10 things do this week in NI

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things taking place from 30 December – 5 January 2020.

1.       Out-to-Lunch-Festival Belfast, 3 – 26 January 2020. A lunch-based arts festival featuring the best in Comedy, Theatre, Literature and Music held in Belfast’s vibrant Cathedral Quarter. The 2020 edition features Badly Drawn Boy, Cerys Matthews, Janey Godley, Val McDermid, Joanne Harris and many more.

2.       New-Years-Eve-2019-Black-and-White-Ball Bangor, 31 January. Revel in a fabulous night of entertainment and dance the night at The Old Inn this New Year’s Eve. Enjoy a delicious three course meal and some live Jazz entertainment throughout the evening before bringing in the New Year with resident DJ Derek West on the dance floor.

3.       New-Years-Day-Historic-Ards-Walk Newtownards, 1 January. The historic tour will take you on a journey through time, visiting the Medieval, Plantation and Georgian periods discovering the many interesting and exciting stories including those of John de Courcy and Oliver Cromwell. Discover the unique history of Newtownards – one of the oldest settlements in Northern Ireland.

4.       A-Night-in-Vienna Belfast, 4 January. This ever-popular New Year concert returns to enchant audiences once again. Let the Ulster Orchestra and highly-acclaimed soprano, Ailish Tynan, take you to the magic and magnificence of the 19th century Vienna ballrooms with a glittering collection of wonderful waltzes, opulent overtures and playful polkas.

5.       SimplyE-Exhibition-in-Craftswirl-Armagh-Visitor-Information-Centre Armagh, 2 – 31 January. Craftswirl @ Armagh Visitor Information Centre are delighted to showcase a beautiful exhibition by SimplyE for their January exhibition. SimplyE is a maker, designer and a weaver of bespoke leather and weave products for use within the home and fashion industry which are all individually hand woven from her design studio in County Armagh. 

6.       The-Governors-NYE-Ball Belfast, 31 January. The unique Victorian Era prison provides a stunning backdrop to your New Year’s Eve party which will kick off with a magical drinks reception, followed by a three course meal and entertainment from live five piece band Conspiracy. They cover everything from the swinging sixties right up to current chart hits and are sure to have you up on your feet dancing the night away.

7.       Life-Cycles-by-Lorna-Smyth Enniskillen, 2 Dec – 18 April 2020. This showcase of new works, curated by renowned artist Lorna Smyth, encompasses the four seasons in one year. Lorna’s art emphasises the world around us, highlights her love of nature and captures a sense of belonging regardless of the place name.

8.       Bespoke-Farm-Tour-Broughgammon-Farm Ballycastle, 4 September – 31 December. Fancy a personal guided tour of the farm? Come along and meet the animals, see a true farm to fork artisan food business, and see how they farm in harmony with the environment. Get delicious samples of their award winning produce and take home our cookbook showcasing Northern Irish producers.

9.       Christmas-Family-Activities-at-Hillsborough-Castle-Hillsborough-P85702/ Hillsborough, 1 – 2 January. Celebrate the festive season with family-friendly activities, including arts and crafts, storytelling, dancing and music, inspired by the theme of the 12 days of Christmas.  Join our ’12 drummers drumming’ this Christmas and participate in this fun family workshop run by drum circle facilitator Joe Loughlin. No drumming experience necessary!

10.   Peter-Pan Belfast, 29 Nov – 4 January. From Wonderland to Neverland, Paul Boyd returns with an exciting new musical of Peter Pan, adapted from the play by JM Barrie. With fairies, crocodiles, flying children, and mermaids, join the Darling children as they embark on the most magical adventure – where Hook and the crew of the Jolly Roger come face to face with all of Neverland and the boy who won’t grow up.

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

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

Happy New Year from Jacqueline at whatsonni.com as she shares her pick of what’s on across the North this weekend.


Getting married in 2020? Don’t miss the Wedding Show at the Marine Court Hotel Bangor this Sunday 5th January.  This is the perfect opportunity to view the Marine Court, beautifully situated on Bangor Marina.  Meet the events team and get a tour of the hotel. You will also have the chance meet an amazing selection of local wedding suppliers. Enjoy a welcome drink on arrival with nibbles, a relaxing way to plan your wedding.


