Calling All Kids As Q-Con Convention Improves Family Friendly Offerings

The biggest and best gaming and anime convention in Northern Ireland, Q-Con, is promising a fun-packed three day for all ages, including a special series of family events on the closing Sunday.

Now in its 26th year, the events on Sunday, September 1 will include the Cosplay Masquerade at Elmwood Hall, that will see the best, most creative and amazing costumes on parade.

Hosted by QUB Dragonslayers Q-Con will see over 6,500 attendees across the weekend, beginning August 30, throughout the Queen’s University campus.

And, to release your inner Spidey senses, there will be a screening of ‘Spiderman – Into The Spiderverse’ at QFT on the Sunday, as well as the anime feature ‘Ponyo’ from master animator Hayao Miyazaki on the same day.

“All our events throughout each day are aimed to make sure that all audiences have plenty to get their teeth into,” said Ben Harrison of Q-Con. 

“On the Sunday we’re delighted to make it a day all the family can revel in.

“We know from previous years that parents want to be involved with their children as they all love games – tabletop and video – and they love the whole fantastic world of anime and the imaginative places it takes us into.”

If you want to help shake off the return-to-school blues KopopX will have you moving and grooving in a 50-minute workout to the best of Kpop.

Designed by gaming and anime fans Q-Con attracts people from across the UK and Ireland and further afield, with last year seeing a five percent increase in attendees. People from all ages are present throughout the weekend, with Sunday being particularly family friendly.

“When we see so many people around the university district coming along on trains, buses and in cars dressed up as their favourite comics, games and anime characters it shows just how popular gaming and anime has become, and how Q-Con caters for a demographic so often missed by the mainstream media,” said Ben. 

Taking place across the Queen’s campus, including the Whitla Hall, Elmwood Hall, Queen’s Film Theatre, the Computer Science Building and many other venues it is essential to plan your weekend to pack as much in as you can.

For more information and tickets go to

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


The Clandeboye Foodie Festival takes place this weekend on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September at the Clandeyboye Estate in Bangor,, featuring local food and drink  producers,  demonstrations, tastings and much more. Admission is free!


In The Heart of the Country this Friday at the Market Place Theatre, tells how a farming community in mid-Tyrone dealt with the complex issues that arose from the search for Civil Rights. At that time dancing and country music  were the main social diet albeit mostly one side of the community. Our story reflects how a young couples love of country music could transcend age old tribal barriers but not without a price to pay. The price of peace is often more expensive than we ever bargain for. In this case it most certainly was.


Activities for All is a portfolio of action-packed, outdoor activities which SHARE offers to the general public! These activities are available every day in August and includes Archery, Sailing, Canoeing, Banana Boating and many more!


The 28th annual Bluegrass Omagh music festival returns to the Ulster American Folk Park from Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September. Award-winning American and European bands and performers will descend on the museum to join acclaimed acts from across Ireland. The headline act bringing their popular and growing brand of Bluegrass music to this year’s festival is industry and fan favourites Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers. 


Carnival of Colours is back and  this time it’s on tour, bringing the most circus-y Festival you’ve ever witnessed to the stunning-est, most slopey Brooke Park in Derry this Saturday and Sunday, and you are invited! Acts include Grant Goldie, Andrea Fidelio, Dr Skita, Siolta Circus AND Jack Wise…to name just a few! 


Antrim Castle Gardens will once again host the popular Spinning Yarns Festival this Saturday and Sunday. A Festival of Colour, Creativity and Craft celebrating the wonderful world of all things associated with textiles, in particular wool & linen, where we will showcase these homespun yarns in all their forms.


Calling all brides to be – it’s back! The Stormont Hotel Wedding Show on Sunday 1st September 2019, 1.00pm until 4.00pm with two Fashion Shows, Live Band Showcase and Over 60 Exhibitors.

For further 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.

Gaming & Anime Convention Q-Con Promises Bigger Than Ever For Year 26

The biggest and best gaming and anime convention in Northern Ireland is returning to Queen’s University, Belfast for its 26th year.

With three fun-packed days from August 30 to September 1 the event is expected to attract over 6,500 attendees.

Hosted by QUB Dragonslayers Q-Con promises a host of events, including an appearance from the creator of the classic game ‘Doom’, John Romero, who will challenge people “to beat him at his own game” as well as an exclusive meet and greet.

With 26-years-experience under their belts the volunteer Dragonslayers know how to lay on three days of fantastic – in all senses – experiences.

“Since we began in a few rooms at Queen’s with 150 people Q-Con has exploded in popularity and excitement,” said Ben Harrison. 

“We promise we’re working hard to make sure that 2019 will be even better. From video gaming to tabletop gaming, and live text adventure in The Dark Room, through to our cosplay we are packing the weekend out.”

