of events including workshops, social events and much more with the main parade held on the 4th
  10. Ulster Fleadh 2018, Castlewellan, 23-29 July. The Ulster Fleadh is a unique event offering something for everyone. It is a family friendly festival of Irish music, song, dance and language – suitable for all ages.


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

10 things to do in Northern Ireland 16th to 22nd July has stacks of fun things to do across NI, from family days out to gigs and cultural events. Here are ten exciting things taking place this week (16-22 July)


  1. Soma Festival, Newcastle, 18-22July. Soma Festival is the brainchild of a small band of musicians, artists, and creatives from Castlewellan and surrounding areas. Over the years, the festival has organically grown into an intoxicating fusion of arts, crafts, storytelling, food & drink, health & well-being, and children’s activities, all the while keeping high calibre music at its heart and core.
  2. Foyle Maritime Festival, Derry~Londonderry, 14 – 22 July. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘voyages’ in acknowledgment of the city’s rich maritime heritage. The quayside becomes engrossed in maritime magic as the city hosts a fantastic collection of live music, markets, entertainment, and river based activities.
  3. Rose Week, Belfast, 16-22 July. Rose Week is a celebration of the Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Rose Garden. The full programme of activities includes music and entertainment for all the family with face painting, bouncy castle, mega slide, balloon modelling, Punch and Judy shows and much more.
  4. Bushmills Through the Wars, Bushmills, 12-22 July. This exhibition takes in the Great War, Second World War and Korea. The event commemorates soldiers from all sides who lost lives serving their country. Exhibits include uniforms, medals, rations, worktime fashions,the experience of evacuees, information about G.Is and much more.
  5. Ulster Pipe Band Championship, Newcastle, 21 July. Come along to Donard Park and see Pipe Bands from all over Northern Ireland compete for the prestigious Ulster title, with competitions for Grades 1 – 4 and Novice, Junior, Juvenile, Senior drum major titles up for grabs.
  6. Foyle Cup, Derry~Londonderry, 16-21 July. Seen as one of the most important and pivotal tournaments in Northern Ireland, the Foyle Cup presents an opportunity for the youth of Northern Ireland to show their football playing abilities.
  7. Parklife 2018, Lisburn, 7-28 July. Parklife encourages local people to reclaim their open spaces and celebrate their shared cultural heritage and identity. Held at Wallace Park the programme includes drama, dance, crafts and sporting activities for everyone to enjoy.
  8. Lush! Classical – Ebrington Square, Derry~Londonderry, 21 July. A phenomenal, breathtaking event featuring a 65-piece classical orchestra, world-renowned DJs and live vocalists playing floor fillers from the past 20 years, all produced in conjunction with Kylie Minogue’s musical director
  9. Stripey Socks – Curious World, Newcastle, 21 July. An enchanting comical twist on a classic children’s tale comes to Newcastle Promenade. Explore with Alice as she enters this curious world and meets the Mad Hatter, has a tea party and finds herself tangled up in this new aerial and acrobatic adventure
  10. From an Abbey to a Stately Home Coach Tour, Newtownards, 21 July. View one of the finest Georgian country houses in Ireland, Grey Abbey House. The current owners will guide you around and join you for tea and a treat. You will also visit the Cistercian abbey founded by Lady Affreca, the wife of John de Courcy.


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


Take a walk in the country at Randox Antrim Show on Saturday 28th July when the country life showcase descends on the beautiful setting of Shanes Castle, Antrim.

The event offers a fun-packed day where the best of the best of horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, fruit, vegetables, flowers, photography, crafts and baked goods are brought to the one location for visitors’ enjoyment. You’ll also find a Festival of Food, dog agility displays, a petting zoo, sheep shearing, live music, dancing, and stalls to list only a few of the other attractions.

New this year is a Youth Busking competition where a £250 prize is on offer. The competition is open to individuals or groups of up to six performers of secondary school age (U18s) from youth groups across the Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough.

A Children’s Treasure Hunt is also new and free for U12s to take part in; offering an extra element to the range of children’s entertainment on offer.

Following the event website’s revamp, this year there is the option to avail of discounted early bird tickets on the show website until Wednesday 25 July.

Paula McIntryre’s cookery demonstrations in the ‘Festival of Food’ marquee – surrounded by food producers keen for the public to sample their wares – has become one of the event’s most popular attractions.

As examples of what can be found in the Home Industries and Horticulture section, Antrim is hosting a new Women’s Institute team competition on the theme of ‘Afternoon Tea’ and is on the hunt for the Show’s ‘Gardener of the Year’ and County Antrim Shows’ Best Chocolate Cake.