William Caulfield stars in Our Jimmy, Past and Present at The Theatre at the Mill this Saturday 4th December. Featuring some original, and some new material from the beloved comedy characters. Join William as he celebrates the comedy legend that was James Young.


Fresh from a sell-out tour, star of BBC’s ‘The Blame Game’, ‘Fighting Talk’ and ‘The News Quiz’, Neil Delamere returns to The Market Place with a brand new show on the 3rd, 4th and 5th January.  Time waits for no man, especially one trying to buy a watch. Things always get complicated!


Ah Vienna! Let the Ulster Orchestra and charismatic guest performers take you to the glittering world of Strauss for the waltz of your life this Sunday 5th January at the Millennium Forum. Welcome the New Year with an uplifting and enchanting evening of your much-loved Viennese music from the Merry Widow to the Blue Danube.


Flash Harry are Northern Irelands most enduring tribute band, celebrating the music of super star Freddie Mercury and super group Queen, for over 25 years. See them perform live this Saturday 4th at the Ardhowen Theatre in Enniskillen. They are sure to have the audience rocking in their seats and singing along to anthems of one of the greatest bands in history!


This Saturday 2.00pm at Ranfurly House Dungannon, sing your heart out to the Greatest Showman. This special sing-a-long screening of The Greatest Showman, the Golden Globe winner for Best Original Song, is your opportunity to join in the fun, sing loud and be part of the movie – It’s Showtime!


The Rock ‘n’ Roll Years and Dance Hall Days show is coming to the Ulster Hall on 4th and 5th January.  An all-star cast will take you on a whirlwind journey through the musical decades of the 50’s and 60’s paying homage to the musical stars of the era.  Hosted by George Jones who plays ‘the Agent’, the story unfolds into a myriad of the times greatest hits, including Elvis, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, Del Shannon and many more.

For further 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 for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

Have a very Happy Christmas!


Join the Slieve Donard Hotel for an evening of music in a “cabaret-style” setting with the Bjorn Identity on Sunday 29th December.  Doors open at 7.30 and the show begins at 9.00pm.  Make a night of it and book in for a pre-show dinner, or even better, treat yourself to an overnight stay!


Island Arts Centre Lisburn presents Celtic Soul, the definitive tribute to Van Morrison on Sunday 29th December, for a special Christmas evening celebrating the music of the legendary Belfast song writer.  With years of playing in blues, folk, trad and jazz bands, the seven-piece band have the ingredients to deliver Van’s music authentically.


Live Nativity at Tannaghmore Rare Breeds Animal Farm is open until the 29th December.  You will find Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the three Kings in a remake of that world  famous stable complete with donkey,  sheep, cows and other animals. 


Junior Parkrun Magherafelt takes place every Sunday morning at 9.30am at Polepatrick, Castledawson Road, Magherafelt, BT45 6PB.   This is a free, timed 2k event for juniors only age 4-14 years old. Get updates on the facebook page and don’t forget your barcode!


Veteran Irish songwriter Kieran Goss and singer Annie Kinsella will perform live at the Ardhowen Theatre this Saturday evening.  With songs, stories and harmonies that transport the listener to another world, this is music from the heart, for the heart… A show to make you laugh and cry… A show to move you with its honest beauty.


Banyan Theatre Company presents the Emperor’s New Clothes at Ranfurly House this Saturday at 2.00pm.   Two Swindlers come into town pretending to be master tailors. The vain Emperor summons them to fashion him a set of clothes the like of which had never been seen before.  This charming and humorous adaptation is told through the use of puppetry, original music and storytelling. Tickets only £5.


Panto season is still in full swing and continues with Belvoir Players’ production of Aladdin. The wicked Abanazar is seeking the magic lamp that contains the all-powerful Genie, so that he can rule the world, and is just steps away from succeeding! Is all hope lost?   The show continues until the 4th January at Belvoir Players Studio.

Pole Fitness Climbs In Popularity For 2020

With the new year’s resolutions pending Belfast pole fitness expert El Fegan has already had an influx of people ready to get in shape at her city centre studio in 2020.

Despite being around for over a decade there’s no sign of pole fitness losing its appeal according to El.

El has been offering pole dancing, pole athletics and other fun activities from her Polercise premises in Belfast’s Donegall Street for almost fifteen years. The studio is located in the former premises of Clark’s Dance Studio and El admits that when she first opened, she expected a bit of opposition.

