Ards and North Down Council Mayor’s Farewell Concert

Cllr Robert Adair (Mayor of Ards and North Down) hosted a ‘Farewell Concert’ in Bangor Castle recently to thank people for their support during his Mayoral year.  Bangor Ladies Choir wearing sashes ‘Votes for Women’ sang their tribute to the Suffragettes with a great selection of songs that included the well-known WWI songs, ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, ‘Keep the home fires burning’ and ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag’.  After being entertained by the choir, the Mayor’s guests enjoyed a delightful afternoon tea. Cllr Adair was installed at the annual general meeting of Ards and North Down Council on Wednesday 7th June 2017; at age 29 he was younger than any mayor of the two councils Ards and North Down which ceased as separate entities in 2015.  Speaking of his Mayoral year, Mr Adair said that he was honoured and humbled and felt very privileged to be the youngest ever Mayor of Ards and North Down Council.

Cllr Robert Adair (Mayor of Ards and North Down) pictured at his ‘Farewell Concert’ in Bangor Castle with Ann Adair-Smith and Warren Smith.

New York showcase for Belfast International Arts Festival

The Belfast International Arts Festival was highlighted in New York this week, at an event hosted by Tourism Ireland, the Northern Ireland Bureau and Tourism NI. 
 
The event – which was an excellent opportunity to shine a spotlight on Belfast and this year’s festival – was attended by influential American arts and lifestyle journalists, as well as representatives of the travel trade in New York. Guests heard about the unique and authentic cultural experience on offer in Belfast for American visitors and about the festival programme which is set to feature world-class artistic performances.
 
Belfast International Arts Festival is one of the many festivals in Northern Ireland being promoted by Tourism Ireland around the world this year, particularly to our important ‘culturally curious’ audience.
 

Ulster Tatler Awards 2018

 

We have officially launched the Ulster Tatler Awards 2018.

The awards now in their eleventh year will once again be hosted by popular television and radio personality Pamela Ballantine who has said she is “extremely excited to be hosting the Ulster Tatler Awards for another year.” She commented that “It is always a great night and such a pleasure to be involved in. I just hope that as many people as possible get voting for all the wonderful talented people in Northern Ireland who make the awards the great event they have been over the last decade,”.

We are proud to announce two brand new categories – Home of the Year and Best Dressed (on the night). The Ulster Tatler Awards 2018 will celebrate the best that Northern Ireland has to offer in hospitality, beauty and business with readers being asked to vote in various categories honouring the local people and companies that have shined throughout Northern Ireland in the last year.

The awards will take place at Belfast City Hall on Thursday September 6 with key awards including Celebrity of the Year and Sports Person of the Year as well as the desired Lifetime Achievement Award which has recognised some of the province’s best-loved personalities over the years such as Dame Mary Peters OBE, Brian Friel, Sir James Galway, Gloria Hunniford, Barry McGuigan and playwright Marie Jones who was honoured at last year’s ceremony.

Optilase Eye Clinic is on board as title sponsor for the 2018 ceremony, continuing its involvement with the event for a fifth year. Philip McGlade, CEO of Optilase said: “We are thrilled to be Title Sponsor of the Ulster Tatler Awards again, and to be part of such a brilliant night that recognises the best people and businesses of Northern Ireland.”

Members of the public can vote by visiting  https://bit.ly/2ojZEY2 where all the categories are listed, or by picking up the latest edition of Ulster Tatler magazine and filling in the voting form inside. Voters have a further incentive to cast their ballots as they will be entered in to a draw to be in for a chance of winning a VIP trip for two to the awards ceremony including an overnight stay at the Hilton Hotel Belfast.

Votes must be received by midnight on Sunday June 24.

Ulster Tatler editor Chris Sherry commented: “We are delighted to launch the voting for the Ulster Tatler Awards 2018, we’re hosting the awards a week early this year so please don’t forget to get your votes in as soon as possible.

“Once again the awards ceremony will be held in the grandeur of Belfast’s City Hall and the night will be hosted by our good friend and TV personality Pamela Ballantine.

“This year we are very excited to announce two new categories, Home of the Year and Best Dressed. Like our other categories you must send your entries for Home of the Year prior to the ceremony, whereas Best Dressed will be judged on the night by fashion expert Nuala Meenehan – so make sure to get your glad rags on!

