Tumble Circus Brings Back Winter Circus To Writers’ Square This Christmas

Big Top Show Runs From December 17, 2021 – January 3, 2022

Award winning circus company Tumble Circus will return to Belfast’s Writers’ Square this Christmas.

Despite a difficult 18 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic the team at Tumble Circus are back with their spectacular Winter Circus show.

Now in its fifth year, the organisers at Winter Circus said fans can expect this year’s show “to return louder and prouder than ever before”.

Tina Segner of Tumble Circus said: “We are delighted to be back and we’ve got an amazing show lined up this year in our fully heated Tumble Circus big top tent.

“Running from December 17 right the way through to January 3 this is a show that has something for everyone.

“Tumble Circus combines circus skills with comedy, theatre and social commentary to make people laugh, react, and act.”

The Tumble Circus Winter Circus show is an all human performance with everything from comedy, fun, hilarity and professional circus performance to amazing aerial skills.

“The Winter Circus shows will be spectacular with an inspiring modern soundtrack” said Ken Fanning of Tumble Circus, adding: “visitors to the big top can expect modern, high skilled acts, including acrobats, aerialists and jugglers in this one hour of hammer smashing Belfast inspired circus. 

“From international circus artists to well-known comedy characters both young and old audiences will be able to enjoy the show whilst expecting big laughs and some mighty craic.”

Tickets are limited this year so it’s advised to book early to experience world-class acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and the unique humour that has made Tumble Circus an international award-winning modern circus company.

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: “Tumble Circus never fails to delight and enchant all who experience their amazing, world-class circus skills.  

“It’s simply thrilling to see them return this December, back to doing what they do best, and presenting the captivating Winter Circus right in the heart of Belfast’s city centre.  

“Thanks to The National Lottery players, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support Tumble Circus and I would encourage all to go along and enjoy everything this award-winning company has to offer.”   

Winter Circus is supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland and Destination CQ BID

Tickets are £9-£14 + booking fee and available from wegottickets.com/JossersBigTop, or for more information go to tumblecircus.com. Family tickets are also available and group bookings (10+) can be booked by emailing bookings@tumblecircus.com.

Tumble Circus presents the Winter Circus – dates

17 December 2021 to 03 January 2022

Friday 17th Dec           6pm (preview)                  

Saturday 18th Dec       2pm & 5pm        

Sunday 19th Dec          2pm & 5pm       

Tuesday 21st Dec         5pm (Relaxed show)

Wednesday 22nd Dec    6pm                 

Thursday 23rd Dec       3pm & 6pm      

Friday 24th Dec           2pm                             

Sunday 26th Dec          3pm 

Monday 27th Dec        2pm  & 5pm           

Tuesday 28th Dec.      2pm & 5pm

Wednesday 29th Dec   2pm & 5pm 

Thursday 30th Dec       2pm & 5pm 

Friday 31st Dec            2pm & 5pm 

Saturday 1st Jan           2pm & 5pm 

Sunday 2nd Dec           2pm & 5pm 

Monday 3rd Jan           2pm & 5pm     


Preview all tickets £9*

Full Price £14*

Children (12 and under): £9*

Family of four: £40*

Relaxed show: £9*

*excluding booking fee

Children 2 and under go free

Exciting Inclusive Events Coming up this Season

Antrim and Newtownabbey Council is proud to announce an exciting range of inclusive activities over the next few months.

During Halloween and Christmas, events have been carefully tailored to suit children and adults with specific needs to ensure they can fully enjoy all the activities being offered.         

Screams and Tricks at V36 will have an Inclusive Sunday Session on  Sunday 24th  October, 2-4pm, where lights and noise levels of the funfair are adapted for children and adults with specific needs. There will be the following inclusive aspects; accessible car parking, reduced capacity, sensory activities and play, quiet room and an AccessoLoo (Mobile changing places facility) will be in situ.

On Sunday 31st October, Spooked Out will run from 6pm-8pm with fireworks taking place at 8pm. Accessible car parking will be available and there will be a viewing point at the stage for those who have a physical, sensory disability and those from the Deaf Community. There will be sign Language provision on stage to sign the show, a quiet room along with an AccessoLoo (Mobile changing places facility) will be in situ.

On Wednesday 1st & 8th December an Evening of Inclusive Enchantment returns to Antrim Castle Gardens from 4pm – 9:30pm. This is a relaxed event for children and adults with specific needs including those who are sensitive to noise, lights and crowds. Attractions and rides will be slowed down, music levels lowered and strobe lighting not in use.