“Looking back now, I think I was just a bit nervous,” she said. “Given the reputation of the US ‘pole dancing’, I expected to see banners and protests right outside the door, but there was nothing and it all worked out well. I think Northern Ireland – and Belfast in particular – has moved on now.

“We’ve had great interest in the classes for the new year with people coming for a variety of reasons from confidence building and self esteem reasons to exercise, fitness and even core strengthening and more.

“I definitely feel that the popularity of pole certainly hasn’t waned and, in fact, there’s been a little resurgence recently since Belfast hosted the World Pole Sports and Fitness Championships.”

For those who don’t know, pole exercise has remained a popular exercise trend in recent years, with participants able to have fun and get healthy at the same time. 

El first came across pole fitness during a trip to Australia.

“I saw this article in a magazine and I was really intrigued,” she explained. “I immediately thought ‘hey, I could do that. I remember going and asking about the classes. For about three weeks I sneaked off to classes but didn’t tell my boyfriend at the time.”

El quickly got the pole ‘bug’ and decided to pursue a career in the activity. But first she had to overcome a bit of a blip!

“When I came home in October 2004,” she added, “I set up a pole in my brother’s house because I didn’t want to speak to my parents about it. I didn’t think they would understand because, at that time, pole still had a seedy sort of image, so I sneaked over to my brother’s house for a while to practise. Pole was, however, becoming more prominent in England and was getting press coverage, so I would leave magazines open for my mum to pick up on it so that she would understand it wasn’t seedy, but a great way of getting stronger, both physically and mentally.”

Since those early days El has pioneered the benefits of pole for all ages – particularly for girls and is encouraging people to consider signing up to the new term next month.

“We’ve actually had girls come in and tell us that pole has changed their lives,” she said. “Through pole, they develop their body confidence and self-confidence, and this can help them in their relationships. Some have come from an abusive relationship and they are able to get the strength to just go and move on from there. And, that, for me, is probably the best, the biggest thing that we get out of it.”

El’s classes are now a major attraction for all types of people. From mothers and daughters to younger children, her classes are a mix of people who are there for fun and for the health benefits.

There’s even a growing number of men joining in.

“Oh, absolutely,” she said. “This year has been good for stag parties and we’ve had a couple of stags who have come in to do pole and had a really great time.”

With taster sessions on the first Friday of every month starting January 3 the one hour long class is perfect for people looking to try before they commit.

And no one should feel it’s not for them. Those who take part in the Polercise classes come in all shapes and sizes.

“We get small girls who have absolutely no upper body strength, and they’re not able to lift their own body,” she explained. “And then, we’ll get stronger, bigger, girls who can just climb up that pole, no bother. It’s just all about being able to lift your own bodyweight, and work from there.

“We have people who are gymnastic, people who come from absolutely no background and love the sexy side of it, and love putting the hands on. We’re not a school that’s going to go ‘No, you’re not allowed to wear high heels, you’re not allowed to do that’.”

In addition to classes, Polercise also offers fun events for parties.

“We offer any kind of themed dance party, like the whole Burlesque, cheerleading, Grease, Dirty Dancing and the like,” El said. “This year is going to be the hustlers, so we’re going to be offering strip tease workshops. We’ve already run a few of those, and they went down a storm. While the classes involve a full-on body workout, the parties are a bit more fun. Everyone comes in and we play a few party games, followed by a champagne reception.”

If you’re intrigued about pole fitness, but not sure whether it’s for you, El suggests a beginners’ class where you learn the basics.

“Everyone starts out as a beginner,” she explained. “Initially we focus on the basics like technique and building your strength. Come and try it and see if it’s for you.”

Taster sessions for Polercise start on Friday January 3 with the 4-week beginners class starting on Monday January 6.

For more information go to https://www.polerciseni.com/

Brain Injury Matters (NI) Awarded £199,959 From The National Lottery

Northern Ireland charity Brain Injury Matters (NI) has been awarded nearly £200,000 for their Family First Service from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

The Family First Service – a Northern Ireland wide service – is a collaborative venture, led by Brain Injury Matters (NI), in partnership with the Psychology Services at the Belfast Health and Social Trust supporting families whose child has an acquired brain injury (ABI).  The project launched in 2015 and has been funded to the tune of £199,959 by the National Lottery Community fund since its commencement. 

