LASTING memories are the ultimate present and Hastings Hotels is encouraging people to spend quality time with their partner and gift an experience to remember this Christmas.


Northern Ireland’s leading collection of hotels has a fabulous array of gift experiences for couples to enjoy and has put together some festive inspiration:


  • Treat that special someone to a romantic overnight stay in one of the six luxurious  hotels – book a city break in Belfast to take in a theatre date night or the bustling nightlife and stay at Europa Hotel, Grand Central Hotel or Stormont Hotel; escape to enjoy the ultimate 5-star luxury at the  Culloden Estate & Spa;  spend the afternoon exploring the Walled City and stay at the Everglades Hotel in Derry-Londonderry or get cosy and enjoy a break along the scenic Antrim coast at Ballygally Castle.
  • After Christmas, there is no better time to relax and enjoy some quality time together than an afternoon being pampered. The Spa at Culloden is an oasis of tranquillity with relaxation rooms, swimming pool, heat experiences and an extensive selection of ESPA treatments including the Sequoia Couples Serenity package.
  • Indulge your senses and enjoy a romantic meal for two with menus carefully designed by the chefs at Hastings Hotels using the very best of local, seasonal produce.
  • Treating your loved one to Afternoon Tea is a decadent way to enjoy quality time together. Enjoy cups of the finest steaming tea or coffee, finger sandwiches and an array of delectable treats!  For the most exquisite Afternoon Tea, visit the Observatory on the 23rd floor of the Grand Central Hotel where you can enjoy the best views of Belfast and beyond.
  • And if that special person in your life likes to choose their own present – a Hastings Hotels Gift Card is ideal! It can be used in the six hotels, magnificent spa and any of the group’s restaurants or bars. It’s the ideal gift that lets people choose the perfect present – be it a special night out, a luxury weekend, an afternoon tea, a spa treatment or even a round of drinks at the bar! Every budget is catered for, with cards available from £20 to much, much more!


For further information go to or call 028 9047 1066.

10 things to do in Northern Ireland 

Here are ten exciting things taking place 19 December 2022 – 1 January 2023


  1. Kids Christmas Chocolate Making, Castlerock, County Londonderry, 22 – 23 December. The Chocolate Manor in Castlerock will host one of the tastiest kids’ Christmas experiences on the Causeway Coast this December. In this one-hour experience, participants will make three festive chocolate creations using the finest Belgian chocolate. They will be offered a hot chocolate while their creations set before packaging them up to take home and enjoy. Please note this can be a messy experience so they don’t recommend your best clothes – and please ensure long hair is tied back. Aprons will be provided. Parents of children aged seven and below will be required to stay in the room. Parents of children over seven may leave their children for the hour-long session.
  2. New Year’s at HotBox, Limavady, County Londonderry, 30 December – 1 January. Kick off the New Year in style with a splash in the wintery Atlantic before getting cosy in a seaside sauna. This 90-minute session is designed to give you enough time in the sauna for a hot steam before jumping into the sea to cool off several times over. They will also have a snug gazebo and fire pit for you to cuddle around, toast s’mores from Mallow Makers, enjoy a cup of NearyNógs hot chocolate, and more. Booking is essential.
  3. OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory Exhibition Guided Tour, Omagh, County Tyrone. Check website for open dates and time. Visit the OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory exhibition and travel through the universe with your own Star Guide. Experience space and the night sky through the wonder of virtual reality. Ponder the mysterious connections between the sky and the stones.
  4. Winter Skate at The SSE Arena, Belfast, 22 December – 3 January. Holiday magic is back at the SSE Arena, Belfast with the return of Winter Skate. Winter Skate gives members of the public the opportunity to skate at the home of the Belfast Giants. This event will run on selected dates throughout December and the start of January 2023.
  5. Look Up! A Winter Night Sky Tour, Armagh, County Armagh, 27 December and 12 February. Produced by Armagh Observatory and Planetarium “Look Up!” is a seasonal tour around the night sky. Let the experts guide you through the beautiful objects and constellations seen at this time of year. This show is ideal for anyone starting out in astronomy or interested in learning about what can be seen in the night sky.
  6. Toys from Christmas Past Trail, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 26 November – 23 December. Discover toys from Christmas past as you visit the galleries at Enniskillen Castle. Have fun with the family as you unscramble the secret word to receive a small prize. Usual admission rates apply.
  7. Christmas in Clay, Millisle, County Down, 29 November – 23 December. Festive fun at Eden Pottery. Come along and decorate some pottery for yourself as a special treat, or to gift to family and friends over the holidays. Perfect Christmas gifts for grannies and grandads, aunts and uncles, or mums and dads. Sponges are hand cut in their County Down studio to make it fun and easy for visitors to make their own masterpiece.
  8. Christmas Pop-Up Shop at North Down Museum, Bangor, County Down, 24 November – 8 January. Come and visit a unique shopping experience this Christmas at North Down Museum. Browse the museum’s galleries, filled with beautiful hand-made products from local artists and makers. The perfect place to get that special gift and support your local artists. Come in, get out of the cold, get a delicious hot coffee or chocolate from the café, Coffee Cure and shop ‘til you drop’.
  9. Festive Movie Nights in the Still Room Cinema, Bushmills, County Antrim, 1 – 23 December. Everyone loves a night at the movies. Enjoy small, intimate screenings of the latest blockbusters in the exclusive surroundings of the Bushmills Inn’s boutique cinema. Thursday night is movie night when you can enjoy two courses from their Cinema Supper Menu served at 6.00pm with the movie beginning at 8.00pm. Some dates are fully booked, book in advance.
  10. Winter’s Den at 2 Royal Avenue, Belfast, 14 – 31 December. 2 Royal Avenue has been refurbished and transformed into a beautiful Winter’s Den until the New Year. Enjoy a range of free activities on offer – from Christmas crafting to seasonal sounds. The newly opened venue is also a Cash for Kids NI Mission Christmas Drop Off Point.


