Castle Leslie Estate Scoops The Award Once Again

Castle Leslie Estate has once again won the 2017 Gold Metal Awards held in association with Hotel & Catering Review magazine. The magnificent Monaghan estate excelled at the 29th Annual Gold Metal Awards winning the Gold People’s Choice Award for Ireland’s Favourite Place to Stay.Run by the leading hospitality industry magazine, Hotel & Catering Review, and judged by an independent jury of experienced hospitality practitioners, the Gold Metal Awards are widely regarded as the most prestigious and covered awards in the business. A total of 31 category awards, were presented at this year’s gala ceremony in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny recently, which was attended by over 400 leading hoteliers, restaurateurs and caters from across Ireland.Running for over 29 years, the Gold Metal Awards are intensely competitive, drawing entries from hundreds of hotel’s, restaurant’s, guesthouse’s, club’s, spa’s and catering businesses every single year. On accepting the award, Castle Leslie Estate General Manger Brian Baldwin said: “To receive this award and the recognition amongst the best hotels on the island of Ireland and the public is just wonderful. Thank You!”

Neil Delamere to host 14th PANI Awards

Neil Delamere, well known Irish comedian and star of BBC’s, is to be MC for this year’s Publicity Association of Northern Ireland’s (PANI) Awards to be held on 19th October 2017 in the Culloden Hotel. The fourteenth PANI Awards will recognise excellence and celebrate creativity across six core categories including television, radio, outdoor, press magazines and digital. This year the Awards are being supported by a number of category sponsors, including the Ulster Tatler Group, which will sponsor the ‘Best Magazine Campaign’ award.

PANI Awards Chair Nuala Meenehan said, “Excitement is building towards our Awards night on 19th October. It is three years since the Awards were last held and the fact that we have had the largest number of entries in the Awards’ history shows that the industry was more than ready for them. The night itself is a fantastic showcase for local work and we are delighted that Neil has come on board as our host. His sharp wit and unique comical approach will keep us all on our toes and we’re looking forward to a fast paced and very entertaining evening.”

Tables can be booked by emailing or by phoning 02890 760066.

PANI Awards Chair Nuala Meenehan (R) and PANI Chair Siobhan Lavery (L) reveal the specially commissioned earthenware trophies with Awards host Neil Delamere (centre).

International Coffee Day With Town Square

This Sunday, October 1st marks the start of colder weather and so it is no surprise that this day has be coined as ‘International Coffee Day’. After all, there is no better way to warm yourself up on a cold autumnal day than with a hot coffee.

In celebration of this event, Botanic-based cafe, Town Square has put a local twist on its coffee serve. The difference? A dash of Bushmills Black Bush. Rich and fruity to taste with a velvety-smooth finish, Bushmills Black Bush is the ideal whiskey to complement the intense flavour of coffee.

Town Square will be serving this impressive Irish Coffee this weekend and throughout the coming months.

For some whiskey-inspired ideas and local info on Bushmills Irish Whiskey, visit @BushmillsUK on social or


Answer The Call With Bushmills Irish Whiskey

As part of the #AnswerTheCall series, Bushmills, Ireland’s oldest working distillery, has partnered with Ciaran Larkin, a local inventor and entrepreneur, to host ‘Whiskey and Invention’, an intimate event at The Menagerie, Belfast. Attendees will enjoy specially created Bushmills Black Bush serves whilst hearing Ciaran’s exciting journey as an international product designer.

The #AnswerTheCall campaign celebrates local talent, sharing the unheard stories of adventurers, entrepreneurs, artists and creatives, inspiring others to follow their own true calling. Despite graduating with a degree in Electronic Engineering from Queen’s University in Belfast, Ciaran struggled to find his place. He was an engineer on paper, but an artist at heart. He is now the inventor and designer behind and works with American company Hasbro, splitting his time between Belfast and the U.S.

The ‘Whiskey and Invention’ event will take place on Thursday 28th September. For more information on the series and to be in with the chance to attend, visit and register at the events section.




Beer, Cider, Spirit and Cheese Festival at Slieve Donard

Some of County Down’s finest food and drink artisanal producers will be at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, Newcastle on Saturday 30th September for the annual Slieve Donard Beer, Cider, Spirit and Cheese Festival.

Drinks exhibitors at the festival this year include Whitewater Brewery, Tempted Cider and Kilmeggan Cider, Shortcross Gin and Echlinville Distillery, home to Dunville Whiskey and Echlinville Gin along with local food producers including Kearney Blue Cheese and Fivemiletown Creamery.

