10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 15-21 April


  1. Ballymoney Spring Fair, Ballymoney, County Antrim, 19-20 April. Enjoy free family-friendly activities and lots of carnival colour at the Ballymoney Spring Fair. Look out for vintage cars, live music, dance displays and a showcase of the best artisan produce in the area. Animal lovers can visit the free petting farm at Seymour Street car park where attractions include a variety of interesting animals and creatures. Take the opportunity for a close encounter with a range of birds of prey with a fun falconry experience.


  1. The Cloughmore Experience, Rostrevor, County Down, 20 April. Prepare to marvel at the epic views of the Mourne Mountains and the fascinating insights of local adventurer and guide, Peter Rafferty, on a guided walk/hike through a visually stunning landscape. On this winding adventure that follows the Glen Stream, hear the sound of bubbling water while embracing the wonders of nature. Along the way, nibble on edible wild plants as you share the great outdoors with native birds and wildlife.


  1. Dusk Chorus, Belvoir Park Forest, Belfast, County Antrim, 20 April. Finish your busy day with the beautiful evensong of a variety of local birds! This is the perfect way to relax and unwind as you reconnect with nature and enjoy a twilight walk through the stunning Belvoir Park Forest. Make sure you bring a torch and wear warm clothes and good footwear.


  1. Dino Dig – Fossil Fun at Marble Arch Caves, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 21 April. Have a roaring good time at this dinosaur-themed messy play event where children can explore the prehistoric world through a variety of messy activities and sensory experiences. From excavating fossils to creating volcanic eruptions, this event promises to ignite imaginations and spark curiosity. Get ready to stomp, squish and explore your way through the Jurassic period with these engaging and interactive messy play activities.


  1. Afternoon Tea in Montalto House, Ballynahinch, County Down, 21 April. Feel like a Georgian guest at Montalto House whilst enjoying an elegant traditional afternoon tea. Taste a selection of delicate finger sandwiches accompanied by freshly baked scones and a variety of handcrafted miniature pastries and sweet treats. Learn about the rich history of Montalto on a guided tour and explore the grandeur of the 18th century Georgian mansion along with its wonderful collection of original art and antiques.


  1. The Lost Boy – Street Scenes and Soldiers’ Tales, Derry~Londonderry, County Londonderry, 20 April. Northern Ireland Opera presents a staged performance of songs at The Playhouse, by Banbridge actor and musician, Conor Quinn. ‘The Lost Boy’ explores a young man’s journey into adulthood with themes of hope, loss of youth, and songs inspired by unrest and war. This spine-tingling, thought-provoking performance features work from both cabaret and musical theatre.


  1. Cranfield Alpaca Beach Treks, Kilkeel, County Down, throughout April. Meet a friendly alpaca and take them for a leisurely stroll down country lanes, enjoying the stunning views as you head down to a beautiful, golden beach. Join the alpacas for some unforgettable fun in the sand! This beach trek lasts roughly 90 minutes and includes light refreshments.


  1. Orchard/Cider Experience and Cooking Demo at Lough Meadow Farm, Portadown, County Armagh, 20 April. Enjoy a fully immersive orchard/cider experience in the company of the McKeever family. You’ll learn about the production process for their award-winning products including their Apple Cider Vinegar. Relax in their new glass fronted Bramley Barn and enjoy a hot cuppa and some freshly made granny’s traditional griddle soda bread accompanied by a selection of cheese and chutneys.


  1. Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, County Tyrone, throughout April. Journey back in time at the Ulster American Folk Park. Discover what life was like in rural Ulster and hop on board a full-scale emigrant ship and experience the cramped quarters many endured on their dangerous journey to America. Don’t miss the traditional craft demonstrations by the talented costumed guide!


  1. Scarva Summer Band Concerts, Scarva, County Down, 21 April. What better way to spend a peaceful afternoon than relishing the relaxing music set amongst the award winning floral displays and watching the world go by under a sunny Scarva sky. Visit the fabulously floral Scarva village and enjoy a varied programme of summer band concerts adjacent to the Victorian style band stand.

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

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 8-14 April


  1. Brook Hall Estate and Gardens Open Weekend, Derry~Londonderry, County Londonderry, 13-14 April. The 18th century arboretum and gardens at Brook Hall are home to stunning collections of rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias as well as mature collections of conifers and native trees. All proceeds from admissions go to the National Garden Scheme charity.


  1. Lagan Valley Spring Wildflower Walk, Belfast, County Antrim, 13 April. Discover the first flush of flowers adding colour to Minnowburn – lesser celandine, wood sorrel, wood anemone, bluebells, violets and more – and learn about their colourful stories. Watch the woodlands and hedgerows come alive in springtime.


  1. Torchlight Bug Hunt, Holywood, County Down, 11 April. Join conservation officer and insect expert, Joshua Clarke, for a guided torchlight walk around the Ulster Folk Museum. This bug hunt will focus on Harvestmen (also known as Opiliones) – a taxonomic group related to spiders. Learn about these mysterious creatures and the tactics they use to avoid becoming prey. Keep your eyes peeled for other nocturnal invertebrates on this torchlight bug hunt and learn all about ecology and biodiversity on the way!


  1. LELP Beginners Fishing Course, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 13 April. On the shores of Fermanagh’s stunning lakelands, reconnect with nature and enjoy a free beginner’s fishing course. Delivered by the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (LELP), this course is designed to teach basic fishing techniques to budding young anglers aged 8 – 15 years old and will help ensure Lough Erne’s unique natural heritage is protected and cherished by all.


