Armoy Road Races 2021 Sees Bumper Entries

ARMOY Road Races have a bumper entry this year according to Bill Kennedy MBE, Clerk of the Course. 

27/07/18 Pacemaker Press Intl/Rod Neill: Adam McLean and Paul Jordan battle for the top step in the opening Supersport race at the Armoy road races

To date, entries have been received from all over Ireland and the United Kingdom with nearly 30 of them newcomers. It would seem there is a keen interest in racing at Armoy this year and who will turn up at to race in the famous Bayview Hotel Race of Legends.

Wilson Craig’s Team Principal Darren Gilpin has confirmed not just Bolton man Davey Todd, who had a great win at the Spring Cup weekend at Oliver’s Mount, but Chris Burns from Newcastle. He said; “Davey is well known on the roads but Chris has extensive experience on all levels of racing including Moto GP, British Superbike as well as German and Dutch Superbike Championships. Pure road racing is something that Chris has wanted to do for some time now. His father was a former TT competitor and that’s part of his motivation.

“Steven Smith from Antrim will also be part of the team, and he is really looking forward to Armoy and what its 3.03 mile course has to offer.”

Bill Kennedy MBE, Clerk of the Course, said; “Generally at this time of the year I’m visiting the various road races asking guys (and girls) to get their entries in but this year, and I suppose with the pandemic folk just want to race, so our entries at this stage are looking very strong indeed. I’ve yet to confirm some riders but it looks like we’ll have some key road racers at Armoy come the last weekend in July.

“Now we are still working our way through restrictions and what different bodies and government departments are telling us but I’m fairly certain we’ll have to run with some sort of restrictions but like everything it’s a massive and evolving task. 

“With a strong entry it’ll be very interesting. Having the likes of Chris Burns, a former British Superbike championship rider says it all and it shows the sheer love these guys have for road racing.”

The Club has also confirmed Mullingar man Derek McGee and Michael Sweeney from the Skerries will be back along with popular Dominic Herbertson. Local boys and club members Darryl Tweed and Neil Kernohan will be in the mix along with Paul Jordan from Magherafelt.

Bill Kennedy MBE said; “We’ve some top class riders and it’s sure to make for some interesting racing come Race Day. The Classics, which are ever popular, will see Barry Davidson with his numerous Armoy classic wins race alongside Guy Martin. That’s one race that’s sure to grab everyone’s attention this year.

“With two months to go there is much work to be done.”

For more information on Armoy Road Races, visit or search for ‘AMRRC’ on Facebook or follow on twitter @ArmoyRoadRaces. 

Dished up Deli brings homemade cooking to your doorsteps

Philip Davison was inspired during lockdown to open Dished up Deli and is now offering homemade cooking, delivered to your doorstep for your weekend dining.

From three-course dinners to snack boxes and their speciality brownies Dished up Deli has a weekly changing menu, which if ordered on Wednesday will be with you, freshly prepared, on Friday.

It all started when Philip posted on social media what he was doing at home.

“Over the several lockdowns I shared pictures of some creation on Facebook and got slightly hounded,” he explained. “I finally got a call saying look would you make that make dinner for me and my friend we are dying to try this.

“That is how Dished up Deli was born, I think it was a honey chilli chicken, but much fresher.”

Although not a chef Philip’s passion for food has been there from an early age, and he is no stranger to hospitality, including stints at one of the most exclusive country clubs in Florida, and catering for Royalty.

“I worked for over 10 years in Front of house, and still do, managing many amazing music events, catering events and private dinners and I love the variety it offers,” he said. “I have been given a great opportunity while remaining GM of Living Room Café to develop this passion project and local east Belfast business.”

The passion is clear in the ethos of Dished up Deli.

“We supply quality homemade cooking from my home to yours, dishes come cold with simple reheating instructions so you can have a delicious homemade meal in minutes,” Philip explained. “Fresh ingredients are always used & therefore it allows for up to three days shelf life.” 

“We change the menu as often as possible and new products are constantly being innovated to match the needs of the seasons, the customers and the weather such as the brand new BBQ boxes.” 

Philip’s journey into hospitality and the love of preparing food, including achieving a BSC Honours in Hospitality Management began as a child learning from his grandmother the tricks and tips in preparing perfect pavlovas, flans and fifteens.

Orders received by 6pm on Wednesday will be delivered on Friday between 4.30-8pm.

Full details at or visit socials @dishedupdeli.

Sign up now for summer football camps across the Borough

With summer just around the corner, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has partnered with the Irish Football Association for a series of exciting Summer Camps. 

