Love is all around

Embrace your loved one and Northern Ireland this Valentine’s Day

Van Morrison once said, ‘You’ve Got to Go Where the Love is’ and for anyone planning on popping the question this Valentine’s Day, Northern Ireland has some stunning locations that provide a beautiful backdrop, perfect for that special person in your life to say, ‘I do’.

Even if you’re past that ‘Crazy Love’ stage and you simply want to say to your other half, ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?’, there are so many places across Northern Ireland, ideal for sparking romance.

From the majesty of the Mourne Mountains in County Down to the solitude of County Tyrone’s Davagh Forest (perfect for a Moondance) or the breath-taking views along the Causeway Coastal Route, there are so many locations and experiences to create special memories with loved ones.

With the countdown to Valentine’s Day underway, there is no time like the present to get planning for your special trip. To help inspire you, Discover Northern Ireland has compiled this list of romantic experiences and locations to visit this year.

Country Londonderry and County Antrim

Giant’s Eye View, Cutting Edge Helicopter Tours, City of Derry Airport (West Apron)

  • A proposal should leave you walking on air – although that can be difficult. Cutting Edge Helicopters’ enthralling tour is the next best thing. On this 60-minute flight experience, you’ll enjoy stunning aerial views and the picturesque scenery of the Causeway Coastal Route including the spectacular Downhill Beach, Mussenden Temple, the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, as well as various filming locations from the iconic series, Game of Thrones®. Visit

County Armagh

Blackwell House, Scarva

  • Enjoy a romantic break that will last a lifetime at the 5* Blackwell House in Scarva. Nestled in the County Armagh hills, immersed in quiet beautiful countryside, you will find the perfect getaway for you and your loved one. Select from an array of fantastic offers and packages available on their website and don’t forget about their scrumptious five-course Afternoon Tea. Visit

County Antrim

Glenariff Nature Reserve Waterfalls Walk

  • ‘Exquisitely spectacular’ is how one reviewer described the stunning waterfalls at Glenariff Nature Reserve. From Glenariff Forest Park follow the way marked trail (Waterfall Walk) down the steps, along the boardwalks through Glenariff Nature Reserve. Walk through the river gorge and view the famous waterfalls. No matter what time of year you visit, the waterfalls never fail to impress and provide the perfect backdrop for a couples photo or a picnic for two. Visit

County Tyrone
OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory, Omagh

  • Experience the wonders of the night sky with the person who means the most to you. OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory in Davagh Forest is the perfect place to look at the stars and see how they shine for you! A lack of light pollution at Davagh Forest means the night sky is at its darkest – and at its best to really see the stars. Here you will experience unrivalled and wondrous views of the night sky, one of only 78 places around the globe with official International Dark Sky accreditation. What could be more romantic than that? Visit

County Fermanagh

Lough Navar Magho Cliffs Walk, Derrygonnelly

  • Pick a clear day and the views from the top are mesmerising. Magho Cliffs Walk is a 5.5-mile-long limestone escarpment dominating the southern shore and skyline of Lower Lough Erne on the northern edge of Lough Navar Forest. Take the forest path leading to the left as it will take you across the top of Magho Cliffs offering great panoramic views of the surrounding area. At a height of 300m, the viewpoint offers a bird’s eye view across Lower Lough Erne, far into counties Fermanagh, Sligo, Tyrone, and Donegal and even as far as the Wild Atlantic Way. A perfect place to make special memories with a loved one. Visit

County Down

Treetop Spa, The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn

 A haven of tranquillity and relaxation, the Treetop Spa at the Old Inn is a luxurious and exclusive experience. Perched above Crawfordsburn Country Park, the new Treetop Spa offers guests unrivalled forest views for a peaceful rural retreat. Begin your spa journey by enjoying hot outdoor bathing in the pool and hot tub, followed by a unique shower experience to awaken your senses with sounds and aromas transporting you to a tropical rain forest. Detoxify and cleanse the body and mind in the sauna and steam room and unwind on heated marble loungers. Visit

For more information on great experiences and places to celebrate love in Northern Ireland visit

Racing Champion Set To Display Winning Bikes And Appear At Motorcycle Plus Show

Image by Baylon Mccaughey

9-year-old Joel Haire has an impressive record on and off the track

Motorcycle Plus Show is returning for its 2023 instalment at the Eikon Centre in Lisburn, showcasing a range of talks, entertainment attractions and stalls across the weekend-long event.