There will also be accessible car parking, reduced capacity, sensory and quiet rooms, AccessoLoo (mobile changing places facility) in situ, and an event layout map.

Theatre of The Mill is excited to be back!  Join the magical fun filled adventure with Mr Hullaballo’s Snow White. The show will host a relaxed performance on Sat 11th December  which will be sensitive to audience members who may benefit from a more relaxed environment including those with autism or sensory and learning disabilities. Saturday 18th December will host a signed performance which is adapted for those who are deaf or hearing impaired.

Caroline Curran returns this year writing and staring in the hilarious ‘Jingle All the Hairspray, a Christmas Hairytale’.  This show is for adults only, and will host a relaxed performance Thursday 23th December and signed performance Wednesday 22nd December.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said “It is great to see so many upcoming events over the next few months that children and adults with specific needs can enjoy.  Ensuring that all events hosted by the Council are inclusive is important, and something that we will continually try to progress so that everyone can attend.”

For more information on our inclusive events contact:

Ellen Boyd, Accessibility and Customer Services Officer

Email ellen.boyd@antrimnewtownabbey.gov.uk or by telephone on 02894463113

or for how to book, please contact www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/events

Have you got a great idea for an event?

Tourism Events Grant Scheme Open for Applications! 

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, has launched the Tourism Events Grants Scheme. Image: Ian Pedlow

Calling all event organisers – Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Tourism Events Grant Scheme is now open for applications with grants of up to £10,000 available! 

Applications are being invited from organisations wishing to run a tourism event in Ards and North Down between April 2022 and March 2023. The event must have the potential to deliver economic benefits to the Borough. 

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said: 

“The Tourism Events Grant Scheme has supported a range of fantastic events in the past such as the Portaferry Gala, Music in the Park and Ireland’s Strongest Man Competition. It is designed to boost tourism across Ards and North Down and will encourage organisers to bring more events to our beautiful Borough, helping to increase footfall while also providing a boost to our local economy.” 

Applications opened on Thursday 21 October 2021 and will close at midday on Friday 12 November 2021.

A virtual ‘How to Apply’ workshop will run on Wednesday 27 October via Zoom. To register interest, email TourismGrants@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk.

For more information about the Grant Scheme, including application forms and guidance notes, visit ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/tourism-grants.


Derry Halloween ready to Awaken the Walled City­ with the return of its Halloween festival

Derry Halloween has put together a ‘Spook’tacular Halloween extravaganza, the likes of which has never been seen before in the city. Entitled ‘Awakening the Walled City’, the not-to-be-missed Halloween celebrations will see an array of unforgettable sights, characters, and digital wonders take place at key locations from Friday 29th until Sunday 31st of October, between 5pm and 10pm. Launching this year’s event is fun-loving skeleton, Walter De Burgh, who is depicted on the city Coat of Arms, and he’s joined by one of the spooky Crow stilt walkers that visitors can expect to encounter during the 3-day event. For more information on Derry’s Halloween ‘Awakening the Walled City’ celebrations, click on www.derryhalloween.com or call Visit Derry on + 44 (0) 28 7137 7577.

As a festival city, Derry~Londonderryis renowned for its buzzing atmosphere and hosts a plethora of international festivals and events, including Europe’s largest Halloween Festival. While COVID-19 may have rained on this year’s traditional Halloween parade Visit Derry is looking forward to welcoming visitors to enjoy Derry’s Spook’tacular Halloween extravaganza.  

Entitled ‘Awakening the Walled City’, the Halloween celebrations will see an array of unforgettable sights, characters, and digital wonders take place at key locations from Friday 29th until Sunday 31st of October, between 5pm and 10pm. 

Highlights of Derry Halloween will include several illuminated worlds spread across the city along with Ireland’s first ever digital LED installation. The bespoke 360-degree structure will use film, animation, special effects, and augmented reality to create a spectacular lightshow that will enchant audiences with its striking visual display. The show lasts approximately 8 minutes and will play continuously throughout the three evenings of the festival.  There will also be magical storytelling, bewitched, hidden spaces and dazzling displays popping up throughout the city. 

“Recognised as the best Halloween destination in the world, Derry Halloween is a shared celebration of wonder and folklore where the unbelievable seems believable for a few enchanted days and nights,” said Odhran Dunne from Visit Derry.

