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


Join in the fun and raise vital funds for TinyLife, Northern Ireland’s premature baby charity. Run or walk the 2k circuit of Kirkistown Race Track and get showered and splattered with coloured paint powder during the Colour Run this Friday 16th August.


Dinosaurs are coming alive at Slieve Gullion! A T-Rex and Velociraptor have been spotted prowling around the Walled Garden. Are you brave enough to track them down at the Lúnasa Festival Geotastic Extravaganza this Saturday 17th August.



This Saturday 17th August,  treat yourself and your friends to Share Discovery Village’s final Afternoon Tea of the season, served on board the pleasure cruiser the Inishcruiser, whilst meandering through the stunning islands of Upper Lough Erne.


THE ever-popular Belvoir Players return for their now legendary Summer Theatre tour with a rip-roaring Sam Cree comedy, “Wedding Fever”, this Saturday at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh.


On Friday 16th August, from 6.00pm – 10.00pm Mid Ulster District Council will shine a light on the beauty of Lough Neagh, as Ballyronan Marina provides the backdrop for an evening of illuminations and entertainment at their annual Lumarina event.


Bring your picnic, chairs, and table with you to the Parterre at Antrim Castle Gardens and enjoy a magical evening with the Courtyard Community Choir with special guest Clover Watts-Kerr this Saturday evening.


Summer Fair On The Square at the Skainos Centre this Saturday is a fantastic event brought to you by the folks behind Frock Around The Clock. Entry is free to browse 25 fantastic stalls of quality handcrafted goods and artisan crafts, including fashion accessories, home wares & decor, jewellery, sweet treats & artisan food, art, health & beauty, well-being, craft demos and much more.

For further details on these events and to add your events free go to whatsonni.com. Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at fb.com/www.whatsonni for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

What’s on Causeway Coast and Glens


Date: Daily during August

Time: Various

Venue: Benone Tourist Complex

Contact: T: 028 7775 0555 W: facebook.com/benone.touristcomplex

This Summer during the months of July and August, Benone are offering a packed programme for kids of all ages. Activities include; beach sports camp, book art workshop, a pool party, golf, tennis & tennis coaching, Joe Jingles, yoga, multi-sports, Nurf Wars, soccer school, kid’s crafts and Toddler Sense. For dates and times of all activities please see Benone Facebook. Admission charges vary.


Date: Friday 26 July – Sunday 1 September

Time: 10.00am – 12.00pm

Venue: Longline Surf School, 53 Benone Avenue, Limavady BT49 0LQ

Contact: 07738 128 507 / info@longlinesurfschool.co.uk / www.longlinesurfschool.co.uk

Kids’ camp runs every day through July and August. Let the kids come to camp to enjoy surfing and beach games with other children their own age. The camp gives children the freedom to learn an exciting new sport in a safe environment under the watchful eye of qualified surf coaches and lifeguards. Cost £17 per day or £80 for 5 days.


Date: Thursday 1 August – Thursday 31 October

Time: Daily 10.00am – 8.00pm

Venue: Carrowmena Activity Centre, 100 Carrowclare Road, Limavady BT49 9EB

Contact: T: (028) 7776 3431 E: info@carrowmena.co.uk W: www.carrowmena.co.uk

Will you choose the correct path? Or will you be lost in the depth of the NEW Maize Maze! With more dead ends & mind confusing paths than ever this is sure to be the best to date! Cost £4pp or Family £15 (up to 5 people).


Date: Friday 16, Monday 19 & Wednesday 21 August

Time: Ballycastle Mon 2pm & 4pm, Portrush Wed & Fri 1.30pm, Portstewart Wed & Fri 4pm

Venue: Ballycastle Seafront, The Amphitheatre, Portrush and The Crescent, Portstewart

Contact: T: (028) 7034 4723 W: www.visitcausewaycoastandglens.com

Summer Street Theatre returns animating the seaside resorts of Ballycastle, Portrush and Portstewart.  Enjoy a silly slapstick moment, laugh at the traditional Punch & Judy show or gaze in awe at the talents of the fire manipulators as they breathe and juggle fire.


Date: Friday 16 & Saturday 17 August


Venue: Ballymully Cottage Farm, Limavady BT49 0NQ

Contact: T: (028) 7776 0650 E: info@stendhalfestival.com W: www.stendhalfestival.com

Dawn the flower crown, find your wellies and be prepared to celebrate all things creative! Stendhal is an award-winning outdoor music and arts festival which sees over 100 musical acts across 4 stages. In addition to the musical talent on show, there are a host of activities with art, sculpture, craft, poetry and digital innovations at their core and much, much more. Tickets also available from Limavady Visitor Information Centre.


Date: Friday 16 & Saturday 17 August

Time: 10.00am – 2.00pm

Venue: Departing Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre

Contact: www.irishfeast.com

The Ballycastle Food Tour showcases an amazing array of local, artisan, award winning food and drink in an unexpectedly gourmet, historical town.  Enthusiastic Irish Feast guides takes you to six unique venues from cafes to delis, from bakehouses to pubs over approximately two miles of a gentle stroll.  Cost £40pp. Bookable through all Visitor Information Centres or directly through Irish Feast.


Date: Friday 16 & Saturday 17 August

Time: 10.00am – 2.00pm

Venue: Departing Bushmills Visitor Information Centre

Contact: www.irishfeast.com

The Bushmills Food Tour offers local, award winning food and drink in an often overlooked, pretty little village beside the Giant’s Causeway. Join enthusiastic Irish Feast guide who will take you to 6 unique venues and introduce you to the people who catch, grow, make and bake our truly delicious local food. Cost £40pp. Bookable through all Visitor Information Centres or directly through Irish Feast.