Booking is essential for most activities. Book in advance to avoid disappointment. Subject to availability.


For more information on what’s on or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit

10 Exciting things to do this week across NI

Here are ten exciting things taking place 12 – 18 December 2022


  1. The Snowman & Other Christmas Classics, Derry~Londonderry, 17 December. Allegri Ladies Choir will join forces with Orchestra NorthWest in the Guildhall, Derry~Londonderry to perform a beautiful programme of music which includes the Howard Blake timeless orchestral work ‘The Snowman’. The programme will also include other popular pieces and some original takes on a few festive tunes which you will know and love. Come share in the excitement of the festive season and experience a sprinkle of Christmas musical magic. The Orchestra NorthWest will also come to Strabane on the 18th
  2. Christmas at Mount Stewart, Newtownards, County Down, 16 November8 January. Add some sparkle to the holiday season at Mount Stewart with a fantastic list of Christmas themed activities. From festive storytelling, Christmas House trail, festive crafts, letters to Santa, and more, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
  3. Santa & Gruffalo Guided Walk, Belfast, 26 November 23 December. Visit the official Gruffalo Trail this Christmas and enjoy a festive themed walk with the family to see Santa. Bring your little ones along and go right inside the glorious Gruffalo and Stickman stories. Enjoy festive themed arts and crafts and take home your very own Julia Donaldson book, certificate, sticker and selection box.
  4. Christmas in the Country at Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, County Tyrone, 9 December2 January. Experience the magic of Christmas past as you stroll around the wintery landscape of rural Ulster, from the humble surroundings of a single room cabin to the elaborate Christmas of the Campbell House. Journey to the New World with a wander down the snowy paths of the American Street, seeing how immigration influenced Christmas decorations and festive food in Pioneer America. Listen to traditional Christmas music in the Barn, taste Christmas cinnamon muffins and purchase some bespoke Christmas cards.
  5. Christmas at the Farm, Ballycastle, County Antrim, 10 – 18 December. Come and see Santa and his jolly red tractor at Broughgammon Farm this Christmas. Nestled down in the goat barns, Santa sits in his red vintage tractor along with his adorable donkeys. There is also an elf scavenger hunt around the farm for all to enjoy. The cafe will be open too for those who want to warm up with a hot chocolate and some gingerbread. Booking essential.
  6. The Winter Circus by Tumble Circus, Belfast, 16 December – 2 January. Join in for an all-new hour of hammer-smashing Belfast-inspired circus, comedy, and fun. Winter Circus is a high-skill, all-human and all-thrill circus, featuring death-defying aerialists, hardcore acrobats, and mind-bending jugglers. Winter Circus is Belfast’s alternative festive extravaganza suitable for all the family. A warm welcome awaits you in the iconic heated Big Top where your comfort and safety are a priority.
  7. Elf Escape, Florencecourt, County Fermanagh, 3 – 20 December. Santa needs your help. A bunch of little elves have escaped from Santa’s Grotto deep within the Marble Arch Caves. There have been reports of elf activity in the local woodland close to the caves and Santa has asked for your help to track them down and to decide which elves are being ‘good’ and which are being ‘bad’. Come join the fun and adventure as Cladagh Glen is taken over by lots of little mischievous elves at play.
  8. Sensory Christmas Workshops at Ulster Transport Museum, Cultra, County Down, 6 – 16 December. Spend some quality time with your little ones this festive season, with a Christmas themed sensory workshop for under 5’s at Ulster Transport Museum. Led by artist Hannah Ferguson, these sensory workshops can be enjoyed by ages 0 to 5, and will be filled with singing, movement, story time and creative sensory play. The sessions are one hour long and will be held in the Irish rail galleries within Ulster Transport Museum.
  9. Christmas at Ulster Folk Museum, Cultra, County Down, 3 – 23 December. Wander the snowy, cobbled streets of Ballycultra this winter and experience a truly traditional Christmas. Meet craft demonstrators as they prepare for seasonal celebrations and take in the festive scents of Christmas pudding warming on the griddle. Listen out for seasonal tunes from carol singers, a brass band, and other traditional musicians across the festive season. Finish your trip with a warm glass of mulled cordial, Christmas cake and cinnamon toast.
  10. The Argory, Moy, County Armagh, see website for opening hours.

