10 things to do in Northern Ireland

DiscoverNorthernIreland.com 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 (18 – 24 February)

1.       Accidental Comedy Club, Belfast, 22 February. With topics ranging from politics to relationships and everything in between, the Accidental Theatre’s comics will weave a tapestry of social commentary and absurd observation for your laughing pleasure.

2.       My Sweetheart And Me, Lisburn, 21-22 February. This uplifting romantic comedy, performed at Lagan Valley Island, is set during the summer of 1967. Seen through a nostalgic lens, the story centres around two single lovestruck thirtysomethings, as they haphazardly struggle against all the odds.

3.       Celtic Mindfulness, Armagh, 23 – 24 February. Celtic Mindfulness offers a unique healing experience at Navan Centre and Fort. Music, myth and meditation will be used to awaken your Celtic Soul creating positive mindfulness.

4.       Harmonic Bridges Concert, Belfast, 21 February. The premier ensemble of New York’s Scarsdale High School will join with Belfast’s own Northern Ireland Concert Band for a night of music celebrating the great music of both countries at the Ulster Hall.

5.       Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Armagh, 21 February. Catch a full symphony orchestra in the intimate surroundings of the Marketplace Theatre, with world-class soloists, guest conductors and, of course, the full Ulster Orchestra as they perform Schumann’s tempestuous Symphony No.2 and Manfred: Overture alongside Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.

6.       `Is That Too Hot`, Newry, 18 February. Is ‘That Too Hot’ is the hilarious sequel to the hit play ‘I’ll Tell My Ma’ by Patricia Gormley performed at the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. Follow the antics of your favourite characters Granny Eileen, Davina Carina and Chelsea Marie as they stumble their way through another year in their turbulent lives.

7.       Titanic Taster Photography Tour, Belfast, 23 February. Photography is the art of the physics of light, learn how to use it to create stunning images and the power of magnification at our very own giant optic lenses. Stops include the Historic Slipways, the Great Light and Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House. Includes refreshment stop at Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House.

8.       Fly Me to the Moon, Derry~Londonderry, 20 February. Patrick Talbot Productions and Rathmore Productions present Fly Me to the Moon coming to the Millennium Forum. Francis and Loretta are community care visitors. Davey, one of their elderly charges, has had a significant win on the horses, but he doesn’t know. When the cash-strapped women learn that Davey will not be around for a considerable time they are faced with a mouth-watering dilemma.

9.       NI Science Festival, Across NI, 14 – 24 February. With over 180 events across 50+ venues, the NI Science Festival offers a stimulating and wide range of events focusing on the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For full line-up, visit NIScienceFestival.com.

10.   Chrvches, Belfast, 19 February. Scottish synth-pop band Chvrches are pleased to perform at the Ulster Hall. Hear them perform hit songs such as Miracle, Get Out and My Enemy.

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

Offers of the Week

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.

·         One Night B&B, Radisson Blu Hotel, Belfast from £89 per room

The four-star Radisson Blu Hotel is located in Belfast city centre. Situated in the Gasworks area of the city, this hotel provides a quiet, yet convenient base to explore the bustling city and its many attractions such as Titanic Belfast and Victoria Square. Offer includes overnight accommodation and  breakfast the following morning. To book call 028 9043 4065. Offer available until 31 March 2019.

·         One Night B&B, Da Vinci’s Hotel, Derry~Londonderry from £129 per room

The four-star Da Vinci’s Hotel is renowned for providing outstanding service, excellent food and facilities at competitive prices. The hotel is located just a short distance from Derry City Centre and the historic walls and is the ideal base to explore Portrush, the Giant’s Causeway and Derry~Londonderry itself. Offer includes over-night accommodation and breakfast the following morning. To book call 028 7127 9111. Offer available until 31 March 2019.

·         One Night B&B, Armagh City Hotel, Armagh from £99 per room

Conveniently located in the heart of Armagh, the three-star Armagh City Hotel provides friendly and professional service, whilst being the perfect base to explore the city. Offer includes an overnight night stay with breakfast the following morning. To book call 028 3751 8888. Offer available until 31 March 2019.

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


The wedding team at Larchfield Estate invites you to visit their exclusive countryside haven on Saturday 16th February from 11.00am to 3.00pm. The Barn, Courtyards, Gardens and Cottages will be open for couples who are keen to explore the venue, providing the opportunity to meet the specialist team and recommended catering, décor and florist companies.  Wander around the gardens and lake area, picture yourself walking up the aisle at our indoor and outdoor ceremony locations, and enjoy the warm and cosy atmosphere of the traditional barn reception area. On-site accommodation will also be open, available for you to view the cottages where you can spend a restful night post-wedding, before sharing breakfast after waking up on your first morning together as a married couple!