Date: Friday 16 & Saturday 17 August

Time: Performance nightly at 8pm

Venue: Portrush Town Hall, 1 Mark Street, Portrush BT56 8DX

Contact: T: (028) 7082 9539 W: www.audf.org.uk

63rd PORTRUSH SUMMER THEATRE 2019 in conjunction with Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council. Live Comedy Theatre suitable for all the family during the summer months. WIDOW’S PARADISE by Sam Cree – performed by The Country Players & Glarryford YFC. Tickets Adults £9 / Concession OAP £8 / Children £5.


Date: Friday 16 August

Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Venue: Portstewart Harbour BT55 7AY

Contact: T: (028) 7083 2584 E: info@aquaholics.co.uk W: www.aquaholics.co.uk

Experience a spectacular sea safari trip travelling through one of the most popular areas in the world to spot basking sharks. Cost £60pp / Children under 12: £40.


Date: Friday 16 August

Time: 11.00am (Autism Friendly) & 2.00pm (General)

Venue: Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre, Limavady

Contact: T: (028) 7776 0650 E: information@rvacc.co.uk W: www.roevalleyarts.com

Join us for Family Film Friday! Isle of Dogs is a stop-motion-animated science-fiction adventure film written, produced and directed by the award-winning Wes Anderson. Set in a dystopian near-future Japan, the story follows a young boy searching for his dog after the species is banished to an island following the outbreak of a canine flu. Tickets £3 or Family Ticket of Four £10.


Date: Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 August

Time: 6.45am

Venue: Departs from Portrush Harbour BT56 8DF

Contact: T:07912 408 256 E: causewayfoodie@gmail.com W: www.causewaycoastfoodietours.com

A truly unique experience unlike anything else found anywhere in Ireland. This trip offers guests a sunrise departure for an early morning fishing trip where they can learn how to catch their mackerel breakfast. Cost £60pp.


Date: Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 August

Time: 11.00am

Venue: Departing from Ballycastle

Contact: 07723921022

Join a local guide and historian on a short walk discovering the island’s history, heritage and industry. The gentle circular walk lasting 1.5 hours finishing at the harbour just outside the Manor House makes for a memorable day with Nine Glens Walking Tours! Ferry travel is not included. Cost £10pp.


Date: Saturday 17 August

Time: 10.30am – 4.30pm

Venue: Portballintrae Village Hall, Portballintrae BT57 8RT

Contact: E: info@causewaycoastartists.co.uk W: www.causewaycoastartists.co.uk

Handcrafted jewellery, knitwear, greetings cards, bags, photographs, wood craft, candles, spices and collectables. Free admission.


Date: Saturday 17 August

Time: 11.00am – 12.00pm

Venue: Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre, Limavady

Contact: T: (028) 7776 0650 E: information@rvacc.co.uk W: www.roevalleyarts.com

Join us for a wonderful morning of fairy-tales with storyteller Liz Weir. Liz is the author of two collections of stories Boom Chicka Boom and Here, There and Everywhere (The O’Brien Press). She especially likes to share stories which encourage children to join in and enjoy the magic of listening to a good story, well told. FREE Event.


Date: Saturday 17 August

Time: 12.00pm – 3.00pm

Venue: Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre, Limavady

Contact: T: (028) 7776 0650 E: information@rvacc.co.uk W: www.roevalleyarts.com

Banyan Theatre Company present ‘The History of Tom Thumb’ a show for children and families age 3-11yr, a lively and comic tale told through puppetry, storytelling, object theatre and music. The show is followed by the opportunity to make your own puppet at a puppet making workshop at 1.15pm -2.15pm. Tickets £5 or Family Ticket of Four £18.


Date: Saturday 17 August

Time: 1.30pm – 4.30pm

Venue: Longline Surf School,Benone Strand

Contact: E: natalie@gutsygirls.co.uk W: www.gutsygirls.co.uk

Join us for our Women Only SUP Taster Day. Learn to SUP on the River Roe, a beautiful tranquil setting for a day out in nature! Overlooked by Binevenagh, the mountain range used in the film of Game of Thrones, it’s an epic location with dramatic backdrops and a fantastic escape from the city! Try out our wide range of paddleboards, get outside and meet likeminded women! Cost £45pp.


Date: Saturday 17 August

Time: 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Venue: Downhill Demesne, Mussenden Road, Castlerock BT51 4RP

Contact: T: (028) 7084 8728W: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/downhill-demesne-and-hezlett-house

Ranger led tour of Downhill Gardens. Learn more about the historic walled garden and lost arboretum, now coming back to life. Meet at Bishop’s Gate. Booking Essential. Normal Admission applies. Members FREE.


Date: Saturday 17 August

Time: 2.00pm – 5.00pm

Venue: Portstewart Harbour, Portstewart BT55 7AY

Contact: T: (028) 7083 2584 E: info@aquaholics.co.uk W: www.aquaholics.co.uk

Aquaholics’ Tour of Dunluce Castle, Skerries, White Rocks and the whole of the Giant’s Causeway right up to Benbane Head. Cost £35pp / Children Under 12 £15.