“As always, this is going to be a special night as we recognise the great achievements and talents coming out of Northern Ireland,”

Our full list of categories can be seen here: https://bit.ly/2ojZEY2

Ladies in Waiting

Galgorm Resort and Spa rolled out the red carpet to welcome two very special guests ahead of their attendance at the hotly anticipated wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle. Mother and daughter, Catherine Cooke and Julie-Ann Coll from Derry-Londonderry, who have been invited to the Royal Wedding on 19th May, were whisked off to Galgorm for a day of styling and pampering to get them royally ready for the celebrations at Windsor Castle. Hosted in the opulent surroundings of the Spa ‘Boudoir’, Galgorm’s private group treatment suite ideal for pre-wedding pampering, the Resort treated the excited pair to a day of luxury fit for a Princess. After a bespoke styling session, decadent royal themed Afternoon Tea and luxurious spa treatments in Galgorm’s award-winning spa and thermal village, the ladies were left refreshed, revamped and ready to attend the wedding of the year. Although their wedding packages don’t come with an official Royal title, Galgorm promises to make every bride feel like Royalty. The Resort is inviting future brides to join them for a showcase of matrimonial opulence at the Galgorm Summer Bridal Open Evening on Wednesday 27th June. Those attending will be treated to everything a summer wedding at Galgorm has to offer including access to their very own gin mixologist, croquet on the lawn, entertainment and an array of delectable culinary delights.

 

Further information about the free event is available now at www.galgorm.com Mother and daughter, Catherine Cooke and Julie-Ann Coll, are pictured with Galgorm Resort and Spa Doorman, David Faloon.

 

Galgorm Resort and Spa rolled out the red carpet to welcome two very special guests this week ahead of their attendance at the hotly anticipated wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle. Mother and daughter, Catherine Cooke and Julie-Ann Coll from Derry-Londonderry, who have been invited to the Royal Wedding on 19th May, were whisked off to Galgorm for a day of styling and pampering to get them royally ready for the celebrations at Windsor Castle. Hosted in the opulent surroundings of the Spa ‘Boudoir’, Galgorm’s private group treatment suite ideal for pre-wedding pampering, the Resort treated the excited pair to a day of luxury fit for a Princess. After a bespoke styling session, decadent royal themed Afternoon Tea and luxurious spa treatments in Galgorm’s award-winning spa and thermal village, the ladies were left refreshed, revamped and ready to attend the wedding of the year. Although their wedding packages don’t come with an official Royal title, Galgorm promises to make every bride feel like Royalty. The Resort is inviting future brides to join them for a showcase of matrimonial opulence at the Galgorm Summer Bridal Open Evening on Wednesday 27th June. Those attending will be treated to everything a summer wedding at Galgorm has to offer including access to their very own gin mixologist, croquet on the lawn, entertainment and an array of delectable culinary delights. Further information about the free event is available now at www.galgorm.com Mother and daughter, Catherine Cooke and Julie-Ann Coll, are pictured with Galgorm Resort and Spa Doorman, David Faloon.

 

My Fair Lady

Lisnagarvey Operatic Society presented ‘My Fair Lady’ in the Island Hall, Lisburn recently.  People who flocked to the show enjoyed seeing Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Karen Hawthorne) take speech lessons from Professor Henry Higgins (Tim Pentland) so that she may pass as a lady and improve her career prospects.  This comic, moving and endearing show adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture ‘Pygmalion’ included well-loved musical numbers such as, ‘Wouldn’t it be loverly’, ‘With a little bit of luck’ and ‘Get me to the church on time’.  This ‘rags to riches’ musical favourite, was definitely one not to be missed.

Come and Play

‘Come and Play’, a social evening where flute bands got together in a non-competitive atmosphere was held at the Discover Ulster-Scots Centre. The event was hosted by the Flute Band Association of Northern Ireland in conjunction with the Ulster-Scots Community Network (USCN) with the flute band ensemble being conducted by Richard Douglas MBE. They played a great selection of tunes and many bands being represented in the ensemble.

Belfast’s Victorian Gem Sparkles Again

The Tropical Ravine in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens reopened to the public this week following a £3.8m refurbishment. The major task, more than three years in the making and well worth the wait came about with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Belfast City Council who invested £1.5m in the project and a contribution from the Friends of Botanic Gardens.

The listed building has been restored to its former glory with Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister, officially reopening the Tropical Ravine by unveiling a plaque alongside HLF chair, Sir Peter Luff. The Tropical Ravine is a unique asset for Belfast and a fantastic addition to Northern Ireland’s tourism offering. The listed building which dates back to 1887 has been restored with many of its original Victorian features reinstated and preserved. The ravine has been split over two levels with an open reception area on the ground floor, and the building has been modernised to make it more energy efficient with new triple-glazed windows installed to retain heat and create the right environment for the tropical plants it is home to.