Joe Mc Vey, CEO of Brain Injury Matters, said: “This new fund further enhances our capability to deliver the Family First Service.  By developing what we offer within this service, we are confident that this new fund will help us continue to meet family’s needs, offer additional support to siblings and deliver additional online services. We are delighted to have the continued support from the Lottery and to strengthen our partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.”

The Family First Service project provides specific interventions to support and empower families to meet the challenges of supporting their child with an acquired brain injury (ABI). Overall the family first project has enabled families to live beyond acquired brain injury and enabled them not to be solely defined by their child’s injury. 

Thanks to the funding from National Lottery, Brain Injury Matters (NI) Family First project will be able to continue their home based work, more work with siblings, continued Partnership with the Belfast Trust and develop their on-line portal. This will ensure that families with a child who has ABI will have continued access to tailored services, more access to the Family First team, to information and to each other.

Bridget Smyth, Children’s Services Manager of the Family first Service, said: “This new National Lottery funding is fantastic and will help us to continue to make a difference in the lives of families whose children have an acquired brain injury (ABI). In the 5 years since its commencement, we have worked with over 70 families. Feedback from families has identified not only a positive impact for the child in terms of their overall wellbeing but the positive impact on the family as a whole.”

Mary Peoples, whose son Peadar Pio, has been receiving support from the Family First service for the last year.  She said: “In July 2018 our lives changed when our 10 year old son, Peadar Pio, fell from a trampoline and required life-saving brain surgery. The following few months were lonely and frustrating for the family. Peadar Pio’s OT contacted Brain Injury Matters and we have been so lucky to be receiving support from Catherine since January 2019. 

“Catherine provides a safe environment for Peadar Pio and us to discuss our worries and fears and she helps us understand the effects of an Acquired Brain Injury. She has given Peadar Pio coping mechanisms which will benefit him throughout his life.  

“The positive impact that BIM has had on our lives is immeasurable and we are so grateful to everyone involved; so much so that we have organised a number of fundraising events in our local area to support the work of Brain Injury Matters; including a cinema night and most recently the male staff of Gaelcholáiste Dhore took part in Movember and raised just under £1,000.”

For more information on the Family First Service contact Bridget Smyth at bridget@braininjurymatters.org.uk or 02890705125 or visit www.braininjurymatters.org.uk

Spring into the New Year with Ards and North Down’s new Arts and Heritage Guide!

Ards and North Down Borough Council has just launched its latest Arts and Heritage Guide.

The colourful Spring edition, covering the January to April period is filled with an abundance of opportunities to enjoy the new Arts and Heritage Programme. From events to creative classes, exhibitions, arts experiences for children and everything that’s happening at North Down Museum, make sure you pick up your copy today!

With the New Year comes plenty of opportunity for hands-on art and craft activity with the creative class and one-day workshop series at Ards Arts Centre including traditional stone carving techniques and two special Easter Floral Art classes. The Outreach Workshop Programme will ‘bring the arts to you’ with a series of creative classes in Comber, Holywood, Kircubbin, Donaghadee and Carrowdore.

Music lovers will be pleased with the return of the popular Friday Night Live and Music in the Chamber series of events with Chris Keys, Wilfie Gilbert and Cup O’Joe performing at Ards Arts Centre while King Cedar, The Dime Notes and Cormac Neeson will grace the stage at Bangor Castle.

The fantastic Dyad Productions return to bring Queen Elizabeth I to life at The Space Theatre or visit The Worst Café in the World for an immersive theatre experience brought to you by Big Telly Theatre Company – one thing you won’t get is good food!

Spring is shaping up to be a busy time at North Down Museum too.  On Friday 14 February, the museum will be invaded by wee ones for the Toddlers Take Over the Museum event. This popular event is a chance for your toddler to experience arts, crafts, story-telling and dancing through the theme ‘Vikings’. The museum is also hosting a wealth of fascinating exhibitions over the coming months, exploring the Borough’s Maritime Heritage, the skill and tradition of crochet, VE Day and lots more.