Debbie Dolittle is set to return to the Navan Centre on Sunday 17th February for a free drop-in Ecology Sunday as this local wildlife expert presents some of her rescued creatures, including a tame fox! Over the last 30 years, hundreds of orphaned creatures have come through Debbie’s doors – you are sure to be impressed by her amazing knowledge and passion for rehabilitating animals into their natural environment.


Try out the new laser guns in the forest arena at Share Discovery Village who are running a series of 2 hour 30 minute sessions over the weekend.  A session will include a activity briefing, dressing in camouflage gear and then playing a range of games in the Forest Arena.   This activity is suitable for groups of individuals ageds 8+.  Wear footwear that can get dirty or wet and you can run in.   


Frank Carson : A Rebel Without A Pause, Strule Arts Centre, Thursday 14th February. Written and performed by Dan Gordon.  Belfast funny man Frank Carson blazed a comedy trail for over fifty years. His quick-fire gags and infectious laugh delighted audiences in variety shows, on telly and in clubs across the land – The Comedians , The Good Old Days, Seaside Special, Royal Variety, Noel’s House Party, Tiswas, and many more.


Fortnite themed lastertag, The Jungle Moneymore,  Sunday 17th February.  This is a real life Fortnite themed battle simulation, so you can get a taste of what it would be like to be in the ever popular Fortnite game. Using existing infamous Paintball and Laser Tag game zones, modified to be able to play a Fortnite themed session.  Open to all participants aged 8 and above. Parents and adults can play along with kids, if they can keep up!  Each session will be limited to 44 players and will last approximately 2 hours.


Silver jewellery making workshop, Arches House, Randalstown, Saturday 16th February.  Let your creative side run free and learn a new skill whilst working with silver to create a piece of jewellery which you can then bring home to keep and show everyone!  Booking is essential with concessions available.  To book call 028 9447 8471 or email info@randalstownarches.com.


TQ Giant Explorers Trail, Saturday 16th February. A family friendly trail where you will be provided with a treasure map & lots of clues as you explore Titanic Quarter searching for industrial giants. Discover how these ‘Giants’ have played a huge role in TQ’s maritime history and listen to some epic tales at the Great Light! There are also plenty of prizes to be won!  The Wee Tram will ferry everyone around the area, accompanied by a guide and TQ heritage helpers.  Meeting point: Titanic Sign, next to Titanic Belfast, 10.30am.

For more details on these events and to add your events free go to whatsonni.com. Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at fb.com/www.whatsonni.com for news, competitions and what’s on near you.  

Jacqueline McGonigle

Famous Game of Thrones Beech tree to be put under the hammer after falling victim to storm

A 200 year old beech tree on the famous Dark Hedges has been put to auction after falling victim to a storm earlier this month.

A fallen beech tree from the Dark Hedges near Stranocum in Co Antrim, which was the “King’s Road” in the famous Game of Thrones drama has been put to auction to the highest bidder,

The tree lined avenue known as the Dark Hedges has been a massive hit among tourists since its claim to fame in series two of Game of Thrones

Now auctioneer Daniel McAllister is offering fans of the show the chance to own a genuine tree as seen in the series.

Daniel McAlister and Son Estate Agents in Cushendall, said the tree fell onto land owned by his client James Laverty and he is open to the highest bidder.

Auctioneer Daniel McAllister can be contacted on 028 2177 1227 or info@danielmcalisterandson.com mailto:info@danielmcalisterandson.com

Pictures Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Mount Stewart to Host Gardeners’ Question Time Summer Garden Party for the second year running

BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time (GQT) is returning to the shores of Strangford Lough on Saturday 8th June 2019 to hold their annual Summer Garden Party in the beautiful surrounds of the National Trust’s Mount Stewart.

Tickets go on sale today [Friday 15th February] for the event at which the gurus of gardening, including Matthew Wilson, Bob Flowerdew, Bunny Guinness, James Wong, Pippa Greenwood, Matt Biggs, Matthew Pottage, Anne Swithinbank and GQT chairman Peter Gibbs will be in attendance.

TheGQT Summer Garden Party is Radio 4’s biggest annual event – including recordings of the BBC’s flagship gardening radio programme. Visitors will get the chance to meet the GQT panellists, put their questions to them in person, and participate in demonstrations and horticultural happenings across the gardens.

In addition to talks, demos and recordings with the Gardeners’ Question Time team, some of the highlights will include: recordings of BBC Ulster’s Gardeners’ Corner, illustrated talks by three renowned Irish Gardeners: Helen Dillon, Daphne Levinge-Shackleton and Jimi Blake, guided tours, plant sales and fun for all the family.