The Argory was built in the 1820s and with its hillside location boasting wonderful views over the beautiful gardens and 320-acre wooded estate bordering the River Blackwater. This historic former home of the MacGeough–Bond family has a splendid stable yard to discover with horse carriages, a harness room and more. Take a stroll around the delightful gardens or for the more energetic, explore the diverse woodland and riverside way-marked trails.



Booking is essential for most activities. Book in advance to avoid disappointment. Subject to availability.


For more information on what’s on or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit

Award winning Chicago bluegrass band to play Limavady in 2023

Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre invite you to join them for a night of superb bluegrass music from talented 4-piece, Special Consensus, who will perform in the Danny Boy auditorium on Friday 27th January 2023.

Hailing from Chicago, Special Consensus have released over 20 albums in their four decades together, receiving six IBMA awards and two Grammy-award nominations along the way. 

Whether it’s a jazzy instrumental or a Bluegrass classic delivered with four-part vocal harmony, these talented musicians manage to follow their creative desires without straying too far from their roots.

Band leader and founder Greg Cahill is a recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and was inducted into the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) Hall of Greats. Alongside Greg’s unique banjo playing, Greg Blake (guitar), Dan Eubanks (double bass) and Michael Prewitt (mandolin) effortlessly support each other.

The success of Special Consensus is grounded in their deep appreciation and understanding of Bluegrass music and their ability to adapt and embrace innovation to create a contemporary sound, making their music a modern classic.

Special Consensus will perform at Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre on Friday 27th January 2023. Tickets priced at £17 (full) and £15 (concession) are on sale now from or ring the Box Office on 028 7776 0650

Soak Up the Magic of the Season with a Festive Day in Belfast

A city famous for its warm welcome, Belfast is the perfect place to soak up the magic of the most wonderful time of the year and enjoy an overdue catch up with friends and loved ones. Decked out in festive splendour, there’s something wondrous to discover on every street corner.

There’s magic in the streets, music in the air and the sound of laughter and delight as the city lights up for Christmas and gives visitors and locals alike all the festive feels. The perfect place to shop all your Christmas gifts, create special festive memories with the family or unwrap a new side to the city best seen in the glow of twinkling Christmas lights, Belfast is waiting to welcome you with a big ‘Merry Christmas’. So, what are you waiting for? Come on in and let your Christmas begin.