Speaking about the new programme; Emily Crawford Arts and Heritage Manager with Ards and North Down Borough Council said: ‘If your New Year’s resolution is to get creative, engage more in culture or simply to explore your local heritage then we have an activity for you! The Arts and Heritage Team look forward to welcoming you in the New Year with an exciting programme of events and activities to suit all tastes and abilities.’

Stuck for a last-minute Christmas gift? Online ticket pre-sales for all music and theatre events are available from Thursday 19 December. Enrolment for all creative classes and workshops takes place on Wednesday 8 January either in person at Ards Arts Centre or by phoning: 028 9181 0803.

Pick up your copy of the Arts and Heritage Spring Guide from Arts Ards Centre, North Down Museum or our Visitor Information Centres or download from www.ardsarts.com or www.visitardsandnorthdown.com . Tickets can be purchased at: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/ardsandnorthdown


Northern Ireland boasts a wonderful 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.

·         Shop & Be Pampered, one night stay White Horse Hotel, Derry~Londonderry from £102.50 per person sharing

Enjoy a fabulous break and shopping spree with this fantastic offer at the White Horse Hotel. This best-selling “Shop & Be Pampered” package includes a one night stay with breakfast, a bottle of bubbly in your room on arrival, four course evening meal in the award winning 68 Clooney Restaurant on the evening of your choice, one £25 Foyleside Shopping Centre voucher per room and one back, neck and shoulder massage per person. To book call 028 7186 0606. Offer available until 31 March 2020.

·         Glide on by, one night stay at Stormont Hotel, Belfast from £50 per person sharing

It’s never been easier to combine a trip to the city of Belfast whilst staying in the leafy suburb at the Stormont Hotel. The Translink Glider Bus stops just outside the hotel every ten minutes and will take you along the dedicated bus lanes swiftly into the City Centre. Our special offer includes luxurious overnight accommodation, full Irish breakfast in the morning, return Glider bus ticket to Belfast City Centre, complimentary Wi-Fi and complimentary car parking. To book call 028 9065 1066. Offer available until 8 February 2020.

·         Mourne Forest Parc Holidays, Spelga Mountain Lodge, Newry from £250 per person

Enjoy the forest parks of Mourne with your family and try an activity at Life Adventure Centre (pre book for your activity separately). Stay for two nights in the high Mournes ten minutes from Newcastle County Down, relaxing by the wooden stove in the modern two bedroom self-catering lodge (sleeps five), beside Spelga Dam Wall. There are three forest parks surrounding the mountain lodge. Santa visit also bookable online in December (subject to availability). To book call 077 2043 2781. Offer available until 31 March 2020.

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things taking place from 16 – 22 December.

1.       Winter-Solstice Armagh, 20 December. Celebrate the Winter Solstice with a lantern-lit procession to Navan Fort. Take part in a solstice ritual of morning meditation, reflecting upon the past and welcoming new light. Appreciate the calmness and serenity of watching the sunrise over the site of Emain Macha, before returning to the Centre for breakfast.

2.       Colin-Davidson-and-Oliver-Jeffers-In-Conversation Belfast, 16 December. Colin Davidson is a contemporary artist, living and working near Belfast. Since graduating in 1991, he has structured his practice in themes, and since 2010 his focus has been on painting grand scale portraits which have won widespread recognition and many international awards. His sitters have included Queen Elizabeth II, Bill Clinton, Liam Neeson, Brad Pitt and Ed Sheeran.

3.       Bushmills-Pre-Christmas-Food-Tour Bushmills, 20 – 21 December. Join Irish Feast on a journey of local, gastronomic discovery. During the tour of Bushmills, you’ll discover old recipes and new trends. You’ll talk to people in traditional family-owned restaurants and in up and coming artisan cafes and eateries. You’ll taste history and culture and truly experience the creative future of our food industry on a scintillating, surprising, seriously tasty Irish Feast Food Tour.

4.       Festive-Friday-at-Rademon-Estate Downpatrick, 6 – 23rd December. Learn all about their foraged botanicals, unique gin and whiskey processes. Stand next to their three beautiful copper pot stills and meet the founders Fiona and David. Just remember to take time to enjoy the views in their beautiful location with a pre/post tour cocktail at the bar!