  1. Weave a Willow Garden Obelisk in the Walled Garden, Helen’s Bay, County Down, 13 April. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Old Mill House for a relaxed, informal willow weaving workshop with willow artist, Heather Mcdermott, and learn the fundamental skills and techniques required to create a unique willow plant support. These supportive structures are perfect for your garden borders, for climbing roses, clematis, sweet peas or beans. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn a timeless skill.


  1. A Night to Remember at Titanic Belfast, Belfast, County Antrim, 14 April. On the 112th anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic embark on a commerative journey of reflection at Titanic Belfast. During this 90 minute experience, guests will be escorted by guides to key points throughout Titanic Belfast, Titanic Hotel Belfast and SS Nomadic where heartfelt stories will be told. Guests are welcome to stay until 23:40 when a candlelighting ceremony will take place on the slipways at the exact time Titanic struck the infamous iceberg.


  1. Wee Birds Art Workshop, Comber, County Down, 14 April. Families will be welcomed to WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre for this mixed media experience led by Marianne Kennerley from Boom Studios and taught how to create a collage of birds inspired by the wildlife and landscape of Castle Espie.


  1. Torrent Valley Heritage Trail, Donaghmore, County Tyrone, throughout April. Sample the rich history and culture of Torrent Valley. Learn of the area’s brewing history, explore the ruins of Castlecaulfield Castle and discover the story of Sir Toby Caulfield. While exploring, see if you can spot Donaghmore’s famous Old Cross – a 9th century relic from the area’s monastic settlement which lasted from the 6th – 12th


  1. Moneypenny’s Forge and Lockhouse, Portadown, County Armagh, 13-14 April. There is no better place to learn the traditional skills of blacksmithing than at the beautiful, and historic, Moneypenny’s Lock. Make sparks fly at the forge or visit the canal-themed museum in the lockhouse named after the Moneypenny family who looked after the lock from the early 1800s to its closure in the mid 20th


  1. Frock Around The Clock, Belfast, County Antrim, 14 This vintage and handmade fair is back at Belfast Castle! With 36 fabulous stalls featuring some amazing new exhibitors as well as returning favourites, you can expect to find cool collectables, on-trend homewares, beautiful jewellery and much more! You can browse and shop, chat with the exhibitors, walk around Belfast Castle’s beautiful gardens and stop for refreshments in the castle cellars.

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

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 25-31 March


  1. The Great Dragon Easter Egg Hunt, Armagh, County Armagh, 30 March – 2 April. Embark on an epic Easter adventure and join The Great Dragon Egg Hunt! Drippy the Dragon is on a daring quest to retrieve the five stolen dragon eggs from the cunning Queen Evilana. With storytelling, song, craft and a magical dragon egg hunt, there is plenty to keep your little dragons out of mischief! Immerse yourself in this enchanting tale, before making your own dragon themed craft – the perfect memento of your legendary adventure! Then unleash your inner explorer as you follow clues to find the hidden dragon eggs, adding an extra layer of mystery and magic to your Easter festivities!
  2. Get ‘FIT’ for Pollinators, Belfast, County Antrim, 27 March. Become a ‘citizen scientist’ for pollinators! Join Buglife and Lagan Valley Regional Park on the Barge for a presentation to learn how to identify pollinator groups and wildflowers. Find out how you can carry out your own FIT (Flower-Insect Timed) Counts for the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme. A practical session will follow at the wildflower meadows nearby in Clement Wilson Park.
  3. Birdwatch Morning, Comber, County Down, 27 March. Take a closer look at the wonderful variety of birds across the WWT Castle Espie wetland reserve. Everyone is welcome – no prior birdwatching knowledge required. Come along and speak to wildlife experts, you might even spot something new! Normal admission charges apply, WWT members are free of charge. All tickets must be pre-booked and paid for in advance of the event.
  4. Easter at Ulster Folk Museum, Holywood, County Antrim, 31 March – 5 April. Discover the origins of the Easter egg, have a go at an Easter themed craft and meet the talented makers as they demonstrate heritage skills – including Easter card making in the Print Shop. Listen to the talented musicians playing on site, take part in traditional games from years gone by and try some tasty food samples. Don’t miss the egg rolling at the bleach green on Easter Monday, (1st April)!
  5. Full Moon Paddle, Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, 25 March. Enjoy a tranquil evening paddle on Upper Lough Erne and experience the natural spectacle of the sunset and the serenity of paddling under the full moon. Please note that this event is weather dependent. Dress warm, with waterproofs and wellies. You will need to arrive 15 minutes prior to your start time to be fitted with a buoyancy aid.
  6. Coast and Country Food Tour, Coleraine, County Londonderry, 30 March. Experience the exceptional foodie culture of the Causeway Coast on this five-stop tour. Sample delicious local produce as you learm about the area’s heritage and culinary culture. Meet the makers behind the tasty treats at one of the local artisan markets, visit an exceptional farm and savour the world-famous Bushmills Whiskey, distilled in the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world.
  7. The Jungle’s Easter Trail, Magherafelt, County Londonderry, 29 March – 2 April. Find your way through this Easter trail by following clues and solving puzzles along the enchanted forest trail. On your journey, you will be greeted and entertained by a selection of brand new characters before you come face-to-face with the Easter Bunny, who will hand out Easter Eggs to everyone! And, after the trail why not join the all singing, all dancing stage cast for a musical medley of well loved classics at the Sing Along Stage Show.
  8. The Ritual Landscapes of West Tyrone, Omagh, County Tyrone, check website for availability. Explore ancient ritual sites and wetland habitats with a landscape guide, paleoecologist and enthralling storyteller. Join Martin from Foyle Trails on a fascinating and humorous exploration of places that were sacred in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Explore a range of sites from giant`s graves and stone rows, to quaking bogs and other places of powerful magic, in a mysterious part of Northern Ireland.
  9. Thursday Movie Nights at The Bushmills Inn, Bushmills, County Antrim, 28 March. Enjoy a small, intimate screening of the latest blockbuster, “Anyone But You” in the exclusive surroundings of the boutique cinema at The Bushmills Inn.  You can indulge in a delicious two-course meal from the Cinema Supper Menu before watching the movie at 8pm. The ultimate date night treat!
  10. Causeway Speciality Market, Coleraine, County Londonderry, 30 March. Visit the largest regular outdoor market in Northern Ireland! Whether you are seeking out a unique gift or a treat for yourself, the traders at the Causeway Market provide a superb selection of quality crafts including handmade jewellery, textiles, ceramics, framed photography, scented candles and soaps, painted glassware and polished wood-turned products. Take time to visit the array of food stalls with many award-winning artisan products.