Belfast Christmas Market, City Hall

Making a welcome return to the grounds of the iconic Belfast City Hall is the traditional Belfast Christmas Market. Arguably the most spectacular Christmas market on the island of Ireland, this year the city welcomes market stall holders from 21 different countries, displaying the best festive fayre and serving up some of the best traditional and contemporary – not to mention unusual – food and drink to savour while you shop. From French crêpes to Dutch pancakes, Belgian chocolates, Spanish paella and giant bratwurst from crowd favourite Schwenkegrill, marketgoers can take a culinary taste adventure whilst soaking up the illuminations of the famous carousel or perusing the colourful stalls to pick up unique Christmas gifts and memorable souvenirs of a great festive day out in the city. Visitors can also treat themselves to the well-known Hug in a Mug of Gluhwein from the prize winning Kochem vineyard located in the Mosel Valley, Germany, or end the day in one of the bars serving local and continental drinks to get even more into the Christmas spirit!

Get Crafty at 2 Royal Avenue

2 Royal Avenue, the city’s newest cultural space, has been transformed into a magical Winter’s Den this festive season. Grab the family and head in to enjoy a series of free events that are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. Don your Christmas jumper and pop in to one of the many events taking place at the Winter’s Den this December – have a go at making your own Christmas crackers, shake your baubles whilst rocking around the Christmas tree at a festive silent disco or have a not so silent night at the adults only ‘We WISH You a Merry Christmas’ event, filled with comedy and carolling.

Winter Skate at SSE

Nothing is more festive than a trip to the ice rink so get your skates on and book a Winter Skate at the home of the Belfast Giants in the SSE Arena. Running until 3 January, wrap up warm and experience holiday magic with all the family or feel the romance after dark with a special Twilight Skating Session on selected dates.

Indulge in a Festive Afternoon Tea

‘Tis the season to indulge and there’s no better way to treat yourself than with a sophisticated festive afternoon tea in one of the city’s best restaurants. Step back in time to a period of luxury, elegance and 5-star service with a special Titanic Festive Afternoon Tea. Set in the opulent surroundings of the Titanic Suite featuring the stunning Grand Staircase and live jazz music, it’s an experience not to be missed. Or take a break from Christmas shopping and nip into the stunning Fitzwilliam Hotel in the heart of the city. With a delightful twist on the traditional festive tea, enjoy an elegant catch up with friends amongst the twinkling lights and decadent decorations.

Have all the fun of the fair at Winter Circus

Award winning circus company Tumble Circus returns to Belfast’s Writers’ Square with their spectacular Winter Circus show this Christmas for their sixth year of riotous family fun. From international circus artists to well-known comedy characters, Tumble Circus combines circus skills with comedy, theatre and social commentary. Audiences can expect big laughs and some mighty craic in the fully heated big top tent until 2 January.

Festive Films at Ulster Museum

Catch all your favourite festive films this Christmas in the unique surroundings of Ulster Museum. Screening every weekend in the run up to Christmas, the seasonal programme in partnership with Cinemagic includes family favourites and Christmas classics such as Miracle on 34th Street, The Polar Express, Santa Claus: The Movie and heart-warming tearjerker It’s A Wonderful Life.

Come Up the Lagan… On a Hydrobike

See Belfast from a new perspective with a unique city tour – by waterbike. Explore the Belfast Waterways at night and take in the city illuminated for Christmas from the water with a Belfast Hydrobikes by Lights experience. Wrap up warm, saddle up on your colourfully lit hydrobike and enjoy a leisurely pedal past the historic Harland and Wolf Cranes, Waterfront and Obel Tower – the city’s tallest building. For a truly festive experience, book a spot on the Hydrobike Santa Experience and follow the magic trail to find Santa’s secret floating grotto. With a range of hydrobikes available for kids and families, equipped with full safety equipment, this is a Santa visit with a difference (and the best presents for the kids!).

