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


The NI Motorcycle Festival this weekend is Ireland’s largest annual motorcycle festival, taking place at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park, Sprucefield.  The event promises to be a fantastic show with an array of features, personalities and stands.  A vast range of the latest motorcycles and scooters from top manufacturers will be on display. The NI Motorcycle Festival is organized by Nutt Promotions, and provides entertainment for all the family.  As well as displays of both new and classic motorcycles and scooters from top manufacturers, there will also be appearances from the stars of the motorcycling world over the weekend.


The Suitcase, Market Place Theatre, Friday 8th February. In Vienna, a young woman dreams of becoming a dancer. In Belfast, an elderly man revisits a painful past, while a mother and daughter unearth a hidden piece of family history. Moving between the present day and 20th century Europe’s darkest period, the play is a hymn to the redemptive power of art and a life-affirming human drama. Winner of the Audience Award at the 2015 Belfast International Arts Festival.


The legendary Starjets are reforming one more gig. “Spit Records” head honcho Sean O’Neill has persuaded the guys to appear at the Spit album launch party Live At The Crum. Also on a fantastic bill are Shock Treatment, Johnny Hero’s Ex Producers, and Confrontation Time.  What a line up!  Tour/Dine/Show Tickets available. This package will allow you to discover over 150 years of history as you explore within the walls of Belfast’s Infamous Prison, enjoy a 2 course meal in the atmospheric setting of Cuffs Bar & Grill (on-site restaurant) and finish the night with live entertainment.


Anne Enright in Conversation, Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Saturday 9th February.  Booker Prize-winning novelist Anne Enright is one of the most celebrated writers working in Ireland today. Her work is part of a great tradition of Irish writing that explores themes of family life, relationships, love, repression and memory.  From 2015 to 2018 she was the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction and we are delighted to welcome her to The Helicon where she will talk about her work and career with Paul McVeigh.


Cloughmore Male Voice Choir is proud to present an evening with the Celtic Tenors, Newry Town Hall, February 8th.  The Celtic Tenors, the only tenor group with a truly global audience, and the Cloughmore Male Voice Choir will give you a night to remember.  Performing in this idyllic harbour town located on the shores of the beautiful  Carlingford Lough,  the show promises to be one of musical delight with a blend of Celtic, Operatic and re-worked popular songs that will stir the soul and inspire the listener.


Fly Me to the Moon, Ardhowen Theatre, Friday 8th February. Francis and Loretta are community care visitors. Davy, 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. Marie Jones is the author of some of the most successful plays ever produced in Ireland, including ‘Stones In His Pockets’, ‘Women On The Verge Of HRT and ‘A Night In November’. This hilarious comedy investigates whether we are valued more in life or in death.


Ven_ture comprises of David Munnelly (accordion), Anne Brennan (vocals) and Joseph McNulty (fiddle) who make new arrangements for old music whilst composing new melodies keeping in mind the unique sound produced by voice accordion and fiddle keeping to non-conventional new sounds in the process. See them perform live at The Square Box, Ranfuly House Dungannon this Saturday evening. A night of fun and music for the whole family.

For more details of these events please visit whatsonni.com. Follow us on facebook.com/www.whatsonni and twitter @whatsonni  


Renowned Scottish-Italian chef, Nico Simeone, is set to introduce his Glasgow and Edinburgh dining concept ‘Six by Nico’ to Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

‘Six by Nico’ Belfast will be the third addition to the growing restaurant portfolio, taking Nico’s conceptual restaurant idea out of Scotland for the first time and placing it in the bustling Cathedral Quarter.

With the opening, comes exciting new job prospects and there are plans in place to create 40 news jobs in the local area.

Chef Nico Simeone said, “We are very excited to bring an unforgettable culinary experience to Belfast. I have visited the city and I grew up with an understanding of the strong Ulster Scots connection. Belfast is the perfect location for our next venture and I couldn’t think of a better location than the vibrant food and drinks scene of the Cathedral Quarter. We are really looking forward to collaborating with local businesses and have people from the city join our team.”

The £500,000 investment will bring the introduction of a pioneering revolving culinary hub as every six weeks, Nico and his team will re-invent the wheel – serving a brand new six-course tasting menu, each one themed upon a different place, memory or idea. Drawing inspiration from both at home and abroad, Nico and his team will combine different ingredients, flavours, and dishes, to bring memories and stories creating a brand-new dining experience every 6 weeks.

The creative and ever-evolving six course set menu, is priced at £28 per person which has gone down a storm in the Glasgow and Edinburgh food scene and Six By Nico believe this will be a great price point for diners in the city.