For more information on what’s on, or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/


10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 18-24 March

  1. Easter Table Centrepiece Workshop, Portadown, County Armagh, 20 March. Visit the Bramley Barn nestled in the heart of Long Meadow Farm’s orchard and create the focal point of your Easter celebrations. The fabulous Kay Casey will guide you through the art of crafting a beautiful arrangement using seasonal blooms and vibrant colours to capture the essence of spring. Unleash your creativity and immerse yourself in the joys of Easter and leave with a masterpiece you’ll be proud to display on your table.


  1. Easter Land of Fairies at Marble Arch Caves, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 23 March – 5 April. Don’t miss this enchanting Easter themed outdoor fairy trail that begins at Greenwood gate. Enter the unique fairy sanctuary in the ancient wood of the Cladagh Glen and discover the mythical creatures and fairy families that live within this wonderfully diverse woodland. Each child will receive a Land of Fairies activity booklet containing a fairy trail map and an Easter activity sheet to complete.


  1. Beer & Cheese Night, Ballynahinch, County Down, 21 March. This experience combines the finest craft beers with exquisite local cheeses, all set in the charming ambiance of Kinedale Donkeys’ Barn. Indulge your taste buds with a curated selection of craft beers from Modest Beer, paired perfectly with delectable cheeses from local producers, sourced from the Indie Fude deli. Throughout the evening, beer experts will guide you through a tasting journey of five exceptional beers, unraveling the brewing process and the unique characteristics that make each one special.


  1. Easter Egg Hunt at Rowallane Garden, Saintfield, County Down, 23 March -7 April. Treat the whole family to a world of adventure on an Easter trail at Rowallane Garden! Make your way along the trail and enjoy nature-inspired activities, solve puzzles, create art and explore the beautiful blooms and blossoms in one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful gardens. Your little ones will receive an Easter trail sheet, bunny ears and a dairy or vegan and Free From chocolate egg. A great day out for the whole family.


  1. The Siege Museum, Derry~Londonderry, County Londonderry, throughout March. Visit the Siege Museum and Exhibition and learn the history of the Siege of Londonderry and of the associated clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry~Londonderry. Explore artefacts on display along with videos and interactive media. Visitors will also have the added attraction of being able to view one of the meeting rooms used by the ‘Loyal Orders’.


  1. Eggsciting Easter Egg Trail, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 23 March- 6 April. Do you think you can find all the eggs at Enniskillen Castle? Come down and take part in this Eggciting Easter Hunt Trail, where the resident hen has been busy laying special eggs all around the museum displays! Find all the eggs in the museum and claim your prize.
  1. Glenpark Estate & Open Farm, Gortin, County Tyrone, throughout March. Take a walk through history as you explore the beautiful grounds of Glenpark Estate. Visit the replica historic buildings and meet the rare breeds in the open farm. Finish off your day with a trip to the farm shop or children’s play area, before visiting the bar and restaurant on site for a bite to eat.


  1. Spring Forage in the Forest, Belfast, County Antrim, 23 March. Visit Lagan Valley Regional Park Visitor Centre and explore the edible delights of the woodland. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this 4,200 acre park is rich in natural features, biodiversity and a range of historically important sites. After exploring your surroundings, indulge in some well deserved refreshments on the nearby barge.


  1. The Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt, Royal Hillsborough, County Down, 23 March- 7 April. Don’t miss the enchanting Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt this Easter season, as the Lindt Gold Bunny hops over to Hillsborough Castle and Gardens for the very first time! As you explore the 100 acres, be on the lookout for elusive Lindt Gold Bunny statues peeking out from half a million colourful blooms as part of the Spring Spectacular. Hidden amongst the charming Lindt Gold Bunny are letters that hold the key to a secret question. Think you’ve cracked the clue? Your quest will be rewarded with a delicious Lindt chocolate treat!