Running from February 4-5, there are lots of great activities and speeches that have already been announced, with the newest name added to the upcoming itinerary this week.

Joel ‘The Rocket’ Haire, the 9-year-old Irish Minibike 90cc Championship winner, will be attending the show, with the child superstar set to hold a talk in front of an audience about his experiences in racing so far in his blossoming career.

The Blackskull rider will be bringing two of his Minibikes, to be displayed alongside his team’s other riders 2 Honda CBR600s.  All 4 bikes will be kept on display for the duration of the show, appearing on both Saturday and Sunday.

Having raced for nearly half his life, Joel began on a bike four years ago and fell in love with the sport, going on to compete for the last three years and appearing on the podium for a total of 29 races out of 30 in the 2022 Irish Minibikes 90cc “Bam Bam” Class.

The impressive 9-year-old even went on to win the Irish Minibike Championship in the 90cc class, solidifying his status as an incredibly talented young racer. In the 125cc Junior gearbox, Joel finished 4th, 1 point behind 3rd in the championship. 

Peter Eaton from 2Strokesracing, Joel’s manager, commented on his successes during his first complete season.

He said: “Joel is a very dedicated, and talented young rider. Winning the 90cc Irish Minibike Championship in his first full season marks him out as a rider to watch for the future.” 

Peter also explained that Joel will be situated within the 2Strokesracing stand when he’s not up on stage talking about his sport, so anyone can talk to him and ask him any questions they may have.

He added: “If you visit Joel and the team at the 2Strokesracing stand at the Motorcycle Plus show, you’ll see what a cracking lad he is, and he’ll maybe let you sit on one of his bikes!”

A collection bucket will be available at the stall for anyone wanting a photo taken on one of Joel’s or the team’s bikes, with all proceeds going towards the show’s chosen charities.

Joel’s manager has plenty of compliments for the budding biker, saying he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on in upcoming competitions.

Peter said: “As you will see, Joel has an impressive record already, and I think that he will be one to watch for the future. 

“He’s a natural Irish champion. Try stopping him.”

The Motorcycle Plus Show will take place at Eikon Centre in Lisburn on February 4-5, 2023. For tickets go to

Young People From PUL Communities Share Aspirations For Future At 4 Corners Festival Exhibit

A major immersive installation and exhibition showcasing the aspirations of children and young people from Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist (PUL) communities will take place at the iconic Telegraph Building from January 30 to February 2, as part of the range of events in the 4 Corners Festival.

Organised by Northern Ireland Alternatives and Wonder Arts it is entitled Present Future and features the voices and images of children and young people from East Belfast, Carrickfergus and Larne. The project was supported by the Executive Office through the Communities in Transition programme. 

Director of Wonder Arts, Jonathan Hodge, explained the idea for the project emerged organically from the B.A.N.D (Build, Advocate, Nurture, Develop) project group who discussed important issues affecting PUL communities.

“One of these was educational under-attainment and it was felt that this issue fitted well with the overall theme of the 4 Corners Festival – Dreams,” he said.

“Once the theme was agreed, the group participated in creative planning sessions where different ideas were explored.” 

A number of the group has attended the Dream Machine event at Carlisle Circus church, which was an immersive experience combining music and the use of light, resulting in the development of a ‘Cube’ installation.

“The Cube and exhibition feature the voices of children and young people from East Belfast, Carrickfergus and Larne who have been involved in the Raising Aspirations projects,” Jonathan explained. 

“The younger children talk about what they would like to do in the future, and what is really positive about this is the diversity of aspirations they all have in terms of careers.