Experience Festive Spirits on the Dark Belfast Dander Tour

If you ever stayed up late at Christmas to watch BBC’s M. R. James ghost story for Christmas when you were a kid or hid behind the pillows when the ghostly children of ‘Lost hearts’ appeared, then this is the Christmas 2022 event for you! A Ghost Story for Christmas and Dark Belfast Dander at Muriel’s Café in Church Lane, Belfast is where you’ll learn of the dark side of Christmas. BelfastLad’s Francis Higgins will be telling the dark history of Christmas’ past in a special guided tour. Beginning at Muriel’s Café in Church Lane, you’ll go on a one-hour dark Belfast dander around the haunted sites of Old Belfast’s entry’s and alleyways that sprang up from High Street in the 17th Century stopping at various points along the way to discover if those old streets are still haunted today. Revive your spirits after your tour with a festive cocktail prepared by expert mixologists back in the safety of Muriel’s Café.

Get Stuffed with a Traditional Christmas Lunch

Belfast is famous for it’s fantastic, locally produced food and there’s no better time to sample the best of the city’s food offering than at Christmas. For cosy pub grub with a festive feel, nip down Pottinger’s Entry and follow the trail to The Morning Star. Housed in an ornate Victorian Grade 2 listed building, it exudes a cosy Christmas pub experience with a first-class menu to boot. Top tip – check out the festive gourmet burgers accompanied with Christmas fries. For a fine dining experience check out the city’s newest restaurant and award-winning chef Niall McKenna’s latest offering Waterman within the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, or pay a visit to Michelin starred restaurants The Muddlers Club or Ox. For a less formal fine dining experience, settle into the snug of Ox Cave and enjoy a stunning sharing menu of winter canapes, chateaubriand and festive treats by candlelight.

Tick off your Christmas Shopping List

A city bursting with high-end luxury designer, high street and independent brands, Belfast is your one-stop place to tick off that all important Christmas shopping list. Victoria Square is a mecca for Christmas shopping with everything you need all under one dome. Pick up something special at Lunn’s Jewellers or tech heads can browse the latest must haves at Ireland’s only Apple store. Find comfy pyjamas in Boux Avenue or beauty treats from L’Occitane, Kiehl’s and Rituals.

For a family friendly shopping experience, head to CastleCourt. Visit the Yankee Candle shop for Christmas candles and Wrapped Up for local art. Sports fans can get their kicks at O’Neills, whilst The Entertainer has Santa presents sorted with a huge range of kids’ toys and games.

Donegall Place is home to host of popular brands, including Next, M&S, Zara and Skechers and the recently reopened flagship Primark store has everything you need, from homeware to fashion. Don’t forget Smithfield Market which is a shopper’s haven just around the corner with everything from antiques and collectibles to old-time sweets and even camping and boxing gear!

For something uniquely Belfast, visit the traders at St George’s Market, one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland and home to a burgeoning collection of curios, antiques and the finest fresh produce as well hot food from around the world to delight the senses.

Finally, a trip to visit Belfast’s last Victorian Arcade built in 1880, Queen’s Arcade is home to a variety of luxury Boutiques and local independent retailers and is the only Rolex, OMEGA, TAG Heuer and Montblanc Boutique in Ireland for a truly personal gift this year.

Getting home couldn’t be easier…

Make a full day and night of it with Translink’s late night bus and train services. This special Nightmovers service runs from Belfast City Centre every Friday and Saturday until 23rd December (plus Thursday 22nd December on Goldliner, Urby and Metro). For more information and to plan your route, visit

For more information or to plan your perfect festive day in Belfast, visit


Leading astronomical research and education facility, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 17 Moon landing with a Star Tracker Evening on December 14th.

The event will include a talk, a Dome Show and stargazing. During the talk, visitors will learn about The Apollo Story by Paul Evans, IAA, IFAS.

Astronaut Gene Cernan at the Rover on the Surface of the Moon Credit NASA

This will be followed by a viewing of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium’s Dome Show, CapCom Go! The immersive, historical documentary will showcase the achievements of the Apollo programme and explain to visitors what it took to put the first human on the Moon.

The show will introduce a new generation to the immense challenges that were overcome to make lunar landings, previously the preserve of science fiction, a reality.

The event will conclude with an opportunity for stargazing through Armagh Observatory and Planetarium’s telescopes.

Sinead Mackle, Education and Outreach Manager at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, says,” We are very much looking forward to welcoming visitors to our Star Tracker Evening.

“The wonder and awe of going back to the Moon is certainly still as strong as it was 50 years ago, and at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, we can see that through the many questions asked by school pupils about the Moon landings, along with their intrigue about the current Artemis mission.

