10 things to do in Northern Ireland (29 April – 5 May)

  1. Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival Belfast, 2– 12 May. One of the sassiest, brassiest and classiest acts in the Irish cultural calendar – the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is pulling the stops out for its 20th birthday. Rufus Wainwright, Echo and the Bunnymen, Anna Calvi, and Teenage Fanclub are among some of the star names descending on Belfast’s historic cultural quarter this year. The 11-day extravaganza will feature over 100 events in over 20 venues across the city centre, as the Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary with a bumper programme of live music, comedy, literature, theatre, film, visual art and more.
  2. Big Arts Weekend Cushendun, 3 – 6 May. Cushendun’s Big Arts Weekend is a four day festival of music, drama, poetry, exhibitions, workshops and family fun in one of the most beautiful villages in the Glens of Antrim. The programme has something for everyone and many of the events are free. While you’re there make the most of your trip and visit the spectacular caves featured in Game of Thrones®.
  3. Dunluce Castle and the Giants Causeway Sea Safari Trip, Portstewart, 5 May. Take a journey along the magical causeway coastline with Aquaholics and witness the stunning scenery. Starting from Portstewart harbour, will sail along the Causeway Coast to see the spectacular Dunluce Castle and the Giant’s Causeway en route.  As well as the amazing coastline, be on the lookout for dolphins, seals and a wide range of seabirds. The tour lasts two hours so don’t forget to wrap up.
  4. Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, Belfast, 5 May.  Launched in 1982, the Belfast Marathon makes history in 2019 by moving to a Sunday for the first time ever. The event is expected to bring over 18,000 to Belfast.  Though the vast majority of entrants are local,  registrations come from the USA, Japan, Australia, across Europe and beyond. Whether you’re a marathon athlete, keen walker, fundraiser, interested in athletics at school or simply love a challenge, there is an event to suit you.
  5. South Down Craft Collective Monthly Market Ballynahinch, 4 May. Taking place on the first Saturday of each month at the Market House, Ballynahinch, the markets showcase the work of local artists, makers and food producers from South Down. Each month also has different guest artists and makers.  There’s a wide variety of stalls throughout the large foyer area and in the lovely Vincent Fulham Room, and a pop-up cafe serving tasty homemade treats and that well deserved cuppa.
  6. The Last Ulster Schooner – The Sailing Ship Result, Holywood, 29 April – 5 January 2020.  The Result was built in Carrickfergus Shipyard, Co Antrim, for the coastal cargo trade.  She is the last Ulster built ship left out of the hundreds of small sailing ships that plied their trade around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.  Follow her journey through the decades in this new exhibition and discover more about her life as a Q-ship in the First World War fighting German submarines, her starring role on the silver screen and her final voyage to where she now sits overlooking Belfast Lough.
  7. The Echlinville Distillery Tour Tasting, Newtownards, 29 April – 28 September. The Echlinville Distillery Tour and Tasting offers a real insight into the workings of Northern Ireland’s first newly licensed distillery for over 125 years. Includes refreshments on arrival at the historic Echlinville Manor House, a tour of the distillery incorporating their state-of-the-art stillhouse and maturation warehouse, followed by a tasting which includes two drinks of your choice from Echlinville’s range of premium spirits. A great day out for any spirits enthusiast.
  8. Ramble on Rathlin, Ballycastle, 4 – 5 May. Join a local guide and historian from Nine Glens Walking Tours on a short walk discovering the island’s history, heritage and industry. The gentle circular walk lasts 1.5 hours, finishing at the harbour just outside the Manor House and makes for a memorable day. The tour runs every Saturday and Sunday between April and September.
  9. Causeway Coast Challenge Walk Bushmills, 5 May. The annual Causeway Coast Challenge Walk for 2019 is set to run again this year on Sunday 5th May. This event is on its 41st year of operation and is run by local club Bannside Ramblers. The event continues to attract walkers from all over Ireland and further afield. Visitors to the Causeway Coast and Glen’s region can participate in the 30km long distance Challenge Walk along spectacular Causeway Coast cliff path.
  1. The Tain Tapestries – Louis Le Brocquy, Armagh, 29 April – 5 May.  One of Ireland’s foremost artists, Louis le Brocquy’s work is exhibited across the world, from New York’s Guggenheim to the Tate in London.  This wonderful exhibition showcases his illustrations to accompany the poet Thomas Kinsella’s translation of the epic Ulster Cycle narrative the Táin Bó Cúailnge (the Cattle Raid of Cooley).  It affords a rare opportunity to experience le Brocquy’s powerful combination of visual and narrative skills through the medium of tapestry, together with contextual information about this particular body of work.

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