The Camps, for boys and girls aged 5 to 13, will be held at Scroggy Road, Limavady from July 5th to 9th, Quay Road, Ballycastle from July 19th to 23rd, Kilrea Sports Complex from August 2nd to 6th, Rugby Avenue in Coleraine from August 2nd to 6th and the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre in Ballymoney from August 9th to 13th

All Camps will run from 10.30am to 1.30pm and every child taking part will receive a free football. 

To book your place go to or for more information contact

Council will also be running its hugely popular Summer Recreation Programme with lots of variety including golf, tennis, hockey, judo, athletics, gymnastics and netball from July 5th until August 20th.

Booking will soon be available online and you can find out more by emailing

Food Impacts Mood Says Chef Making Healthy Changes For All

Healthy snacks and breakfast company heralds better options

Skipped breakfasts, supermarket meal deals and 60+ hour weeks fuelled by energy drinks were plunging chef Ben Cochrane’s health all in the wrong direction, but now he is back with the message food impacts mood and a business to help others make the right dietary choices. 

The business, Benergy, came about after he and his girlfriend, Jessica Thompson, began to re-evaluate how they were living, and then the Covid-19 lockdown scuppered plans to travel to the Himalayas.

While initially disappointed, having to remain at home in Northern Ireland has led to a new life for both Ben and Jessica – personally and professionally.

 “Once the lockdown began, life stood still,” said the 23-year-old Annahilt chef, “but, as with many other people, it gave me the opportunity to reflect on my life and take a good, long hard look at myself.
“One glance in the mirror showed a pale, skinny and unhappy man and I didn’t like what I saw.

 Ben believes that he was making all the wrong choices in his own diet while he was, ironically, serving up healthy meals.

 “Looking back now, I’m not surprised that I looked as bad as I did,” he said. “Prior to lockdown, I’d spent two years in hospitality, working as a chef for some well-known restaurants, including Shu in Belfast. I worked four fourteen-hour shifts, working from 9am to 11pm and then an additional half day. Most weeks I was working between 60 and 70 hours a week. 

 It was what he was eating that now is clear to Ben that was compounding matters.

 “To make matters worse, I wasn’t eating breakfast, which is arguably the most important meal of the day,” he explained. “If I did have something to eat in the morning, it was usually a sandwich meal deal, which lacked the level of nutrition which I needed given the hours that I worked.

 “I also drank a lot of energy drinks on busy shifts. While they would give me an initial boost, they’d also give me sugar crashes, particularly during service. This made me tired and lethargic.”

 Despite the fact that lockdown was a major lifestyle change for everyone, Ben soon found that it was to bring some unexpected benefits to his life.

 He spent lockdown in Annahilt, where his family have some land, and began growing his own vegetables and spending a lot of time in the open air.

 “I realised very quickly that my general appearance and overall health and wellbeing was down to a lack of nutritional food,” he continued. “There’s no doubt that life is all about balance. It’s about what you eat, how much you sleep, how much you exercise, how much caffeine you drink. 

 “Prior to lockdown, I wasn’t paying any attention to any of these. I didn’t understand how my body actually functions and hadn’t realised that my calorie intake was negative. Put simply, my body was burning more calories than I was taking in through food.

“That’s why I was losing weight and feeling exhausted all the time.

 My diet was also lacking in particular micronutrients, such as vitamin C, that I needed to prevent me from becoming ill. No wonder I looked and felt so bad.

 “Once I was in Annahilt, however, I not only started eating three meals a day, but I also began researching about what certain foods do to the body.”

 The changes that Ben made to his lifestyle were to have quick rapid and dramatic results. Not only did he look and feel better – and healthier – but he also found that the change in his diet had a major impact on his mood. 

 “There’s no doubt,” said Ben, “that food impacts mood. My diet had left me with little energy and, as a result, I frequently suffered from both low mood and mood swings. I now understand that our brain is the ‘engine’ of our body and our body is the ‘car’. The car can function on non premium fuel, but it simply won’t work as well or last as long. The same goes for premium food in relation to your body and your brain.” 

 Over a period of time, Ben found that certain health conditions, such as his irritable bowel syndrome, had more or less disappeared – all of which he realised was the result of his switch to a healthier diet and lifestyle. 

 “I knew that the change in my diet was the reason why I looked and felt better, and I wanted everyone to have access to education on this subject, so that they too could benefit as I had.

 As an experienced traveller, I had had access to a wide range of food cultures and I was aware that more and more people were opting for a vegan diet, it was my focus on putting whole foods into my body and no processed that I really saw the changes in myself, mood, motivation and energy wise.