Date: Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 August

Time: Sat 7pm – 10pm & Sun 10am – 4pm

Venue: NW200 Paddock, Ballyreagh Road, Portstewart, BT55 7PT

Contact: T: (028) 7772 2221 E: info@causewaytruckfest.com W: www.causewaycoasttruckfest.com

The Causeway Coast Truck Festival is back bigger than ever for its 5th Anniversary, with the TruckFest Weekender. This year’s show will see over 600+ of the finest show and working trucks from all over Ireland gather in this legendary venue on the North Coast, with trucks also visiting from Scotland, Wales and England. Something for all the family, including Food and Trade Village which will showcase the offerings of the Causeway Coast, and live entertainment on the Anchor Complex Live Stage. Followed by our Famous Truck convoy at 4.00pm. Admission FREE. All proceeds to NI Air Ambulance.


Date: Saturday 17 August

Time: 8.00pm

Venue: Riverside Theatre, Ulster University, Cromore Road, Coleraine BT52 1SA

Contact: T: (028) 7012 3123 W: www.ulster.ac.uk/riverside

Belvoir Players present a classic Sam Cree comedy, following the course of an engagement through to a wedding day, taking in a strike, a major operation and a few guests along the way. A guaranteed night of laughter that you will not want to miss. Tickets Full £11 / Concession £9.


Date: Saturday 17 August


Venue: Ramore Head, Portrush

Contact: T: (028) 7034 4723 W: www.visitcausewaycoastandglens.com

Prepare to watch in awe as the sky bursts with colour at this family fun event!


Date: Sunday 18 August

Time: 11.00am – 4.00pm

Venue: Benone Tourist Complex BT49 0LQ

Contact: T: 07723 622 008 W: www.naturallynorthcoastandglens.co.uk

Naturally North Coast and Glens market moves to Benone Tourist Complex for the summer months. Market visitors will have every sense tantalised through the colourful art and crafts, the delicious aromas, taste of fresh food produce and the sound of musicians providing a backdrop to the buzz of traders and customers chatting and laughing. FREE Admission.


Date: Sunday 18 August

Time: 12.00pm – 3.00pm

Venue: Downhill Demesne, Mussenden Road, Castlerock BT51 4RP

Contact: T:  (028) 7084 8728 W:  www.nationaltrust.org.uk/downhill-demesne-and-hezlett-house

Enjoy some local musical talent in Mussenden Temple to accompany your Sunday afternoon walk. Performance by Rachel & Damien (Violin & Classic Guitar). Booking Not Needed. Dogs on leads welcome. FREE event but normal admission charges apply.


Date: Sunday 18 August

Time: 3.00pm – 5.00pm

Venue: Ballycastle Marina BT54 6BT

Contact: T: (028) 7083 2584 E: info@aquaholics.co.uk W: www.aquaholics.co.uk

Travelling across to Rathlin SW corner, view the seals then travel around Bull Point to the West Light house to find the puffins, gannets, gullimots, fumars, razorbills etc. Speed across to Carrick A Rede ropebridge to enjoy the views and why not jump in for a swim. Next stop Kenbane Castle, before returning to Ballycastle. Cost £35pp / Children Under 12 £15.


Date: Monday 19 August

Time: 5.00pm

Venue: Ballycastle Marina BT54 6BT

Contact: T: (028) 2076 9299 E: info@rathlinballycastleferry.com

Join us for a special trip around Rathlin Island and explore the enchanted Isle from the sea. On board tour guide Caoimhin will provide commentary and tell tales of Folklore, of shipwrecks and sailors all while we see some of the most dramatic coastline of Ireland. Highlights of the trip include Bruce’s Cave, West Light Seabird Stacks, Shipwrecks, Unique Views and lots more! Cost: Adults £20 / Child (5-15) £10. Booking essential. Contact the Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd.


Date: Wednesday 21 August

Time: 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Venue: Downhill Demesne, Castlerock, BT51 4RP

Contact: T: (028) 7084 8728 E: downhilldemesne@nationaltrust.org.uk

This is an exciting opportunity to join our knowledgeable gardener and learn more about the historic gardens at Bishop’s Gate. Meet at Bishop’s Gate. Normal Admission applies. Members FREE.


Date: Wednesday 21 – Saturday 24 August

Time: Performance nightly at 8pm

Venue: Portrush Town Hall, 1 Mark Street, Portrush BT56 8DX

Contact: T: (028) 7082 9539 W: www.audf.org.uk

63rd PORTRUSH SUMMER THEATRE 2019 in conjunction with Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council. Live Comedy Theatre suitable for all the family during the summer months. FAMILY FEVER by Sam Cree – performed by the Lambeg Players. Tickets: Adults £9 / Concession OAP £8 / Children £5.


Date: Thursday 22 August

Time:  11.00am

Venue: North Coast Smokehouse Ltd, 3/61 Leyland Road, Ballycastle

Contact: 07835 403340

Discover what happens in a micro-smokery during a North Coast Smokehouse Tour and Taste event. Tours run every Thursday throughout the year giving participants the opportunity to learn about the smoking process and how it connects us to the past. Tour participants will also have the opportunity to try delicious award-winning products including the renowned smoke-roasted organic salmon and smoked dulse seaweed.


Date: Thursday 22 August

Time: 12.30pm

Venue: St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland, 37 Church Street, Coleraine BT52 1AR

Contact: T: (028) 7034 4213 E: admin@stpats.co.uk W: www.stpats.co.uk

Lunch-time recitals by local, national and international artists. FREE admission.


Date: Thursday 22 August

Time: 8.00pm

Venue: Lodge Hotel, Coleraine BT52 1NF

Contact: T: (028) 7034 4848 E: info@thelodgehotel.com W: www.thelodgehotel.com

Join singer Curtis Magee for a night of Country & Comedy. Artists appearing on the night include Hugo Duncan, Steve Farlow, Boxcar Brian, Stephen Smyth, Kathy Kane, Gerard Dornan. Compere – Comedian Gary Wilson. Tickets £10.