  1. Sperrins Walking – Fermanagh & Omagh, Gortin, County Tyrone, 23-24 March. Get your walking boots ready for the Sperrins Walking Festival, taking place across the Sperrins Area of Outstanding Natural beauty (AONB). This programme, developed and delivered by The Sperrins Partnership and outdoor experts Far and Wild, is designed to help walkers of all abilities enjoy this beautiful landscape. There are a range of guided walks available, from leisurely strolls to more demanding longer walks, the choice is yours!


For more information on what’s on, or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 11-17 March


  1. Fairy Lore & The Glens – Causeway Coast and Glens Walking Festival, Cushendun, County Antrim, 15 March. Take in the fresh Spring air with this moderate looped walk on the steep tracks of Ronan’s Way. Part of a series of walks for the annual festival, the trails showcase the environmental and human heritage of the Glens of Antrim. This 6K walk is suitable for anyone with a good general fitness (£10).
  2. St. Patrick’s Day Céilí, Belfast, County Antrim, 17 March. This green themed céilí on St. Patrick’s Day is for everyone, whether you’re a total newcomer to Irish dancing, or an experienced feisanna champion! Hosted by SBIDA at the Europa Hotel, this event promises huge levels of fun for all attendees. Listen to live tradtional Irish music, watch talented Irish dancers and join in on group dances. There will also be a special performance by the SBIDA dancers and a roving professional photographer to capture everyone in all their glory.
  1. Patrick’s Day Parade, Downpatrick, County Down, 17 March. Led by St. Patrick himself, this parade offers a feast for eyes and ears as swirling dancers, community floats and costumed characters entertain the crowds. Enjoy festive live music and dance, a Ceili and Artisan Market and lots of children’s activities. Don’t miss the face painters, kite making workshops, arts and crafts by Makes and Bakes, Clayrazy clay modelling, a chance to have a go at the climbing wall and much more. A fun day for all the family to enjoy!
  2. Stargazing Evening, Armagh, County Armagh, 15 March. Join Armagh Observatory and Planetarium for the last evening in their series of stargazing evenings that are out of this world! This session will feature a talented team of experts to help you navigate the night sky using your telescopes (weather dependent). You will also get a chance to see a dome show in the digital theatre and listen to guest speaker Paul Evans (President of the Irish Astronomical Association).
  1. Coracle Building Workshop with Valkyrie Craft, Castlerock, County Londonderry, 16 March. Enjoy a full day introduction to the universal and ancient art of skin-on-frame boat building. John from Valkyrie Craft will guide you through the process of building the most simple of traditional watercraft, starting with the materials and tools, and finishing with a functional small boat. Learn about the nature and characteristics of wood for bending, appropriate timbers to use, the various materials used in different places and times, how to care for your finished product and most importantly, how to paddle it!
  2. Clogherny Wedge Tomb, Plumbridge, County Tyrone. This well preserved and unusual monument is in an extensive area of blanket peat near the Butterlope Glen, just four miles north of Plumbridge. The wedge tomb is surrounded by an elegant stone circle of eleven tall schist stones. Wedge tombs are generally considered to span the late Neolithic and early Bronze Ages and this site may have been built around 2000BC. Travel back in time and visit this scheduled historic monument.
  3. St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 16-17 March. Visit Northern Ireland’s only island town for a unique St. Patrick’s weekend celebration. There are a variety of events on St. Patrick’s Day eve, including a viking walking tour, storytelling, a colouring in competition and a community park run. On Sunday, celebrate with face painting, balloon modelling and bouncy castles, mingle with walkabouts or get snapped with some of the some of the hairiest folklore heroes on four legs. This weekend is packed with fun for everyone!
  1. Spring Carnival 2024, Derry~ Londonderry, County Londonderry, 17 March. Celebrate the arrival of Spring in all its colourful splendour with a magical programme of music, dance, food and folklore this St. Patrick’s Day. Immerse yourself in the vibrant sounds of Derry~ Londonderry’s renowned music scene, featuring a lineup of exceptionally talented local musicians. From soulful ballads to foot-stomping jigs, experience the diverse musical tapestry that defines Derry~ Londonderry. Discover the magic of Irish-inspired culinary delights from some of the finest Legenderry traders including Lo&Slo, Doherty’s Meats, La Tia Juanas, and Offing Coffee. This is not one to miss!


  1. Davagh Night Walks, Davagh Forest, County Tyrone, 16 March. Join this special night time walk and talk, under the darkest of skies with Davagh Nightwalks. Your adventure will begin at Ceoldán the Davagh Giant, where you will stroll through the forest breathing in all the sounds and sights nature has to offer. This gentle walk consists of forest terrain and a boardwalk leading to the ancient Beaghmore Stone Circles. After you finish your exploring, enjoy a seasonal supper made by a local chef and baker from County Tyrone at the OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory. This experience includes hand warmers, torches and supper.