Neil Porteous, Head of Gardens at Mount Stewart said; “We are very excited that Gardeners’ Question Time have chosen to come to Mount Stewart for their Summer Garden Party for a second year. The National Trust loved hosting this event last year and we hope to make this year even better, in this, one of the most magical of gardens.”

Peter Gibbs, Chairman of BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time said; “We’re delighted to be bringing our listeners back to Mount Stewart, a beautiful garden which played host to the GQT Garden Party for the first time in 2018. We were overwhelmed by the response last year and are looking forward to a triumphant return… let’s just hope we’re as lucky with the weather this time!”

The full programme of activities as well as how to take part in the recordings will be announced shortly and tickets will be available by visiting Mount Stewart’s website from Friday 15th February: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart

Access to the Gardeners’ Question Time Summer Garden Party recordings and activities will be ticketed: Adult £11.50 & Child £5.75.


The biggest race launch of the year, the spectacular Meet the Stars of the 2019 fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils, will take place on February 28 in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 2019: Alastair Seeley and Glenn Irwin, both winners at the 2018 NW200, will be amongst the racers appearing at this year’s Meet the Stars nights in Coleraine and Dublin. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

It is a night not to be missed as fans get the chance to meet the riders who will be in action on the North coast during May 12-18 Race week.

This year’s launch line-up will include Glenn Irwin, Alastair Seeley, Dean Harrison, Ian Hutchinson, Jeremy McWilliams, Maria Costello, Adam McLean, Lee Johnston and Richard Cooper. As always, there may be some last-minute additions to that stunning list!

An evening of fun and chat will be hosted by Claire McCollum and Stephen Watson with racing pundit Liam Beckett adding some experienced insight-and tall tales- to the mix! Race fans will also have lots of opportunities to meet their favourite riders for selfies and autographs during the evening.

So come along and hear for yourself what’s to come in the latest instalment of the Irwin v Seeley North West battle. Listen to Lee Johnston telling how he intends to beat his best mate Dean Harrison. And hear how North West newcomer Richard Cooper plans to get to grips with the famous Triangle circuit.

Although entry to the event is free it is strictly by ticket only. For details of how to apply for your tickets please visit   http://www.northwest200.org/meet-the-stars/

For anyone who cannot make the Lodge Hotel event there will be a second chance to catch all the North West 200 news at the Carole Nash Irish Motorbike and Scooter show at the RDS, Dublin the following day, Friday, March 1.

In a new departure for the North coast races, the Dublin event will host a special North West 200 day with the full line-up of race stars travelling south after the Coleraine event to spread the word about the North coast races. The show will open at 2pm with the riders appearing on stage throughout the day until 8pm.

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

DiscoverNorthernIreland.com 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 (11 – 17 February)

  1. Valentine’s Up Cinema, Belfast, 14 February. Alibi will be showing the movie ‘Ghost’ on the big screen. This special Valentine’s event costs £30 per couple includes a one hour clay/pottery workshop, movie tickets, two pizzas and a bottle of prosecco. Plus all you can eat popcorn.
  2. Exhibition: The Echlinville Distillery, Newtownards, 2 – 21 February. A ‘field to glass’ distillery, Echlinville’s new-make spirits are distilled from barley grown and harvested from their own fields and floor malted on their distillery farm. Their story is one of provenance, pride in their roots in the Ards Peninsula and devotion to the ancient art of distilling.
  3. Valentine’s Roller Disco, Belfast, 14 – 15 February. Back by popular demand to the MAC, access to the rink will be organised in sessions. When the skating session is over, stay and enjoy the party with dancing all night, or rest those weary limbs and watch your friends from the viewing gallery.
  4. NI Science Festival, Across NI, 14 – 24 February. With over 180 events across 50+ venues, the NI Science Festival offers a stimulating and wide range of events focusing on the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For full line-up visit NIScienceFestival.com.
  5. MARVEL-OUS Mid-Term Madness, Limavady, 15 – 19 February. Are your little ones a Captain America, Thor or Iron Man. Come to Carrowmena Activity Centre this Half Term and they can climb, zip, leap and shoot like their favourite Marvel characters before going on a marvellous hunt to find them.
  6. Czech Selection, Belfast, 14 February. Enjoy a delightful afternoon of Czech music, conducted by Czech Jiři Rožeň at the Ulster Hall. Including Suk’s Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale St Wenceslas and Kabelác’s Symphony No.4 Camerata.
  7. Music in The Chamber – David C. Clements, Bangor, 15 February. Performing at Bangor Castle, David Clements is an alternative folk singer with swelling melodies and vocals touched with the ache of experience, retelling tales that feel at once both insightful and familiar.
  8. Gradam Ceoil, Belfast, 17 February. This gala award ceremony at the Waterfront Hall will feature traditional music, song and dance covering a wide array of talent from home and abroad including Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, Conor Connolly and Catherine McEvoy.
  9. Ice Bowl Valentine’s Day, Dundonald, 14 February. Score a strike this Valentine’s Day at Dundonald Ice Bowl. With valentine inspired music and spot prizes throughout the night, book a date  this Valentine’s Day and enjoy a special Xtreme Bowling session in the valentine’s themed bowling centre.
  10. Anthony Toner, Belfast, 17 February. Since the release of the hugely popular single ‘Sailortown’ ten years ago, Anthony has been constantly in forward motion, releasing a string of popular albums and playing countless live performances. Expect an evening of peerless musicianship, great stories and songs old and new at the Lyric Theatre.