Visitors will now be able to learn about the conservation work and plant collection thanks to new interactive and digital exhibits. Accessibility has also been improved with the introduction of sensory facilities for sight and hearing-impaired visitors. Sir Peter Luff, chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, welcomed the reopening: “The Tropical Ravine is a true heritage treasure that rewards visitors with a unique, entertaining and educational experience.”“We look forward to many more people enjoying these new facilities,” he added.The Tropical Ravine has been transformed into a fantastic visitor and educational space, an outstanding amenity that will last for future generations. Some of the plants are estimated to be over 150 years old so the restoration has been a remarkable feat. Many of the plants were temporarily moved into the Palm House or rehomed at Botanic Gardens’ glasshouses. The large cycads that we couldn’t shift were covered and protected from reconstruction work and the cold.

Demand to see round the new ravine is expected to be very high but due to the nature of the building, the number of people that can be inside the ravine at any one time is limited.For more information on the restoration project visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/tropicalravine

Castle Leslie Estate ‘Wedding Open Day’

The illustrious Castle Leslie Estate will host their exclusive Wedding Open Day on Sunday 15th April 2018 from 2-6pm. Admittance is by invitation and RSVP and those wishing to attend can download their invitation request from the Castle Leslie Estate website or by contacting the Estate directly. Potential brides and grooms will be treated to personalized guided tours of the Estate and can view the array of wedding possibilities at Castle Leslie Estate while sampling sumptuous drinks and canapés. Their dedicated wedding team will be on hand to guide budding brides and grooms through what could be the most enchanting day of their lives. To register to attend this exclusive event, please contact the Events Team on 047 88100 or email events@castleleslie.com. You can also download a request form at www.castleleslie.com under the section for weddings.

 

 

Jean-Christophe Novelli Reveals Début Belfast Menu

Multi-Michelin-starred and 5-out-of-5 AA Rosette-winning chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli, recently revealed the menu for his hotly-anticipated début Belfast restaurant. Jean-Christophe, who has been dubbed the UK’s ‘Favourite French Chef’, has complimented the quality of Northern Irish produce, a great accolade for local suppliers. “You need to have wonderful ingredients to produce wonderful food, and I have been thoroughly inspired and excited by the quality and variety of produce available to me here on my Belfast doorstep,” said Jean-Christophe Novelli.

Set on Belfast’s waterfront, with stunning views and an open-air terrace, the 112-seater ‘Novelli at City Quays’ restaurant will open in April as part of the all-new AC Hotel Belfast, the £25million contemporary-luxe hotel developed by Belfast Harbour in the heart of its prestigious City Quays quarter. ‘Novelli at City Quays’ will be the celebrity chef’s first restaurant on the island of Ireland, representing a key milestone for him, a major coup for Belfast’s hospitality offering, and a valuable boost to local suppliers. At ‘Novelli at City Quays’ customers can look forward to the authentic Mediterranean-inspired cuisine all made with the best of locally sourced ingredients.

The 188-room, four-star quality AC Hotel Belfast is the first AC Hotel by Marriott on the island of Ireland, and the first purpose-built AC Hotel in the UK. ‘Novelli at City Quays’ is the first destination restaurant in the AC Hotels by Marriott 100+ global portfolio. Built to Jean-Christophe Novelli’s exacting specifications, the made-to-measure kitchen features a rotisserie oven to enable him to produce his signature roasts.

Jim Mulholland, grand chef of ‘Novelli at City Quays noted, “It has always been my passion and my mission to source whatever I can locally, and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience to introduce our amazing local produce to such a globally celebrated chef as Jean-Christophe Novelli and to see him, in turn, become a champion of it,”

Belfast Gets Ready for St Patrick’s Day Celebrations

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this Saturday, Belfast is getting primed for some high energy celebrations and you’re invited to come and join the party!

From 11:30am on Saturday, 17 March, the streets will be awash with colour. A vibrant parade themed ‘Global Belfast’ will leave from Royal Avenue, travelling along a new route through Castle Junction and along Donegall Place, before snaking its way around Belfast City Hall, and then returning along the same route to finish on Royal Avenue.