Travel the ghostly world 

To ensure no one misses any of the ghoulish goings on, the city will play host to several fantastical and adventurous illuminated worlds, each with its own programme of activity featuring a range of installations, large scale inflatables, aerial acrobatics, dancing flames, displays and animation.   

Worlds One, Two and Three are in Derry City itself, while World Four is in neighbouring Strabane town centre and World Five in Buncrana, Donegal. 

Fancy-dress to impress 

One thing the city residents, and visitors, do incredibly well every Halloween is dress to impress! Organisers are hoping that everyone gets into the spirit of Derry Halloween – mums, dads, the kids, friends and even the dog – and wears their funniest or scariest costumes.  To join the spooky fun online share your pics using #derryhalloween.

Odhran continued: “Derry~Londonderry is known for its love of Halloween and this year we look forward to safely welcoming visitors over three thrilling days. Derry Halloween encapsulates all that makes the city special and with a huge selection of experiences on offer across Derry~Londonderry visitors will be spoilt for choice.

“Not only are they guaranteed the famous Derry~Londonderry warm welcome, but they will also enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, the tastes and smells of the LegenDerry food scene and the opportunity to immerse themselves in our rich cultural heritage. There’s something to do for the whole family.

“With lots of surprises lurking around every corner, it’s great to see Derry Halloween return”, concluded Odhran. 


Safety first 

Event organisers, Derry City and Strabane District Council have plans in place to ensure this year’s Halloween celebrations are Covid-safe. Lots of open spaces allow for social distancing, enabling visitors to enjoy experiences at their leisure. Signage will give advice on how to ensure visitors safety and event staff will be on hand to remind people of the guidelines. There will be various one-way systems across the city and hand sanitation stations available.  

For more information on Derry Halloween’s ‘Awakening the Walled City’ celebrations, click on www.derryhalloween.com or call Visit Derry on + 44 (0) 28 7137 7577. 

Halloween Happenings return to Causeway Coast & Glens

Halloween Happenings and fabulous firework displays are set to bring added sparkle to Causeway Coast and Glens later this month.

There’s four free events taking place in Ballymoney (Wednesday 27th October), Limavady (Thursday 28th October), Coleraine (Friday 29th October) and Ballycastle, (Saturday 30th October) with a range of measures to help keep people as safe as possible from COVID-19.

Gates will open at 7pm, with activity starting at 7.30pm, concluding with a fireworks display at 8.30pm.

Even though we’re not holding any parades this year please come along in your craziest costume or scariest style to add to the occasion. There’ll be DJ music at all sites, along with different performers and attractions for your entertainment. Check out our ‘big screens’ showing short films about Causeway Coast and Glens most haunted places and look out for our wonderful walkabout characters who’ll be ready to give you a fright.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes, said: “I am delighted to confirm that we will be celebrating Halloween this year with a number of fabulous events for the public to enjoy. It’s encouraging to be able to stage these festivities once again and we are looking forward to welcoming you all. It’s important to remember that coronavirus has not gone away, so we’ll be doing things in a slightly different way for your protection. We want you to play your part as well so that we can create a positive experience for everyone.”

Mitigations in place to protect public health include:

  • Restricted numbers at each event to facilitate social distancing.
  • A reduced event duration (one hour plus fireworks display).
  • Enhanced cleansing and sanitisation.
  • Covid-safe programming and entertainment.
  • No food traders, concessions, or amusement providers.

Please take personal responsibility for keeping the event safe for everyone – use the hand sanitising stations, wear a mask and keep your distance from others. If you or anyone in your group is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please stay at home.

Visitors are also reminded to adhere to on-site messaging and public address messaging. As numbers are limited we would ask people not to congregate outside if capacity is reached, and to be mindful and courteous at all times to the Council stewards.

Limited disabled parking at each location can be pre-booked through our Visitor Information Centre by calling 028 7082 3333. You will also need to display your blue badge on the night and arrive at the stipulated time. AccessoLoo facilities will also be available.

For those unable to attend, keep an eye on the Causeway Coast and Glens Events Facebook page where we’ll be sharing our series of ‘most haunted’ short films and we’ll also release a ‘highlights’ video capturing some of the best bits from all of the Halloween Happenings.

It is important to note that the events are subject to ongoing review in light of Coronavirus restrictions.

For the latest information on what’s happening visit the Causeway Coast & Glens Events Facebook page (@CausewayGlensEvents).


 ‘Music From The Heartland’ will light up the stage at Armagh’s Market Place Theatre on Friday 5 November.