“The young people talk more about their own experiences of education and making their way in life. The voices have been set to a specially commissioned score by producer Ryan Vail.”

Other elements of the exhibition include a set of specially commissioned images of children and young people who have been involved in outreach projects delivered by Northern Ireland Alternatives and Wonder Arts in Carrickfergus, exploring their experiences in their community. These images will be projected large-scale onto the wall in the Telegraph Building.

“The project has a number of important messages,” said the Director of Wonder Arts. 

“The first of which is about encouraging children and young people to have dreams and make positive choices about their futures. 

“Another key message is about challenging narratives and stereotypes about children and young people from working-class PUL communities and about encouraging young leaders to think about different ways of telling the story of their community, particularly through the creative arts.

“The project also demonstrates to children and young people that a career in the creative industries is a viable opportunity, particularly as this is a major area of growth within the local economy.”

The annual 4 Corners Festival will feature a range of art, music, discussion, sport and faith- based events from January 29 to February 5 in venues across the city and streamed online across various platforms.

Dreams…Visions for Belfast is the theme of this year’s festival, and as in its previous 10 years, it aims to inspire people from across the city to transform it for the peace and wellbeing of all.

Jonathan explained that the creative CUBE was a key way to engage audiences. 

“We went down the immersive route because we wanted to present an important issue in a way that was creative and that was engaging to different audiences,” he explained. 

“Digital technologies are also something that are particularly relevant to children and young people, so this was a medium that they felt comfortable with. We also wanted to create something that was visually striking, made the best use of the space in the Telegraph Building, and created a memorable experience for the audience and the 4 Corners Festival.”

The installation and exhibition is open from 2pm to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm each day in half hour sessions.

This project was supported by the Executive Office through the Communities in Transition programme.

Full details of all the events taking place during 4 Corners Festival can be found at


Dining out in Belfast’s best loved restaurants just got easier on the wallet as Belfast Restaurant Week returns next month

The much loved and hugely successful Belfast Restaurant Week will be returning next month. Dates have just been announced to entice diners into the city centre with a host of gastronomic treats at tastier-than-usual prices from 20 to 26 February.

It’s hot in the kitchen as Saul O’Reilly and Pedro Silva of Taylor and Clay launch Belfast Restaurant Week 2023. Belfast Restaurant Week 2023 takes place from 20 to 26 February across Belfast city centre.

The eagerly anticipated initiative is supported by three Belfast Business Improvement Districts (BID); Belfast One, Destination CQ and Linen Quarter. Collectively they have created a feast of activity during the week at some of the city centre’s biggest and best loved restaurants where chefs will be out to impress with special menus carefully curated for the week-long event.

Belfast Restaurant Week 2023 will feature a diverse range of participating venues, bringing an affordable choice of food offerings to encourage families, couples and friends into the city centre to enjoy our hospitality industry at its finest.

Kathleen McBride, Managing Director of Belfast One said the key diary date for food lovers will see main courses served up for as little as £20 in the evenings and lunches for just £10. “We are excited to host Belfast Restaurant Week next month, after what has been a challenging few months for most people. We are really looking forward to this event as it truly is a highlight in the food lover’s calendar.

“Belfast Restaurant Week is a well-earned treat for everyone and the perfect opportunity to sample restaurants they’ve maybe yet to experience in the city centre. Some very impressive participants took part in September and wowed with some spectacular dishes so February’s event will be even more exciting.”

Damien Corr, Business Improvement Manager, Destination CQ, said: “We are delighted to welcome Belfast Restaurant Week back as part of our jam packed calendar of Culture, Craic and Hospitality. We want to build on the success of the last Belfast Restaurant Week, to welcome back old friends and to attract new customers to sample the legendary eateries in the iconic Cathedral Quarter.

“From cool street food to Michelin Stars, the Cathedral Quarter has it all and there is no better time to be part of the buzz! Check out the menus and fantastic offers and get yourself into a Restaurant that you haven’t tried, go for a dish that you’ve always fancied, most importantly…enjoy the Cathedral Quarter Craic!”