Designed by gaming and anime fans Q-Con attracts people from across the UK and Ireland and further afield, with last year seeing a five percent increase in attendees. People from all ages are present throughout the weekend, with Sunday devoted to families.

“When we see so many people around the university district coming in on trains, buses and in cars dressed up as their favourite comics, games and anime characters it shows just how popular gaming and anime has become, and how Q-Con caters for a demographic so often missed by the mainstream media,” added Ben. 

“The geeks are coming, and they’re going to have more fun than ever!”

Taking place across the Queen’s campus, including the Whitla Hall, Elmwood Hall, Queen’ Film Theatre, the Computer Science Building and many other venues it is essential to plan your weekend to pack as much in as you can.

For more information and tickets go to


SSE Arena Belfast: 8th to 10th November

Tickets go on sale: Thursday 29th August at 8am

  • Marvel fans assemble for this action packed, live arena stunt show
  • Following a successful first tour, Marvel Universe LIVE! returns to Belfast with an all new storyline and never before seen characters in one epic battle of good versus evil

Super hero action, thrills and drama will soar, smash and burst into arenas across the UK next autumn as Marvel Universe LIVE! returns with a brand new show. Visiting nine UK cities in this all new production, produced by Feld Entertainment, Marvel fans will see Spider-Man, The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy join forces with Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts, in a race against time to recover the Wand of Watoomb before it falls into Loki’s hands.

For those looking to get their hands on the best seats in the house, tickets go on sale 29th August.

Ticketmaster: In person: From 100 Ticketmaster Outlets Nationwide
By Telephone (24 Hour): 0844 847 2455

Book On-Line:

The audience will witness cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, and impressive 3D video projection mapping in this completely new thrilling adventure. With aerial stunts, martial arts and daring motorcycle skills, fans of all ages will be immersed in the Marvel universe in a show unlike anything they’ve ever seen before!

Called on by Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy join Marvel Universe LIVE! on a momentous crusade against the scheming Nebula who teams up with the conniving and loathsome villains Loki and Green Goblin. The incredible superhuman forces of Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Hulk and Black Widow will unite in clashes that pit student against mentor, sister against sister and brother against brother.

“Our tremendously talented creative team and a nearly super human cast, have created a show that brings Marvel to life,” said Juliette Feld, producer of Marvel Universe LIVE! “The show creates an experience that immerses families in non-stop action, creating movie-style thrills and jaw-dropping stunts that showcase the powers of your favourite Super Heroes right before your eyes.” 

The show will be flying into arenas in Nottingham, London, Sheffield, Glasgow, Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin, Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham from September until December 2019. 

SSE Arena Belfast: 8th to 10th November

3Arena Dublin: 15th to 17th November

Chill out this August Bank Holiday weekend with activities for all the family at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

It’s set to be a spectacular Bank Holiday weekend at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, County Down, with a series of exciting events and activities that will keep all the family entertained!

A panoramic view of the south front. Hillsborough Castle is a late Georgian mansion built in the 1770s by Wills Hill, first Marquis of Downshire. Today, this is a working royal palace functioning as the official residence of the Royal Family when they are in Northern Ireland, and it has been the home of the Secretary of State since the 1970s

Make a day of it and discover what Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has to offer, with activities from Saturday 24 August – Monday 26 August including:

  • Georgian Ice Cream Workshop – cool off and have a go at making your very own Georgian ice cream. Watch a live demonstration on how to make gelato, then all children can get creative and make their own ice cream sundaes! Aspiring little chefs can take home an ‘ice cream sundae making’ certificate too!
  • Get crafty with Kite Making –retrace the footsteps of one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin who visited the Castle in the 1770s.Inspired by his famous kite experiment, make your own kite to fly in the stunning gardens on Saturday and Sunday. 
  • Enjoy the sounds of Downshire Bass Band – there will be entertainment from Northern Ireland’s leading brass band, Downshire Brass Band on Saturday and Sunday. The band will be performing in the South Terrace among any array of colourful flora.
  • Go on a fascinating nature trail – children can go hunting for bugs and other wildlife with maps and adventure kits provided. Pick up a pair of ‘bugnoculars’ and explore the magnificent grounds with 100 acres of ornamental grounds, peaceful woodland and meandering waterways.
  • Join one of the new interactive Family Tours – join a tour of the sumptuous State Rooms and discover the weird and wonderful things some of our guests have left behind!

Booking is recommended for all activities with limited spaces available. For more information and to book tickets visit

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has been completely transformed by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces after five years and a £24 million investment – supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other generous donors. Greeting visitors upon arrival is a new visitor centre complete with café and shop.