  1. St. Patrick’s Day at the Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills, County Antrim,17 March. Enjoy a fun-filled day at the Giant’s Causeway celebrating St. Patrick in the land of legends. Don’t miss the chance to take part in the Leprechaun Trail and find the clues hidden at the secret doors on route to the world-famous stones, in the hope of finding a pot of gold. After your adventure, enjoy cookie decorating and get your face painted beside the sea for the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

For more information on what’s on, or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 4 – 10 March

  1. Belfast Children’s Festival, Belfast, County Antrim, 8 – 10 March. As part of this year’s circus themed festival, more than 100 events and performances are taking place in venues including The Lyric, The MAC and the Crescent Arts Centre. This is not just for the young but the young at heart. There will be local, national and international performances and events to entertain, surprise and delight all who attend.
  1. Kinbane Castle, Ballycastle, County Antrim. While there’s not much left of this historic monument, it offers spectacular views of Rathlin Island and Dunagregor Iron Age fort. Resting on headland between Ballycastle and Ballintoy, the path up to the castle is narrow and stepped. The name translates as white head and refers to the white limestone on which the ruins stand. A very atmospheric spot.
  1. Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea, Ballynahinch, County Down, 9 March. Treat your mum to a delicious afternoon tea in the elegant Montalto House. Feel like a Georgian guest in the exquisite drawing room, as you enjoy a selection of delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, miniature pastries and sweet treats, all accompanied by loose leaf tea or freshly brewed coffee. There will also be some live music as a special backdrop to what promises to be a delightful experience.
  1. Spring Spectacular, Hillsborough Castle, County Down, 9 – 10 March. See the gardens of Northern Ireland’s royal residence turn to gold and be dazzled by over half a million daffodils in bloom. This really is a beautiful sight to behold and trumpets the arrival of spring. Wander with friends and enjoy some delicious homemade refreshments in the café afterwards.
  2. World Book Day Storytelling Sessions – Mount Stewart, Newtownards, County Down, 9 March. Celebrate World Book Day with interactive storytelling sessions and a story inspired trail around the lake. Embark on an unforgettable journey where parents and children alike become part of the story and are surrounded by the magic of sound, fun, and laughter. Author Tessa Ann invites you to dive into the heart of her whimsical world, meeting the incredible instrument characters that come to life in her brand-new book, Magical Sounds. This event is perfect for families with children aged 5-11, but younger children are welcome too.
  1. Home of St Patrick Festival, Armagh, County Armagh. 10 March. Armagh’s Home of St Patrick Festival returns with an exciting programme of music, art, theatre, film and dance. Reflect on the legacy of St Patrick and have fun celebrating his influence on history and culture. As the ‘Home of St Patrick’, Armagh is the place where St Patrick began his mission. Don’t miss the vigil walk which takes place between the city’s two St Patrick’s Cathedrals! The perfect day out for friends and family.
  2. Todds Leap Activity Centre, Ballygawley, County Tyrone. Let the adventure begin! With over 20 action packed activities available including off road driving, a 500m zip line, a giant swing, a free fall drop zone, paintballing, splat master, woodland trails, archery and a climbing wall, there is no shortage of fun to be had. The perfect destination for any adventure seeker!
  1. Phil Coulter and Guests, St Columb’s Cathedral, County Londonderry, 9 March. St Columb’s School of Music welcomes the return of its very own musical talent, Phil Coulter. Returning  to the town he loves so well, this is a follow up to his ‘Phil Coulter at Eighty’ national tour of 2023. One of the city’s most famous sons, he will join some special guests to play and share his stories, and memories, from his 55 years at the top of the music game.
  2. Castle Caldwell Forest Park, County Fermanagh. Explore this lovely old broadleaved forest full of ash, beech, holy and oak on the northern shores of Lower Lough Erne. Castle Caldwell is an outstanding site, for not only its peninsular position on the rugged shoreline but also for the unrivalled views of the remnants of the castle estate itself. There’s plenty of car parking with three walking trails to choose from. The Beech Wood Walk takes you along the peninsula shore, with views towards Boa Island before the path drifts into forest.
  3. Lavery On Location, Belfast, County Antrim. Don’t miss the chance to see more than 70 pieces of art by Belfast born Sir John Lavery on display at the Ulster Museum. This homecoming follows a successful run at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. Born in North Queen Street, Lavery had a deep regard for his native city, gifting 34 of his paintings to what is now the Ulster Museum in 1929. Here, you can see highlights of the people and places he encountered during a life filled with travel. View landscapes from as far afield as Morocco and Palm Springs to Lough Derg in County Donegal.

For more information on what’s on, or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 26 February – 3 March