Charlotte Irvine, Linen Quarter BID, said: “We’re excited to bring back Belfast Restaurant Week next month. Chefs and restaurants get the opportunity to showcase their talents while customers get to really see, taste and feel how vibrant and varied our hospitality industry is through snapshot menus with very accommodating prices.

“Our last event in September was a huge success with some of the participating restaurants telling us activity throughout the week was elevated as much as 70% and there were more than 500 dishes to choose from.”

One venue owner said that they witnessed a big uplift in business over the week compared to what would tend to be a quiet month while another found they had a significant rise in bookings during Belfast Restaurant Week for lunch and dinner. They had the busiest Saturday since pre-covid. Usually, they would have around 140 covers on a Saturday however during Belfast Restaurant Week, they had 210, so they said it was really worthwhile for them to participate.

Belfast Restaurant Week will culminate with weekend food demos by local chefs at St George’s Market, hosted by TV presenter Pamela Ballantine, where visitors will be offered the opportunity to taste dishes directly from the demo oven. And as well as dishes priced from as little as £10 for lunch and £20 for dinner, there will be special offers throughout the week.

Belfast Restaurant Week is organised and delivered by Belfast One, Destination CQ and Linen Quarter BIDs across BT1 and BT2 and runs from 20 to 26 February. For participating restaurants and menus, please visit

Follow Belfast Restaurant Week on social media at


10 Exciting Things to do Across NI

Here are ten exciting things to do 30 January – 5 February 2023

  1. The Legacy of Saint Brigid at The Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, County Down, 1 and 4 February. Brigid Watson is a local expert tour guide and environmentalist with a passion for Christian heritage and the fascinating life stories of people. In the ancient town of Downpatrick, home to the burial place of Saint Brigid at Down Cathedral, Brigid shares the story of the fascinating life of this Irish woman. After refreshments upon arrival, you will have the opportunity to explore an excellent display about Saint Brigid, the Goddess Brigid and the ancient traditions associated with the saint.
  2. Newry Arts Festival, Newry, County Down, 2- 11 February. A ten-day celebration of exhibitions, comedy, music and drama will shine a light on Newry’s arts scene as part of a major new festival. Newry Arts Festival will welcome renowned acts from the Newry area, including Rozlyn Sheridan, Newpoint Players, Joanne Quigley McParland, The Fews Ensemble and visual artist Cora Harrington, as well as top artists from across the region.
  3. Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Adventure Playpark and Fionn’s Giant Adventure, Killeavy, County Armagh, visit website for opening times. The Forest Park offers stunning walking trails, a scenic drive, an Adventure Playpark, Fionn’s Giant Adventure children’s trail and Courtyard where you will find the Synge & Byrne coffee shop. Rising some 576m above the surrounding countryside, the broad slopes of Slieve Gullion dominate the landscape of south Armagh. The mountain itself lies at the centre of a pronounced ring of hills – the Ring of Gullion.
  4. A Shot in the Dark – Cave Photography Session, Florencecourt, County Fermanagh, 4 February (more dates available). Explore a world deep underground where no natural light exists with Cave Explorer and Visual Storyteller Robert Mulraney. A Shot in the Dark is a practical photography session where basic cave photography techniques will be demonstrated. It is designed for those wanting to spend time in the showcave, taking photographs and getting to grips with the unique and challenging photographic conditions.
  5. Earth Yoga – In the Heart of the Cave, Florencecourt, County Fermanagh, 5 February (more dates available). Enjoy a unique experience as you get in touch with your inner yogi in a beginner-friendly 60 minutes yoga session in the depths of the Marble Arch Caves. Relax body and mind as you connect to nature inside the cave with an inviting and inspiring class welcome to all levels.
  6. Blessingbourne Mountain Bike Trails and Pump Track at Blessingbourne Estate, Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, visit website for opening times. The Blessingbourne Mountain Bike Trails lie in the heart of the Clogher Valley. Packed full of technical trail features such as berms, tabletops and rock drops, the trails at Blessingbourne cater for all ages and abilities and always provides a fun day out. Alternatively, enjoy a day out with their lovely walking trails if that is more your speed, and don’t forget to bring your dog.
  7. WWT Castle Espie Re-opening, Comber, County Down, visit website for opening times. WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre welcomed back visitors from Monday 23rd January. The cafe and shop are open as usual as are the sensory garden, art gallery and wildwood play. Although the resident bird collection area remains temporarily closed, visitors will have access to the nature reserve with woodland walks, bird hides and the wonderful mosaic of wetland habits which our precious native wetland wildlife call home.
  8. Fidela Experience – A Columbian Lunch and Coffee Tasting Tour, Coleraine, County Londonderry, 4 February. Have you ever wondered where the coffee in your cup comes from? Join us for an afternoon experiencing all that we love about Columbia from food to coffee and the whole process from farm to cup.
  9. Taste & Tour, Belfast, visit website for opening times. Taste & Tour is a series of multi-award-winning food and drink tours. With their signature Belfast Food Tour, Gin Jaunt, City Cocktail Circuit and 5 Stop Brunch Tour, amongst others, they’ve made it their business to lead guests to Belfast’s brightest and best flavours. Local guides will lead the cheer, helping guests discover the people, the history and the top tastes in the city.
  10. Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills, County Antrim, visit website for opening times. Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site is a geological wonder and home to a wealth of history and legend. The 40,000 basalt stone columns left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago, has captured the imagination of all who see it.