 The Himalayas’ loss was ultimately to prove Northern Ireland’s culinary gain, as Ben and Jessica launched Benergy: with a range of plant-based, gluten and dairy-free range of snacks and breakfast pots. 

 “Benergy isn’t just an ordinary nutrition company,” Ben continued. “We’re all about educating people about food – particularly food that will benefit people both physically and, most importantly, mentally, because that’s where good health really begins. 

 “You don’t have to be an international sports star or be heading out to the gym every day to eat the right things and get the best out of your life. Good nutrition is for everyone and should be a very basic part of everyday life.

 “Our products are all plant-based, gluten and dairy free, which is very unique as vegan is the world’s fastest growing food market in the world today. We don’t just want to cater for one dietary requirement, we want to combine them all. 

 “When I read or hear about vegan food, I hear a lot of negative remarks about the taste and such like. As a chef, I felt it was a challenge to create a selection of tasty fresh treats and a filling and, more importantly, a fulfilling breakfast option. If food tastes good, does it matter if it is vegan friendly?”

 The Benergy range contains a great selection of breakfast pots to start the day off well, and a fabulous mix of treats to keep people going in between meals. 

 “I now realise that breakfast provides you with the necessary fuel to start your day,” Ben said. “That’s why I created these breakfast pots, to give people a ‘grab and go’ pot, which would provide them with a nutritious and delicious start to their day, regardless of time constraints.

 “They’re a macro-friendly breakfast: a mixture of oats, fruits and nuts that’s nutritionally balanced, so they’ll give you all the necessary fuel to get you through the day.”

 Ben believes there is important nutritional advice for people’s overall wellbeing.

 “Food and mental health are directly related,” he said, “One thousand per cent. It’s now my ultimate goal to educate people on the importance of this, particularly since we’re facing the biggest mental health pandemic that this country has ever seen.

 “It saddens me to see people struggling and reaching for medications when there are some simple steps that can be life changing. 

 “Food, as I said, impacts mood. 

 “It’s as simple as that.”

 To find out more about Benergy Nutrition and their delicious range of healthy snacks head to

Time For Government To Step Up For Hospitality Sector

By Emma Bricknell, restaurant owner

The welcome re-opening of hospitality after long, depressing months is something everyone in the sector has been longing for but the government needs to back us after such a tough time.I have had to take seriously the impact on my business, and will be changing the brand of all my Made in Belfast restaurants, starting in Hill Street with the rebrand of my steakhouse grill restaurant into Prawnagraphic offering fresh, fun, seafood.

Some of the aid from Stormont is indeed welcomed as financially some of the packages were good. But the fact that it has just been a case of that you can get on a plane in close proximity to others, there’s a tent in Cathedral Quarter with a film crew drinking and eating but yet we still have to socially distance. The rules and regulations are simply not consistent.

I think, unfortunately, hospitality is one of the industries that has been hardest hit by the inconsistencies of regulations.

However, there are some relatively simple steps that the Executive Office can take by way of support and everyone in the hospitality sector would happily work with ministers in partnership.

We need better licensing laws, cheaper licensing, longer hours, better Sunday trading hours, access to outside street spaces, pedestrianisation of streets and much more.

These, collectively, would make a difference right away as we look to the long term recovery from the pandemic.

In addition we need more clarity on Brexit so we have access to goods and items that we need to sell.

We need more people to come into this country and work here because we have such a shortage in staff. We had no choice but to restructure the business. Many staff didn’t tell us they were moving on until the last minute leaving us with three restaurants and not enough staff to open. I had to make a hard decision, which of the restaurants would open and how.

There’s no chefs right now, we are 600,000 short in hospitality across the UK and the government should be taking action on that. We are struggling with chefs. But we also intend to turn it round for our new brands.

Hospitality is a massive part of our tourism industry and if they don’t help us it will have an effect on the whole economy of the country.

With the fantastic job being done by the health and social care teams in delivering the vaccination programme we should be looking at our road map to reviving Northern Ireland.

Yes, there are many priorities such as reducing hospital waiting lists, but what I am suggesting will not have a major economic cost to the government. Indeed, the rates and taxes that it generates when we return to normal trading will benefit the government in the long run.

With my new restaurant Prawnagraphic, the ethos is short, sweet and fun and out quickly. I would like ministers to adopt that approach with the sector, short not lengthy decision-making, sweet rather than confrontational, fun for all involved collaborating, and the results out quickly to make an impact.