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

Playful Museums Festival brings a sensory story tent to Ballymoney

A sensory story tent will be the main attraction at the Playful Museums Festival at Ballymoney Town Hall.

The festival will tell the story  of ‘A Mermaids Tail’ which is inspired by a yarn collected  on Rathlin Island by Sam Henry.

Inside the tent, there will be lots of things to touch, feel, smell and see and children will be able to explore the story at their own pace.

This free event has been tailored for children aged 5 and under. Younger or older siblings are also welcome to join.

Children will be able to enjoy sea themed craft workshops and a reading corner.

Drop in sessions for the festival in Ballymoney Town Hall are available on Friday 22nd February, 10am-12pm or 2pm-4pm,  Saturday 23rd February from 10am-12pm and Monday 25th February from 2pm – 4pm.

A quiet session will take place on Friday 22nd February between 1pm-2pm.

Please be advised that booking is necessary for groups over 8 and children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information please contact Sarah Carson by calling 028 2766 0230 or email sarah.carson@causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk

FE McWilliam Gallery hosts major new exhibition by Locky Morris

Locky Morris: ‘once a day, every day, all day long’ opens on Feb 9 featuring a special exhibition talk by local artist Anne Tallentire

A major free exhibition featuring the compelling, artistic works of renowned City of Derry artist Locky Morris will open at the FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio, Banbridge, on Saturday 9 February.

Recognised across the UK, Ireland and internationally for three decades of outstanding exhibitions featuring works themed on Northern Ireland’s troubled past, this new showcase features inspiring artistic works primarily made since 2010 and which reflect Morris’ move towards more personal reflection.

The exhibition ‘once a day, every day, all day long’ was curated by Ulster University’s Feargal O’Malley and Dr Riann Coulter from FE McWilliam Gallery and references changes not only in Morris’ own personal circumstances but also in the now-transformed landscape of post-conflict Northern Ireland.

Dr Riann Coulter said:

“Locky Morris makes original and compelling work and the themes that he explores in this exhibition will resonate with our regular visitors and attract new audiences to the gallery to enjoy our busy spring and summer programme.”

The exhibition, which is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by Co. Armagh-born artist Anne Tallentire and Belfast based artist David Haughey, features photography, sculpture, sound and installation.

“Morris is a master at finding beauty in the quotidian details of life and he has created quite unexpected and often humorous art out of his everyday experiences,” Riann said. “This combination of humour and attention to the surreal qualities of ordinary things underlies his diverse practice and is the secret to the success of his Instagram account especiallyeverything.”

“The playful titles that Morris uses for his art works often have personal significance – once a day, every day, all day long is a chorus lyric from a song by respected American country singer, Connie Smith. Morris relates this phrase to the ‘everydayness’ of making art – music is an important element of Morris’s work and life.”

Locky Morris exhibited extensively from the mid-1980s both regionally and internationally. Recent exhibitions have included a large-scale installation at IMMA, Dublin, as part of Eva International and a solo show at the Naughton Gallery, Queens, Belfast.


Past solo projects include Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin, and Mannheimer Kunstverein, Germany. His work has appeared in significant group shows in Pittsburgh, New York, Belgrade, Prague and Salzburg.

Born in 1960 in Derry/Londonderry, where he continues to live and work, Morris rose to prominence in the 1980s with works such as Town, country and people (1985-86) and An Bhearna Bhaoil – Gap of Danger (1988) which used the language of international art to comment on the local realities of life during the Troubles.

To launch the new exhibition, Anne Tallentire will present a short talk on the exhibition on Saturday 9th February at 3.00pm.

For more information, please visit www.femcwilliam.com.