Date: Thursday 2 May – Saturday 31 August                     

Time: Mon-Thurs & Sat 9am-5pm Fri 9am-4.30pm

Venue: Ballymoney Museum, The Town Hall, Townhead Street, Ballymoney, BT53 6BE

Contact: T: (028) 2766 0230 E: cms@causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk

This new 90th anniversary exhibition explores the history of the race, its riders, support staff and spectators, through a rich display of bikes, photographs and memorabilia. Admission free.


Date: Thursday 6 June – Wednesday 4 September                     

Time: Tuesday – Saturday 11.00am – 4.00pm

Venue: Coleraine Museum, Coleraine Town Hall BT51 1DE

Contact: T: 028 276 60230 E: cms@causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk

Exhibition revealing the fascinating history of the Coleraine area. Discover the history of local trades, industries, tourism and culture, local contributions to WWI and WWI, alongside some of the more famous people including Hugh Thomson and Sam Henry.


Date: Wednesday 19 June – Saturday 31 Aug          

Time: Mon – Fri 9.00am – 5.00pm. Sat 10.00am – 1.00pm

Venue: Riverside Theatre, Ulster University, Cromore Road, Coleraine BT52 1SA

Contact: T: (028) 7012 3123 W: www.ulster.ac.uk/riverside

Exhibition of striking new work by the renowned local artist and Ulster University graduate Rosella Watton-Austin, which has been inspired by the 50th anniversary of the University on the Coleraine campus. Many of the pieces reflect the power of gold; objects that tell their own enduring stories of life, love and death. Exhibition Launch Wed 19 June 6.30pm. Admission FREE.


Date: Monday 1 July – Saturday 28 September          

Time: Mon – Sat 9.30am – 5.00pm

Venue: Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre, Limavady

Contact: T: (028) 7776 0650 E: information@rvacc.co.uk W: www.roevalleyarts.com

Exhibition featuring a collection of Chinese watercolours by artist, Rong-Gin Yin. Launch will take place on Tuesday 2nd July at 11am and there will be a live demonstration by Rong-Gin that morning. Refreshments will also be served. Admission FREE.


Date: Thursday 4 July – Saturday 31 August                                                             

Time: Thurs – Sat 2.00pm – 5.00pm

Venue: Garvagh Museum, 142a Main Street, Garvagh BT51 5AE

Contact: T: 07714 959 691 E: info@garvaghmuseum.com

A large collection of textiles celebrating the art of stitching from traditional to modern methods. Pride of place in the exhibition is the work of Ann Hanna Rashee. The exhibition also features traditional patchwork quilts as well as experimental embroidery of stitching on paper which was inspired by the Book of Kells. Admission FREE.


Date: Thursday 1 – Saturday 31 August

Time: Wed to Sat 11am – 6pm

Venue: Castlecat Gallery, Bushmills

Contact: T: (028) 2074 1682 W: www.jamesmcnultyartist.co.uk      

New work inspired by the North Coast shoreline in oils and watercolours.


Date: Saturday 3 – Friday 30 August

Time: Mon – Sat 9.30am – 5.00pm

Venue: Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre, Limavady

Contact: T: (028) 7776 0650 E: information@rvacc.co.uk W: www.roevalleyarts.com

Exhibition during August Children’s Month by children’s book illustrator and author Sheena Dempsey. Our galleries will have Kids Art Corners with drawing and books available. FREE Admission.

Belfast International Arts Festival 2019 Programme Launched

  • Belfast selected for French and Japanese International Cultural Partnerships
  • 14 Premieres, 200+ events, 20 days
  • 15 October – 3 November 2019
  • International programme focuses on crossing artistic borders and pushing boundaries
Smokin’ Cuban Dame Launches 2019 Belfast International Arts Festival One of the headline acts for this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival was in Belfast to launch the 2019 Festival Programme. The Cuban-born singer, Yaite Ramos-Rodriguez, known as La Dame Blanche, is the daughter of the creative director of the Buena Vista Social Club. Her show at the Belfast Empire will be one of 14 premieres and 200 events across the city over 20 days from 15 October to 3 November. Visitwww.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com for booking and full Festival programme. Photo Credit: Brian Thompson

The programme for the 57th Belfast International Arts Festival has been launched, with a showcase performance by one of the Festival’s signature artists, Cuban-born Parisian musician, La Dame Blanche, who will perform at the Belfast Empire on Saturday 19th October.  (Real name) Yaite Ramos Rodriguez is the daughter of the Creative Director of the Buena Vista Social Club.  Reflecting the festival’s key themes of internationalism and artistic fusion, La Dame Blanche brought guests at the launch to their feet with her infectious and unique blend of hip-hop, cumbia and reggae.

Festival Artistic Director, Richard Wakely unveiled the programme, which will this year feature over 200 events from the world of music, dance, film, visual arts, literature and theatre.

He revealed that Belfast has been chosen to contribute to two major international cultural celebrations, Japan-UK Season of Culture and FranceDance UK.  He said, “The 2019 Belfast International Arts Festival will open on 15 October with the UK premiere of Median, a contemporary paring of choreography with digital projection and electronic sound from Japanese multi-disciplinary artist Hiroaki Umeda. Think of the most creative music videos by Radiohead and Aphex Twin, meets the stealth and intensity of The Matrix.  Also featuring in the programme will be ASUNA, a wonderful young artist from Tokyo with his quirky, immersive sound installation, 100 Keyboards. It is an honour to have been selected to host some of Japan’s finest artists.”