  1. Bespoke Wedding Ring Jewellery Making Workshop, Holywood, County Down, 1 March. Come and spend some precious time with your betrothed ahead of the big day and make a handcrafted wearable wedding memory together. Just 10 minutes from Belfast city centre, this creative experience is one you won’t forget. During this three to four hour workshop, NI Silver’s goldsmith Ruth,  will take you through every stage of filing, soldering and hammering your bespoke creation. Price will be based on materials.
  2. Feel Good Festival, Portaferry, County Down, 1-3 March. This festival kicks off by bathing the Grade A listed architecture of the portico in the soft glow of candles as Ruth McGinley performs ‘Piano Peace’, a compilation of beautiful soothing sounds from composers Sakamoto and Einaudi. On Saturday, Christian Forshaw celebrates the 20-year anniversary of the Sanctuary album, an exquisite exploration of sacred music, blending saxophone, organ and choral voices with original composition. As well as the music and laser lit gigs, there are sound healing experiences and a print workshop all aimed at making you feel good!
  1. Game of Thrones Studio Tour®, Banbridge, County Down, 26, 29 February-3 March. Journey behind the cameras and discover the secrets that made HBO’s Game of Thrones® the world’s most successful TV series. This immersive tour takes you to the heart of Westeros, captivating families, fans and filmmaking enthusiasts of all ages. Don’t miss the chance to get up close and personal with iconic costumes, props and sets. A great day out.
  2. Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, County Antrim, 28 February-3 March. Explore Northern Ireland’s only Victorian-era prison seven days a week. Since opening its doors in 1846, ‘The Crum’, as it’s ’affectionately’ known, has housed more than a quarter of a million prisoners. As part of this self-guided tour you’ll learn about some famous inmates and experience first-hand what being locked up in a chilly 12-by-7-foot cell was really like. Guided tours are available on weekends. Book online.
  3. Clare Glen Woodland, Tandragee, County Armagh. This delightful woodland runs along the banks of the River Cusher. There are lots of native trees with hazel, oak and ash in abundance, and underfoot the bluebells and wild garlic are preparing to bloom. A lovely place to wander and escape in nature.
  4. Crindle Bespoke, Limavady, County Londonderry. Your horseback adventure begins with a warm welcome at this family run stable. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a first timer, the stable’s guides ensure a comfortable experience with friendly horses. You can ride along pristine beaches, through picturesque countryside, or within a private estate. Elevate your experience with bespoke additions such as romantic bohemian picnics, wild dining and afternoon tea. Check website for details.
  5. The Carleton Trail, Clogher, County Tyrone. This thirty-mile trail loops through the lush landscape of Clogher Valley. You will pass the childhood cottage of the largely forgotten Victorian novelist William Carleton, after whom the trail is named. In his day he was described by Yeats as “the greatest novelist of Ireland”. On your travels you will encounter rolling hills, quiet streams and panoramic vistas, as well as a marvellous glimpse into the region’s rich history and heritage.
  6. Coastal SUP and Snorkel Tour, Portrush, County Antrim, 28 February- 3 March. Join Freedive Northern Ireland for a wonderful and exhilarating experience which will give you a completely different perspective on the beauty of the Northern Ireland Coastline. You can go on a combined paddleboard and snorkelling tour or  opt  to do either. The choice is yours! Adventure along the limestone cliffs and caves of Whiterocks and learn the area’s  history, legends and stories as you pass above shipwrecks and around reefs. Weather dependent. Check website for details.
  7. Benaughlin, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Just to the east of Cuilagh Mountain lies Benaughlin or Bin Mountain, as it’s known to locals. While the terrain is tricky in parts, you will be more than rewarded by the views from the top. Take in the surrounding views of Upper Lough Erne and the low hill of Knockinny to the east, and the wind farm on Slieve Rushen to the southeast. To the west lies Cuilcagh Mountain and to the north is Lower Lough MacNean with Belmore Mountain beyond. A great way the blow away the cobwebs this spring.
  8. Sea Wrack, The Playhouse County Londonderry, 2 March. In partnership with Northern Ireland Opera, you will explore the work of composers and new arrangements of songs from across the island of Ireland including pieces by William Balfe, Hamilton Harty and William Wallace. Listen to spectacular  arrangements preformed by soprano Susie Gibbons, mezzo Jenny Bourke, tenor Michael Bell and baritone Seamus Brady, along with pianist Frasier Hickland.

For more information on what’s on or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/

10 Exciting Things to do Next Week in NI

Here are ten exciting things to do 19-25 February

  1. NI Science Festival 2024, Belfast, County Antrim, 19-24 February. This festival is celebrating its 10th year inspiring Northern Ireland in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths! There are hundreds of events, spread across more than 90 venues, offering a glimpse of cutting-edge research and what the future might hold. From a range of workshops, interactive activities to talks and tours, you will have the chance to hear from scientists on their latest work. There are fascinating events for all ages.
  2. Belfast TradFest Winter Weekend, Belfast, County Antrim, 23-25 February. Hear this UNESCO City of Music come alive to the sounds of traditional music across a wide range of concerts, workshops, sessions, and talks across the city. This is the festival’s third outing and will showcase internationally renowned talent in traditional Irish and Scottish music, song and dance. The event is backed by Belfast City Council and the Arts Council among others.
  1. Kilcreggan Urban Farm & Garden Centre, Carrickfergus, County Antrim. This relaxed community space has a small farm where individuals and families can visit for free and get up close with animals including goats, pigs, ponies, poultry, waterfowl and geese. Pop into the garden centre or have a break in the not-for-profit Dancing Goat café which serves a range of soups, sandwiches and sweet treats. This community farm is operated as a charity helping support local people with learning disabilities.
  2. Garvagh Pyramid, Garvagh Forest, County Londonderry. A far cry from the sandy deserts of Egypt, this 21 ft pyramid was built in the 1800’s by Lord Garavagh, who was inspired by his grand tour of Egypt and planned to use the structure as his final resting place. It’s located at the south end of the village, on high ground, among mature woodland which is covered in bluebells in spring.  It’s not only a curious spot, it is wonderfully peaceful.
  3. Electric Escape, Belcoo, County Fermanagh. Explore the unspoilt wilderness of west Fermanagh in this guided tour across old bog roads and forest tracks and discover hidden megalithic tombs and sweeping views over Lough MacNean. Travelling on electric mountain bikes you’ll stop at Pollnagollum Cave, before a welcome break for refreshments at The Linnet Inn in the picturesque village of Boho. The route is suitable for all levels of fitness making it ideal for families and friend groups.
  4. The Lucky Seventh’ – HMS Caroline Pump House, Belfast, County Antrim, 22 February. This lecture, in HMS Caroline’s Pump House, marks the 100th anniversary of the ship’s arrival in Belfast. HMS Caroline has clocked up 100,000 miles and saw action in the North Sea throughout the First World War. She looked set for the breakers yard before ending up in Northern Ireland as a drill ship. Will Heppa, NMRN Curator of Artefacts, will explore the early history of the Ulster Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and look at HMS Caroline’s crucial role in the Second World War. Refreshments will be provided.
  5. Harry Avery’s Castle, Newtownstewart, County Tyrone. This castle is thought to have been built around 1320 by a local chieftain of the O’Neill clan. It’s unusual in both design and the fact that chieftains of the time rarely built stone castles. Its two towers look like a gatehouse, similar to Carrickfergus Castle, but in reality it functioned as a medieval towerhouse. Explore the remains of this historic building along with breathtaking scenery that surrounds it.
  6. Paddle Back in Time, Killinchy, County Down, 24-25 February. This award-winning kayak tour following a traditional smuggling route undertaken by Daft Eddie and the Merry Hearts. This exciting tour is led by Dr. Sarah Baccianti, a researcher in literature and history of medieval Scandinavia. At Mahee Island, Dr. Baccianti will guide you through the ruins of the monastic site of Nendrum, life in the monastery in the Middle Ages, and the role played by the Vikings in the Strangford Lough area between the 9th and 11th centuries. This tour includes a wetsuit and all the kit required for your adventure.
  7. The Argory, Moy, County Armagh. This is a great time of year to see blankets of snowdrops at this gentile 19th century property or see if you can spot a Kingfisher on the River Blackwater which skirts the estate. The Argory is a tranquil spot for a wander through beautiful woodland, or along its Lime Tree Walk.
  8. Castle Balfour, Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh. This castle sits at the edge of the parish graveyard just west of Main Street and was built around 1618 by Scottish planter, Sir James Balfour. It was in continuous occupation until the early 19th century. Conservation work was carried out on site in the 1960s and again in the 1990s. There is evidence on the site of an earlier ringfort which indicates the area had been inhabited long before the castle was built.

