posted on July 4th, 2018


Alex Best, star of “I’m a Celebrity…” and former wife of soccer legend George Best, officially launched Portaferry Gala Week at Exploris Aquarium. Press and VIPs basked in the sunshine in the courtyard of Exploris and were treated to a BBQ and an intimate taster gig from some of the artists who will be taking to the stage in the festival marquee from 15-21 July.

Veteran Irish rockers Bagatelle, who will be headlining on Thursday 19th July performed some of their much loved hits, including Summer in Dublin, Second Violin and Raining in Paris and were in awe of the sheer talent of local teenage pop/rock buskers Orlaith and Mollie, who will be supporting Derek Ryan on 18 July.  Local singer songwriter Michael Kerr, who is playing support to Bagatelle, performed some tracks from his latest EP Treasure Chest.

Cash Returns, the UK’s leading Johnny Cash Tribute, who will take to the stage on 16 July, effortlessly performed a few Johnny Cash songs with Ken Doyle from Bagatelle praising the lead singer by saying,  “Johnny Cash will never be dead when JP Mac from Cash Returns is alive.”

The launch finished on a high with star of Hit the Diff Ritchie Remo playing his upbeat repertoire. Kieran Quinn from Exploris is looking forward to the forthcoming festival.  He says; “Excitement is mounting as our festival is only a few weeks away and with such a strong and diverse line-up of music, this year’s music fest is sure to attract tourists from all over Ireland.  There’s no better, picturesque festival backdrop than Portaferry and the local hotel, shops and bars are so welcoming and friendly, it’s not surprising that so many people return year after year.  We have already received lots of pre-bookings for tours at Exploris Aquarium, during the festival, which I’m proud has become one of the leading tourist attractions in the heart of the Ards Peninsula.”

 Alex Best, who lived with George in Portavogie for three years, said; “I feel honoured to be the ambassador for Portaferry Gala Week, especially as Northern Ireland is my second home.  I have many fond memories of walking our dogs on the beach in Portaferry, eating at the Portaferry Hotel and buying furniture for our home from a quirky reclaimed furniture shop in Portaferry. I’m really looking forward to returning in July and the music will be fantastic.  There are so many talented artists from Ireland performing.”

Tickets for all concerts are available from or tel: 028 42728062.