5.       Ulster-Orchestra-The-Magic-of-Christmas Derry~Londonderry, 18 December. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas at this magical night with the Ulster Orchestra. Conductor Richard Balcombe, Codetta Choir and West End stars Sophie-Louise Dann (Les Misérables) Alex Gaumond (Legally Blonde, We Will Rock You) will definitely get you and your family in the Christmas mood, with an enchanting programme including O Holy Night, The Polar Express and not forgetting everyone’s favourite, White Christmas.

6.       Wild-Game-Butchery-Class Ballycastle, 15 December – 19 January 2020. This is the perfect class for anyone who is curious about using seasonal, small game or for those who enjoy shooting but would like to also know how to butcher their quarry. The class will give you all the skills you’ll need to be confident in prepping your own wild game for the kitchen. During the class they will also talk about the best ways to cook the different cuts and varieties. You’ll get to take away a selection of local game at the end of the class.

7.       Carols-by-Candlelight Holywood, 13 – 20 December. Experience the atmosphere of the festive season in the 1900s at Christmas at Cultra event and make it extra special by joining the candlelit carol service in the atmospheric surrounds of the Omagh Meeting House, Ballycultra.Take in the Christmas atmosphere in the idyllic setting of the Omagh Meeting House period building in the Folk Museum, for an evening of singing carols and seasonal readings.

8.       Aladdin Belfast, 20 – 22 December. Meet Aladdin, the rough and rugged hero struggling to find his purpose in life. Come along and have your wishes granted with a night of entertainment and a story that you’ve never heard told quite like this. With popular references to motion pictures and a soundtrack that is sure to leave you with your jaw on the floor, Aladdin is perfect entertainment for all the family this Christmas.

9.       Christmas-Family-Activities-at-Hillsborough-Castle Hillsborough, 14 December – 2 January. Get crafty with the art facilitator and make yourself something wonderful to take home. Enjoy some festive and traditional tales of the season with renowned storyteller Liz Weir. See ladies dancing and lords a’ leaping this Christmas and prepare for your own Twelfth Night ball by practising some Georgian steps with the expert dance tutor. Join the ’12 Drummers Drumming’ this Christmas and participate in this fun family workshop run by drum circle facilitator Joe Loughlin.

10.   Christmas-at-the-Cathedral Belfast, 20 – 21 December. World-class singers Peter Corry, Barbara Dickson and Patrick Smyth will be joined by the BSPA Voices for an enchanting show of seasonal celebration in the most stunning of settings. Peter Corry is finalising the full line-up of songs, but with Blood Brothers, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Elton John and the Greatest Showman in their combined repertoires, plus some seasonal favourites, Christmas at the Cathedral has the perfect experience and perfect present wrapped up.

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

Jacqueline shares her pick of whats on this weekend across NI


Spend a winter evening in the company of Ebeneezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchett and a few of the ghosts of Christmas’ past, present and future this Saturday 21st December at Castle Ward. Hear the classic Dickens story of Ebeneezer Scrooge as you never have never heard it before.


Theatre at the Mill Newtownabbey present a live screening of Coppelia, live from the Royal Ballet, this Saturday evening.   Osbert Lancaster’s designs bring a colourful storybook world to life in this Christmas treat for the whole family.


Beauty and the Beast continues at the Market Place Theatre until Sunday 22nd December. The greatest love story ever told, but told in a way you’ll never have seen the like of before! Audiences can expect an action-packed show bursting with magic, music and plenty of mayhem!


See It’s a Wonderful Life this Saturday afternoon at Roe Valley Arts Centre, Limavady. George Bailey is a small-town man who had always wanted to leave Bedford Falls to see the world, but circumstances have led him to stay.   As he prepares to take drastic action, his guardian angel intercedes; showing him what life would have become for the residents of Bedford Falls if he had never lived.


This Saturday evening at the Ardhowen Theatre in “Mini Strokes of Luck”, Terry McHugh will be taking a very funny and honest look at his experience of suffering 2 mini strokes and the effects they had on him.  Terry will be joined by the hilarious Frazer Robb who has been performing on the Northern Irish Comedy scene for nearly 10 years as a Stand Up and as part of improv group Wonderfrog.


Join vocal ensemble Cantabelles for a festive evening of Christmas carols and popular songs this Friday evening at Ranfurly House Dungannon.  Relax  and listen to favourites of O Holy Night and Carol of the Bells.  Cantabelles are an established local ensemble combining rich harmonies and vocals to old classics and modern songs.