Richard went on to reveal another major arts first for the city.  He said, “Showcasing the best of international dance for Belfast audiences has always been one of my biggest goals for the Festival.  I am especially pleased to announce that on the weekend of 25th and 26th October, Belfast International Arts Festival will be co-hosting the first ever all-Ireland dance conference, Co-Motion, in partnership with Dance Ireland, Dance Resource Base and Queen’s University Belfast.

“That weekend’s Festival programme will include performances by Shobana Jeyasingh Dance performing an Irish premiere of Staging Schiele (the story of radical Austrian nude artist and self-portraitist, Egon Schiele) before it heads to Southbank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall for its London run; and acclaimed French company (LA)HORDE performing their high energy jumpstyle piece To Da Bone.  This is a captivating, contemporary rebel-call to the social media generation, both in its narrative and in the way that the cast was crowd-sourced from across Europe, through an open audition on the internet.  The work of (LA)HORDE will be recognisable from the multi-million-viewed music video for Christine and the Queens’ track Girlfriend.”

This year’s Embrace FREEpublic events programme will be headlined by a breathtaking UK and Irish premiere performance by French all-female circus-arts troupe led by Chloe Moglia, called La Spire, which will take place in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 October. This is a free, unticketed event, no booking required.

In a typically surprising sidestep for the Festival, Belfast architects Hall McKnight will showcase an immersive large-scale installation at Ulster University for three weeks, which was originally presented at the prestigious Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition.  Entitled Unique Instruments, Expectant Spaces, this critically acclaimed installation looks at the re-imagining of civic spaces – an interesting subject, as the Cathedral Quarter and University undergoes its own landscape re-imagining.

Meanwhile, the eclectic musical offering in this year’s programme will feature two shows in the Grand Opera House by Glen Hansard, which have all but sold-out on pre-release, County Down-born Two Door Cinema Club and Joshua Burnside, 70’s ska favourites, The Selecter and a host of classical performances including NI star pianist Ruth McGinley and violinist Darragh Morgan performing as a duo for the first time; and classical pianist Lucy Parham, joined by Juliet Stevenson and Tim McInnerny, performing Beloved Clara which brings to life the love triangle story between Robert Schumann, his wife Clara and Johannes Brahms.

In the field of theatre, and underscoring the continuing importance of cultural relations across the island, the Festival brings together some of Ireland’s finest, including Dublin-based Fishamble with Pat Kinevane’s searing solo choreography and theatre piece Before, which touchingly combines some of the best-loved songs from musical theatre with a family drama centred around the closing day in Dublin’s iconic Clery’s department store; and an edgy, of-the-moment piece by Chalk it Down Productions, Spliced,a study of mental health and male identity in the uber-masculine sports world of gaelic games.

On the lighter side, Forced Entertainment will bring its mesmerising and Beckett influenced hit play, Real Magic to the MAC; while Northern Ireland’s Big Telly Theatre Company will premiere The Worst Café in the World, a special for the Festival, in a make-believe pop-up café in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.  Here, the diners will become flies on the wall as reality theatre unfolds around them through a histrionic chef, a menu of real-life pathos, comedy and drama, and waiting staff who just, well, wait.  With 8 performances from Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 October this is chaos not to be missed and diners are advised to book a post-theatre meal elsewhere!

The literary and film sections of the programme are packed with highlights and big names, including author Michael Rosen (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt) and Booker longlisted authors Max Porter (Grief is a Thing with Feathers and Lanny) and Kevin Barry (Night Boat to Tangier), along with hotly tipped Kerry Hudson (Lowborn), Emilie Pine (Notes to Self),Meena Kandasamy (Exquisite Cadavers) the Octavia Poetry Collective and a special event on 30 October, the eve of Brexit, featuring journalist and author Gavin Esler talk about his latest book Brexit without the Bullsh*t.  Perfect timing!

Always seen as an important platform to profile some of Northern Ireland’s top artists, this year’s Festival season will close with a tour-de-force UK and Ireland premiere of Lady Magma by Belfast-born choreographer and dancer, Oona Doherty. In partnership with Prime Cut Productions, Oona will come, fresh from Edinburgh Festival, to perform this brand new ode to female strength and new femininity.

Richard Wakely gave heartfelt thanks to Festival supporters and funders, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland, the British Council, the Department for Communities, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, and Belfast City Council, without whose backing the Festival would not be possible.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane said, “I’m delighted that Belfast City Council is continuing to invest in Belfast International Arts Festival. It not only attracts fantastic world-renowned international acts, but it also showcases home-grown talent and helps to position Belfast as a must visit cultural destination. It’s fantastic to see the festival go from strength to strength each year. I’d encourage everyone to check out this year’s impressive programme and wish everyone involved in the festival the very best of luck.”

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, “This is a programme of art of a truly international quality, carefully curated from around the world, the likes of which we would not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy.

“This is not just a boon for local audiences, but it raises Northern Ireland’s creative reputation at home and abroad and strengthens opportunities for cultural exchange between international artists and our homegrown talent.

“The Arts Council is very proud to be the principal funder of this strategically and artistically important festival. We support it with Public and National Lottery funds which allow Belfast International Arts Festival to continue to deliver a hugely ambitious and inspiring programme of artistic excellence.”

Aine Kearney, Business Support and Events Director, Tourism NI said: “We are delighted to support Belfast International Arts Festival this year. With such a diverse and quality programme of activity on offer, this well-established event appeals to both local and international visitors. Events such as Belfast International Arts Festival are firmly established within our tourism fabric, adding value to the positive perceptions and profile of our destination and have been recognised as having an important role in contributing to the economy. We wish all the artists, organisers and visitors an enjoyable and memorable experience.”