The voice of Irish folk singer, Malachi Cush, can melt the coldest hearts with his warm and melodic voice breathing life into traditional Irish ballads, cherished folk songs and religious classics for which he’s known and loved. Malachi has enjoyed several top ten recordings both in Ireland and the UK. He has collaborated with Phil Coulter, Liam Lawton and Pam Cheyne to name but a few. He is currently working on his 7th studio album which comprises a collection of much-loved classic folk songs from across the isles and a number of new works which he will perform on the night.

Malachi will be joined on the evening by his two exceptionally talented friends Janet Dowd and Catherine Grimley-Hughes. Both Catherine and Janet have enjoyed great success in the folk music world and are no strangers to The Market Place stage.

Janet Dowd has been singing and performing for over twenty years with various bands both in Ireland and England with both her albums receiving acclaim at home and abroad. Janet’s own folk roots combined with a hint of bluegrass sway ensures she is always a hit with her audience.

Catherine Grimley-Hughes has established herself as one of the most sought-after voices on the folk scene here. Her empowered versions of classics like, ‘My Love Is In America’ and ‘The Banks Of The Callan’ have confirmed her place as one of the finest female voices on the scene today.

Malachi, Catherine and Janet will bring you on a journey through folk music which is sure to include something to please everyone in this, ‘Music From The heartland’.

Tickets are priced £18 each, and can be booked through the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at www.visitarmagh.com/marketplacetheatre

CQ BID & DFI Working To Resolve Vehicular Traffic Issue In Cathedral Quarter

In May 2020 Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon announced a pilot scheme which restricted traffic in the historic cobbled streets of the Cathedral Quarter.

The temporary road closure of Hill Street and Gordon Street was extended until October 31 with local businesses still permitted access as required.

Businesses in the area have been divided on the subject.

Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement manager Damien Corr said the BID has been working with stakeholders and businesses in the area.

He added: “The Cathedral Quarter BID is committed to facilitating a solution to the vehicular traffic issue on Hill St and Gordon St. 

“We appreciate that this is by no means as easy as simply closing the streets to traffic. Hospitality & Arts venues need deliveries and office workers need access to their car parks.

“It is also the case, however, that all of the above, including their customers, have a right to cleaner air and a safer environment in which to explore this beautiful area which is, after all, set in a conservation area.”

Mr Corr added that he hoped a solution to the ongoing debate was imminent.

He said: “In recent weeks the BID has been working with DFI officials to finalise a survey which we are confident will identify a way forward which will take into consideration the many issues identified by stakeholders over the last year.

“The survey should be ready for distribution in the next few weeks and we believe that a new regime for the road will be agreed and implemented as soon as the process permits.”

Famous 15 year old soprano ‘Eric the Nightingale’ flies into Portaferry

Eric Gentet is famous in France as ‘Eric le Rossignol’ (Eric the nightingale) after first achieving fame on the French TV show Prodiges singing opera aged just 8 years old.

He wowed the judges with his handling of complex arias sung in several languages. A starring role with the Red Army Choir followed and by 11 he was the soloist for a choir of 10,000 children in a stadium in front of 40,000 spectators and a household name across France.

Now 15, Eric is still impressing audiences across Europe by defying expectations as he retains his soprano voice. Eric uses a classic but rarely used today vocal technique which has enabled boys to retain their angelic, controlled vibrato, singing voices long after the speaking voice has broken. This voice-technique has all but disappeared since the 1950’s : the last boys known were Derek Barsham, Michael Morely and Frank Bird. Today, Eric celebrates their legacy, returning to and giving new life to their wonderful repertoire.

Eric will perform a recital of English, Irish and French songs at Portico in Portaferry on Thursday 4 November at 7.30pm. Portico’s manager Dr Verity Peet said, “Eric has especially asked for children’s tickets to be free of charge because he is very keen to encourage young choristers and children who love to sing.”

Eric will be accompanied by Orly Watson on piano and organ. Orly is Organist and Director of Music at Dromore Cathedral and official accompanist at Queen´s University, Belfast.

To find out more about Eric’s programme or to buy tickets please visit porticoards.com.

‘Screams and Tricks’ make a return at V36 this Halloween

Screams and Tricks at V36 is making a frightening come back this Halloween from Friday 22 October until Sunday 31 October. This much sought after event will have plenty of fun fair attractions to keep everyone entertained.  