For more information on what’s on or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 5-11 February

  1. The Blue Lights Story, Belfast, County Antrim, 7 February. As part of the 4 Corners Festival, the screen writers behind the highly successful BBC TV show will take part in an evening of conversation followed by a question and answer session. Screen writers Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson will be in All Saints College in West Belfast, where part of the first series was filmed. To book this event visit the website.
  1. Irish Spirits & Chocolate – The Echlinville Distillery, Kircubbin, County Down, 10 February. Begin your visit with a hands-on experience as you are guided through the process of making chocolate truffles by Geri before you enjoy a spirits and chocolate tasting session. Complete your afternoon with a visit to the distillery shop, then stroll through the historic Echlinville Estate and the visitor walkways. To book this experience visit the website.
  2. Homes in Focus: Cruckaclady Farmhouse, Cultra, County Down, 10 February. This is one of a series of intimate talks that take place in one of the Ulster Folk Museum’s many beautiful buildings. Join Victoria Millar, Senior Curator of History, at Cruckaclady Farmhouse to learn how it was cleverly constructed and discover what life was like for those who lived here during the early 1900s.
  3. Belfast Punk Music Walking Tour, Belfast, County Antrim, 10 February. Explore the story of punk music in Belfast, which is now recognised as a UNESCO City of Music. Find out more about bands like the Outcasts, Rudi, Stiff Little Fingers, and Victim. See some of the sites celebrated in the film ‘Good Vibrations’, lauding Terri Hooley’s role as the Godfather of Belfast punk and round off your tour with a trip to the Oh Yeah Music Centre to discover some great punk memorabilia.
  4. Tully Castle, Blaney, County Fermanagh. This atmospheric ruin is located on the southern shore of Lower Lough Erne. This fortified house and bawn are set on Tully Point and were built for Sir John Hume who occupied the house until 1641, when it was attacked and burned on Christmas Eve by Rory Maguire. It was never lived in again. It’s free to look around and is a lovely spot for a wander. Check out the visitors’ centre in a restored farmhouse, with exhibitions of local stories relating to the castle.
  5. Derry’s Famous Beer & Cheese Tour, Claudy, County Londonderry, 9 February. A real treat for the tastebuds awaits at Dart Mountain Cheese & Northbound Brewery. Indulge in the best of both worlds – beer and cheese. Discover the perfect pairings and learn about the fascinating process of crafting these culinary delights.
  6. Ardress House, Portadown, County Armagh. A wonderful place to take in the best of the season on the grounds of this 17th century National Trust Property. This is a real feast for the senses. Walk amidst stunning woodlands, admire the blankets of snowdrops, berries on bare branches and primroses peeking through the hedgerow. Listen to the chorus of robins, finches, blue tits, starlings, and if you time it right, enjoy the swirling birds overhead with some wonderful winter sunsets. No admission until March, so it’s a perfect time to visit wherever you are in Northern Ireland.
  7. QEST Northern Ireland Showcase Exhibition, Belfast, County Antrim, throughout February. This partnership between Craft NI and the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) supports the training and education of talented and aspiring craftspeople across the UK. This exhibition at the Craft NI gallery in Belfast city centre brings together the work of 17 QEST alumni. There’s a huge range of crafts and talent on display from glass, handloom weaving, willow sculpture and hand crafted silver.
  8. Bessy Bell Walk, Omagh, County Tyrone. This is a pleasant and interesting walk showcasing the beautiful and unique terrain of the Sperrins landscape. Starting at the Mellon Country Inn, the track travels along the main road before turning uphill on a country lane. The track ascends the summit through a variety of tarmac, rough grassland and heather, where walkers will be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding area. This walk is approximately six miles in total.
  9.  ‘Derry Woodland’ Cycle Tour, County Londonderry, 10 February. An expert local guide will accompany you from St Columbus Park in the heart of the buzzing city centre along the Foyle Greenway. You will cycle across the Peace Bridge and along the river. There’ll be refreshments at the half-way stage in the arboretum area of Brookhall Estate including a hot beverage and a finger buffet with a range of local artisan food. On your return to the city, you will cross back from the west to the east bank of the River Foyle and learn the myth which gives the river is name.