No longer should we see apparently arbitrary rules like having food huts that can do coffee but not soup. No longer should we see the ridiculous decision that allows live music in churches but not in pubs and restaurants.

We are willing to do our bit in the recovery of Northern Ireland, the question is, are our politicians willing to work with us?

To book your place at Prawnagraphic go to or follow the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram

ForM Sculpture Exhibition Opens in Bangor Castle’s Walled Garden

The ForM Sculpture Exhibition opened on Tuesday 1 June in Bangor Castle’s Walled Garden.

Councillor Trevor Cummings (Mayor of Ards and North Down) and Irene McBride (Discovery Glass) at Irenes work ‘Water Wings’ part of the 2021 ForM Sculpture Exhibition at Bangor Castle Walled Garden, 1st June 2021.

For the whole month of June, the garden will showcase over 20 beautiful sculptures, created by artists from across the island of Ireland. This unique event gives visitors the opportunity to experience art outside of the traditional gallery setting.

The pieces inspired by the garden, are dotted around the tranquil setting, enhancing the natural space. The whole family will enjoy seeking out sculptures located in the garden’s walkways, shrubbery and flowerbeds.

Speaking about ForM, The Mayor of Ards and North Down Councillor Trevor Cummings said: “It is great to see this wonderful outdoor event return to Bangor Castle’s Walled Garden. The sculptures really add another dimension to the garden during month of June and I would encourage everyone to come along and view it.”

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Arts Officer, Patricia Hamilton said,

“We are thrilled that we are able to deliver ForM sculpture exhibition this year, one of our first events since restrictions have eased. There have been few opportunities for artists to exhibit their work since early 2020 and I hope visitors will explore the sculptures in this beautiful outdoor setting. It is well-documented that art boosts well-being and we hope that connecting to art in this tranquil space will benefit people.”

ForM will remain open until 30 June and is free to visit.  Some of the sculptures are available to buy. To access a digital exhibition map, visitors are invited to scan a QR code with their smartphone at the entrance to the garden or alternatively, the map can be downloaded in advance from:

Bangor Castle Walled Garden is open from 10am – 8pm Monday to Thursday, and 10am – 6pm Friday – Sunday and Bank Holidays.


Armagh’s newly renovated Market Place Theatre has re-opened to the public. The programme for the summer months will include a variety of choices to keep audiences entertained, including the venue’s much-loved interactive workshops, a host of visual art exhibitions, performances live-streamed from the stage of the Main Auditorium, and the magic of The Big Screen returns with an eclectic mix of film screenings for kids and grown-ups alike.

Why not get back to hands-on creativity at our hugely popular workshops. With a programme aimed to encourage you to craft for the outdoors, you can choose from creating a beautiful summer bouquet, crafting your own rustic wooden bench, or hand printing a unique artwork using fresh seasonal foliage. All workshops will be led by experienced and friendly tutors, in a comfortable, socially distanced environment.

Or, if you’d rather sit back, relax and immerse yourself in a world of action, adventure, romance or drama, why not try one of our Big Screen offerings. Film Screenings this season will include superhero action in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’; and one of Hollywood’s most powerful thrillers ‘The Silence Of The Lambs.’ You can also get the kids’ imaginations flowing again with an out-of-this-world adventure with ‘Shaun The Sheep: Farmageddon’; explore the jungle in ‘Dora & The Lost City Of Gold’; or journey to the savanna in the timeless classic ‘The Lion King’. All children attending a kid’s film screening will receive a craft pack to enjoy, and customers are invited to bring their own refreshments to all screenings.

Whilst unable to welcome audiences back to live performances at present, the venue will be bringing you some live-streamed performances to enjoy at home. On Saturday 12 June, folk band TRÚ will bring music back to The Market Place stage with a mesmerising live show exposing their performance skills, the craft of their arrangements and the sheer power of their storytelling. Then, on Friday 25 June, one of Ireland’s leading pianists, Ruth McGinley, will demonstrate her powerfully stylistic flair with a concert programme featuring works by Arvo Part, Satie and reimagined folk songs by Neil Martin.

Art is also back at The Market Place, kicking off with a humorous and nostalgic photographic exhibition of works by Jolly Bearded Promotions, which tackles the intriguing question of what toys get up to when we turn our heads. ‘Outskirts Of The Toy Box’ uses multiple well-known characters from the world of movies, cartoons and comics and skilfully brings them to life.

With full safety measures in place and limited numbers, you can sit back and relax as you escape from it all this Summer. Tickets for these, and many more experiences, can be purchased by contacting the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at