In the entertainment marquee the jiving competition, introduced last year, returns to see who will win the ‘King & Queen of the Castle 2018’ title. There’s a tempting first prize of £200 on offer to the winning couple, £100 for second and £50 for third. Entries for the jiving competition are taken on the day of the show just before it starts at 2.30pm.

The Children’s Pet Show always draws a good crowd.  Open to U16s, it is £1 to enter on the day, just ahead of judging at 1.30pm in the cattle rings. Look out for the sign. Details of all of the event’s competitions can be found on the Show’s website.

When it comes to exhibitors’ classes, horticulture entries are still accepted up until Friday 27 July by contacting that section via 075 2609 9966. Only equine classes can be entered on the day and late entry fees will now apply in that section.

New livestock/equine classes for 2018 include working hunter classes for ponies and horses and in the sheep section, there are classes have been added for the new, Suffolk Cheviot breed.

This year Antrim is proud to be hosting the Northern Ireland Shorthorn Club’s National Championship, the NI Dexter Group’s Premier Show, NI British Blue Heifer Championship, NI Limousin Championship, incorporating the Young Limousin Breeders’ Anglo Irish Stockjudging Competition, the final of the Bank of Ireland and NISA pedigree Junior bull Championship; and, in the sheep section, the Border Leicester National Show.  Antrim is also a qualifier for the Bluegrass/NISA Clydesdale Championship 2018 and the Linden Foods/NISA Pedigree Beef Heifer Championships.

Randox Antrim Show takes place on Saturday 28th July at Shanes Castle, from 9am until 5pm. Admission on the day is £10 per person and children under 16 years of age go free when accompanied by a paying adult. Car parking is free. For further info and the event’s timetable visit


Such was the popularity of Duke Special when he performed at the John Hewitt International Summer School in 2016 that the organisers were keen to have him return and they are delighted that he will appear with the traditional super-group, Ulaid, at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh on Tuesday 24 July.

Ulaid are already very popular with Armagh music enthusiasts as the exciting trio of master fiddler Donal O’Connor, the exceptional piper John McSherry and acclaimed guitarist Seán Óg Graham have been regular guests at William Kennedy Piping Festivals in the city.

Duke Special continues to enjoy a most successful solo career, performing at major venues and festivals throughout Ireland and the UK, and in 2017 he issued his latest solo album, “Hollow”, based on the poetry of Michael Longley [who is to read at JHISS the previous evening, Monday 23 July].

When contemporary song writing and traditional music meet, the results can be something to be treasured. Such is the case with the collaboration between the highly talented members of Ulaid and singer-songwriter extraordinaire, Duke Special.

When the idea of this unlikely collaboration was first suggested to Duke Special and the members of Ulaid by Tiona McSherry, they wondered how they could approach each other’s worlds in a way that was both authentic and that played to their strengths.

Ulaid is a group steeped in the rich tradition of a thousand years and Duke Special draws on a dusty world of gramophones and pre-rock and roll melodies. Through conversations, they lit upon the notion of exploring old texts collected by the antiquarian, Francis J. Bigger, and these texts became the starting point for what became a kind of musical homage to Belfast, its history, its stories and our own understanding of living here at this time.

In 2107 Ulaid and Duke Special made a live recording of their Belfast Suite, ‘A Note Let Go’, and they have continued to perform their incredible musical collaboration to hugely enthusiastic audiences at festivals throughout Ireland and the UK. Local music lovers can look forward to something very special when they perform for JHISS at The Market Place Theatre on Tuesday 24 July [with an 8.30pm starting time].

Booking for the Ulaid and Duke Special concert at The Market Place Theatre has already opened on 028 37521821 and online at

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.

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


The 2018 Carryduff Forklift Down Rally kicks off at the Eikon Centre, where the adrenaline fuelled action will kick off at 8.30am on the 21st of July. The live action will continue throughout the day with plenty of safe viewing areas within the Eikon Centre. There will also be lots of additional entertainment in the form of static car displays, interactive model car racing, kids entertainment, face painting and lots more.


Asda Portadown is hosting a Teddy Bear’s Picnic in aid of Children in Need at Kids United, North Way Community Association on Thursday 19th July.  There will be lots of ‘bear-y’ exciting activities for everyone to take part in, from teddy bear bingo to a traditional tombola. A fun filled day for all the family to enjoy while doing their bit for Children in Need.  Admission is free.