Six by Nico will open its doors on Waring Street in March 2019, becoming the latest addition to the city’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene. From creative menu concepts to outstanding food and service, the venue will aim to become an immediate hit with the people of Belfast.


If you loved ‘I’ll Tell My Ma’, then you are in for a real treat this winter with ‘Is That Too Hot? The amazing Christina Nelson will be back on Tuesday 12 February, playing all your favourite characters, following the antics of Granny Eileen, Davina Carina and Chelsea Marie as they stumble their way through another year in their turbulent lives. There is humour in abundance touched with pathos, as the story, which is set in the local hairdressing salon, unfolds. There will be laughter and tears in equal measure, and a very welcome twist to the tale at the end.

Join us on Valentine’s Day, for our second film screening, ‘Casablanca’, and enjoy one of Hollywood’s most enduring romantic tales. This movie classic follows the screen lives of ex-lovers, Bogart and Bergman, as they are forced to decide between personal happiness or saving countless lives. Tickets are priced £10 which includes a drink and light refreshments.

Still in the mood for romance, enjoy the perfect Valentine’s night out with our annual and hugely popular, The PM Big Band on Saturday 16 February. They bring a classic mix of vocals and instrumentals from The Great American Song Book including selections from Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Frank Sinatra and other legends from the ageless and ever-popular musical genre. The show will feature sensational vocalists Ceara Grehan and Davy Hamilton.

‘Eyes on The Open’ celebration marks build up to biggest ever event for Northern Ireland

Tourism NI marked the start of the official build up to The 148th Open at Royal Portrush on Thursday evening with a celebration of Northern Ireland talent from across the worlds of sport, music, media, television and the arts.

Hosted by Stephen Watson and Claire McCollum, the theme of the event was ‘We’ve Come a Long Way’ and included the unveiling of a short film by award winning director and producer Martin Stalker. The film, which will be distributed widely across key tourism markets, was set to an original poem by local poet Paula Matthews, and narrated by leading actors Ian McElhinney, Bronagh Waugh, Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Shaun Blaney and accompanied by an original score composed and performed by Belfast-born virtuoso pianist Michael McHale. 

A sporting panel included record-breaking champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy OBE and four-time Superbike World Champion, Jonathan Rea MBE, who shared their experiences of competing at the top of their profession and representing Northern Ireland on the world stage. Also interviewed was legendary golfing commentator Peter Alliss. Voices of support from global golfing icons including Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke, as well as up-and-coming golfing stars Stephanie Meadow and Tom McKibbin added to the night.

Speaking at the event, Tourism NI chairman Terence Brannigan said:

“The ambitious plans set ten years ago have transformed Northern Ireland and our ambitions for the future are just as big. Our golfing story is a global success and that has brought us right here tonight as we look forward to 190,000 fans and visitors from across the globe descending on Royal Portrush in July for the biggest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland.

“The 148th Open will leave a legacy that will benefit Northern Ireland for years to come. It will boost our reputation as a premier destination for international events and gives a well-earned boost to the development of our hard-working tourism businesses.

“Together with the R&A, our colleagues in Causeway Coast and Glens Council, volunteers, contributors, golf clubs and tourism businesses, we will deliver not only an incredible event, but a true Northern Ireland experience. It will lead us all to Sunday 21st July, when the final putt will be sunk and the famous Claret Jug will be held aloft.”

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A, also spoke at the event:

 “There is great excitement among golf fans for the return of The Open to Royal Portrush for the first time in nearly 70 years. This is reflected in the unprecedented demand for tickets which has led to all four Championship days being sold out for the very first time and the evident enthusiasm for golf throughout the island of Ireland.

“It is now only a few short months until the global sporting spotlight falls upon Northern Ireland for The 148th Open, when the world’s greatest golfers will compete for the iconic Claret Jug. We are very much looking forward to staging a successful and memorable Championship in July when we will welcome tens of thousands of fans to the famous Dunluce Links to enjoy this historic occasion.”

Tourism NI’s marketing and PR plans will include an ‘Epic Journey to The Open 2019’, a promotional tour of every county in Northern Ireland as well as Dublin city centre, so communities, schools, sportspeople and golf clubs can all be part of the celebration and excitement of The Open in their area.

The “We’ve Come A Long Way” short film and score is now available at https://youtu.be/KPPKRrsR-js

The 148th Open will be held at Royal Portrush Golf Club from Sunday 14th – Sunday 21st July 2019. Practice Day tickets and hospitality packages are still available.