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 weekend!

Here are ten exciting things happening 23 – 29 January 2023


  1. An Ode to Robert Burns, Holywood, County Down, 28 January. Join the Ulster Folk Museum for a celebration of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet. Recognised the world over, Burns’ poetry focuses on love and nature with a touch of good old fashioned Scottish humour. Throughout the day, enjoy poetry readings in the ambient surroundings of their exhibition houses, try traditional ‘neeps and tatties’ cooked on the griddle over an open fire, and visit their town school to take a lesson in Ulster Scots.
  2. Imbolc Fire Lantern Experience at White Rock Glass Studio, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh, 28 January. Reconnect with your inner creative in this fully immersive, fused glass experience at White Rock Glass Studio with professional visual artist Tracey Mc Verry. Surrounded by the wild and dramatic scenery of the Fews Mountains, Tracey welcomes visitors to her 5th generation family home and glass studio, overlooking the National Trust’s ancient Ballymoyer Woodland.
  3. Vegan Table Tour, Belfast, 28 January (more dates available). For passionate vegans and non-vegans alike, this tour is for everyone who wants to sample a world-wide growing food movement. This is a combined food and walking tour allowing you to experience Belfast’s expanding Vegan food scene, while simultaneously enjoying a tour of Belfast City Centre with a local Blue Badge Tourist Guide.
  4. Sarah McQuaid at The Portico of Ards, Portaferry, County Down, 29 January. The Portico is delighted to welcome Sarah McQuaid on her first visit. Sarah’s talent paired with The Portico’s acoustics is surely an unmissable offering. In this tour she will be featuring music from The Buryan Sessions as well as some old favourites.
  5. Jiving Classes at Charlie’s Bar, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 12 January – 16 February. Enjoy Jiving Classes in the Upstairs Lounge at Charlie’s Bar in Enniskillen. Starting Thursday 12 January at 8-9.30pm for five weeks this class is hosted by Tina McGurran from Modern Country Moves, and are a great way to get fit, meet new people and build up your confidence when dancing. Tina ensures the classes are light-hearted and fun whilst also ensuring you learn plenty.
  6. Bangor Weekly Market, County Down, 25 January (more dates available). Bangor Market populates ASDA car park every Wednesday from 8am to 1pm with stalls offering a wide selection of the freshest fruit and vegetables, a fantastic range of local seafood, irresistible home-baked cakes, seasonal plants, shrubs and much more.
  7. Tyrella Point-to-Point Races, County Down, 28 January. Point-to-Point is horse racing in its purist form, and you will often hear it described as the grassroots of horse racing. This is because unlike the racing you may see on television which takes place at permanent racecourses, Point-to-Point racing takes place at what are effectively pop-up courses. Tyrella Point-to-Point is the perfect day out for all the family in the countryside and you will get to witness the future stars of the racing industry make their introduction into competitive racing.
  8. Foodie City Cycle, Derry~Londonderry, check website for opening times. Get a taste for Derry~Londonderry (quite literally) on Far and Wild’s Foodie City Cycle. If you’ve got an appetite for discovering great food and learning about local culture too, this is the tour for you. On your guided cycle tour, you’ll take in two great, mouth-watering culinary experiences. With a focus on quality local produce, Far and Wild’s culinary partners vary with the seasons. That way you know there are only the freshest, in-season dishes waiting for you at each stop.
  9. Special Consensus Bluegrass Band at Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre, Limavady, County Londonderry, 27 January. The Special Consenus Bluegrass Band from Chicago is grounded in a deep appreciation and understanding of Bluegrass music whilst utilising the innovations of today. Evolving over four decades, they have released twenty albums, received six IBMA awards and had two Grammy nominations.
  10. Todds Leap, Ballygawley, County Tyrone, check website site for opening times. Ready for an adventure? Look no further than multi-award-winning Todd’s Leap. Days out at Todds Leap are all about getting outdoors, spending time with friends, doing something momentous and having more fun than you’ve ever felt possible. That’s what makes Todds Leap Activity Centre a great option for families as well as friends looking for a fun day out or celebrating a special occasion.