Grab your favourite teddy bear and look out his best outfit, because you are invited to the Ultimate Teddy Bears’ Picnic!  Departing from SHARE on Sunday 22nd July at 11.00am & 2.30pm this picnic cruise will venture along Upper Lough Erne. On board all baby bears will enjoy a delicious picnic spread (don’t worry there will be food for mummy & daddy bear as well) and take part in fun party games including Balloon Modelling and Teddy Bear Games. Cruise last approximately 1 hour 30 minutes and booking is essential as places are limited.


Book a guided a tour of  Hill of The O’Neill Dungannon &  the exhibition space with an experienced guide when you’ll hear tales of the skeletons found on the Hill during a major excavation in 2010, the escape tunnels leading from the O’Neill castle which snake underneath Dungannon town, and the well which served as a hiding place for the inhabitants of the Hill during many sieges.  At least two castles are thought to have been built on the hill, as well as a grand manor house and a fortified town.  A walk to the top of brings stunning views across 7 Ulster counties, all the more impressive when seen from the height of a new glass viewing tower, making it all the more clear why this site was chosen by the famous O’Neill dynasty to rule Gaelic Ireland for over 300 years. Tours run until 28th September at 2.30pm Monday to Friday.


Enjoy a day out with the kids at the Jungle!   Set in deep countryside, engulfed in trees and streams, hills and hollows just outside Moneymore The Jungle uses a blend of creative vision, subtle touches, and some less-than-subtle machinery, and have fashioned it into an outdoor pursuits haven with a range of activities for children of all ages and abilities : Choose from Kids Adventure Packages, Kids Tree Top Adventure and Laser Tag from 10 per person.


The Merchant of Venice is coming to Shaftesbury Park, Carrickfergus on Friday 20th July.  Shakespeare’s great courtroom drama is by turns gripping, funny, romantic and thought-provoking. International award-winning Illyria promise a production to keep you on the edge of your seat!  £3 per ticket. Free admission ticket for under 16s, must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets available for collection from Carrickfergus Visitor Information Centre, based within Carrickfergus Castle. Tel: 028 9335 8222.


Keep your ‘little explorers’ busy this summer with the adventure of a lifetime at Belfast Zoo’s Explorers’ Club! From 23rd to 27th July, explore the wonderful world of animals through a five-day programme (9.15am to 3.30pm) of animal encounters, VIP behind the scenes access, crafts, animal enrichment and the chance to meet the zoo keepers.  Tickets must be pre-booked, a registration form must be completed with the education team and payment must be received to secure your place.  The Explorers’ Club is open to children aged 7 to 11.

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.

Heart of the Glens Festival 2018

2018 marks the 28th Heart of the Glens Festival – the Festival set up by the local community in 1990 has grown from humble beginnings to one of the largest Community Festivals in the county.

The Festival is held in and around the village of Cushendall in the beautiful Glens of Antrim.  Cushendall lies at the ‘heart’ of the Glens, hence the name.  There are over 100 events taking place during the week starting Saturday 4th August until Sunday 12th August.

The programme of events is as varied and entertaining as ever with something for all the family. The main anchor events are the RNLI Open Day, Community Parade, Country Sports, Street Food Fest , Lark in the Park, Cycling Time Trial. The Final weekend sees the Festival ‘Dallywood’ Theme Night.  This year dress up and get your hats ready for our ‘Mad Hat Street Party.’  The Glens Vintage Fun Day, the ever popula rLurig Run (already fully booked) and the Fireworks Night.  Sunday has the final festivities with the Artisan Market on during the day and then the Grand Finale night with ‘Waves of Tory.

A full Programme of events is available in local shops and the festival office at Old Schoolhouse, Mill Street, with some details available on and regular updates on our Facebook page – Heart of the Glens Festival, Cushendall.

We would like to thank Causeway Coast and Glens Council for their Tourism Grant and Heart of the Glens Landscape Partnership for funding received through Heritage Lottery Fund, without this funding and the generosity of the public attending the events, the support of local businesses, donations and sponsorship received the festival could not survive.

Heart of the Glens Festival Committee would like to welcome all visitors to the Causeway Coast & Glens.  Come along to our festival and join in with the locals and help create atmosphere and character which makes our festival unique.

Many of the events are outdoor and weather dependant – venues may need to be changed at short notice – notices will be displayed outlining any necessary changes.

If you require any help or information, call into the Festival Office at the Old School House where the staff will be happy to assist. (Tel – 028 2177 1378)