For more information on what’s on or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 29 January- 4 February

  1. Birdwatch Morning, Comber, County Down, 31 January. Join the experts at the Castle Espie Wetlands Centre on the banks of Strangford Lough. You will have the chance to take a closer look at the wonderful variety of birds across the reserve, which is home to the largest collection of ducks, geese and swans on the island of Ireland. Everyone is welcome to join, no prior birdwatching knowledge required!
  1. Armagh Rhymers on Brigid’s Day, Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, County Derry~Londonderry, 1 February. This performance serves up an exciting mixture of music, song, poetry, storytelling and drama. Founded in the 1970’s, the rhymers hark back to ancient traditions where the kitchen floor was the stage. Their fabulous costumes and woven headdresses evoke the folklore of old Ireland. A fun day for the whole family.
  2. Winter Discovery Morning, Belfast, County Antrim, 2 February. Come and enjoy a seasonal walk amidst the splendour of the Lagan Valley Regional Park. These walks give you the opportunity for an informal but informative walk with the park’s rangers to learn about the wildlife and history of the area.
  1. Loughmacrory Lough, County Tyrone. Follow the shoreline of this serene lake. Wonderful flora and fauna abound, and gravel paths make this a very pleasant 2k stroll.  Keep your eyes peeled for a flash of electric blue, it could well be a kingfisher or just admire the swans and wild geese that visit.
  2. Imbolc, Celtic Mindfulness, Navan Centre, County Armagh, 3 February. This day retreat with Judith Greene and Karen Smyth celebrates the ancient Celtic festival which marks the beginning of Spring, falling at the halfway point between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox. Historically, this festival was in honour of the pagan goddess, Brigid, who was adopted as a Christian saint. Connect with nature as it awakens from its winter slumber and get ready to welcome spring, refreshed and renewed.
  3. Belfast Bike Tours , Belfast, County Antrim, throughout February. Learn about the history, culture and architecture of Belfast in a fun way! Tour the city on comfortable, easy to pedal bikes taking in everything from the café culture vibe of the Cathedral Quarter to the street art, and peace walls. Visit the Titanic slipways and see why everyone is kissing the Big Fish. Two tours available daily, seven days a week. Includes helmet hire.
  4. Earth Yoga – In the Heart of The Marble Arch Cave, Florencecourt, County Fermanagh, 4 February. This multi-sensory experience will take your yoga practice to a place it has never been, surrounded by the sights and sounds of mother earth, deep in the heart of the show cave, 50 metres underground! A unique way to unwind and relax body and mind in an hour experience that is suitable for all levels. The yoga space will be lit with lanterns creating a warm and inviting feeling. There are 154 steps to enter the cave, so dress in flat shoes and warm clothing and bring along your own yoga mat.
  5. Moneypenny’s Forge and Lockhouse, Craigavon, County Armagh, throughout February. Want to make the sparks fly? Well look no further than this wonderful historic forge to learn the traditional skills of blacksmithing! Located on the Newry Canal just outside Portadown, this beautiful location has classes to suit all abilities from the novice to the more advanced metalworker. Or you can visit our canal-themed museum next door in the Lockhouse, named after the Moneypenny family who looked after the lock from the early 1800s until its closure in the mid-20th century. Class sizes are small so check the website for booking.
  6. The Sperrin Sculpture Trail, County Tyrone. Behold the three giant sculptures by artist Thomas Dambo on the Sperrins Sculpture Trail, which showcase the geology, archaeology and heritage of the Sperrins. The giants represent the past, present and future. You will evoke the mystical, ancient history and beauty of the region. You will find Ceoldán, the Stargazer, at Davagh Forest kneeling on a newly constructed timber boardwalk. He is trying to capture the brilliance of the night sky, ‘The Seven Sisters’, in his spiral. You can also find Nowanois, translated as the storytellers at Glenelly Valley near Cranagh and Darach, the Guardian at Mullaghcarn Mountain. A fun day out for all!
  7. Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum, Lisburn, County Antrim. Fancy trying your hand at spinning or want to watch one of the experts do it? Come along to this centre which celebrates Northern Ireland’s historic role as the world leader in the manufacturer of linen. You can see the cloth being woven in daily demonstrations with one of the onsite weavers. There are also fabulous exhibits on display such as a  fragment of linen from Tutankhamun’s tomb, and a pair of stockings embroidered for Queen Victoria. Entry is free and there’s accessible parking beside the building, there’s also a range of lovely linen to buy in the shop.

For more information on what’s on or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/