“We hope that this next phase of space exploration will help to inspire future STEM leaders across Northern Ireland and ROI.”

Apollo 17, which took place from December 7th to 19th, 1972, was the final mission of NASA’s Apollo program. It was also the most recent time that humans have set foot on the Moon. During the mission, Commander Gene Cernan and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt physically walked on the Moon, while Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans orbited above.

NASA’s current Artemis mission may see humans set foot on the moon once again in years to come. Its Artemis I mission made a triumphant return to Earth last weekend after more than 25 days in space.

The Star Tracker Evening is suitable for adults and children aged over 8 years old.

To purchase tickets for the Star Tracker Evening, visit: Star Tracker Evening (

Star-Studded Fundraiser For Those Hit By Cathedral Buildings Blaze

‘Arson Around’ cabaret evening in Black Box to support fire victims

A massive festive fundraiser is set to help businesses destroyed in October’s fire in the Cathedral Buildings, on Belfast’s Donegall Street.

The Arson Around FUNdRazer will be hosted in the Black Box on Hill Street by Smashing Buttons and will feature more than 11 acts and a ‘Raised for the Razed’ Raffle. It takes place on December 12, from 7-11pm.

Organiser Tina Kelly of Smashing Buttons explained that this was about backing those who were a creative hub in the heart of the city.

“Lifetimes’ worth of work were destroyed, which can never be replaced,” she said, ‘but with the kindness and generosity of the people of Belfast we will breathe life back into the creative community who were so badly devastated. Times are tough but we are tougher.

“All the artists performing are either victims of the fire themselves, or friends and supporters. All funds raised will be put towards re-building the community of those affected.”

Magician and comedian, George Firehorse, will be MC for the evening, with the Monkey of Truth set to make an appearance.

Comedy Harpist Ursula Burns will be performing live, and there’s a special screening of her hit movie ‘Portrait of a Watcher’ in the Green Room after her set.

Belfast’s trad Irish/Spanish supergroup will be laying on a spectacular set.

“Viva Eire! are a collective of local Spanish and Irish artists and performers, who are coming together to showcase the talents of our Latin and Trad communities here in Belfast,” said Tina. 

“Los Dramaticos will be dazzling the audience with songs and instrumental pieces from around Latin America and Spain.

“Their sound is a fusion of the flamenco and Andean traditions. This reflects their heritage. Victor Enriquez is a master charango player from Valparaíso in Chile.

“Paddy Anderson is one of the most accomplished flamenco guitarists in the UK and Ireland.”

Included in the line-up is fiddle player Aidan Mulholland, the violin restorer who lost everything in the fire, including irreplaceable antique instruments that were over 100 years old.

They will be joined by Myles McCormack, whose music is influenced by everything from historical ballads to space prog-rockers, Hawkwind. His songs are lyrically nuanced and deftly describe the tumultuous nature of life.

Every show ticket purchased will receive a free entry to the ‘Raise for the Razed’ Raffle,” said Tina. 

“Lucky winners will walk away with prizes such as two tickets to see Elton John, two tickets for Lionel Richie, a four-person party-pass to Paolo Nutini or two tickets for Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott (The Beautiful South)’s shows in Belfast next year.”

Others include a tree planting session with The Phantom Planter, A couple’s kickboxing session, (handy to settle those post-Christmas arguments), and a £500 Press & PR campaign from Excalibur Press and many more still to be announced.

All the Trad & Spanish artists will be rounding off the performances to close the live show with a massive set-closer number.

They’ll be joined on stage at various times throughout the night by Mexican Dance Belfast, the flamboyant Flamenco dance troupe, who will ensure that we all have a Feliz Navidad!
Miss Onya Becks is hosting a special festive edition of ‘Lip Synch for your DRINK!’, as well as performing a couple of Christmas Classics herself.

Onya has been doing drag for over 10 years, and is based in The Maverick bar every Thursday and Saturday. She’s toured Ireland and the UK and worked with such luminaries as Alan Carr and Kylie Minogue.

Antwan Ruiz will be performing his unique Latin flavoured hip-hop and rap set, including the premiere of his new Christmas single ‘Rudolph’. Less Glock, more Glockenspiel. Antwan is only 20 years old and is already setting the world on fire with his mind-blowing blend of rap and melody. 