This year there will also be a new addition at the Festival with a Slieve Donard Street Food Stall with some delicious local treats to taste.

Stephen Meldrum, General Manager at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, said: “We are thrilled to announce the return of the Slieve Donard Beer, Cider, Spirit and Cheese Festival following the inaugural event in 2016 which was a huge success.

“The Festival will showcase many of County Down’s finest brands who will be there to talk about what they do with such enthusiasm that it’s impossible not to get totally drawn in. On top of that there will be lots of food and drink to sample to ensure a good time is had by all.

“We at Hastings Hotels are huge supporters of working with the finest local food and drink producers and we can’t wait for guests to come along and see for themselves just why the Slieve Donard holds them in such very high esteem”, concluded Stephen.

This fabulous food and drink event, supported by both Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Tourism Northern Ireland.

Hazel Magill, Head Chef at Slieve Donard Resort and Spa and General Manager, Stephen Meldrum.

Tickets for the event cost £14 per person, which includes three drinks tokens and a souvenir glass, and are available from the Slieve Donard reception or by calling the hotel on 028 4372 1066.

Radio Royalty Live On Q Radio Drive Time

Legendary broadcasting DJ, Tony Blackburn, will be live on Q Radio between 4-5pm on Thursday 7th September. Joining Owen and Yazz, hosts of the drive time show, Tony will be here to mark the opening of the brand new Q Radio headquarters.

Known as QHQ, the new location will feature three studios, two news rooms as well as state of the art offices and facilities. QHQ is located in the Fountain Centre on College Street, in the heart of Belfast. The Radio station boasts a listenership of 284,000 across Northern Ireland, with stations located all over the country and hopes to continue growing.

Managing Director of Q Radio, Robert Walshe, remarked that no one was more appropriate for the occasion to celebrate the stations serious continued growth ambitions, than the iconic DJ.  Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister will attend the event to welcome the guest of honour , Tony Blackburn who has been an important part of the industry for 53 years.

Autumn Fair Returns to Botanic Gardens

Belfast Lord Mayor, Nuala McAllister, invites you all to the city’s beautiful Botanic Gardens for the return of the Belfast Autumn Fair to celebrate this beautiful season.

The fair will take place on Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September. Both old and young are encouraged to attend with a wide range of activities taking place that cater to all ages. The entire weekend is free and open to all, with main events running from 12.30pm-6pm each day. There will be live music, local food, face painting, crazy golf and much more…

Don’t miss the chance to witness the captivating street performers, marvel at the award winning floral exhibits or watch the Grand Finale Band Concert. Further details on the events and times are available at 


Hillsborough Businessmen Keep Spirit of Oyster Festival Alive

Following the recent announcement that this year’s 25th Hillsborough International Oyster Festival was cancelled due to funding arrangements, a group of businesspeople from the Hillsborough area have joined forces to host the UPU Plough Fest, a mini festival designed to keep the spirit of the Oyster Festival alive in this ‘gap’ year.

The Plough Inn – owned by Derek, Richard and William Patterson – have joined together with Hillsborough native Philip Orr, Chief Executive of UPU Industries, to stage the event which is scheduled to take place from Thursday 24th – Saturday 26th August at The Plough Inn and will raise funds for next year’s Hillsborough International Oyster Festival.

Activities at the event will include, a pop-up restaurant hosted by internationally renowned Brazilian chef, Andre Lima Luca (Thursday 24th), a salsa evening complete with mojitos on the Friday, plus the main ‘Gin and Jazz’ event on Saturday – kicking off at 1pm.  Guests can enjoy some of the finest local craft gins and take on the UPU Oyster Eating Challenge from 1pm to devour one dozen oysters and a pint of the black stuff, with the fastest person taking home a £1,000 cash prize.  Saturday’s activities will continue late into the night with three live bands lined up to lead the festivities for this ‘festival with a cause’ in The Plough Inn.

For further event information please visit

Derek Patterson, Co-owner, The Plough Inn and Philip Orr, Chief Executive, UPU Industries team up to announce UPU Plough Fest, a three-day mini festival designed to keep the spirit of the Oyster Festival alive in its ‘gap’ year.

Step into the 1950s at Hillsborough Castle

Travel back in time this Bank Holiday Weekend at Hillsbourgh Castle with a series of garden festivities inspired by the 1950s.

The Vintage Family Weekend runs from Sunday 27 August to Monday 28 August and features a range of golden era activities for all the family. Watch a traditional Punch & Judy show, try your hand at some vintage crafts and games or venture out on a gardens trail to discover what was happening at the Castle during the 1950s.