Jonathan Stewart, Director British Council Northern Ireland said: “The British Council is delighted to be supporting this year’s festival. The festival once again has succeeded in bringing the best of local and international artists and work to Belfast. This year we are really excited about the international connections the festival is making through the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-2020, which celebrates connections in culture and education between the UK and Japan. Involvement in this international season will enable local audiences to enjoy leading Japanese choreographer and artist Hiroaki Umeda on the opening night and we hope these connections will lead to further opportunities and international interest in the festival.”

Miami Showband Story at the Market Place Theatre, Armagh

Are you ready to revisit Ireland in the 1960’s in the company of the legendary Miami Showband and all their fantastic hits? Who remembers ‘Simple Simon Says’, ‘From The Candy Store’ or ‘Clap Your Hands, Stomp Your Feet’?

Even if you’re too young to remember the 60’s and 70’s, this is still the show for you. Told through the eyes of two best friends and Miami songwriters, Fran O‘Toole and Des Lee, The Miami weaves us through the amazing roller coaster story of the iconic showband. Written by Marie Jones and Martin Lynch [the team behind ‘Dancing Shoes – The George Best Story’], The Miami takes us through the joyous dancehall days of the 1960’s and ‘Spit On Me Dickie’ to the tragedy in 1975. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to dance, but above all, you’ll have an amazing night out.

Tickets are available from the Theatre Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at www.visitarmagh.com/marketplacetheatre. To keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/marketplacearmagh) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/mptarmagh) where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.


It’s the annual weekend of Mini Madness when enthusiasts of the iconic vehicle descend upon the Causeway Coast for two days of Mini heaven. 

The weekend commences with a Game of Thrones themed Fancy Dress Night on Saturday 24th August and on Sunday 25th August it’s the full public static display at the West Bay Car Park in Portrush which has proven a superb venue since first used three years ago. 

Once again the organisers are very grateful to JKC Mini, Morellis Ice Cream and the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council for the sponsorship and wonderful support, “we just couldn’t do it without them” a spokesman told us.  Entries for this particularly epic year, which celebrates 60 years of the Mini, are expected to be bigger than ever and given that numbers have excelled in the last few years those wishing to participate are advised to register as soon as possible at ccminiclub.co.uk 

To enter a car is a mere £10.00 and full participating details are on the Entry Form.  Music and banter on the day will be by local entertainer Brian Moore who told us, “circumstances prevented me from attending last year’s event so I’m really looking to this.  I particularly like the Morelli’s Italian Ice Cream Job where all the cars leave in convoy – to see all these wonderful vehicles at their spectacular best is a sight to behold”. 

Other features include a display of vehicles telling the story of the Mini over the years and of course it’s an ideal family event with attractions for the kids, food stalls and stands and incredibly there’s no admission charge.  All this hard work by the organisers isn’t for nothing, however, as it’s hoped to raise a considerable sum on the day for the charity Assistance Dogs N.I.  

Air Waves Portrush ready to dazzle with world famous aviation attractions!

Legendary P-47-D Thunderbolt American fighter headlines largest airshow on the island of Ireland 

The fast and furious P-47-D Thunderbolt American fighter will be the star attraction at this year’s Air Waves as Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council announce a dazzling line-up of world-famous aviation attractions.

The legendary P-47-D Thunderbolt – affectionally known as the Mighty ‘Jug’ – will wow spectators with a thrilling show of power and sound as it makes its first ever appearance at the largest airshow on the island of Ireland.

Air Waves Portrush, supported by Tourism NI, will showcase an array of world-class aircraft for two days of thrilling flying and a host of land-based family entertainment on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September 2019.

Looking forward to the weekend, The Deputy Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Sharon McKillop, said: “Portrush and the wider Causeway Coast and Glens area is enjoying a stand out summer season following the huge success of The Open. On the back of that, Air Waves Portrush is set to be another unmissable action-packed event.

“We are anticipating large number of spectators from Northern Ireland and beyond will attend the two-day show, which takes place against the stunning backdrop of East Strand beach. With an array of air and ground displays to watch and explore, Air Waves Portrush remains a stand-out element of our annual events portfolio and I would encourage everyone to take this opportunity to enjoy some fantastic aviation entertainment in this unique location.”

Joining the P-47-D Thunderbolt in the stellar line-up for this year’s show will include unique daredevil manoeuvres from both the Global Stars and Team Raven. The AeroSuperBatics Wing Walkers will also perform their breath-taking aerial gymnastics routine.

The RAF BBMF Douglas Dakota and The RAF Tucano T1 will give a vintage showcase of low-level fly-bys as they commemorate the Battle of Britain. The Consolidated Catalina flying boat will also make a welcome return to Portrush with its vintage exhibition of graceful flying.

The Irish AirCorps CASA Maritime aircraft will perform a series of dramatic flypasts and the Irish Coast Guard will demonstrate its search and rescue capabilities over the Atlantic Ocean.

Other aerial highlights over the two days will be Vietnam veterans Huey and Loach, Calidus Autogyro, OV-10B Bronco, Yakovlev Yak3, Wild Geese Parachute team and the Ulster Gliding Club.

On the ground, visitors can enjoy live music, street entertainment, fun zone, Motor Village and the Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market each day from 11am.

The Ulster Aviation Society and the Ulster Military Vehicle Club will also display their collections of vintage flying machines and vehicles.

The STEM Village, sponsored by Matrix NI, will bring together a range of employers and education providers to showcase career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

There will also be a stunning pyrotechnic aerial display in Portstewart by The Global Stars on the Saturday evening that will also include a packed programme of family entertainment, live music and a magnificent seafront fireworks display.