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

4 Corners Festival Bringing Communities Together Through Sports

Uniting children with a Game of 3 Halves 

4 Corners Festival returns for its 11th annual instalment on January 27 for a 9-day event running until February 5, covering a variety of music, art, talks, sporting and religious-based events.

This year’s theme, Dreams…Visions For Belfast is hoping to inspire individuals from all areas within the city to create a peaceful home for all communities.

One of the many activities taking place within the festival is the Game of 3 Halves, which sees young people from all areas of Belfast brought together through the power of sports.

PeacePlayers NI are hosting the event, open to all young people aged 11 to 14, with the aim of changing the competitive nature of games and removing any conflict, instead replacing it with positive lessons and outcomes, on and off the court.

Games such as Gaelic football, soccer and rugby will be played by integrated teams from Belfast as well as having on-site PeacePlayers Coaches and mentors to help participants throughout the 3-hour long event.

Aoife Redmond, Regional Programme Coordinator, has seen how this scheme is successful in uniting children through engaging fun sports based activities.

She said: “We get kids together on integrated teams to play basketball, to engage in team building activities together and actually get to know one another.

We run programmes for multiple age groups; our Twinning programme brings catholic and protestant primary school classes together on integrated teams, to play basketball and engage in good relations conversations and activities.

Aoife also explained that PeacePlayers offer further programmes to promote togetherness outside of the festival, which is ideal for any children and young people who enjoy the event to continue with the inspirational messages the team and activities produce.

She added: “We also have our Leadership Development Programme, which is for participants in 4th year – Upper sixth to come together and learn about cultures, our core values and curriculum delivery as well as playing basketball together.

Ed Peterson of Clonard Monastery, representing the 4 Corners Festival, explained that the event is aimed at bringing young people from all communities, backgrounds and corners of the city together.

He said: “I love the overall ethos of the 4 Corners Festival to encourage all of us to get out of our corner of the city, not only just the geographical corner of the city to experience other parts of Belfast but also just around other ideas and opportunities.

“Young people can meet new people and explore various different subject matters together with people from different areas of Belfast or even beyond.”

Open to both previous PeacePlayers attendees and young people (aged 11-14) who have never been to the programme before, perfect for anyone looking to get involved, meet new people and develop connections and friendships.