Halloween Photos 2019 V36

Screams and Tricks will open on Friday 22 October 6pm-9.30pm, Saturday 23 October 2pm-9.30pm, Mon 25October – Friday 29 October 4pm-9.30pm and Sunday 31 October 6pm-9.30pm stopping at 8pm for the fabulous Spooked Out firework display.

This year will see the return of the Inclusive Sensory session on Sunday 24 October from 2-4pm. The lights and noise levels of the funfair will be adapted for children and adults with specific needs.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said “I am delighted to see the return of Screams and Tricks at V36 which will complement the Spooked Out event! Halloween will be an action packed time with plenty for all the community to get involved with this year. I am especially thrilled about the Inclusive session returning, enabling children and adult with specific needs to also enjoy the event.”

For more details on all our event please visit antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/events. Our new Arts and Culture Customer Hub service, which includes a live chat facility and direct telephone number T: 0300 123 7788 – (calls charged at local rate) can assist with any queries. The Customer Hub operates Monday – Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm. Pease visit antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk for more details.


A children’s book of fun and adventure based on the North Coast

Any of you who know the North Coast will know how important the RNLI is and how committed the volunteers are to “Saving Lives at Sea”

Since the pandemic the role of our Lifeboats have become ever more vital due to many of us staycationing and enjoying the many water sports on offer for all age groups.

Dr Martin O’Kane is the Lifeboat Medical Advisor at Portrush Lifeboat Station and has seen first-hand what the volunteers do and the training they do all year round to keep our beaches safe.

Martin has also seen the two Lifeboats (fondly known as “The Big Boat and the Wee Boat’) in action and this sparked an idea in Martins imagination for a children’s story based on the North Coast and about lifeboats.

Martin said: –

‘Dee and Sam have been the by-product of the recent pandemic. Once I had finished my sessions in the local Covid centre I would come home and as I looked over the beautiful East Strand an idea started to form in my head. From this idea Dee and Sam came to life.  I also wanted to celebrate the stunning scenery so beautifully captured by Alice which embodies the Antrim Coast. The local Lifeboat crew continued to selflessly answer calls during lockdown and I also felt it important to reiterate the ‘Float to Live’ message for children enjoying our beautiful beaches. It has been a pleasure to bring Dee and her friends to life so that children can share in her exciting adventure’

When Martin was ready with his final proof, he shared with friends who were so excited with the story that they encouraged him to speak to local artist Alice Rohdich to see if she would do the illustrations for ‘Dee The Little Lifeboat.’

Alice is well known on the North Coast and further afield for her beautiful ethereal drawings, so she was an obvious choice to do the illustrations. Alice was delighted to get involved and has captured the vision that Martin had in his head of what the story would look like.

Alice commented: –

Being asked to illustrate a book during Covid was just perfect timing! For the first time in over 40 years “lockdown” meant an enforced holiday and no work! In a tourist area, where we run ‘The Souvenir Shop’, our family business since 1887 the future looked grim! No tourists, no customers, potentially no income! Imagine, normally at this time of year we would be preparing for the “season” ahead, Raft Race, Northwest 200, Easter, Summer…and our doors were closed… And then Martin messaged… And of course, I said “yes” Yes to the opportunity to support a charity so close to my heart, one my husband had dedicated over 25 years of our married life to. I spent those early days of lockdown, walking, imagining, thinking, sketching, painting and the missed “season” just flew by, as Sam and Little Dee became my constant companions! Dee the Little Lifeboat is so much more than a very important message about Safety at Sea. It is a story of belief, of friendships, of dreams and all cast against the beautiful backdrop which we are so very blessed to call home, The stunning Causeway Coast! It was also a time for me, to step back from work, to take time to look at the beauty of where I live, to take time to see it from a new viewpoint, and all while fulfilling one of my own dreams….to illustrate. My eternal thanks and immense gratitude go to Martin for his complete belief and trust in me to match his beautiful words with pictures. To Judy, Jane and Olivia for their much appreciated encouragement and constant support at each stage of development … I am so thrilled to introduce my friends Dee the Little Lifeboat and Sam!

Since then, many afternoons have been spent in Martin’s dining room overlooking the beautiful East Strand working on the text and the drawings, talking to the RNLI about safety messages before eventually pulling it all together and handing the finished manuscript to the publishers.

All proceeds from ‘Dee” will go towards the RNLI, a charity that depends solely on donations and the Lifeboat Crew at Portrush are very excited that their lifeboats will feature in a book written by one of their volunteers.