For more information on Air Waves Portrush visit www.airwavesportrush.co.uk or search for Air Waves Portrush on Facebook and Twitter. 

Horrible Histories: Gorgeous Georgians and Vile Victorians Live On Stage from this Weekend at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Saturday 10 August – Wednesday 14 August 2019

Beginning this weekend, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, County Down will host a live stage production from the world-renowned Horrible Histories.

Photo Caption Outrageous Cast of Horrible Histories Hit Belfast Today Gorgeous Georgians and Vile Victorians took to the streets of Belfast today ahead of Horrible Histories: Live On Stage beginning this weekend at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Cast members of the live stage production from the world-renowned Horrible Histories got up to no end of mischief in Belfast today in advance of the production that is running from this Saturday 10 August – Wednesday 14 August 2019. The characterful duo of Florence Nightingale and Dr Willis are pictured in Titanic Quarter. Set within the Castle’s stunning gardens, this outrageously entertaining outdoor show presented by The Birmingham Stage Company, promises to uncover centuries of grisly history and is the perfect tonic for families with a thirst for all things awful and amusing This show is ideal for families with children aged between 7 and 14 years but can be enjoyed by all ages. Running twice a day, performances last for one hour and visitors are encouraged to soak up the festival atmosphere with a dedicated food pop-up serving a range of goodies sourced from Hillsborough Castle’s Georgian Walled Garden. Horrible Histories is included in gardens admission tickets and family tickets are available. Free for Historic Royal Palaces members. To book tickets and for more information on Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, visit hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle Picture by Brian Morrison. ENDS Notes to editors Contact: Shona Jago-Curtis, Jago E-mail: shona@jagocommunications.com Telephone: 028 9091 8420 Mobile: +44 7824 636 926 Follow: @HillsCastle Hillsborough Castle historicroyalpalaces

Booking is strongly advised for this hugely popular production enabling families to travel back in time to the world of the Gorgeous Georgians and Vile Victorians.

Set within the Castle’s stunning gardens, this outrageously entertaining outdoor show presented by The Birmingham Stage Company, promises to uncover centuries of grisly history and is the perfect tonic for families with a thirst for all things awful and amusing.

This show is ideal for families with children aged between 7 and 14 years but can be enjoyed by all ages. Running twice a day, performances last for one hour and visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket and soak up the festival atmosphere with a dedicated food pop-up serving a range of goodies, from mouth-watering hot dogs to scrumptious salads sourced from Hillsborough Castle’s very own Georgian Walled Garden.

It’s 1714 and Queen Anne, the last of the Stuarts has just died – now who’s going to succeed her? Why the gorgeous Georgians of course – join in the Hanover Handover from King George I, all the way to the II, III and IV! Help cure mad King George III and meet other well-known characters from the period, including the Duke Wellington who wants to give someone the boot! 

Once you’ve had your fill of the Georgians, fast forward to the Victorian era as sewage fills the streets of Soho London.  Put your wits to the test as you try to solve a deadly outbreak of cholera with Dr John Snow and discover what happened when Florence Nightingale, the Lady of the Lamp, faced the gruesome hospital conditions of the Crimean War – where it’s fifty men to every toilet! 

Once you’ve had your Horrible Histories fix, make day of it with a series of activities for all the family to enjoy. Explore the majestic gardens set in 100 acres of ornamental grounds, peaceful woodland, meandering waterways and picturesque glens. Families can also discover the Castle’s intriguing history brought to life on guided tours led by the Castle’s team of expert explainers.  

Horrible Histories is included in gardens admission tickets and family tickets are available. Free for Historic Royal Palaces members. To book tickets and for more information on Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, visit hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has been completely transformed by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces after five years and a £24 million investment – supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other generous donors. Greeting visitors upon arrival is a new visitor centre complete with café and shop. Meanwhile new access and learning facilities will host schools and community programmes reaching out to the widest possible audience. 

Free Transport Available for Portavogie Seafood Festival!

Portavogie Harbour will be a hive of activity this Saturday (10 August) as thousands of people flock to the charming coastal village for the delicious Portavogie Seafood Festival!

‘Pirate’ Jessica MacDonald is looking forward to the Portavogie Seafood Festival!

Organised by Ards and North Down Borough Council in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the Festival promises to be a fun-filled, free-to-attend event where all the family can enjoy food, activities, fancy dress competitions and more.

Festival-goers can even take the stress out of travel by availing of free transport to and from the venue thanks to free bus services available from Bangor and Newtownards.

They will operate from late morning with stops in Donaghadee, Millisle, Ballywalter and Ballyhalbert on the Bangor route, as well as Greyabbey and Kircubbin on the Newtownards route, before leaving everyone at the heart of Portavogie’s festivities.

What’s On…

Jean-Christophe Novelli, an award winning and multi-Michelin starred chef, is among the star attractions and will entertain with his interactive cookery demonstrations. After picking up some tips from the master, you can visit the fish market to sample some of our world famous Portavogie prawns and maybe even treat yourself to some culinary delights at the range of artisan food stalls.

A fancy dress competition will keep the children entertained, as will a fun fair, motorbike simulators, model boat displays, bouncy castles, a Punch and Judy show, street entertainment, live music as well as other children’s activities.

Watch in awe as the winner of last year’s UK Strongest Man Competition, Pa O’Dwyer, takes part in a spectacular trawler pull while 11-times Ulster Trials Champion, Andy Perry, heads a crew of the best riders in Ireland as they demonstrate their skills with impressive motorcycle displays.