Tina hints at the unexpected: “Like one of Marley’s ghosts, attendees will be visited by a mystery comedy guest whose presence will be felt by everyone in the room. But he’ll be yanking your chains, not jangling them! All will be revealed on the night.

“The evening will be rounded off by the ‘All Request Christmas Disco’, with no songs barred. All requests will be played. No DJ snobbery here. Okay, maybe not Mariah Carey.”

To book your tickets go to

The Northern Ireland Country Music Awards 2023 Voted by the Public!

The NI Country Music Awards 2023

Tuesday 7th February 2023 in the Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena

Are you looking the perfect gift to give to your family or friends this Christmas? Or maybe you just want something to look forward to after the festive season.

Well why not secure your place at the biggest country music event of the year.

With over 35 of your favourite Stars including our current leading artists: Derek Ryan, Robert Mizzell, Lee Matthews, David James, Liam Kelly, Owen Mac, Patricia Maguire, Paul Kelly, John Rafferty & Shauna McStravock.

New and upcoming stars like our youngest performer, 14 year old Cailin Joe, direct from performing on RTE’s Late Late toy show. Country singer & Garth Brooks Tribute Neil Hobson (BBC There’s no place like Tyrone) and the beautiful, talented Sinead Heaney (granddaughter of Susan McCann).

Of course the event would not be complete without our Queen of Country for 60 years, Philomena Begley. And other legends including gentleman Billy McFarland who will be officially recognised for his unbelievable and huge contribution of 75 years in the industry.

Hosted by Industry Professional Professional Malcolm McDowell & Sky Tv’s Natasha Magee.

Also Special Co Hosts 1st Lady Susan McCann & the legendary Downtown presenter Big T who celebrates 50 years as our ambassador & leading radio presenter.

Tickets are only available online and are emailed directly to you after purchase.

Unreserved Cabaret Style Round Tables & Spacious Seating.

Doors open 7:30 Show Starts 8pm.

Tickets £25+ Booking Fee

Voting Opens 1st January until 28th January 2023. All details including full list of performers on the Northern Ireland Country Music Awards Facebook Page.

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


Big Telly’s Elf Factory – Pop up Shop, Tower Centre Ballymena.  Come along to the Elf Factory interactive experience on Friday 9 December from 3pm – 7.30pm, and Saturday 10 December from 11am – 3.30pm.

Find out more HERE


Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon Music Experience at Armagh Planetarium.  Inspired by the music of Pink Floyd, this dome spectacular features the 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon in explosive surround sound. With spellbinding abstract projections on the dome, audiences will be surrounded to create a truly astonishing experience.

Find out more HERE


Santa Special Steam Train. Ho, ho, ho! It’s that time of year again when we deck the halls and work out who has been naughty and who has been nice. What better way to welcome in the festive period by booking one of our festive Santa Special steam trains?

Find out more HERE


The Royal Hillsborough Christmas Market returns with festive food & fun for a second year.  As the shops begin to fill with festive goodies and the season’s favourite songs are starting to be heard, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council is delighted to announce the return of the Royal Hillsborough Christmas Market this December on Friday 9th December.

Find out more HERE


Cancer Connect NI is delighted to announce the return of their Magical Winter Wonderland to the Island town of Enniskillen.  Families will begin their experience at the railway station located at Eden Street (behind B&M). Once checked in at the ticket booth, you will be greeted by Mrs Claus and her elves. You will be invited to board our AMAZING Polar Express which is the only road TRAIN in Ireland.

Find out more HERE


Back by popular demand the “Christmas Country with the Stars Show” returns for another super night of toe-tapping Country magic with a festive feel at the Roe Valley Arts Centre, Limavady.

Find out more HERE


Santa and a very helpful elf will be tucked away in Strule Arts Centre Omagh, ready to welcome children and families and provide a magical Christmas experience this weekend.