“Luminous Soul celebrates a decade of dance with the ‘MeetShareDance’ festival”

Open Arts, one of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic arts and disability organisations will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of its dance group Luminous Soul by hosting the inclusive dance festival MeetShareDance in Belfast from 5 – 7 September 2019.

Luminous Soul is the only contemporary dance development programme for disabled people in Northern Ireland and features members who have a range of disabilities: physical, sensory, learning disabilities and mental health illness.

Now in its eighth year, MeetShareDance is an international workshop dance festival which is based around the ideas of inclusivity and exchange.  It aims to raise the profile of integrated dance in artistic and everyday life. The festival has previously taken place in Porto, Madrid, Helsinki, Berlin, Lubjana and Dublin – this will be its first visit to Northern Ireland.  

Eileen Branagh, Chief Executive of Open Arts said:

“MeetShareDance embodies the ethos of what Luminous Soul as a disability dance group has been doing for the past 10 years.  We bring people of all abilities together to learn to dance, make new connections and share their talents with each other and the public. 

Over a decade of dance, Luminous Soul members have worked with and been trained by some of the most well known inclusive choreographers in the UK and Ireland and some have even gone on to have their own successful careers in professional dance.  We’re really looking forward to celebrating the group’s achievements with dancers from all over Europe at MeetShareDance in Belfast in September.” 

During the festival forty amateur and professional dancers from eight countries – Spain, Portugal, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, UK, Slovenia – will take part in three days of inclusive dance workshops at the Crescent Arts Centre. Participants in MeetShareDance will then showcase their skills to the public with a performance of a newly devised collaborative piece in Cornmarket at 1pm on Saturday 7 September. 

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is committed to providing opportunities for everyone to access and engage with the arts.  Congratulations to Open Arts on celebrating ten years of providing high-quality dance development opportunities, for people with disabilities, through the Luminous Soul programme and we look forward to the Meet Share Dance Festival coming to Belfast to mark the occasion this September.”

For further information on Luminous Soul and the MeetShareDance 2019 festival, visit 

Open Arts is principally funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and receives Core Multi-Annual Funding from Belfast City Council’s Tourism Culture & Arts Unit. 

One Night with You, at the Market Place Theatre, Armagh

Get ready for an evening of pure nostalgia at Armagh’s Market Place Theatre, with ‘One Night With You’.

This two-hour, feel-good uplifting show, will take you down memory lane with the hits of three of Rock ‘n’ Roll music’s greatest icons; Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison & Elvis Presley! Featuring all the hits to have you dancing in the aisles, from ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’, ‘I Drove All Night’, ‘Shake, Rattle & Roll’, ‘Teddy Bear’, and ‘That’s All Right Mama’, to name but a few!

Each of these outstanding West End artists are worth buying a ticket to see in their own right but all three together make for a powerful musical evening full of nostalgia and fun! Featuring Marc Robinson with his Stratocaster Guitar, Darren Page with his dark glasses, and Steve Halliday with all the moves of the king himself!

Will rock ‘n’ roll ever die? That’ll be the day!  ‘One Night with You takes to the stage on Friday 6 September.

Tickets are available from the Theatre Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or 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


Pride in Newry Festival 2019 takes place from 24th August to 1st September.  Pride in Newry is the proud host of UK and Ireland Pride 2019.  A variety of engaging and family friendly events populate the programme of events spanning over a week.


The Planetarium is being taken over by Jedi and Sith on the 24th and 25th August.  Bring your younglings down and train them up in the ways of the force, or the dark side at Force Academy Training.


This Friday 23rd August, come to SHARE for a fun-filled evening at their Charity Colour Run!  This fun, 5k run takes place on their estate and you will have to take on a number of obstacles while getting covered in powdered paint!


A travelling theatre group are set for a night of music and entertainment, when suddenly the lights go out and the mysterious Phantom appears at the Murder Mystery evening “The Phantom Strikes Again” at the Alley Theatre Strabane on Saturday 24th August. 


The Banks of Foyle Festival presents Open Air Cinema showing ‘The Greatest Showman’ on a  50ft screen at the Vale Centre Greysteel on Friday 23rd August. Donation £5 per adult, £2.50 u16s.


History comes to life at Dunluce Castle this Saturday afternoon.  If you’ve ever wanted to try shooting a longbow, this dramatic Castle jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean is the perfect place to have a go at archery, meet some Medieval characters and experience the atmosphere and unique beauty of Dunluce.


The first Ukulele BBQ with the Belfast Ukulele Jam in the BOHO Garden at the Botanic Inn takes place this Saturday from 1.00pm to 4.00pm. This is a free music event.

For further 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.