Siblings Abdelmonieum and Maryam Salman are both participants who regularly attend the PeacePlayers events, with them both enjoying the sense of community they gain from going.

Abdelmonieum said: “PeacePlayers is always like a second home to me. I look forward to going to it every week.”

Maryam also explained how she has developed great connections with fellow students who attend the sessions, saying: “Because of PeacePlayers I got to meet new people and make new friends.”

Joshua Curtis, another young person who attends the games, said he finds PeacePlayers to be incredibly fun and rewarding.

He said: “I’ve made plenty of friends through the festival. There’s so many games, there’s so much to do, there’s such a great atmosphere in the stadium – it’s really, really fun.”

Game of 3 Halves will take place at 6 pm on Wednesday, February 1 at Queen’s PEC, and is open to young people across the city who have not attended these programmes before.

For more information on how to get involved with Game of 3 Halves go to For the full 4 Corners Festival programme visit

Playful Museums Festival returns to Causeway Coast and Glens

The Playful Museums Festival returns to Causeway Coast and Glens during February with a series of outdoor events, crafts and storytelling for children aged 3 – 4

Join the Museum Services team to ‘Seek, Find, Speak, Create’ at one of four local green spaces for an outdoor trail to explore nature’s treasures followed by an indoor family craft workshop.

Activities will be facilitated by The Hares Corner Cooperative, and, with help from Freddie the Squirrel, children will be encouraged to look for the signs of nature.

Participants will have a chance to get creative together by decorating a frame representing nature using items gathered from the outdoors and museum collections.

The children’s work will then go on display in a week-long exhibition at Ballymoney Museum.

The four sessions will take place from 10am-12pm in the following locations:

Tuesday 7th February, Roe Valley Country Park – Green Lane Museum;

Thursday 9th February, Anderson Park – Coleraine Town Hall;

Tuesday 21st February, Megaw Park – Ballymoney Town Hall;

Thursday 23rd February, Ballycastle Forest Park – Ramoan Parish Centre.

The Playful Museum’s Festival programme also includes a storytelling session for 3–4-year-olds with Colin Urwin from the Armstrong Storytelling Trust on Wednesday 8th February in Ballymoney Town Hall from 10am – 11am.

For more information and to book your free place at any of the events please email or ring Ballymoney Visitor Information enter on 028 2766 0230.

The sessions are delivered with support from the NIMC Playful Museums Festival grant funding.

Dublin Coffee Chain FUEL Invests £100k In South Belfast Café

FUEL Lisburn Road creates 8 jobs locally

Dublin’s renowned coffee chain FUEL has opened its first Belfast branch on the Lisburn Road, in a £100,000 investment that is set to create at least eight new hospitality jobs, to begin with.

Belfast born businessman David Beggs has two FUEL branches in Dublin in Rathmines and Clontarf but aims to further expand the offering in Northern Ireland in the future.

Based in Dublin, he said it was inevitable he would eventually open in his home city as he further developed FUEL from its initial roots.

“Having experienced some really good eateries in places like New York I wanted to bring the international love of and accessibility of healthy, tasty, and vibrant food home,” David said. 

“Trends are changing, and people want high-quality food that is good for their body and soul.”

With a background in professional healthcare, David has a heightened awareness of the need to bring healthy street food into the community. 

“We all know the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ but the thing is, it’s not what you eat on one day, it’s the consistency of what you eat and how it fits into your ecosystem. It needs to be accessible,” he explained, adding: “Whenever you’re eating the right food for a sustained period of time, you’re going to feel better, you’re going to sleep better and you would hope that everything else will fall into place.”

David admitted that his drive to lead a healthier lifestyle was not a trait he was born with, but rather something he learnt over time which is why he is keen on giving people easy access to quick and healthy food.

He explained: “We want to provide people with healthy, tasty, and vibrant food to eat in or on the go.The Dublin-based businessman knows the benefits of making healthy choices himself.