Meet Aladdin at the Crescent Arts Centre 20th to 22nd December.  He is the rough and rugged hero struggling to find his purpose in life. Along the way he falls in love with the beautiful princess Jasmine who has been forced to marry the man her father, the Sultan, picked for her.

For further 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 for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

Libraries NI Roadshow Encourages Learning Through Blogging

A blogging inspiration event, part of the Libraries NI #GetBloggingNI tour, will welcome vlogger Michelle Connolly and Blogger Jill McDowell to Finaghy Library later this month.

The free event on Wednesday 11 December, which aims to teach and inspire attendees about the world of blogging, is one in a series happening across Northern Ireland in 2019 and 2020.

Designed to encourage existing and new bloggers to get started and learn new skills the #GetBloggingNI speakers, facilitator and host will provide top tips, hints, tricks and tools to help supercharge your blogging journey.

Speaker Michelle Connolly is founder of Belfast based LearningMole, an educational blog which aims to support Parents, teachers and children and has over 1.8million views on YouTube. With 15 years teaching experience and being a parent of 3 children she has used her blog to reach parents in over 166 countries.

She said: “I am delighted to have been asked to speak at the #GetBloggingNI session in Finaghy. Education is at the heart of what I do and it is a great opportunity to chat to others who are developing new skills.

“I started blogging while I was a Primary School teacher. Parents often asked me to support them as the education system has changed so much. I wanted to support parents across the globe and blogging seemed the most natural way to do this.

“Blogging has been such a rewarding experience for me both on a personal and business level. I have forged partnerships across the globe in China and have worked on many government contracts because of my blogging experience.

“It is a great way to share your skills and experiences. Everyone has something to say and so many people will be inspired by listening.”

Also speaking in Finaghy Library is Jill McDowell, the founder of the blog Home At Rose Cottage who started her blogging journey when renovating her grandparent’s home. Jill began posting photos of her journey on Instagram and it was so popular the blog was born.

Jill McDowell

She said: “I am delighted to have been asked to be involved at the #GetBloggingNI session; having attended the 6-week course myself over a year ago, I never ever thought I would be the one at the front encouraging others to start their blogging journey.

“Blogging has provided me with such amazing opportunities, working with brands I could only dream of, and making friends and connections with such amazing people.

“Blogging has opened up another world for me and it can do the same for others too. Confidence building, exercising your creativity and promoting positive mental health are only a few of the benefits it can have.”

Chartered Marketer Christine Watson of Training Matchmaker will facilitate the session, which is hosted by journalist and content creator, Tina Calder of the Content Club and Excalibur Press.

Christine said Libraries NI is responding to the thirst for knowledge for new skills such as blogging.

She added: “In recent years there has been a surge in interest in blogging, vlogging and podcasting across Northern Ireland.

“It’s a fantastic way to connect with like-minded people, immerse yourself in your passions, keep your mind healthy and active and an excellent excuse to get out and about and use your local library.

“Attendees at the Blogging Inspiration event in Finaghy Library will be sure to leave with the motivation, encouragement and practical knowhow they need to begin or amplify their blogging journey.”

Libraries NI Service Development Manager Julie Reid said: “Libraries NI is pleased to offer this free Blogging Inspiration event to introduce people to the art of blogging.

“Storytelling is forever evolving and blogging, vlogging and podcasting is quickly becoming the new platform for telling stories through text, images and video. 

“Whether you’re blogging for business, documenting your family history or keeping a record of travelling expeditions, you’re using the power of words to tell a story.”

“We’re delighted to once again team up with Christine Watson to present this event on Wednesday 11 December at Finaghy Library and look forward to welcoming our speakers Michelle Connolly and Jill McDowell as well as host Tina Calder to the library.”

The event at Finaghy Library is part of the ongoing Libraries NI #GetBloggingNI series which will run into 2020 across Northern Ireland.

Officially presented by TrainingMatchmaker.com in collaboration with Libraries NI, previous events in the #GetBloggingNI series included Blogging Inspiration sessions, a six-week Get Blogging Course and five Blogging for Wellness roadshows.

Booking for #GetBloggingNI at Finaghy Library on Wednesday 11 December from 6:00pm-7:30pm is free. Tickets are available from trainingmatchmaker.eventbrite.com.