10 things to do next week in NI!

10 things to do in Northern Ireland 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 (19-25 August)

1.       Belfast Mela, Belfast, 25 August. Organised by ArtsEkta, one of Belfast’s leading arts and cultural organisations, this year’s Belfast Mela is set to provide a wonderful family day out to celebrate increasing cultural diversity with music, dance, food and much more from around the world.

2.       Causeway Coast Mini Weekend, Portrush, 24-25 August.  To celebrate the 60th birthday of the Mini the Causeway Coast Mini Club has organised a weekend of celebrations. From themed competitions to family entertainment and with over 200 Mini cars on show, this is set to be a weekend of excitement for any car fanatic.

3.       Kids Sea Creatures Nature Trail, Newtownards, 23 August. Ards Visitor Centre hosts this nature trail which allows children to explore and see how and where sea creatures live, and which salty treats they like to eat.

4.       Walled City of Derry & Strabane Pro Am Tournament, Derry~Londonderry, 24-25 August. Professional and amateur golfers will tee up for the Walled City of Derry & Strabane Pro Am Tournament, hosting  52 teams and a total of 208 golfers.

5.       Our Living Coast Boat Trip, Portrush, 24 August. Join the Causeway Lass crew in a unique 2-hour journey along the North Coast. See wildlife in its natural environment and learn about the hidden local history of the Causeway Coast.

6.       Lap the Lough, Moy, 23-25 August.  Northern Ireland’s largest cycle event sees 2000 cyclists pedalling around Lough Neagh. The event this year takes place in Moy & Charlemont on the Tyrone and Armagh border and will see a weekend of cycle events suitable for all the family.

7.       Eagles Rock Hill Climb, Limavady, 24 August. Visitors to the Causeway Coast and Glens can experience the thrill of the Eagles Rock Hill Climb, which takes place in the scenic surroundings of Magilligan, overlooking Benone Stand and Lough Foyle.

8.       The Ould Lammas Fair, Ballycastle, 24-27 August. Every year thousands flock to Ballycastle for Ireland’s oldest fair. The seaside town bustles with street trading, bargaining, traditional music, dancing, horse trading, amusements, artisan markets and much more.

9.       Wake the Giant Festival 2019, Warrenpoint, 24-25 August. Visitors and locals will be treated to a new twist in the tale to wake the impressive 32-foot giant, Finn, assisted by a merry band of acrobats, drummers, sprites and fairies.

10.   Foyle Pride Parade, Derry~Londonderry, 24 August. After a week of events, this year’s Pride Parade will be on Saturday 24 August. Expect colour, music and dancing.

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

FREE Transport Available for Groomsport Music and Fireworks Event!

Free transport from Bangor, Newtownards and Donaghadee is available for the large number of people that are expected to attend this Saturday’s Groomsport Music and Fireworks event!

Bootleg Blondie is coming to the Groomsport Music and Fireworks event.

Due to the increasing popularity of the event, thanks in no small part to headline act Bootleg Blondie, 19th Street Band, as well as a funfair, food stalls and a spectacular fireworks display, no parking will be available in the picturesque village (except for accessible spaces) or the surrounding area.

Instead, Ards and North Down Borough Council has arranged shuttle buses and free park and ride facilities to make the event safer and easier for everyone to attend.

In addition to the usual free shuttle bus service from Bangor Bus Station, a bus will be available from Gibson’s Lane in Newtownards (with a stop at Donaghadee) and free park and ride facilities will be located at Bloomfield Shopping Centre in Bangor.

The park and ride will operate between the centre’s Marks and Spencer car park and the A2 at the former Groomsport Hotel. It will start at 4pm and run continuously throughout the day until the end of the event.

The free shuttle bus services from Bangor Bus Station to Groomsport Main Street, as well as from Newtownards’ Gibson’s Lane to Groomsport (with a stop at Donaghadee’s New Street), will leave at 5.30pm, 6.30pm, 7.30pm and 8.30pm, with return buses operating at approximately 10.30pm and 11pm.

Visitors to the event can expect to be treated to a musical extravaganza that includes Bootleg Blondie, the official Debbie Harry and Blondie tribute band. She will be supported by ‘19th Street Band’, who will provide a high energy fusion of Americana and country from 6.30pm, before a fantastic fireworks finale at 10pm.

Throughout the day, families can also avail of free and fun activities at Cockle Row Cottages from 2pm – 4pm, (cottages open from 11am – 8pm) or enjoy a fun fair and food stalls which will open at 4pm (charges apply).

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Music and Fireworks event is definitely back with a bang so don’t miss the fun, food, music and entertainment this Saturday 17 August in the beautiful coastal village of Groomsport!

For more information, log on to