“I believe that diet is something you have to constantly work at making some tweaks here and there and then hopefully see the benefits. My current regime seems to be the one that is best for blood sugar levels, mental health, and general well being.”

This is not to say that David is waging a war on sugar. He believes that there is a time and place for everything, but while on weekdays people would opt for salads, healthy soups, and other healthy options, on the weekend’s many people break out into an all-day-brunch menu which can still serve you well.

With FUEL, his vision is one with a community vibe at heart. 

“The idea of the local pub being the epicentre of the community is gone,” he explained. “People are meeting at coffee shops and very much at the takeaway coffee shops because they may not have the time to sit for an hour and a half with each other, but they’ll have a catch up as they grab and go.”

Manager of FUEL in Belfast, Thom Moreland says the values of the brand and its healthy range of options will resonate well with customers visiting the Lisburn Road outlet.

“When customers arrive at FUEL they will be greeted with great coffee in a community focused setting where they can choose from a range of everything from your healthy options such as protein pancake stack, sweet potato fritters and chorizo eggs all the way to your beautifully indulgent fresh dishes like our decadent french toast, breakfast burrito and range of pastries and protein balls.

“One of the things we’ve found is that many groups of friends find it difficult to find something for everyone so we’ve curated a menu that gives you the option to choose the dish that suits you best, especially if you’re on a cheat day.

“All our produce is sourced locally, we have a wide range of gluten free and vegan options and our freshly squeezed, made on site juices, have become a firm favourite with our regulars.

“We’re delighted to be opened on Lisburn Road, the bustling heart of South Belfast. The community here has been incredibly welcoming and we’re looking forward to getting to know everyone.”

Show your love for LegenDerry food this February

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy, has launched a month long celebration of the City and District’s thriving food and drink scene.

Love LegenDerry will take place throughout the month of February and feature a programme of events and initiatives to allow locals and visitors to sample the best of our food offering.

Derry City and Strabane District Council Mayor, Councillor Sandra Duffy pictured at the launch of the Love Legenderry Food Month with, Emily McCorkell, Chairperson, Selina Horshi, Margaret Edwards, DCSDC, Feargal Doherty, Mark and Shauna Froydenlund, Odhran Dunne, CEO, Visit Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. 13.01.23

Members of the LegenDerry Food Network, in partnership with Council and Visit Derry, are bringing together an exciting programme of events and experiences to celebrate our vibrant food and drink scene in the city and beyond.

“The LegenDerry Food Network has made significant strides over the past few years to strengthen the range and quality of our food and drink offering,” said Mayor Duffy.

“The City and District has now firmly established itself as a foody destination and more and more visitors are coming to sample our locally sourced food and drink.

“Love LegenDerry will celebrate how far we have come and encourage locals and visitors to get out and about across the City and District and sample our authentic experience for themselves.”

Tourism Manager at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Margaret Edwards, explained more about the initiative.

“The overall ambition of the Love LegenDerry campaign is to drive economic benefit by extending the food tourism season and attract visitors to travel here, stay overnight and sample our food experiences.

“It aims to enhance the reputation of our food and drink offering by using local produce, raising awareness of local provenance, great quality and value for money and provide a financial boost to our food businesses by extending their peak season.

“Members of the network created a series of special events during the month to highlight and celebrate the thriving scene here.”

Events include Meet the Producers at a long table event with Soda and Starch and Artis, a special Valentine’s gin making experience at the Walled City Brewery, afternoon tea at the White Horse Hotel and a new foodie fusion experience with a set menu of French inspired Irish cuisine.

You can also have fun at a special couples cooking experience, visit a goat farm in the Sperrins, find out about cheese making, take part in some urban foraging, experience a ‘wine, wild and wasted’ tasting dinner with talks and a focus on zero waste and an oyster and stout bluegrass festival at the Walled City Brewery.

The LegenDerry Food Brand and Network was set up by Council and the private sector in February 2019 to bring forward ambitious plans to build on the North West’s unique food offering as part of the wider food and drink strategy for the Council area.

Full details are available at