Kicking off at 1:30pm until 4pm, a free concert at Custom House Square, headlined by former JLS member Aston Merrygold will take place. Aston Merrygold will headline the free Custom House Square concert and is sure to dazzle with not just his voice, but his incredible dance moves. Strictly Come Dancing star – and now touring musician, Aston’s debut single ‘Get Stupid’ went platinum and his feel good last single ‘Precious’ featured Shy Carter and Grammy Award winning beatboxer Rhazel.

Speaking at the launch of Belfast’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations, Lord Mayor, Councillor Nuala McAllister, said: “I really can’t wait for this year’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Belfast, because I know that thousands of people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities will be joining in the fun.“The theme for my year in office is ‘Global Belfast’ and the wonderful Beat Carnival have worked so hard with their many community partners to create an incredible parade which illustrates that theme, as well as the diversity of the city we love, and our people. Make sure you don’t miss it!” Q Radio is the council’s media partner and popular radio host Eoghan Quigg will compere the concert. Q Radio said: “We look forward to what promises to be a spectacular celebration of culture and community on 17 March.”

Alongside Aston, award winning modern Irish dancing group Slide Step will wow the crowds with their powerful, cutting edge contemporary movement and a whole new take on the art form. Whilst Belfast based Irish Festival Dancing School, Tír Na n-Óg, who recently won the NI senior team title for a fifth year running, will deliver a heart stopping performance. Urban artists, Tanaka, winner of the PanArts Young Singer Songwriter Competition 2016 and JORD will inject a range of colourful influences ranging from R&B and AfroBeat to Pop and Folk to the concert.  Festival favourites Pure Blarney’s unique brand of electro-acoustic folk rock and local trad band the Rare Aul Stuff are bound to get the crowd moving the moment they step onstage. There’ll also be Global Belfast and St Patrick’s Day themed arts and crafts, a range of walkabout, street theatre acts and face painters to keep even the youngest revellers entertained. Hot food, soft drinks, sweet treats and more will be on sale from a range of traders.

Entry to the concert is on a first come first served basis. Alcohol is strictly forbidden and other terms and conditions apply.For more information, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/stpatricks

Kids With Cancer Charity Event

A ‘Kids with Cancer’ charity event was held recently at the Royal Hotel Cookstown, organised by Gary Smyth, the leading drummer of Quinn Memorial Pipe Band. The fundraising event was attended by over 250 pipe band enthusiast and friends.  Bands, pipers and drummers took part including Steven McWhirter, who recently won his eighth World Solo drumming title. Steven, a former member of Cullybackey Pipe Band, is now Lead Drummer of current world champion pipe band, Inveraray and District, Scotland. The final amount raised was a phenomenal £9,000.

Also taking part was:

Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE and a mini band of fourteen members of eleven times world champions Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band Drum Corps, Tullylagan Pipe Band Drum Corps and Bernagh Folk Group.

Pipers included:  Senior Ulster Solo Piping Champion (2017) Ashley McMichael, Glenn Ross and Ryan Cupples-Menendez (Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band) and Ian Burrows (Drumlough Pipe Band).

Snare drummers included:  Steven McWhirter and Chris McNicholl (Inveraray & District Pipe Band), Stephen Creighton and Michael McKenna (St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band), Gareth McLees (Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band), William Glenholmes (Vale of Atholl Pipe Band), Daniel Lynn (Cullybackey Pipe Band), John Scullion and John Lappin.

Tenor drummers included:  Jordan Bailie (Inveraray & District Pipe Band) and event organiser Gary Smyth’s son Calum (Quinn Memorial Pipe Band) from Magherafelt.

 

 

‘Pravha’ Launched in Northern Ireland

Molson Coors have announced the launch of their new beer ‘Pravha’ in Northern Ireland.

Pravha is a 4% ABV Czech style pilsner from the brewers of leading lager Staropramen. The beer has been introduced at time when the trend for craft and niche beers is on the rise and will now be available exclusively on draught at select outlets across Northern Ireland. Brewed using the passion, ingredients and knowledge of the famous Staropramen brewers, Pravha represents the unexpected side of Prague, by offering a twist on the classic Czech pilsner made with two specially selected malts and three Czech hops.

Ryan McFarland, NI Director at Molson Coors said that they “ are delighted to welcome Pravha to the Molson Coors portfolio in Northern Ireland,”

“In Prague, there’s always something new and exciting going on underneath the surface of the city. In the same way, Pravha is the unexpected side of Staropramen, a refreshing drinking experience that consumers may not expect from a Czech pilsner. By introducing this beer, we hope to excite our customers and consumers and continue to expand our premium world beer category.”