Find out more HERE



10 things to do in Northern Ireland 

Here are ten exciting things taking place 5 – 11 December 2022


  1. Christmas Shopping Evening at the Gobbins Visitor Centre, Islandmagee, County Antrim, 6 December. Enjoy a festive evening on Tuesday 6th December from 5pm-8pm and shop till you drop with 10% discount off selected items and local craft maker demonstrations.
  2. Cinderella – The Midnight Princess, Belfast, 30 November – 8 January. You shall go to the ball and have a truly magical family experience at the MAC Belfast with the ultimate rags-to-riches tale of Cinderella. Packed with great song and dance routines, hilarious comedy, dazzling scenes, sumptuous sets and magical special effects, Cinderella in the MAC is fun for all the family. Cinderella also comes to the Grand Opera House from 3rd December – 15th January. Visit for more details. From drama to ballet to blockbuster West End musicals, there’s something for everyone.
  3. Weekends with Santa in Galgorm, Ballymena, County Antrim, 26 November – 18 December. Santa touches down in Galgorm, so be sure to bring the little ones to deliver their Christmas letter! Enjoy a delicious four-course lunch in either Gillies Grill or Fratelli Ristorante, along with a visit from Santa himself. Delicious four-course lunch from £38.95 per person, kids £25 per person, including a gift from Santa.
  4. Santa Cruise with Strangford Lough Activity Centre, Killinchy, County Down, 3 – 17 December. Join their merry old elf for a hair-raising sleigh ride around the islands onboard their fast speed boat – Black Jacket. Hold onto your Santa hats as you fly through the waters of Strangford Lough. You will be carol singing all the way, listening to some Christmas tunes whilst riding the waves back to Santa’s Grotto. Warm up by the fireside in their cosy cabin with mince/apple pies, mulled wine or hot chocolate. Then visit Santa and the elves and find out if you’ve been naughty or nice! Public trips available on Saturdays and Sundays throughout December. Group trips (10+ people) available on other dates.
  5. Christmas Wonderland in The Jungle, Magherafelt, County Londonderry, 2 – 23 December. From old fashioned board games and a ride on the Jungle Express for little ones to meeting Santa himself. There is something for everyone in the family including a host of adventure activities to keep the older kids entertained too.
  6. Winter Wonderland at Todds Leap Activity Centre, Ballygawley, County Tyrone, 1 – 22 December. Santa’s mischievous little elves are wreaking havoc throughout Todds Leap. Come along and tour their amazing Winter Wonderland. Experience one of the best Santa Grottos in Northern Ireland, where you can write your letter to Santa, visit the elves in the Post Office to post your letter, get your ticket for Santa’s sleigh, board Santa’s off-road sleigh, help the elves in Santa’s workshop, and much more.
  7. A Christmas night with The Mummers at Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, County Tyrone, 8 December. Join the Ulster American Folk Park at Mountjoy Meeting House on Thursday 8th December for a Christmas night with the Mummers. Let them transport you back in time to the 19th Century where you can enjoy the flavours and smells from Christmas past. There will be refreshments on arrival from costumed guides, before Captain Mummer interrupts the evening with his troop to entertain you. This is a unique and wonderful way to kick start the Christmas season.
  8. Cancer Connect NI Winter Wonderland 2022, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 2 – 10 December. Cancer Connect NI is delighted to announce the return of their Magical Winter Wonderland to the Island town of Enniskillen. Once checked in at the ticket booth at the railway station, located at Eden Street, you will be greeted by Mrs Claus and her elves, before being invited to board their amazing Polar Express. The Polar Express will travel through the beautiful town of Enniskillen, discovering the festive windows along the route and taking excited parents and children to a secret castle location!
  9. Christmas Cupcake Decorating at The Argory, Dungannon, County Armagh, 10 – 11 December. Make some Christmas family memories as you decorate tasty treats. A great day out with the little ones to kick-start a wonderful month of Christmas fun. This event is free, but normal admission charges apply for the venue.
  10. Royal Hillsborough Christmas Market, County Down, 9 December. Royal Hillsborough Christmas Market returns to The Dark Walk and Hillsborough Fort for one day only on Friday 9th December. The market starts as twilight sets in at 3pm and remains open until 9pm. The gates of The Dark Walk will be open for an evening of sparkling festivities. Hillsborough’s independent shops will be staying open for late night shopping too, making it a perfect location for the idyllic Christmas shopping experience.


Booking is essential for most activities. Book in advance to avoid disappointment. Subject to availability.


For more information on what’s on or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit