Renewables Firms Welcome Long Overdue Electricity Network Upgrade

NI companies say investment plans will kickstart efforts to achieve net zero goal

Leading renewable industry companies, Everun and PAC Group, have welcomed plans for a £3bn investment by NIE Networks (NIEN) to upgrade Northern Ireland’s electricity network.

The two companies have been calling for urgent developments in the existing grid to enable renewable energy sources to support the 2030 target to have 80% of all the country’s energy needs from renewables.

Managing director of Everun, Michael Thompson said that for too long the ageing electricity grid had hampered the development of the sector.

“In welcoming this investment we now need to see rapid action by the regulator and a full action plan for implementation,” he said. 

“There is a demand across businesses to develop wind turbines and solar generation, and connectivity to wider renewable sources.

“NIE Network’s announcement is the first step, and now we need the regulator to press ahead with approval and for the swift progress of the wider energy strategy at NI Executive level.”

Under the investment plans electricity customers will be able to connect with low carbon technology from NIE Networks lines, pylons and substations.

Business development director at PAC Group, Darren Leslie, said more and more businesses are not only seeing the need for action on climate change, but the economic benefits of switching to renewable energy.

“There are too many obstructions in Northern Ireland at present to have it rolling it out across more and more businesses, not least the planning and application processes and assessment of the grid having the correct infrastructure in place,” he said. 

“That is not the case in many areas, and even with this investment, it will not be there for several years without action at executive level to drive it forward.”

NIE Networks does not generate electricity nor sell power to homes and businesses but warned that the investment could add an additional £10 to £20 a year to bills.

Mr Thompson said a cross-government approach is needed to address the challenges such as planning that are hindering the country from achieving the climate goals agreed.

“While pressure on household and business bills should be avoided, this investment will enable NI to take further control of its own energy security and ultimately reduce costs,” he said. 

“We have a great opportunity to become a powerhouse in the generation and distribution of renewable energy, utilising our preferential location for wind resources and creating thousands of well-paid engineering-based jobs.”

Both Everun and PAC Group have been calling for action on the infrastructure for some time and expressed frustration that the climate change goals may not be met, and will restrict business development.

“Business planning for their energy  is part of a five-year cycle,” said Mr Leslie.

“It is not something that owners can push back, and it is not something anyone can afford to ignore any further.

“The reality is that there will be frustrations, but these frustrations should be a driver towards solutions. The renewables industry in Northern Ireland have these solutions to hand, and we see, from the growing number of enquiries for sustainable energy production.

“Northern Ireland’s Climate Action Plan has set ambitious targets that may or not be met, however, businesses must not see that as their driver, but rather what they can do to benefit themselves, employees, and owners.”

The Centre of Advanced Sustainable Energy (Case), hosted by Queens University, believes targets for climate action could not be realised without this injection into the infrastructure.

“In the long-term, we would see many benefits being realised through this investment,” said Martin Doherty from Case. 

“Alongside the positive economic impact on the supply chain and wider industry, this will go a long way to enabling Northern Ireland to meet the target of 80% of electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030 which, in turn, could ease the pressure on energy bills.”

Under the investment plan there will be 1,000 jobs created by NIE Networks. Both Mr Thompson and Mr Leslie believe that the renewables industry will in turn be recruiting more staff in engineering to meet the demands.

Within their eight divisions PAC Group supports the renewables sector through PAC Electrical with solar and EV charging and via PAC Enviro in the water and wastewater industry.

Everun specialises in managing large scale wind farms as well as the installation of wind and solar energy solutions, EV charging, smart motors such as TurnTide and renewable switchovers. 

NOTHING BUT THIEVES The Telegraph Building, Friday 17th November

Nothing But Thieves 

Tickets on sale Friday 5th May at 10am

New Album ‘DEAD CLUB CITY’ Released on 7th July

Nothing But Thieves have announced a 10-date October and November UK and Ireland headline tour, which will follow the release of their fourth album ‘Dead Club City’ on 7th July via RCA/Sony Music.

With a well-earned reputation for their energetic and impassioned performances, their live show is one not to be missed. Opening with two nights in Glasgow on the 31st October and 1st November, the tour sees the band perform a further 8 nights across the UK and Ireland, including two nights in Manchester, a headline show at London Wembley Arena and a date at The Telegraph Building Belfast on 17th November.

The band have also been announced for this year’s Radio 1 Big Weekend in Dundee performing on Sunday May 28th and are currently touring in Australia before embarking on a North American tour in September and October ahead of their UK and Ireland tour.

Nothing But Thieves toured their third album ‘Moral Panic’ in 2021 and 2022, selling over 110,000 tickets, including their biggest ever London headline show at O2 Arena and a 17,000-seat headline show at Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome.

Nothing But Thieves made a statement return last month with lead single ‘Welcome to the DCC’, marking an innovative new chapter with their fourth record ‘Dead Club City’. ‘Welcome to the DCC’ is A-List on Radio 1 and Radio X and has also become the band’s biggest ever airplay track to date.

Through their forthcoming 11-track album, the band showcase their city-sized members only club ‘Dead Club City’. The album’s tracklist is formed by different characters and story arcs from in and around the city, and using the club as a focal point, it is easy to imagine the real-world meaning behind Dead Club City. Themes such as advertisement, unity, internet culture, the music industry, ageing and politics, as well as escapism and change are highlighted by the alienation or privilege of a members only club. The album is  available to pre-order now – welcome to ‘Dead Club City’ and the new era of Nothing But Thieves.

Tickets for their UK and Ireland tour are available for pre-sale from 10am on Tuesday 2nd May and go on general sale at 10am on Friday 5th May. Full dates are as follows:


Tues 31st – Glasgow – O2 Academy


Weds 1st – Glasgow – O2 Academy

Fri 3rd – Bournemouth – International Centre

Sat 4th – Manchester – O2 Apollo

Sun 5th – Manchester – O2 Apollo

Tues 7th – Swansea – Arena

Thurs 9th – Birmingham – Resorts World Arena

Fri 10th – London – OVO Arena Wembley

Fri 17thBelfast – The Telegraph Building

Mon 20th – Dublin – 3Olympia Theatre

Nothing But Thieves are Conor Mason (vocals, guitars), Joe Langridge-Brown (guitars), Dominic Craik (guitars, keyboard), Philip Blake (bass guitar) and James Price (drums).

About Nothing But Thieves:

The past few years have been quite a ride for Southend five-piece Nothing But Thieves. Amassing over 1.2 million worldwide album sales, 2 billion worldwide streams and 250 million video views, they have built up a loyal and wide following for their impactful alt rock sound and achieved global success with multiple gold and platinum records around the world, including the UK, Australia, Russia, Netherlands, South Korea and Poland.

In 2020, they released their third album ‘Moral Panic’, which charted at #3 achieving over 320 million streams and saw support from the likes of BBC Radio 1, Virgin Radio and Radio X alongside winning Best Indie Act at Global Radio’s 2021 Awards. They followed this later that year with ‘Moral Panic II’, with both projects forming ‘Moral Panic (The Complete Edition) in 2021. ‘Moral Panic’ followed their 2018 EP ‘What Did You Think When You Made Me This Way’, their 2017 acclaimed album ‘Broken Machine’, which charted at #2 in the UK album chart, and their debut self-titled album ‘Nothing But Thieves’.

Website | Instagram | Youtube

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 24 – 30 April

  1. City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival, Derry~Londonderry, 27 – 1 May. If you’re looking for the perfect way to start the summer, then look no further than Derry~Londonderry, where the City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival returns this May Bank Holiday weekend. This is the 22nd iteration of the Festival which has grown year on year to become the biggest and best Jazz showcase in Ireland, making it the favourite stop off for hundreds of musicians on the jazz circuit.
  2. Portrush Tasty, Portrush, County Antrim, 28 April. These Friday evening foodie tours are the perfect opener for your weekend. This tour is about getting together and sharing food, drink, stories and craic. It starts with an exclusive behind-the-scenes visit to Portrush’s only craft brewery, Lacada Brewery, for a private tasting, moving on for a delicious main course on Main Street, and rounding off with a cool new cocktail in an awarding-winning bar and entertainment venue.
  3. Burgers, Beer & Spirits at The Echlinville Distillery, Kircubbin, County Down, 29 April. Enjoy an afternoon of the finest local food and drinks with gourmet burgers by Ballyboley Dexters, craft beer by Modest Beer and Echlinville’s premium whiskeys and gins.
  4. Frock Around The Clock : Vintage & Handmade Fair, Belfast, 30 April. Frock Around The Clock have been running vintage and handmade fairs since 2008, and with over 200 events in Belfast and beyond, they are a firm favourite on the Northern Ireland event calendar. Expect to find cool collectables, on-trend homewares, beautiful jewellery, fashion and accessories.
  5. Rock Out With The Cave Crew, Florencecourt, Fermanagh, 30 April. The Cave Crew of the Marble Arch Cave are excited to host a new above-ground event exploring the rich heritage of Killykeeghan National Nature Reserve. Visitors will delve into the local human history and heritage of this hidden gem nestled within the landscape of Cuilcagh Mountain. They will uncover the treasures of the fascinating geology, stunning landforms and the unique biodiversity of this special place through an exciting new interactive guided trail.
  6. Rathlin Forage, Ballycastle, County Antrim, 30 April. Ksenia has, for the last seventeen years, collected and cooked with the natural produce that grows along the rocky shoreline of Rathlin Island. This exciting foraging walk will last approximately 1 hour 30 minutes and the guide Ksenia will introduce the ancient art of foraging.
  7. Food and Mindfulness Tour, Plumbridge, County Tyrone, see website for booking tours Starting your day at Butterlope Farm you will be welcomed by Annie a local expert in the flora of the area. Visit the vegetable garden and enjoy tea, scones and foraged jams before heading out on a forage walk. As you take in the views of the amazing Glenga Valley, Annie will lead you along ancient hedgerows and dry stone walls. The forage walk will look at the historical and medicinal uses of plants and consider plants that can be picked as ‘Food for Free’. Also, learn how to recognise the archaeological features of the upland Sperrins landscape.
  8. Gullion Adventures, Meigh, County Armagh. Whether you are planning some family activities over the bank holiday weekends or are planning a group bonding activity, Gullion adventures has it all. From mountain biking, archery and abseiling, you are sure to be entertained in this outstanding area of beauty and adventure. Contact 07591887370 for further information.
  9. Oakfire Adventures, Derry~Londonderry, see website for opening times. Oakfire strive to make their activity destination as best as possible. Located on the outskirts of Derry-Londonderry, Oakfire Adventures are accessible from all parts of Northern Ireland and beyond. Perfect for corporate events, sports teams, stag parties, birthdays or simply a fun day out, Oakfire provides an exhilarating alternative to those looking to have a great time.
  10. Hydrobikes at Enniskillen Castle, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. This experience is set in the water below the magnificent Enniskillen Castle, and can be enjoyed during the day or at night time, providing a completely unique perspective of the town. Jump onboard the Hydrobikes with lights for a low-impact leisurely ride around Castle Island, with your colourful bike lighting up the water and creating an eye-catching display. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture fantastic shots of your friends and family enjoying the 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

‘Ahoy there’ – get set for the return of Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival

Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival is set to make a splash when it returns from May 26th – June 4th, with 10 days of exciting seafaring fun to look forward to.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is working with Ballycastle Community Development Group and Rathlin Development and Community Association to bring you this hugely popular celebration, with a packed programme of activities on both dry land and at sea, inspired by the Rathlin Sound – the body of water between Rathlin Island and the mainland in Ballycastle.

Visitors can look forward to live music performances, dance displays, have-a- go activities, crafts, walks, talks, cookery demonstrations and lots of artisan produce at the Naturally North Coast and Glens Market, all of which celebrate the area’s rich local history, culture, music and food.

Wes Forsythe from Ulster University will be presenting the Madill Archive Project, which is focused on traditional boats from around the Ulster Coast and beyond. An archive of line drawings, photographs, interviews and reports donated to the University by Harry Madill, a retired engineer from Portstewart.

There will also be a demonstration of traditional coracle boat building by Valkyrie Crafts, exhibition of Old-Style Rope making by Traditional Rope Makers NI and Songs, Stories and Recitations of the Antrim Coast from Colin Urwin.

In addition, thanks to Causeway Coast Maritime Heritage Group, you’ll get to see traditional fishing boats like drontheims and currachs take to the water, including the Colmcille, one of the largest vessels of its type in Northern Ireland.

In other programme highlights, look out for the blessing of the boats, traditional rope making, maritime themed children’s crafts, colourful kite display, sand sculpture demonstration and a children’s sandcastle competition on Ballycastle Beach.

Looking ahead to the festival, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Ivor Wallace, said:

“Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival is a celebration of Ballycastle and Rathlin Island’s shared nautical heritage and serves as a fantastic showcase of the area’s unrivalled tourism offering.

“This popular festival first began 10 years ago and has become one of highlights of our Borough’s events calendar, being enjoyed by thousands of visitors over the past decade.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the local community volunteers who play a central role in this festival’s ongoing success. I look forward to seeing you all there for some nautical-themed fun!”

The full programme will be published on the festival’s website soon so please visit for the latest updates or contact Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre by ringing 028 2076 2024.

Please note, details are subject to change due to tides and weather conditions, so visitors are advised to follow the Festival’s Facebook (@RathlinSoundMaritimeFestival) and Twitter (@RathlinSoundMF) channels for the most up-to-date announcements.

Belfast Hotel To Save Over 40% On Energy Costs With New TurnTide Technology

Crowne Plaza using revolutionary power product from Everun to reduce carbon footprint

Renewable experts, Everun, recently completed the installation of revolutionary new motor technology Turntide at south Belfast’s Crowne Plaza hotel with anticipated savings of more than 41% in the running of the air conditioning and handling at the popular venue.

The Turntide Smart Motor System, developed in California, has been proven to save companies on energy bills and reduce their impact on the environment.

Everun’s Managing Director, Michael Thompson believes that it will be an essential part of the drive to save money.

“Electric motors are everywhere in business from pumping air to powering production lines,
however, the technology used in these motors is more than a century old and is no longer efficient for today’s world.” he said.

“We were delighted to work with Crowne Plaza to update the motors that power the air handling units across multiple sites at the hotel including the main function hall, pool, gym, and the fitness suite.”

Ahead of the installation, Everun in conjunction with UK partners Future Motor Limited are the exclusive distributors of TurnTide in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, carried out a comprehensive audit of the existing motors for over a week, monitoring their performance to help predict the energy-saving potential of the Turntide motors.

“Using our desktop analysis we projected that the minimum potential saving would be 25%,” said Mr Thompson, Everun’s Managing Director. 

“Following the installation, we have carried out an additional analysis of the new system and found that Crowne Plaza will achieve a 41% increase in energy efficiency in actual day-to-day use, giving the hotel a return on their investment in less than three years.”

Three of Everun’s specialist engineers installed the new Turntide motors in the hotel’s HVAC air handling units during February, including the motors, new hardware, cable runs, belts, pulleys and software.

Rajesh Rana from Crowne Plaza said they were delighted with the work undertaken.

“As a hotel, we are very aware that many guests in this beautiful part of Northern Ireland are asking about our sustainability policies. We are proud to have achieved the industry recognised Green Tourism accreditation,” Mr Rana said. 

“The projection that we will have a carbon offset of around 62 tonnes across the whole site is an important aspect of our commitment.”

Mr Thompson added that Crowne Plaza is the latest customer to see the benefits of the revolutionary new motor technology.

“Turntide is a proven system that uses smart technology to make sure that companies have an efficient way to power the electric motors, and we are delighted to offer it to clients across the island of Ireland.

“We are delighted to be able to offer a full, free assessment of the potential of upgrading to any organisation using electric motors.”

The Turntide system is cloud-connected, with smart software that is certified to be up to 60% more efficient than traditional motors and is based on the physics of electric generation using magnets and holds more than 100 patents for its intelligence-based system.

Its three elements are the motor, the controller and the cloud-connected software that optimises every part of the energy produced, and precisely switches the current to the motor 20,000 times per second.

For more information go to

Causeway Coast and Glens Arts Service invites you to get creative this Spring with exciting range of live events, exhibitions and workshops to enjoy

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Arts Service is pleased to release its latest Arts Guide, packed with creative opportunities and cultural highlights taking you right through Spring.

From April until June 2023, there is lots to look forward to with an exciting array of events, exhibitions, and workshops.

Headlining this season’s events at Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre is one of Ireland’s most revered ambassadors of music, Brian Kennedy, performing in the Danny Boy Auditorium on Saturday 3rd June.

Award-winning multi-instrumentalist traditional Irish music group, Réalta will perform on Saturday 29th April.  Réalta will showcase a world premiere of a new piece inspired by Limavady, commissioned by Live Music Now, a charity that uses the transformational power of live music in education, health, care and community settings across Northern Ireland.

Réalta is joined for this concert by guest singer and songwriter Myles McCormack, as well as young trad players from CCÉ Jimmy O’Hara (Roe Valley) and a collaboration with poet Anne McMaster.

The Northern Ireland Photography Association’s annual exhibition will be held in the galleries from 29th April – 27th May.  This exhibition features 87 images captured by camera club members from across Northern Ireland.

In May, there is an open call for local photographers of all levels to submit images of the beautiful Causeway Coast to be part of Coastal Connections, an exhibition which will be displayed in our Broighter Gallery as well as virtually on our website that will celebrate our unique coastline, in all its natural splendour.

Over the next three months, the ArtBeat Initiative will be reignited.  This initiative focuses on mindfulness and well-being through nature and creativity and there will be a series of outdoor workshops as we celebrate the brighter days, longer evenings and the stunning environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens area, starting on Saturday 29th April with a Creative Writing workshop at Benone Beach, with Poet and playwright Anne McMaster.  There will also be family fun, with a parent and toddler drumming course, children’s dance workshops, film and storytelling, alongside community activities such as Sound Connections.

In Portstewart, Flowerfield Arts Centre will showcase some fantastic exhibitions including The Spring Exhibition of the Ulster Society of Women Artists, ‘Still I Rise’, by Deirdre Robb and in our Upper Gallery, Disruptive Women/Mujeres Disruptivas by Conflict Textiles.  Flowerfield is delighted to welcome some of the talented women who created the arpilleras in this exhibition to Flowerfield on Friday 28th April. These women are visiting from Catalonia and all are welcome for a guided tour of the Disruptive Women exhibition between 1-2pm.

The auditorium will host live music, spoken word and film, including live music from Arborist on Saturday 29th April, a sold-out performance by Duke Special (9th June) and an incredible evening of music by one of Ireland’s leading pianists Ruth McGinley (24th June), Screenings of award-nominated films A Quite Girl (4th May) and Aftersun (1st June), and a Talk by Nobel prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon on Friday 5th May.

Flowerfield also welcome back the popular Tenx9 event on Friday 19th May, for another evening of storytelling on the theme of Family, and will host the book launch of Homebirds by Anne Marie McAleese and Dot Blakely (25th May), where they will chat with local chef Paula McIntyre.

There will also be creative opportunities in pottery, fused glass and painting, as well as the opportunity to move in a 5 -week t’ai chi and qigong course led by Dr Philip Johnson and a 4-week Irish & Scottish Céilí/Cèilidh Dancing Course, along with activities for children and families including a series of parent and child workshops with dedicated sessions for Autistic young people and their parent/carer.

The new Arts Guide is available to download from or or drop into Flowerfield Arts Centre or Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre to pick up a copy.

The Everglades Hotel in Derry-Londonderry is hosting an Afternoon Tea with Lady Mary Peters which will include a Q&A with the Olympic legend and entertainment.

The event, which takes place on Saturday 20th May at 2pm, will give guests the chance to take part in a virtual Golden Duck Race in honour of Lady Mary’s gold medal success and there will be a performance by Les Foyer des Artistes. The afternoon’s festivities will be hosted by local personality Micky Doherty.

ENJOY AFTERNOON TEA WITH LADY MARY PETERS. Lady Mary Peters is joined by local personality Micky Doherty to launch an Afternoon Tea event at the Everglades Hotel in Derry-Londonderry on Saturday 20th May at 2pm to help raise money for the Mary Peters Trust which supports our young local athletes in their sporting careers. At the event guests will have the chance to take part in a virtual Golden Duck Race in honour of Lady Mary’s gold medal success and there will be a performance by Les Foyer des Artistes. Tickets are £40 per person or £350 for a table of 10. Tickets including return coach travel with McComb’s Coach Travel from Belfast are £60 per person. For further information or to purchase tickets phone 028 9694 9369 or email

Lady Mary Peters said: “I am very much looking forward to this special Afternoon Tea event at the Everglades Hotel. I would like to thank Hastings Hotels for all their support and encourage everyone to come along for a fun afternoon to help raise money for the Mary Peters Trust which supports our young local athletes in their sporting careers. I am proud that the Mary Peters Trust has supported so many athletes in the local area.”

Julie Hastings, Director of Hastings Hotels said: “We are delighted to support the Mary Peters Trust by hosting this celebratory event in honour of Northern Ireland’s Golden Girl. Lady Mary Peters continues to inspire generations of young people and athletes and we are very proud to be able to pay tribute to her successes and everything she has done, and continues to do, to help young people in achieving their sporting dreams and ambitions. It promises to be a great afternoon of amazing memories, live entertainment and fabulous food and one not to be missed.”

McComb’s Coach Travel is kindly sponsoring luxury return travel from Belfast on Saturday 20th May. The event is supported by Alchemy Technologies who is a Podium Partner of the Mary Peters Trust.

The Mary Peters Trust is Northern Ireland’s leading sporting charity and was established to create an ongoing and meaningful commemoration of Lady Mary’s win at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Since its inception over 40 years ago, the Trust has made a staggering number of awards helping to make a difference to the lives of thousands of young athletes from across local sport.

Tickets are £40 per person or £350 for a table of 10. Tickets with return coach travel from Belfast are £60 per person.

For further information or to purchase tickets phone 028 9694 9369 or email

Belfast Conference Set To Power Passionate Marketing

Marketing professionals from across Northern Ireland will have the chance to hear how their specialism is developing and growing at a new one-day event taking place in Belfast this May.

The Big Marketing Meet Up which will take place on May 25 at The MAC will “power passionate marketeers” to learn, grow and upskill as they hear from a range of industry experts on topics such as sustainability, influencers, AI, branding, experiential marketing and more.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Richard Shotton, founder of London based behavioural science consultancy Astroten and author of The Choice Factory and The Illusion of Choice.

Richard will be opening and closing the event with his talks ‘What Makes Us Tick?’ and ‘The Illusion of Choice – When Marketing Meets The Mind Of The Customer’.

Having spent nearly two decades as a media planner on accounts such as Coke, Lexus and comparethemarket through his agency Astroten Richard now works with a wide variety of brands, including Google, Mondelez, BrewDog and Barclays.

Speaking ahead of the event Richard said: “I am delighted to be returning to Belfast to deliver these sessions at the Big Marketing Meet Up. 

“In my opening session we will address how understanding consumer behaviour can help marketeers create a competitive edge.

“We will then close the event looking at the psychological biases that influence how we buy & how to use these to win and retain customers.”

The Big Marketing Meet Up will see 12 specialist speakers with 11 presentations ranging from sustainability, consumer behaviour, influencers, finance, and AI take to the stage throughout the day.

Organisers said the Big Marketing Meet Up has been created by marketing professionals for marketing professionals.

They feel that as marketing is developing and changing, seemingly daily at times. The Big Marketing Meet Up is a chance to take the time out, re-charge, and for marketeers to fuel themselves with insights and ideas to help them become more effective.

Hosted by former BBC News reporter and presenter, Sarah Travers, other speakers include entrepreneur and Chairman of The Worshipful Company of Marketors Dr Glyn Cartwright who will be speaking on the topic of ‘How to never stop growing in your marketing career’, founder and director of Marcomm Una McSorely who will be delivering a “humorous guide to better communications In the workplace where you will learn how to communicate with the animals in your office” and lecturer in Management Development at Ulster University’s Business School Nancy Brown who will be talking about the power of experiential marketing.

Also taking to the stage throughout the day will be Tina Calder, founder and director of media and marketing agency Excalibur Press tackling the rise of the robots and what marketeers & copywriters need to know about the rise of Chat GPT and other AI content generators.

Joining the line-up throughout the day will also be Danny Lynch, director of communications for the Irish Football Association, Vava Influencer partners Fran Morelli & Chloe Henning, Sonya Kerr and Susan Crawford of Catagen, sustainability expert Danielle McCormick and award-winning Creative Director Jamie Watson of Thought Boxes.

Not only will the event see and hear from an amazing line-up of speakers, there will be a chance to meet each of them in the Big Marketing Meet Up Lounge over lunch.

Organisers have also extended their thanks to event partners Excalibur Press and The Worshipful Company of Marketors.


The full line-up of speakers and the programme are available now, as well as an early bird booking offer of £95 per person at

Plan your Summer with the new Ards and North Down Arts and Heritage Programme!

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Arts and Heritage Summer Programme has just been released. The Summer programme, covering the May to August period is full of events, exhibitions, arts festivals and creative classes as well as lots happening in Ards Arts Centre and North Down Museum over the coming months.

Highlights from the Arts and Heritage Summer programme include the popular Friday Night Live series of events which will see talented acts take to the stage at Ards Arts Centre. There are also two special music events in June; Willie Drennan’s Journey of the Ulster Muse, happening at The Queen’s Hall, Newtownards and members of the Ulster Orchestra make a very welcome return to perform in Bangor Abbey.

Singer /songwriter, Taylor Lalley will appear at Ards Arts Centre as part of the Friday Night Live series of events on Friday 23 June.

To mark the Coronation of HRH King Charles III, a special programme of Coronation activity including an exhibition and informative talk at North Down Museum and a day of heritage skills demonstrations will take place.

Bangor Castle’s Walled Garden plays host to the popular ForM Sculpture Exhibition in June when artists from all around the island of Ireland will exhibit their work and the garden will be transformed into a unique outdoor gallery. Heartbreak Productions’ Summer Theatre returns to the garden in July with family fun in the shape of David Walliam’s Bad Dad and an evening production of MacHamLear, a farcical piece of new writing from award-winning playwright Michael Davies that shamelessly exploits the genius of Shakespeare.

The annual Creative Peninsula festival in August offers an abundance of opportunities to try your hand at arts and craft practices. Featuring workshops from talented local artists, studio visits and the fantastic Creative Peninsula in the Square event, there’s plenty to get involved with!

For anyone wishing to learn a new skill or perhaps develop existing skills, Ards Arts Centre has lots of creative classes on offer – from silversmithing to calligraphy, drawing to ceramics and lots more! Enrolment for classes opened for online booking from 9am on Tuesday 18 April 2023.

North Down Museum also has a busy Summer ahead. Highlights of their programme include the Bangor Horticultural Society Centenary Exhibition and a special ‘Learn to Grow’ event on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May where visitors will have the opportunity to get advice and tips on growing plants from society members.

Speaking about the guide, Emily Crawford, Arts & Heritage Manager with Ards and North Down Borough Council said: “We have a jam-packed programme of cultural activity taking place in the coming months. With opportunities to get creative, learn new skills, enjoy live theatre and music and celebrate the Coronation of HRH King Charles III. We look forward to welcoming you to Ards Arts Centre and North Down Museum very soon.”

To view the full programme and to book tickets, visit:

Craigantlet – ‘a hill worth doing’!!

The Ulster Automobile Club (UAC) are thrilled to announce that we have a new title sponsor for Craigantlet Hill Climb; Hytera Communications, who are a leading global provider of professional radio communications equipment and solutions. They are dedicated to bringing the most value-added and user-centric solutions to organisations across the world, with a portfolio of devices, systems and software applications to offer voice, video and data services, providing fast, safe and reliable connectivity solutions for mission-critical communications.

The organisers have attracted the top 20 contenders from the UK who are competing for the Motorsport UK Avon Tyres British Hill Climb Championship. These entries are complemented by 70 competitors from our local ANICC Championship, which will provide anyone attending the ‘Hill’ with an absolutely remarkable festival of driving skills and expertise, timed to the 100th of a second.

Ian Culbert, Sales Director of Patterson Electronics, Hytera Communications partner in Northern Ireland, commented “We are extremely delighted to be the title sponsor of Craigantlet as we recognise the significance of this event in the British and ANICC Hill Climb Championships. It is one of the fastest in the series. A hill of two halves, it presents fast sweeping corners, tight uphill twists and a spectacular finish. We have been working with the UAC on this and other events for many years now and have always been a dedicated supporter of motorsport. Craigantlet is a superb event for beginners and experienced drivers alike, exceedingly well organised by a friendly and supportive team of dedicated volunteers and we are extremely proud to be associated with the event and want to wish everyone involved a safe and enjoyable day on the Hill.”

Craigantlet hosts Rounds 3 & 4 of the 2023 Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship (BHC) supported by Avon Tyres.  Clerk of the Course, Wilson Carson reflected, “The hard work of my team has resulted in a marvellous combination of cross channel and local entries consisting of the crème de la crème of British Hill Climbers.  Wallace Menzies, current British Hill Climb Champion, returns to challenge Scott Moran and Dave Uren, current joint record holders of the coveted News Letter Trophy which is awarded to the driver who sets the Fastest Time of the Day (FTD). Alec Summers the 2022 BHC runner up also joins the fray, along with some very fast local competitors such as Tim Woodside, Graeme Thompson and Alan Cassells, so who will reign supreme? Our event programme, a must read, contains several articles from competitors, journalists and volunteers who share their experiences and love of our ‘Hill’, thanks must go to all who have contributed and made this quality production possible. All proceeds from programme sales go to support Macmillan Cancer Support at Antrim Area Hospital, our Club Charity for 2023.

Ryan McGimpsey started his challenge for the 2023 ANICC Motorsport Supplies Hill Climb Championship by setting a blistering pace at Croft last weekend, recording a superb time of 33.90 seconds, 0.34 seconds faster than his brother Richard and almost 4 seconds faster than Robert, the eldest member of this speeding dynasty!! Graham Thompson filled third place a mere 4 hundredths of a second behind Ryan. We are looking forward to the action at Craigantlet on Saturday week. Please join us for a day of great craic and seriously entertaining speed on closed public roads.

Please Note: Spectator access will only be allowed from the bottom of the Hill Climb Course (i.e. Belmont Road (B170) approaching from the Old Holywood Road / Massey Avenue directions).

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