Visitors can take a picnic, enjoy the landscaped grounds and don their best vintage outfits with prizes awarded for the best dressed.

Activities are included as part of the general gardens admission and run daily from 12 – 4pm with family tickets available from £12.  For more information please visit  

Clearbox Board of Directors Welcomes Patrick McAliskey

Clearbox, the Holywood, Belfast based creative agency has excitedly announced that Patrick McAliskey has joined the company’s board of directors, Patrick is considered one of the leading business and technological minds in the country at this time. Clearbox Head of Excellence, Anna Morris said, “My goal is to constantly bring the best people into our business and Patrick’s appointment is one of our most exciting yet. His knowledge, expertise, skills and contacts are second to none and as someone who’s grown a business from humble beginnings to becoming a world-class technology provider, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us as we work together to push the business forward.” 
Patrick is Managing Director of leading managed cloud provider Novosco which boasts offices in Manchester, Dublin and Cork. He has previously held roles in the Royal Air Force and FG Wilson. In 1994 he formed his own company, Real Time Systems Limited, and has been at the helm of Novosco for 20 years. 
Patrick joins Clearbox as their new Non Executive Director during the midst of the agency’s continued growth. He joins other exciting new team members at the agency including PR Director Karen Wallace and Junior Account Executives Natalie Clarke and Charlotte Goss who have taken the agency’s team to 11. On taking the role, Patrick said, “I’ve known Anna and her team for a while and I’ve always been tremendously impressed not just with their business performance, but how they seem to do things a little bit differently to other consultancies. I’ve watched the transition of Clearbox from a small team of two people to something much bigger and I want to help them push forward to the next level. It’s a hugely exciting company and I’m looking forward to helping the agency grow over the coming years.” 
Patrick and the new team will work on Clearbox’s current list of clients, which includes: Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Amazon, Universal Pictures Ireland, Morelli’s, MCL Insurance and recently, Sony Xperia too. 

Northern Ireland’s Secret Bunker Opens to the Public

370 properties are opening their doors for the 20th annual European Heritage Open Day. Iain Greenway, Director of Historic Environment Division at the Department for Communities, said: “I am delighted that over 370 properties are opening free of charge during the weekend of 9-10 September, many of which do not usually open to the public.” Greenaway continued, saying: “I would encourage everyone to visit the properties on offer.”

Amongst said properties on offer is Northern Ireland’s secret bunker in Portadown. This historical tour gives an insight into what our country would have been like, had the Cold War ever become a hot war. There will be tours by original crew members in period uniform, WWII ‘Battle of Britain’ equipment and expert historical demonstrations of how the Observer Corps intercepted enemy aircraft.

Other events on this special weekend include: a free tour of Ram’s Island, Sandy Bay, Lough Neagh which features the remains of a 1000 year old Celtic monastic settlement and the ruins of the O’Neill family’s nineteenth century summer house; an adults’ cryptic challenge & children’s puzzle challenge at Belfast City Hall and a guided bus tour of Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark in Fermanagh which features The Cavan Burren, Cornagee Viewpoint, Blacklion, Hanging Rock, Claddagh Glen, and a guided tour of Marble Arch Caves.


Discover Northern Ireland’s ‘Outdoor Gyms’

Two major international sporting events – the UEFA Women’s Under-19 Football Championship and Women’s Rugby World Cup come to Belfast this year. Former Ireland international rugby player Grace Davitt, in partnership with, has been encouraging people to feel inspired by this influx of sport; extolling the virtues of training outdoors and outlined the top places in NI that make outstanding outdoor gyms. Davitt is promoting this idea on the basis of health benefits such as improving well-being, self-esteem and Vitamin D levels.
 Grace expressed her enthusiasm for the scheme by reminiscing on her own career: “When I was a player we used to do a lot of our training outside, especially in the summer.” She elaborated saying: “There are so many different exercises you can do outside which benefit endurance, strength and of course your overall health and so I would encourage everyone to work on their fitness in Northern Ireland’s ‘natural gyms’ this summer.” Tourism NI’s Outdoor Development Officer, Sheena Dickson added “We are thrilled to team up with Grace to promote the benefits of exercising outdoors and here in Northern Ireland we are blessed with green space, beautiful beaches, picturesque loughs and incredible mountains which are perfect locations for getting fit.”
 The suggested locations across Northern Ireland include running in the Mourne Mountains, hill-walking at Slieve Gullion, cycling and mountain biking in The Sperrins, surfing the Causeway Coast, paddling in Derry and windsurfing in Fermanagh.