The free-to-attend Festival takes place this Saturday (10 August) from 12noon – 5pm at Portavogie Harbour. A timetable for the free buses, as well as other event information, is available from visitardsandnorthdown.com/portavogieseafoodfest.

Aspects Irish Literature Festival 2019 – Programme Launched!

Ards and North Down Borough Council is delighted to launch Aspects Irish Literature Festival’s 2019 programme. This year’s Festival will run with children’s events on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 September, then the main Aspects programme will commence on Thursday 26 September with the wonderful Michael Longley at Bangor Castle as he celebrates his 80th year.

Pictured at the launch of the Aspects Irish Literature Festival 2019 programme; The Mayor of Ards and North Down Alderman Bill Keery; Pamela Macrory, Manager of Bangor Library; Patricia Hamilton, Festival Director; poet Ross Thompson and artist Helen Hanse. This year’s festival will run from 20 September – 6 October in Bangor. View the full programme and purchase tickets at: www.aspectsfestival.com

As Northern Ireland’s longest running literature festival, now in its 28th year, Aspects is renowned for bringing stars of the literary world to Bangor and is much-loved and highly regarded by authors and readers alike.

This year’s programme features over 40 events celebrating historical writing, poetry, crime fiction, writing workshops, children’s events, politics, memoir, journalism, scriptwriting, short stories and exhibitions. Back by popular demand are some old friends of Aspects; Fergal Keane, Polly Devlin and Malachi O’Doherty. The line-up also showcases local talent with Moyra Donaldson, Ian Sansom, Colin Bateman and Ross Thompson.

The doyenne of Irish cookery, Darina Allen will be launching her new book at Clandeboye on 5 October at a weekend of food-themed events in the beautiful estate courtyard. ‘Food for Thought’ will feature Lightning Talks on research and writing about food and drink from the Clandeboye Reading Party – a partnership project between the Festival, Queens University, Trinity College Dublin and Clandeboye Estate. The weekend programme includes a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with Lady Dufferin, a talk from florist to royalty Shane Connolly and Women Aloud NI will share its thoughts on food with culinary inspired poetry.

Young readers won’t be disappointed either with a full programme of creative events designed to inspire imaginations. From Sensory Story experiences, Comic Book Creation, Bedtime Stories, Book Inspired yoga and Tablets and Text. The Festival is delighted to welcome award-winning illustrator Barry Falls who will host a special illustration workshop for 7 – 12 year olds in Bangor’s Carnegie Library where he will also be holding his ‘This World Is Magic’ exhibition.

Speaking about the programme The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Bill Keery said, ““The Aspects Irish Literature Festival is a wonderful event for all the family. It provides everyone with an opportunity to learn and be inspired by some of our borough’s very own literary greats. Ards and North Down Borough Council is delighted to host the Festival and I hope that everyone enjoys what will be another inspirational programme that might even inspire some authors of the future.”

Also commenting, Aspects Festival Director Patricia Hamilton said: ‘

“Aspects is about a broad range of writing. You don’t have to be the most avid reader to enjoy the programme. With interviews, food events and readings, you can come along, sit back and be entertained or if you want to get involved, there is plenty on offer too. Learn more through one of the workshops or get involved in the Q and A’s where you will see things from a writer’s perspective.’

The Festival takes place from 20 September to 6 October. For further information on the programme and to book tickets see aspectsfestival.com Tickets go on sale, Thursday 8 August at 9am.


Northern Ireland boasts an irresistible collection of places to stay including beautiful B&Bs, luxurious spa hotels and great value self-catering properties. Discover NI has selected the best offers of the week to help you plan a short break.

·         Game of Thrones®: The Touring Exhibition, Mill Valley Apartment, Belfast from £90 per person sharing

Enjoy an overnight stay in the four-star Mill Valley Apartment located three miles from Belfast City Centre. This self-catering accommodation sleeps up to four persons and provides spectacular views in quiet surroundings. Offer includes an overnight stay and tickets to Game of Thrones®: The Touring Exhibition. Throughout the journey fans can explore several dynamic themed exhibition areas featuring series settings such as The North, King’s Landing, Meereen, Castle Black and the House of Black and White among others, as well as the show stopping centrepiece of the Iron Throne Room. To book call 078 7124 1275. Offer available until 1 September 2019. 

·         Girls Getaway, The Lodge at Roe Park from £59 per person sharing

Get away from it all with your girlfriends for a night of luxury in the four-star Lodge at Roe Park. This self-catering accommodation is set amidst the gorgeous surroundings of the Roe Valley Country Park, providing the perfect place to unwind. Offer includes sparkling wine and chocolate dipped strawberries on arrival, an Elemis Spa gift bag each, access to a variety of popular ‘chick flick’ DVDs, a three-course dinner in either Greens Restaurant or The Coach House Brasserie plus a fully cooked Irish breakfast the following morning. .To book call 028 7772 2222 – minimum of 5 adults, maximum of 11 adults per booking. Offer available until 31 December 2019.

·         Dinner, Bed and Breakfast Special, Glenavon House Hotel, Co. Tyrone from £80 per person sharing

The three-star Glenavon House Hotel is situated on the outskirts of Cookstown. Overlooking the Ballinderry River and set in nine acres of its own mature grounds, this luxurious hotel offers a wide range of high standard facilities. The hotel’s central location makes it an ideal base to explore Northern Ireland. Offer includes overnight accommodation, a four-course dinner in the Cellar Restaurant and a full Irish breakfast the following morning. To book call 028 8676 4949. Offer available until 31 December 2019.